Jeffrey Lees - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Jeffrey Lees


Doctoral Student

Jeffrey Lees is a third year Ph.D. student in Organizational Behavior and Psychology at Harvard Business School. His research focuses on two distinct topics: 1) The psychology of perceiving organizations as moral agents and the cognitive biases that lead organizations to engage in immoral behavior, and 2) How contextual factors within organizations drive the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of efforts to promote inclusiveness among diverse workforces. Jeffrey utilizes a multi-method approach to studying psychological and social phenomenon within organizations, and has training in the use of experimental laboratory and field methods, along with survey design and qualitative interviewing.

Prior to attending Harvard Jeffrey worked for three years as the Lab Manager of Columbia Business School's Behavioral Research Laboratory. He earned his B.A. in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Maine at Farmington and his M.A. in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Journal Articles
  1. Is the Moral Domain Unique?: A Social Influence Perspective for the Study of Moral Cognition

    J. Lees and F. Gino

    The nature of the cognitive processes that give rise to moral judgment and behavior has been a central question of psychology for decades. In this paper, we suggest that an often ignored yet fruitful stream of research for informing current debates on the nature of moral cognition is social influence. We introduce what we call the “social-moderation-of-process” perspective, a methodological framework for leveraging insights from social influence research to inform debates in moral psychology over the mechanisms underlying moral cognition, and the moral domains in which those mechanisms operate. We demonstrate the utility of the social-moderation-of-process perspective by providing a detailed example of how research on social influence in behavioral ethics can be utilized to test a research question related to a debate between two prominent theories in moral psychology. We then detail how researchers across the field of moral psychology can utilize our social-moderation-of-process perspective.

    Keywords: Cognition and Thinking; Moral Sensibility; Behavior; Social Psychology;

    Citation:

    Lees, J., and F. Gino. "Is the Moral Domain Unique? A Social Influence Perspective for the Study of Moral Cognition." Social and Personality Psychology Compass 11, no. 8 (August 2017).  View Details
Presentations
  1. To Highlight or Downplay Differences? A Threat-Matching Model for Crafting Diversity Approaches

    J. Lees and Evan Apfelbaum

    We integrate organizational and psychological scholarship to devise the threat matching model, a contingency theory that illustrates when, how, and which diversity approaches—frameworks leaders provide employees to understand and respond to diversity—promote inclusiveness. Rather than presume the existence of a “best” approach, we theorize that two types of diversity approaches, the value in difference approach (which focuses on the importance of social group differences) and the value in equality approach (which focuses on the importance of equality irrespective of differences), can each be effective, but only when they match the magnitude of threat employees experience and corresponding psychological needs that underlie feelings of inclusion. We propose that the value in equality approach is most effective when threat is high because it satisfies employees’ salient desire to belong and be accepted as an insider, whereas that the value in difference approach is most effective when threat is low because it satisfies employees’ salient desire to be respected for the unique characteristics they contribute. Further, we develop a two-step recursive process for promoting inclusion as threat evolves over time. This model reconciles mixed results in past research, substantively extends existing theory, and informs leaders’ efforts to promote inclusion across contexts.

    Keywords: diversity; gender; race and ethnicity; leadership; inclusion; Diversity; Gender; Race; Ethnicity; Equality and Inequality; Leadership;

    Citation:

    Lees, J., and Evan Apfelbaum. "To Highlight or Downplay Differences? A Threat-Matching Model for Crafting Diversity Approaches." In Making a Case for Diversity: Pros, Cons, and Complexities. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, August 8, 2017.  View Details