Sigal Barsade

Sigal Barsade
  • Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor
  • Professor of Management

Research Interests: emotional intelligence, emotions in organizations, micro-organizational behavior, organizational culture, team dynamics senior management teams

Links: CV, Vaccination Uptake Behavioral Science Task Force Final Report


Professor Sigal Barsade passed away February 7, 2022.

Wharton Press Release
Knowledge @ Wharton Release

Sigal Barsade, a beloved mother, wife, and a great friend to many, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on February 7, 2022, after a hard, year-long battle with Glioblastoma. She was 56 years old. Sigal was born in Israel to Yaakov and Nili Goland, who moved the family to Los Angeles when she was 3 years old. She is survived by her husband, Jonathan Barsade; her daughters, Sivahn and Maayan; her son, Itai; her brother, Yaron Goland; and her parents.

Professor Barsade earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California-Los Angeles and her doctorate in organizational behavior from the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Management. She taught at Yale University for a decade before joining Wharton in 2003. Sigal was an award-winning researcher and teacher. She has published in top academic research journals, and has served on the editorial boards of the Administrative Science Quarterly, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and Organization Science; also interviewed by major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Service, Business Week, Time Magazine, US News & World Report, International Herald Tribune, AP Wire, Forbes, LA Times, Politico, Oprah Magazine, Fast Company, Slate, NPR Radio, ABC, CBS and CNN News, and served as a consultant to a spectrum of companies including Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Comcast, and the NFL and NBA. Her extensive research includes ground-breaking, often-referenced work in the areas of emotional intelligence, organizational culture, unconscious bias, leadership and organizational change.

Sigal was a master teacher, touching the lives of thousands of students in undergraduate, MBA, PhD and Executive Education courses during her nearly 20 years at Wharton. Beyond her academic prowess, Sigal was a dedicated professor with a reputation for caring deeply about her students. She was highly engaged in developing Wharton’s curricula, including the core Management 610 class, and was a key faculty member in Wharton Executive Education.

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  • Jacob Levitt, Constantinos Coutifaris, Paul Green, Sigal Barsade (2024), Timing Is Everything: An Imprinting Framework for the Implications of Leader Emotional Expressions for Team Member Social Worth and Performance, Organization Science.

    Abstract: Leader emotional expressions have profound implications for team members. Research has established that how frequently leaders express positive and negative emotional expressions shapes team member performance through conveying critical social-functional information about team member social worth. Yet, this social-functional approach to emotions has not fully considered how the timing of leader emotional expressions during a team’s lifecycle can also shape the information conveyed to individual team members about their social worth. In this paper, we integrate the social-functional approach to emotions with imprinting theory to propose that the temporal context of leader emotional expressions has performance implications for individual team members through two distinct facets of social worth: respect and status. Specifically, our imprinting framework explains how positive leader emotional expressions during the early team phase have the most beneficial performance implications through imprinting respect in individual team members. We then propose that these positive implications are amplified by more frequent than average negative leader emotional expressions during the midpoint phase. When filtered through earlier positive expressions, negative emotional expressions during the midpoint phase may signal opportunities for respect and status gains rather than respect and status losses. We find general support for our model in a pre-registered four-wave longitudinal archival study of consulting teams at a leading professional services company and a four-wave longitudinal field study at a NCAA Division 1 sports program. Our work highlights that the temporal context of leader emotional expressions is an important performance predictor through social worth.

    Description: The most important takeaway of our research is that the timing and ordering of leader emotional expressions across the early and midpoint phases of team life have important relationships with team member performance. During the early team phase leaders should focus on positive emotional expressions to make team members feel respected, which will have beneficial implications for team member performance. In contrast, during the midpoint team phase, after expressing positive emotions early on, leaders should express more frequent negative emotions than average to motivate team members to pursue new opportunities for status gains, which will have even more beneficial implications for team member performance.

  • T. Y. Huang, V. Souitaris, Sigal Barsade (2019), Which matters more? Group fear versus group hope in entrepreneurial escalation of commitment to a losing venture, Strategic Management Journal, 40 (11), pp. 1852-1881.

  • Sigal Barsade, Constantinos Coutifaris, Julianna Pillemer (2018), Emotional Contagion in Organizational Life, Research in Organizational Behavior, 38 (), pp. 137-151.

    Abstract: Leveraging the wealth of research insights generated over the past 25 years, we develop a model of emotional contagion in organizational life. We begin by defining emotional contagion, reviewing ways to assess this phenomenon, and discussing individual differences that influence susceptibility to emotional contagion. We then explore the key role of emotional contagion in organizational life across a wide range of domains, including (1) team processes and outcomes, (2) leadership, (3) employee work attitudes, (4) decision-making, and (5) customer attitudes. Across each of these domains, we present a body of organizational behavior research that finds evidence of the influence of emotional contagion on a variety of attitudinal, cognitive, and behavioral/performance outcomes as well as identify the key boundary conditions of the emotional contagion phenomenon. To support future scholarship in this domain, we identify several new frontiers of emotional contagion research, including the need to better understand the “tipping point” of positive versus negative emotional contagion, the phenomenon of counter- contagion, and the influence of computer mediated communication and technology within organizations and society on emotional contagion. In closing, we summarize our model of emotional contagion in organizations, which we hope can serve as a catalyst for future research on this important phenomenon and its myriad effects on organizational life.

  • Hakan Ozcelik and Sigal Barsade (2018), No Employee an Island: Workplace Loneliness and Job Performance, Academy of Management Journal, 61 (6), pp. 2343-2366.

  • Sigal Barsade and Amanda O'Neill (2016), Emotional Culture, Harvard Business Review.

  • Sigal Barsade and Andrew P. Knight (2015), Group Affect, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 2 (), pp. 21-46.

    Abstract: Over two decades of research has indicated that group affect is an important factor that shapes group processes and outcomes. We review and synthesize research on group affect, encompassing trait affect, moods, and emotions at a collective level in purposive teams. We begin by defining group affect and examining four major types of collective affective constructs: (a) convergence in group affect; (b) affective diversity, that is, divergence in group affect; (c) emotional culture; and (d) group affect as a dynamic process that changes over time. We describe the nomological network of group affect, examining both its group-level antecedents and group-level consequences. Antecedents include group leadership, group member attributes, and interactions between and relationships among group members. Consequences of group affect include attitudes about the group and group-level cooperation and conflict, creativity, decision making, and performance. We close by discussing current research knowns, research needs, and what lies on the conceptual and methodological frontiers of this domain.

  • T. Casciaro, Sigal Barsade, A.C. Edmondson, C. B. Gibson, D. Krackhardt, G. Labianca (2015), The integration of psychological and network perspective in organizational scholarship, Organization Science, 26 (), pp. 1162-1176.

    Description: Introduction to Special Issue on the Psychology of Organizational Networks, Guest Editors.

  • Hillary Elfenbein, Sigal Barsade, Noah Eisenkraft (2015), The Social Perception of Emotional Abilities: Expanding What We Know About Observer Ratings of Emotional Intelligence, Emotion, 15 (), pp. 17-34.

    Abstract: We examine the social perception of emotional intelligence (EI) through the use of observer ratings. Individuals frequently judge others’ emotional abilities in real-world settings, yet we know little about the properties of such ratings. This article examines the social perception of EI and expands the evidence to evaluate its reliability and cross-judge agreement, as well as its convergent, divergent, and predictive validity. Three studies use real-world colleagues as observers and data from 2,521 participants. Results indicate significant consensus across observers about targets’ EI, moderate but significant self– observer agreement, and modest but relatively consistent discriminant validity across the components of EI. Observer ratings significantly predicted interdependent task performance, even after controlling for numerous factors. Notably, predictive validity was greater for observer-rated than for self-rated or ability-tested EI. We discuss the minimal associations of observer ratings with ability-tested EI, study limitations, future directions, and practical implications.

  • Melissa Valentine, Sigal Barsade, Amy Edmondson, Amit Gal, Robert Rhodes (2014), Informal Peer Interaction and Practice Type as Predictors of Physician Performance on Maintenance of Certification Examinations, JAMA Surgeon, 149 (), pp. 597-603.

  • Andrew Hafenbrack, Zoe Kinias, Sigal Barsade (2014), Debiasing the Mind Through Meditation: Mindfulness and the Sunk-Cost Bias, Psychological Science, 25 (), pp. 369-376.


All Courses

  • MGMT6100 - Found of Teamwrk & Ldrsh

    MGMT 610 is the first core course in the MBA Program and it cannot be waived. The first week of the fall term (in August) is dedicated to this formative and foundational experience. This course focuses on developing students' knowledge and skill set for teamwork and leadership. It is meant to be an intense immersion experience that draws strongly on the pedagogy of the Wharton Teamwork and Leadership Simulation, a team-based, highly interactive simulation that was custom-designed specifically to allow students to experience the core concepts they learn in this class. The three goals of this course are for students to learn: 1. Leadership behaviors: how to enact the skills that contribute to a team's effective performance. 2. Team dynamics: how to be an effective team member, as well as how to best design work teams; 3. Organizational awareness: understanding organizational culture. Format: A custom-designed Wharton-only simulation is paired with course sessions to deliver a unique learning experience. Classes will include experiental learning combined with debriefings, lectures, readings, class discussion and personal and group performance feedback. This course reflects the realities that informal leadership occurs in teams on an ongoing basis, that being a good team player is a part of leadership, and that many of one's early experiences with leadership will occur while working on teams. Because of the team-based nature of this course, and time intensive nature of this experience, attendance is mandatory for ALL five sessions of this class.

  • MGMT9330 - Psych Found MGMT

    This seminar-based course, with active discussion and analysis, is required of all first-year doctoral students in Management and open to other Penn students with instructor permission. The purpose of this course is to examine and understand basics in the theory and empirical research in the field of micro organizational behavior and to build an understanding of people's behavior in organizations and across organizations. The course covers a blend of classic and contemporary literature so that we can appreciate the prevailing theories and findings in various areas of organizational behavior. This course covers micro-organizational behavior, focused on topics such as influence/status, virtual teams, job design, organizational culture and socialization, identity in organizations and overall look on where the field of micro-organizational behavior is going.

  • MGMT9510 - Ob: Theories and Methods

    The purpose of this half-semester course is to examine and understand theory and empirical research in the field of micro-organizational behavior and to build an understanding of people's behavior in organizations. The course covers a blend of classic and contemporary literature to appreciate the prevailing theories and findings in various areas of micro-organizational behavior. We will cover topics such as identity, diversity/inclusion, work design/proactivity, extra-role behaviors, behavioral ethics/organizational justice, and an overall look at where the field of micro-organizational behavior is heading. This is a seminar-based course with active discussion and analysis.

  • MGMT9570 - Applied Research Methods Org B

    This is a half semester course where we review and apply fundamental lessons related to empirical research (both methods and analyses) in organizational behavior. The course will focus primarily on quantitative research. We will begin by covering the link between theory and empirics as well as core concepts in methods and statistics, including causality, validity, reliability, and statistical power. We will then shift to research methods, including design, sampling, pre-registration, and data collection. A key focus will be on maximizing different forms of validity, with an emphasis on multi-method research designs. Finally, we will consider a variety of the most important analytical approaches in organizational behavior, including regression, structural equation modeling, and multi-level analyses. This is an applied methods course, which means that we will be applying the lessons directly by using statistical software to compile and analyze datasets. The course will introduce you to the broad array of methods and analyses that OB scholars are expected to master in order to consistently publish in the field’s top journals.

  • MGMT9610 - Special Topics in Ob

    This is a complement course to MGMT 951, and it has the same purpose to examine and understand basics in the theory and empirical research in the field of micro-organizational behavior and to increase our understanding of people's behavior in organizations. To do so, we will cover a blend of classic and contemporary literature so that we can appreciate the prevailing theories and findings in various areas of micro-organizational behavior. In addition, for each topic we will then try to go beyond the existing literature. We will work to increase our understanding by re-framing the research variables, altering the perspective, bringing in new theory, and comparing levels of analysis. The purpose of this course is not meant to be exhaustive, rather it covers approximately half of the organizational behavior literature. For a more complete understanding of the basics of organizational behavior it is mandatory for organizational behavior students to have taken MGMT 951 which covers the remaining topics in basic organizational behavior. However, it is not mandatory to have taken MGMT 951 before MGMT 961 as they cover different sets of topics.

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, 2020
  • ASQ Award for High Impact Scholarly Contribution over the Past 5 years, 2020
  • Elected Academy of Management Fellow, 2019
  • Recognition for Outstanding Teaching in Degree Programs Award, 2019
  • Distinguished Speaker. 3rd Annual Temple University HRM Department Colloquium, 2018
  • Recognition for Outstanding Teaching in Degree Programs Award, 2018
  • Academy of Management Perspectives Best Decade Paper Award, 2018
  • MBA Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017
  • Outstanding Published Article in Positive Organizational Scholarship, 2017
  • MBA Excellence in Teaching: Core Curriculum Award (top 10 teaching ratings in Core), 2012
  • MBA Excellence in Teaching: Core Curriculum Award, 2010
  • MBA Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award, 2010
  • Keynote Speaker, Consortia for Research in Emotional Intelligence, 2009
  • Fast moving Front Report, one of the most cited contagion articles, Thompson Reuters ScienceWatch, 2009
  • Finalist, Academy of Management Perspectives Best Paper Award, 2008
  • Abigail Adams Award, 2007
  • Keynote Speaker, The Affective Revolution in Organizations, International Society of Emotions Researchers (ISRE), 2005
  • OB Division, Best Paper Award, Academy of Management Meetings, 1999
  • Conflict Management Special Award: Most influential paper within the Conflict Management Field, 1997-2000
  • Hayase Award, UC Berkeley, 1992

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