Katherine Klein

Katherine Klein
  • Edward H. Bowman Professor
  • Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3115 SHDH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: leadership succession, organizational change, and organizational effectiveness; diversity and inclusion; impact investing; Rwanda’s transformation and recovery since the 1994 genocide; multilevel theory and research

Links: CV


Katherine Klein is an organizational psychologist and the Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management at Wharton. Her current research falls into two streams – one focused on the effects of leader succession on organizational change, effectiveness, and employee engagement and turnover; and a second stream focused on the goals, strategies, impact, and performance of impact investing funds.

An award-winning teacher and research scholar, she is a fellow of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. Her research on leadership, diversity, innovation, team effectiveness, social networks, and employee ownership has appeared in numerous top journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Academy of Management Review.

From 2012 – 2022, served as Wharton’s Vice Dean for Social Impact. In this capacity, she led the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) with a mission to build the talent pipeline and evidence base to lead business and capital markets in creating sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges around the world. She is currently the Faculty Director of Wharton’s Impact Investing Research Lab and the host of the Wharton podcast Dollars and Change.

She teaches on social impact, leadership, organizational change, and research methods. Each year, she brings Wharton MBA students to Rwanda for her popular global modular course “Conflict, Leadership, and Change: Lessons from Rwanda.”

Klein received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She serves as an advisor to Aegis Trust, the Ubuntu Center for Peace, and Impact First Ventures.


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  • Neil Andy Cohen and Katherine Klein (Working), Individual differences, social network centrality and leadership emergence.

  • Neil Andy Cohen and Katherine Klein (Working), Leaders’ social networks and attributions of leadership style: Untangling the direction of causality.

  • David R Lebel, Nancy Rothbard, Katherine Klein, Steffanie L. Wilk, Gina Dokko (Working), The Way You Do the Things You Do: How Extraversion and Conscientiousness Shape the Consequences of Individual Innovation.

  • M. Schulte, N.A. Cohen, Katherine Klein (2012), The Coevolution of Network Ties and Perceptions of Team Psychological Safety, Organization Science, 23 (), p. 564.

    Abstract: Which comes first—team social networks or emergent team states (e.g., team climate)? We argue that team members’ social network ties and team members’ climate perceptions coevolve over time as a function of six reciprocal and co-occurring processes. We test our conceptual framework in a 10-month longitudinal study of perceptions of team psychological safety and social network ties in 69 work teams and find considerable support for our hypotheses. Our main results suggest that perceptions of psychological safety predict network ties. The more psychologically safe team members perceive their team to be, the more likely they are to ask their teammates for advice and to see them as friends, and the less likely they are to report difficult relationships with them. At the same time, network ties predict psychological safety. Team members adopt their friends’ and advisors’ perceptions of the team’s psychological safety and reject the perceptions of those with whom they report a difficult relationship. Our framework and findings suggest that conceptual models and tests of unidirectional or team-level effects are likely to substantially misrepresent the mechanisms by which network ties and emergent team states coevolve.

  • Katherine Klein, A.P. Knight, J.C. Ziegert, B.C. Lim, J.L. Saltz (2011), When team members’ values differ: The moderating role of team leadership, Organizatiional Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 114: 25-36.

    Abstract: Integrating theory and research on values, diversity, situational strength, and team leadership, we proposed that team leadership moderates the effects of values diversity on team conflict. In a longitudinal survey study of national service teams, we found significant, but opposite, moderating effects of task-focused and person-focused leadership. As predicted, task-focused leadership attenuated the diversity–conflict relationship, while person-focused leadership exacerbated the diversity–conflict relationship. More specifically, task-focused leadership decreased the relationship between work ethic diversity and team conflict. Person-focused leadership increased the relationship between traditionalism diversity and team conflict. Team conflict mediated the effects of the interactions of leadership and values diversity on team effectiveness.

  • Neil Andy Cohen, M. Schulte, Katherine Klein (2008), Which comes first: The Co-evolution of Team Network Ties and Perceptions of Team Psychological Safety, Organization Science, Revise and resubmit.

  • D. A. Harrison and Katherine Klein (2007), What’s the difference? Diversity constructs as separation, variety or disparity in organizations, Academy of Management Review, 32: 1199-1228.

    Abstract: Research on organizational diversity, heterogeneity, and related concepts has proliferated in the past decade, but few consistent findings have emerged. We argue that the construct of diversity requires closer examination. We describe three distinctive types of diversity: separation, variety, and disparity. Failure to recognize the meaning, maximum shape, and assumptions underlying each type has held back theory development and yielded ambiguous research conclusions. We present guidelines for conceptualization, measurement, and theory testing, highlighting the special case of demographic diversity

  • B. C. Lim and Katherine Klein (2006), Team mental models and team performance: A field study of the effects of team mental model similarity and accuracy, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27: 403-418.

    Abstract: We conducted a field study of 71 action teams to examine the relationship between team mental model similarity and accuracy and the performance of real-world teams. We used Pathfinder to operationalize team members’ taskwork mental models (describing team procedures, tasks, and equipment) and teamwork mental models (describing team interaction processes) and examined team performance as evaluated by expert team assessment center raters. Both taskwork mental model and teamwork mental model similarity predicted team performance. Team mental model accuracy measures were also predictive of team performance. We discuss the implications of our findings and directions for future research.

  • Katherine Klein, J. C. Ziegert, A. P. Knight, Y. Xiao (2006), Dynamic delegation: Shared, hierarchical and deindividualized leadership in extreme action teams, Administrative Science Quarterly, 50: 590-621.

    Abstract: This paper examines the leadership of extreme action teams—teams whose highly skilled members cooperate to perform urgent, unpredictable, interdependent, and highly consequential tasks while simultaneously coping with frequent changes in team composition and training their teams’ novice members. Our qualitative investigation of the leadership of extreme action medical teams in an emergency trauma center revealed a hierarchical, deindividualized system of shared leadership. At the heart of this system is dynamic delegation: senior leaders’ rapid and repeated delegation of the active leadership role to and withdrawal of the active leadership role from more junior leaders of the team. Our findings suggest that dynamic delegation enhances extreme action teams’ ability to perform reliably while also building their novice team members’ skills. We highlight the contingencies that guide senior leaders’ delegation and withdrawal of the active leadership role, as well as the values and structures that motivate and enable the shared, ongoing practice of dynamic delegation. Further, we suggest that extreme action teams and other “improvisational” organizational units may achieve swift coordination and reliable performance by melding hierarchical and bureaucratic role-based structures with flexibility-enhancing processes. The insights emerging from our findings at once extend and challenge prior leadership theory and research, paving the way for further theory development and research on team leadership in dynamic settings.

  • Katherine Klein and A. P. Knight (2005), Innovation implementation: Overcoming the challenge, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14: 243-246.

    Abstract: In changing work environments, innovation is imperative. Yet, many teams and organizations fail to realize the expected benefits of innovations that they adopt. A key reason is not innovation failure but implementation failure—the failure to gain targeted employees’ skilled, consistent, and committed use of the innovation in question. We review research on the implementation process, outlining the reasons why implementation is so challenging for many teams and organizations. We then describe the organizational characteristics that together enhance the likelihood of successful implementation, including a strong, positive climate for implementation; management support for innovation implementation; financial resource availability; and a learning orientation.


All Courses

  • MGMT2410 - Leading for Impact

    Inequality. Poverty. Racism. Climate change. COVID. Violence. Crime. And so much more. The list of societal challenges in the United States and around the globe is daunting. Like many other students, you may hope to make a positive difference in the world. But, where and how? This course is designed to help you begin to answer this question. We will meet with for-profit and nonprofit leaders working to make a difference, drawing lessons from their successes, failures, evolution, and resilience. We will read and discuss rigorous social science research that ensures that we move from hunches to facts, from simplistic and ineffective solutions to systems knowledge. We will investigate impact measurement strategies, asking “What is feasible and beneficial to monitor and measure, and why?” And, we will take a deep dive into two of the complex societal challenges facing the US States today: (1) barriers to college access, completion, and post-college employment; and (2) barriers to employment following incarceration.

  • MGMT8900 - Advanced Study-Ind

  • MGMT8920 - Adv Study-Organ Effect

    Business success is increasingly driven by a firm's ability to create and capture value through innovation. Thus, the processes used by firms to develop innovations, the choices they make regarding how to commercialize their innovations, the changes they make to their business models to adapt to the dynamic environment, and the strategies they use to position and build a dominate competitive position are important issues facing firms. In MGMT. 892, you will learn to address these issues through an action learning approach. MGMT. 892 is a 1.0-credit course conducted in the spirit of an independent study. By working on consulting projects for leading global companies, you will develop and then apply your knowledge about innovation management and help these firms better understand the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies and markets.

  • MGMT8930 - Advanced Study-Emgt

  • MGMT8970 - Global Modular Course A

    Special course arranged for Wharton MBA students, focused on global business, management and innovation.

  • MGMT8980 - Global Modular Course B

    removing WH 898 as erroneous crosslist.

  • MGMT9530 - Sem Research Design

    This is an introductory doctoral seminar on research methods in management. The course is designed to help you define your research interests, to strengthen your grasp of research design choices and standards, and to move you further along on the path to becoming a skilled, accomplished, engaged, and independent research scholar. We will read about, discuss, and in some cases practice: framing of research questions, writing for publication, defining and meeting research standards, and conducting experimental, archival, survey-based, and qualitative research suitable for publication in top-tier management journals.

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, 2022
  • Wharton Teaching Excellence Award, 2020
  • Wharton Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, 2015
  • Sage Publications/Robert McDonald Advancement of Organizational Research Method, 2012 Description

    For: Harrison, D. A. & Klein, K. J. (2007).  What’s the difference?  Diversity constructs as separation, variety, or disparity in organizations.  Academy of Management Review, 32, 1198-1228.

  • Administrative Science Quarterly Scholarly Contributions Award, 2012 Description

    For: Klein, K. J., Ziegert, J. C., Knight, A. P., Xiao, Y.  (2006).  Dynamic delegation:  Shared, hierarchical, and deindividualized leadership in extreme action teams.  Administrative Science Quarterly, 50, 590-621

  • Fellow, Academy of Management, 2011
  • Saroj Parasuraman Award for the Outstanding Publication in Gender and Diversity, 2008
  • Owens Scholarly Achievement Award for the Best Publication in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2008
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science, 2008
  • Owens Scholarly Achievement Award for the Best Publication in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2001

In the News

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Latest Research

Neil Andy Cohen and Katherine Klein (Working), Individual differences, social network centrality and leadership emergence.
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In the News

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Wharton’s Katherine Klein talks to Corey Rosen, founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership, about how employee ownership plans are structured and why they yield great financial benefits for companies and workers alike.Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 11/11/2022
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