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. As an organizational psychologist, he is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40.
Adam is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 5 books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 35 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been named among the year’s best by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
He hosts WorkLife, a chart-topping TED original podcast. His TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 25 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 Google, the NBA, Bridgewater, and the Gates Foundation. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, has served on the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon, and has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He has more than 4 million followers on social media and features new insights in his free monthly newsletter, GRANTED.
Adam received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Harvard University. He has received awards for distinguished scholarly achievement from the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, and the National Science Foundation, and been recognized as one of the world’s most-cited, most prolific, and most influential researchers in business and economics. He is a former magician and Junior Olympic springboard diver. For more details, see www.adamgrant.net
Constantinos Coutifaris and Adam Grant (2021), Taking Your Team Behind the Curtain: The Effects of Leader Feedback-Sharing and Feedback-Seeking on Team Psychological Safety, Organization Science, forthcoming.
Jihae Shin and Adam Grant (2020), When putting work off pays off: The curvilinear relationship between procrastination and creativity, Academy of Management Journal.
Abstract: Although it is widely assumed that procrastination is counterproductive, delaying task progress may have hidden benefits for creativity. Drawing on theories of incubation, we propose that moderate procrastination can foster creativity when employees have the intrinsic motivation and opportunity to generate new ideas. In two experiments in the U.S., we tempted participants to engage in varying degrees of procrastination by making different numbers of funny YouTube videos easily accessible while they were supposed to be solving business problems. Participants generated more creative ideas in the moderate rather than low or high procrastination conditions. This curvilinear effect was partially mediated by problem restructuring and the activation of new knowledge. We constructively replicated and extended the curvilinear effect in a field study with Korean employees: procrastination predicted lower task efficiency, but had an inverted-U-shaped relationship with creativity. Employees who procrastinated moderately received higher creativity ratings from their supervisors than employees who procrastinated more or less, provided that intrinsic motivation or creative requirement was high. We discuss theoretical and practical implications for time management, creativity, and motivation in organizations.
Jihae Shin and Adam Grant (2019), Bored by interest: Intrinsic motivation in one task can reduce performance in other tasks, Academy of Management Journal, 62, pp. 1-22.
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.
Edward Chang, Katherine L. Milkman, Dena Gromet, Reb Rebele, Cade Massey, Angela Duckworth, Adam Grant (2019), The mixed effects of online diversity training, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Abstract: We present results from a large (n = 3,016) field experiment at a global organization testing whether a brief science-based online diversity training can change attitudes and behaviors toward women in the workplace. Our preregistered field experiment included an active placebo control and measured participants’ attitudes and real workplace decisions up to 20 weeks postintervention. Among groups whose average untreated attitudes—whereas still supportive of women—were relatively less supportive of women than other groups, our diversity training successfully produced attitude change but not behavior change. On the other hand, our diversity training successfully generated some behavior change among groups whose average untreated attitudes were already strongly supportive of women before training. This paper extends our knowledge about the pathways to attitude and behavior change in the context of bias reduction. However, the results suggest that the one-off diversity trainings that are commonplace in organizations are unlikely to be stand-alone solutions for promoting equality in the workplace, particularly given their limited efficacy among those groups whose behaviors policymakers are most eager to influence.
Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant, The little psychological tricks that will make your marriage happier in Redbook.
Adam Grant teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in leadership and teamwork, negotiation, and organizational behavior.
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. Other Information: This course is open to juniors and seniors across Penn. This course also has a first-day mandatory attendance policy.
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.
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.
Student arranges with a faculty member to pursue a research project on a suitable topic. For more information about research and setting up independent studies, visit: https://ppe.sas.upenn.edu/study/curriculum/independent-studies
Wharton’s Adam Grant and Dean Erika James share five ways executives can rethink their assumptions about what it means to be a good business leader.…Read MoreKnowledge at Wharton - 5/17/2021
Brie Groh doesn’t want to be the smartest person in the room. She thinks there’s nothing interesting or useful about that. “I love learning different things from different people,” the Wharton MBA student said. “Any opportunity to get into a room of people with different ideas is a good thing,…Wharton Stories - 03/31/2022