Nancy Rothbard

Nancy Rothbard
  • David Pottruck Professor
  • Professor of Management
  • Deputy Dean, The Wharton School

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


Nancy Rothbard is the David Pottruck Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She served as the Chair of the Management Department from 2016 – 2021.  She is currently the deputy Dean of the Wharton School. Nancy earned her A.B. with honors in History from Brown University and her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the University of Michigan. She began her career in organizational behavior as a Research Associate and case writer at the Harvard Business School.  Prior to joining Wharton, she was on the faculty at the Kellogg School of Management as a post-doctoral fellow. Since joining the Wharton faculty in 2000, Nancy has taught in the undergraduate, MBA, WEMBA, PhD, and executive education programs, receiving the Wharton Teaching Commitment and Innovation Award and numerous Wharton Teaching Excellence Awards. She is faculty director for several Executive Education programs including the Women’s Executive Leadership.

She studies what motivates people to bring their full selves to work and how this affects their work engagement, performance, and relationships.  In particular, she examines how people navigate the boundary between work and personal lives in the context of diverse organizations and technological change.  She has worked with companies in a number of industries focusing on issues such as work motivation and engagement, teamwork, leadership, emotions, identity, the changing nature of work, and work-life balance issues.

She is an award winning scholar and teacher who brings the latest thought leadership to her consulting and teaching.  She has published her research in top academic research journals in her field and her work has been discussed in the general media in outlets such as ABC News, NBC News, Business Week, CNN, Forbes, National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Toronto Globe and Mail, The New York Times, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Continue Reading


  • Nancy Rothbard, Arianna Beetz (Ulloa), Dana Harari (2021), Balancing the scales: A configurational approach to work-life balance, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior.

  • Stephanie Creary, Nancy Rothbard, 27 co-authors (2021), COVID-19 and the workplace: Implications, Issues, and Insights for Future Research and Action,.

  • 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.


All Courses

  • MGMT3910 - Advanced Study-Smgt

  • 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.

  • MGMT7990 - Special Topics MGMT

    Courses offered of various topics and points of focus, ranging across multiple concentrations of Management, (i.e., Entrepreneurial, Strategy, Organizational Business, etc.).

  • MGMT8910 - Advanced Study-Smgt

  • MGMT8970 - Global Modular Course A

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

  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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, Arianna Beetz (Ulloa), Dana Harari (2021), Balancing the scales: A configurational approach to work-life balance, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior.
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