Amy C. Edmondson

Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. The Novartis Chair was established to enable the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful business enterprises for the betterment of society. 

Edmondson is the author of Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy (Jossey-Bass, 2012), Teaming to Innovate (Jossey-Bass, 2013), and more than seventy articles on leadership, teams, innovation, and organizational learning.  Number 15 on the 2013 Thinkers50 list of the worlds’ most influential management thinkers, Edmondson teaches on topics including leadership, teamwork, and innovation at HBS and around the world.

She has received numerous awards, including the Cummings Award for mid-career achievement from the Academy of Management in 2006, the Accenture Award for significant contribution to improving the practice of management in 2004, for her article with Anita Tucker, “Why hospitals don't learn from failures,” and selection as one of the 20 Most Influential International Thinkers in Human Resources (#7) by HR Magazine in 2013. 

Before her academic career, she was Director of Research at Pecos River Learning Centers, where she worked with founder and CEO Larry Wilson to design change programs in large companies. In the early 1980s, she worked as Chief Engineer for architect/inventor Buckminster Fuller, and her book A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller (Birkauser Boston, 1987) clarifies Fuller's mathematical contributions for a non-technical audience. Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University.   



  1. Overview

    by Amy C. Edmondson

    My research focuses on cross-boundary teaming in and between organizations and on the ways leaders enable the kinds of complex collaborations that such teaming generates. I am particularly interested in collaborations focused on innovation in knowledge-intensive industries ranging from healthcare delivery to the built environment. In one stream of my research, I study collaboration among people with diverse expertise undertaking major innovation initiatives. I argue that teaming across industry boundaries is increasingly important in the production of crucial innovations upon which society’s future depends. I find that teaming and learning among diverse experts, while facing high uncertainty, involves significant interpersonal risk. My research explores how people manage these risks, and why it matters that they do, in contexts ranging from the emergency room, to the factory, to the built environment, to the executive suite. A second stream of my research examines how leaders successfully create organizational change and learning in fast-paced, challenging, uncertain industry contexts.