07 Jan 2022

New Faculty Profiles: Tiona Zuzul


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.

Tiona Zuzul, assistant professor, Strategy

What is your educational background?
I received my undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard College, masters in European studies from the London School of Economics, and doctorate in strategy from HBS.

Before returning to HBS, I was on the faculty at the London Business School and at the University of Washington.

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
I study organizational change, flexibility, and inertia. I conduct longitudinal field research to understand how leaders’ and entrepreneurs’ identities, frames, and mental models shape performance, innovation, and change.

My focus on the individual-level factors that shape strategic outcomes is rooted in my professional background. I worked in psychology labs as an undergraduate, and found myself returning frequently to the ideas from this domain while working as a strategy consultant.

My interest in field research (including ethnographic observation, interviews, and field-level archival analysis) developed while I was a student at HBS. I began my doctoral studies hoping to leverage the large-N, quantitative methods that are predominant in strategy. But working with and learning from ground-breaking qualitative researchers (both inside and outside my faculty unit) convinced me of the immense value of this approach in understanding how individuals shape firm strategy and outcomes.

What will you be teaching here?
RC Strategy

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professor?
I like to think I would be a novelist. More realistically, I would probably be a strategy consultant.

Where are you from?
I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and grew up between Croatia, Switzerland, and the United States.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I love reading and practicing yoga. And, of course, running around after my two energetic, silly daughters.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My favorite author is Vladimir Nabokov; besides his work, my favorite book is Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. We have a crazy cat, Yossarian, who lives up to his name.

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