Nancy Rothbard

Nancy Rothbard
  • David Pottruck Professor
  • Professor of Management
  • Chairperson, Management Department

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3207 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: emotion and identity, organizational behavior, work motivation and engagement, work-life and career development

Links: CV


Professor Nancy Rothbard received her A.B. from Brown University and her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the University of Michigan. She is the David Pottruck Professor of Management and Chair, Management Department, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Prior to joining the faculty at Wharton, she was on faculty at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. Professor Rothbard’s research focuses on the interplay between emotions and engagement in multiple roles. Specifically, she explores how people’s emotional responses to one role or task affect their subsequent engagement in another role or task. She has examined these questions in the context of work and family roles and in the context of multiple tasks that people perform within the work role. Her work has been published in academic journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Organization Science, and Personnel Psychology. In addition to her academic articles, Professor Rothbard has authored several Harvard Business School case studies. Her teaching cases touch on the topics of leadership, corporate culture, and organizational change. Professor Rothbard received the 2000 Likert Dissertation Award from the University of Michigan. She is also the recipient of the Gerald and Lillian Dykstra Award for Teaching Excellence and the Wharton Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award, 2010.

Continue Reading


  • Nancy Rothbard (2018), Friends without benefits: Understanding the dark sides of workplace friendship, Academy of Management Review, forthcoming.

  • A. Ollier-Malaterre, Nancy Rothbard, Danielle Tussing (Work In Progress), Letting it all hang out? Consequences of online boundary management for individuals and teams.

  • Nancy Rothbard, Lakshmi Ramarajan, Steffanie L. Wilk (2017), Discordant vs. Harmonious Selves: The Effects of Identity Conflict and Enhancement on Sales Performance in Employee-Customer Interactions, Academy of Management Journal.

  • Lieke ten Brummelhuis, Nancy Rothbard, Benjamin Uhrich (2017), Beyond Nine to Five: Is Working to Excess Bad for Health?, Academy of Management Discoveries, 3 (3), pp. 262-283.

  • Amanda O'Neill and Nancy Rothbard (2017), Is Love All You Need? The Effects of Emotional Culture, Suppression, and Work-Family Conflict on Firefighter Risk Taking and Health, Academy of Management Journal, 60 (1). 10.5465/amj.2014.0952

  • Ariane Ollier-Malaterre and Nancy Rothbard (2015), Social media or social minefield? Surviving in the new cyberspace era, Organization Dynamics.

  • Adam Grant and Nancy Rothbard (2013), When in doubt, seize the day? Security values, prosocial values, and proactivity under ambiguity, Journal of Applied Psychology, 98, pp. 810-819. 10.1037/a0032873

    Abstract: Researchers have suggested that both ambiguity and values play important roles in shaping employees’ proactive behaviors, but have not theoretically or empirically integrated these factors. Drawing on theories of situational strength and values, we propose that ambiguity constitutes a weak situation that strengthens the relationship between the content of employees’ values and their proactivity. A field study of 201 employees and their direct supervisors in a water treatment plant provided support for this contingency perspective. Ambiguity moderated the relationship between employees’ security and prosocial values and supervisor ratings of proactivity. Under high ambiguity, security values predicted lower proactivity, whereas prosocial values predicted higher proactivity. Under low ambiguity, values were not associated with proactivity. We replicated these findings in a laboratory experiment with 232 participants in which we measured proactivity objectively as initiative taken to correct errors: participants with strong security values were less proactive, and participants with strong prosocial values were more proactive, but only when performance expectations were ambiguous. We discuss theoretical implications for research on proactivity, values, and ambiguity and uncertainty.

  • Anca Metiu and Nancy Rothbard (2013), Task Bubbles, Artifacts, Shared Emotion, and Mutual Focus of Attention: A Comparative Study of the Microprocesses of Group Engagement, Organization Science. 10.1287/orsc.1120.0738

    Abstract: Based on a comparative field study of two software development projects, we use ethnographic methods of observation and interview to examine the question of how interdependent individuals develop and maintain mutual focus of attention on a shared task, which we define as the group engagement process. Drawing on Randall Collins’ interaction ritual theory, we identify how mutual focus of attention develops through the presence of a task bubble that focuses attention by creating barriers to outsiders and through the effective use of task-related artifacts. Shared emotion both results from mutual focus of attention and reinforces it. Through our comparison between the two projects, we show that the group engagement process is enabled by factors at the individual (individual engagement), interaction (frequency and informality of interactions), and project (compelling direction of the overall group) levels. Our focus on group interaction episodes as the engine of the group engagement process illuminates what individuals do when they are performing the focal work of the group (i.e., solving problems related to the task at hand) and how they develop and sustain the mutual focus of attention that is required for making collective progress on the task itself. We also show the relationship between the group engagement process and effective problem solving.

  • Tracy Dumas, Katherine W Phillips, Nancy Rothbard (2013), Getting Closer at the Company Party: Integration Experiences, Racial Dissimilarity, and Workplace Relationships, Organization Science. 10.1287/orsc.1120.0808

    Abstract: Using survey data from two distinct samples, we found that reported integration behaviors (e.g., attending company parties, discussing nonwork matters with colleagues) were associated with closer relationships among coworkers but that this effect was qualified by an interaction effect. Racial dissimilarity moderated the relationship between integration and closeness such that integration was positively associated with relationship closeness for those who were demographically similar to their coworkers, but not for those who were demographically dissimilar from their coworkers. Additionally, this moderation effect was mediated by the extent to which respondents experienced comfort and enjoyment when integrating. These findings highlight the importance of creating the right kind of interactions for building closer relationships between employees, particularly relationships that span racial boundaries.

  • Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, Nancy Rothbard, Justin Berg (2013), When worlds collide in cyberspace: How boundary work in online social networks impacts professional relationships, Academy of Management Review, 38 (4), pp. 645-669.

    Abstract: As employees increasingly interact with their professional contacts on online social networks that are personal in nature, such as Facebook or Twitter, they are likely to experience a collision of their professional and personal identities that is unique to this new and expanding social space. In particular, online social networks present employees with boundary management and identity negotiation opportunities and challenges, because they invite non-tailored self-disclosure to broad audiences, while offering few of the physical and social cues that normally guide social interactions. How and why do employees manage the boundaries between their professional and personal identities in online social networks, and how do these behaviors impact the way they are regarded by professional contacts? We build a framework to theorize about how work-nonwork boundary preferences and self-evaluation motives drive the adoption of four archetypical sets of online boundary management behaviors (open, audience, content, and hybrid), and the consequences of these behaviors for respect and liking in professional relationships. Content and hybrid behaviors are more likely to increase respect and liking than open and audience behaviors; audience and hybrid behaviors are less risky for respect and liking than open and content behaviors but more difficult to maintain over time.


Past Courses


    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/OIDD 691/LGST 806. Format: Lecture, class discussion, simulation/role play, and video demonstrations. Materials: Textbook and course pack.


    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. NOTE: Credit-bearing, core coursework begins with the MGMT610: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership course.


    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/OIDD 691/LGST 806. Format: Lecture, class discussion, simulation/role play, and video demonstrations. Materials: Textbook and course pack.



    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.


    This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the methodological approaches we commonly think of as qualitative, with special emphasis on ethnography, semi- structured interviews, case studies, content analysis, and mixed-methods research. The course will cover the basic techniques for collecting, interpreting, and analyzing qualitative (i.e. non-numerical) data. In the spring quarter, the course will operate on two interrelated dimensions, one focused on the theoretical approaches to various types of qualitative research, the other focused on the practical techniques of data collection, such as identifying key informants, selecting respondents, collecting field notes and conducting interviews. In the fall semester, the course will operate on two interrelated dimensions, one focused on the theoretical approaches on building arguments and theory from qualitative data, the other focused on the practical techniques of data collection, such as analyzing data, writing, and presenting findings. Note: This class is part of a two-part sequence which focuses on qualitative data collection and analysis. The first of this course, offered in the Spring, focuses on data collection and the second half of the course, offered the following Fall, will focus on qualitative data analysis. Each course is seven weeks long. Students may take either class independently or consecutively.


    This course, is required of all first-year doctoral students in Management and open to other Penn students with permission, provides an introduction to the psychological and sociological roots of management theory and research. The course is predicated on the belief that to be effective as a contemporary management scholar one needs a background in "the classics." Therefore, we will be reading classics from the fields of psychology and sociology in their original form during this semester.


    The purpose of this course is to examine and understand theory and empirical research in the field of micro-organizational behavior. We will study a blend of classic and contemporary literature and examine theoretical propositions of individual and group behavior in organizations as well as discussing and critically evaluating empirical studies based on these theories. Sample topics include the What is Micro-OB?, the person versus situation debate, motivation, job design, group dynamics, leadership and organizational culture and socialization. MGMT 951 is a companion class to MGMT 961, and you can take it in either order.


    The goal of the course is to provide you with a foundation in some of the major research areas that underpin the study of Multinational Management. International Business (and the study of MNCs) is an interdisciplinary field. As such, our survey of the seminal articles in the field will span a number of different theoretical and empirical approaches (i.e., economic, managerial, organizational and institutional). Much of our seminar discussions will focus on identifying and developing interesting research questions raised by this interdisciplinary literature, which offers many opportunities for systematic empirical study.


    The purpose of this quarter course is to continue to explore key concepts and research programs in the field of micro-organizational behavior that we began to study in MGMT 951. 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. Building on the topics we examined in MGMT 951, we will explore further organizational behavior topics including identity, fit, extra role behaviors, job design, creativity, status, power and influence.

Awards and Honors

  • Society of Organizational Behavior, 2016
  • Wharton Faculty Fellow, 2016
  • Penn Fellow, 2015-2016
  • Rackham Centennial Lecture, University of Michigan, 2012
  • Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award, Wharton School, 2009-2010
  • Best Career Division Symposium Award, Academy of Management, 2006 Description

    "Learning from Career Histories" Symposium: "Is prior experience always beneficial? Learning from career histories"

  • Nominated for the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research, 2005 Description

    For “Managing multiple roles: Work-family policies and individuals’ desires for segmentation.”

  • Finalist, Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research, 2004 Description

    For “Investment in work and family roles: A test of identity and utilitarian motives.”

  • Finalist, William A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award for best publication in the field of industrial and organizational psychology, 2001 Description

    For “Enriching or depleting? The dynamics of engagement in work and family roles.”

  • Finalist, Dorothy Harlow Best Paper Award, Gender and Diversity in Organizations, Academy of Management, 2001
  • Nominated for Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research,, 2001 Description

    For "Mechanisms Linking Work and Family: Clarifying the Relationship Between Work and Family Constructs."

  • Likert Dissertation Award, University of Michigan, 2000
  • Hicks Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Michigan, 1998
  • Gerald and Lillian Dykstra Award for Outstanding Teaching, University of Michigan, 1996-1997
  • Invited Participant OB/ODC/OMT Doctoral Consortium, 1996
  • Hicks Industrial Relations Fellowship, University of Michigan, 1994-1996
  • Business Administration Fellowship, University of Michigan,, 1993-1996

In the News

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Latest Research

Nancy Rothbard (2018), Friends without benefits: Understanding the dark sides of workplace friendship, Academy of Management Review, forthcoming.
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In the News

Whither the Ping-pong Table? Which Perks Matter Most to Employees

Perks can serve as an important signal about a company’s culture and what it stands for -- but they have to be done the right way.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2019/10/22
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Awards and Honors

Society of Organizational Behavior 2016
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