22 Oct 2021

New Faculty Profiles: Anjali Bhatt


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to managers. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Anjali Bhatt, assistant professor, Organizational Behavior

What is your educational background?
I spent my undergraduate years at Harvard, where I majored in chemistry and physics and conducted research on complex materials. Seeking something totally different after college, I moved to Seattle and worked for several years as a social impact consultant at FSG. At FSG, in addition to consulting for large philanthropies like the Gates and Ford foundations, I contributed to writing white papers and articles, including one on emergent strategy and complexity in the social sector. My interest in research renewed, I went back to school and got my PhD in organizational behavior at Stanford GSB. Just prior to joining HBS, I spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit research institution focused on the study of complex adaptive systems.

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
In my current research, I investigate the inputs to cultural diversity and change in organizations, including the dynamics of hiring, M&A, and reorganizations, using various computational methods (mathematical models and simulations, as well as natural language processing and machine learning applied to text data).

More broadly, I am interested in complex, interdependent dynamics in organizations that aggregate to unexpected but patterned behaviors (“whole is greater than the sum of the parts” kind of stuff). This was precisely what intrigued me as an undergraduate studying glassy materials, which also exhibit hard-to-predict aggregate properties. Then I discovered that such phenomena are even more prevalent in social systems. For this reason, organizational culture (and culture in general) has fascinated me.

What will you be teaching here?
I will be teaching Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD).

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professor?
I have occasionally considered geeking out about the natural world as a park ranger at one of the glorious national parks in the US. But in a more probable alternative scenario, I might have gotten an MBA, ideally at an institution like HBS!

Where are you from?
I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I enjoy cooking, hiking/kayaking/camping, and binge-watching international TV shows.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
I really enjoyed the 2019 film Parasite.

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