Research Interests: generosity and helping, job design and meaningful work, leadership and culture, originality and non-conformity, work motivation and success
Adam Grant has been recognized as Wharton’s top-rated professor for seven straight years, and as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune‘s 40 under 40. As an organizational psychologist, he studies how we can find motivation and meaning, and lead more generous and creative lives.
Adam is the author of three New York Times bestselling books that have sold over a million copies and been translated into 35 languages. Give and Take, on why helping others drives our success, was named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal— as well as one Oprah‘s riveting reads and Harvard Business Review‘s ideas that shaped management. Originals, on how individuals champion new ideas and leaders fight groupthink, was a #1 national bestseller praised by J.J. Abrams, Richard Branson, and Malcolm Gladwell. Option B, coauthored with Sheryl Sandberg, is a #1 bestseller on facing adversity and building resilience.
Teaching, Speaking, Consulting, and Leadership
Adam is the host of WorkLife, a TED original podcast. His TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 12 million times. He received a standing ovation at TED in 2016 and was voted the audience’s favorite speaker at The Nantucket Project. His speaking and consulting clients include Facebook, Google, the NBA, the Gates Foundation, Merck, Goldman Sachs, Disney Pixar, the U.S. Army and Navy, and the World Economic Forum, where he has been honored as a Young Global Leader. At Wharton, he has received the Excellence in Teaching Award for all of his classes and earned the Goes Above and Beyond the Call of Duty MBA Teaching Award. He is the founder and host of the Authors@Wharton speaker series, and co-director of Wharton People Analytics. He has designed experiential learning activities in which students have raised over $325,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation while developing leadership, influence, networking and collaboration skills. He is a passionate feminist who serves on the Lean In board and the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon, and an angel investor in startups in HR and culture, technology, and consumer products..
Adam has been profiled twice on the Today Show and in the New York Times magazine cover story, Is giving the secret to getting ahead? His studies have been highlighted in books such as David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, Quiet by Susan Cain, and Drive by Daniel Pink. He is a contributing op-ed writer on work and psychology for the New York Times, where his articles on Raising a moral child and How to raise a creative child have each been shared over 300,000 times online. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, has more than 2 million followers on social media, and features new insights in his free monthly newsletter, GRANTED.
Adam received his Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Michigan in organizational psychology, finishing it in less than three years, and his B.A. from Harvard University, magna cum laude with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa honors, and the John Harvard Scholarship for highest academic achievement.
Adam’s research focuses on generosity, motivation and meaningful work, championing new ideas, personality traits like introversion-extraversion, and leadership, collaboration, culture, and organizational change. He has earned numerous prestigious awards for distinguished scholarly achievement, including the Cummings Scholarly Achievement Award for early-to-mid-career contributions from the Academy of Management, the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Early Career Contributions Award and the Owens Scholarly Achievement Award for the best publication in the field from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. He has published more than 60 articles in a wide range of leading management and psychology journals, and his pioneering research has introduced evidence-based techniques that increase performance and reduce burnout among engineers and sales professionals, enhance call center productivity, and motivate helping and safety behaviors among doctors, nurses, and lifeguards.
At Wharton, Adam was granted tenure while still in his twenties. Before graduate school, he worked at Let’s Go Publications, where he set multiple company records for advertising sales and earned the Manager of the Year award. He is a former magician and junior Olympic springboard diver. For more details, see www.adamgrant.net
Jihae Shin and Adam Grant (2018), Bored by interest: Intrinsic motivation in one task can reduce performance in other tasks, Academy of Management Journal.
Abstract: While existing research has demonstrated that intrinsic motivation can increase task performance, jobs are composed of multiple tasks, and it remains to be seen how intrinsic motivation in one task affects performance on other tasks. Drawing on theories of psychological contrast, we hypothesize that high intrinsic motivation in one task reduces performance on less intrinsically motivating tasks. In a field study at a Korean department store, employees with the highest maximum intrinsic motivation in one task had lower average and minimum performance across their other tasks and more performance variance across their tasks. In a laboratory experiment in the U.S., working on a highly intrinsically motivating initial task led participants to perform worse in a subsequent task if it was uninteresting but not if it was interesting. This effect was mediated by boredom but not by a range of other psychological processes. Across both studies, moderate intrinsic motivation in one task was associated with better performance in less interesting tasks than high intrinsic motivation, revealing a curvilinear cross-task effect of intrinsic motivation. Our research advances knowledge about the dark side of intrinsic motivation, the design of work, and the drivers of task performance.
Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant, The little psychological tricks that will make your marriage happier in Redbook.
Scott Judd, Eric O'Rourke, Adam Grant, Employee surveys are still one of the best ways to measure engagement in Harvard Business Review.
Lori Goler, Janelle Gale, Brynn Harrington, Adam Grant, The 3 things employees really want: Career, community, cause in Harvard Business Review.
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, Holiday blues: Four mistakes we make when comforting friends who are struggling in USA Today.
Adam Grant teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in leadership and teamwork, negotiation, and organizational behavior.
This course examines the art and science of negotiation, with additional emphasis on conflict resolution. Students will engage in a number of simulated negotiations ranging from simple one-issue transactions to multi-party joint ventures. Through these exercises and associated readings, students explore the basic theoretical models of bargaining and have an opportunity to test and improve their negotiation skills. Cross-listed with MGMT 691/OPIM 691. Format: Lecture, class discussion, simulation/role play, and video demonstrations. Materials: Textbook and course pack.
Management 238 is an organizational behavior course, examining individual, interpersonal, and group effectiveness at work. Topics range from decision- making, motivation, and personality to networks, influence, helping, leadership, teamwork, and organizational culture. The learning method is heavily experiential, with a focus on applying key principles to the human side of management in role-play exercises, simulations, a mini-TED talk, and group projects in local organizations. This course requires the instructor's permission. Registration is by application only; Penn InTouch requests will not be processed. The link to the application form will be available on the Management Department's website: https://mgmt.wharton.upenn.edu/programs/undergraduate, beginning March 12, 2018. The deadline for applications is March 16, 2018 at 5 PM. Students will be notified after March 30, 2018 regarding the status of their application.
Management 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. NOTE: Credit-bearing, core coursework begins with the MGMT610: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership course.
This course examines the art and science of negotiation. This course develops managerial skills by combining lectures with practice, using exercises where students negotiate with each other. Over the course of the semester, students will engage in a number of simulated negotiations ranging from simple one issue transactions to multi-party joint ventures. Through these exercises and associated readings, students explore the basic theoretical models of bargaining and have an opportunity to test and improve their negotiation skills. Cross-listed with LGST 806/OPIM 691.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recounts his unlikely ascent to the top job and how the software giant’s culture is changing.Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/02/22