Samir Nurmohamed

Samir Nurmohamed
  • Assistant Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2106 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: adversity, motivation, initiative, behavioral ethics

Links: CV

Overview

Professor Samir Nurmohamed’s research aims to understand the processes and conditions under which individuals can endure, develop, and succeed when they are the targets of adversity. Existing research shows that others’ low expectations are detrimental to the performance of employees and groups within organizations, but he is interested in understanding why and when individuals can derive motivation and develop when others question their capacity to succeed or treat them poorly.

In this vein, his research program spans two primary areas: motivation and initiative. Although much existing theory and research in these areas places a strong emphasis on individuals’ cognitions or organizational and task structures in influencing employees, his research elucidates a social perspective by understanding how employees’ develop and find success when they encounter adversity or negative reactions from others.

Samir (or as he is known to his students and friends, “Nurmo”) teaches the MBA core course on the Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership (MGMT 610), as well as an elective on Power and Politics in Organizations (MGMT 272/772) in the undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs. At Wharton, he has received several teaching awards, including the Excellence in Teaching for the Undergraduate Division Award and MBA Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award. You can view his commencement address to undergraduates in 2015 below.

Samir completed his Ph.D. in Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan, and holds his B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from The University of Western Ontario. For fun, he enjoys karaoke-ing to Drake and Kanye, cheering for Toronto and Michigan sports, axe throwing, traveling the globe, and eating at new restaurants in Philly (i.e., the best pound-for-pound food city in America) with his wife, Salimah.

 

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Research

  • Jeremy Yip, Maurice Schweitzer, Samir Nurmohamed (2018), Trash-Talking: Competitive Incivility Motivates Rivalry, Performance, and Unethical Behavior, Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes.

  • David M. Mayer, Samir Nurmohamed, Linda Klebe Trevino, Debra Shapiro, Marshall Schminke (2013), Encouraging employees to report unethical conduct internally: It takes a village, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Abstract: Via three studies of varying methodologies designed to complement and build upon each other, we examine how supervisory ethical leadership is associated with employees’ reporting unethical conduct within the organization (i.e., internal whistle-blowing). We also examine whether the positive effect of supervisory ethical leadership is enhanced by another important social influence: coworkers’ ethical behavior. As predicted, we found that employees’ internal whistle-blowing depends on an ethical tone being set by complementary social influence sources at multiple organizational levels (both supervisory and coworker levels), leading us to conclude that ‘‘it takes a village’’ to support internal whistleblowing. Also, this interactive effect was found to be mediated by a fear of retaliation in two studies but not by perceptions of futility. We conclude by identifying theoretical and practical implications of our research.

  • Adam Grant, Samir Nurmohamed, Susan J. Ashford, Kathryn Dekas (2011), The performance implications of ambivalent initiative: The interplay of autonomous and controlled motivations, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 116, pp. 241-251.

    Abstract: Although initiative is thought to contribute to higher performance, researchers have called for a more comprehensive understanding of the contingencies for this relationship. Building on self-determination theory, we propose that initiative is more likely to predict performance when individuals experience autonomous and not controlled motivation. Across two studies, we find support for a hypothesized three-way interaction between initiative, autonomous motivation, and controlled motivation in predicting individual performance. In Study 1, the personal initiative reported by job applicants was most positively related to the number of job offers that they received several months later when they experienced high autonomous motivation and low controlled motivation. In Study 2, the objective initiative taken by call center employees was most positively related to the revenue that they generated in subsequent months when they reported high autonomous motivation and low controlled motivation. We discuss theoretical implications for motivation, initiative, proactivity, and performance.

Teaching

Current Courses

  • MGMT272 - Power & Pol In Organiz

    The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the power dynamics in organizations. The course is designed so that you will learn concepts that areuseful for understanding, analyzing, and developing political skill. But beyond discovering ways to extend your own power in organizations, we will also uncover lessons about ways in which power and politics can blind you, and how to navigate situations in which you are up against powerful people. Using a range of scholarly articles, cases, exercises, assessments and simulations, we will extract a variety of lessons about power and politics in organizations. Topics include voice, issue selling, building coalitions and networks, coping with intolerable bosses and incivility, and downsizing. Students will be expected to engagein field research for their coursework and final paper, and the course requiresthat students submit assignments for almost every class session. Thematically, this course highlights how your relationships with organizational stakeholders and an understanding of the organizational context are crucial to successfully navigating the political terrain of organizations. Organizations are inherently political arenas that require social astuteness, and an understanding of the "rules of the game." This course is designed for students aiming to develop their leadership, general management and career skills through a better understanding of power and politics, and relates to other courses on these topics in the Management department.

    MGMT272001

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

    MGMT610004

    MGMT610005

    MGMT610006

  • MGMT772 - Power & Pol In Organiz

    The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the power dynamics in organizations. The course is designed so that you will learn concepts that are useful for understanding, analyzing, and harnessing power. But beyond discovering ways to extend your own power, influence and political skill in organizations, we will also uncover lessons about ways in which power and politics can blind you,and how to navigate situations in which you are up against powerful people. Using a range of theoretical and business articles, cases, exercises, assesments, and simulations, we will extract a variety of lessons about power and politics in organizations. Topics include political skill, influence, issue selling, change management, networks, hierarchy, political conflict, corruption, coping with intolerable bosses, speaking up, redemption, and downsizing. Thematically, this course highlights how your relationships with organizational stakeholders and an understanding of the organizational context are crucial to successfully navigating the political terrain of oganizations. Organizations are inherently political arenas that require social astuteness, and an understanding of the "rules of the game." This course is designed for students aiming to develop their leadership, general management and career skills through a better understanding of power and politics, and relates to other courses on these topics in the Management department.

    MGMT772001

  • MGMT995 - Dissertation

    MGMT995022

Past Courses

  • MGMT272 - POWER & POL IN ORGANIZ

    The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the power dynamics in organizations. The course is designed so that you will learn concepts that areuseful for understanding, analyzing, and developing political skill. But beyond discovering ways to extend your own power in organizations, we will also uncover lessons about ways in which power and politics can blind you, and how to navigate situations in which you are up against powerful people. Using a range of scholarly articles, cases, exercises, assessments and simulations, we will extract a variety of lessons about power and politics in organizations. Topics include voice, issue selling, building coalitions and networks, coping with intolerable bosses and incivility, and downsizing. Students will be expected to engagein field research for their coursework and final paper, and the course requiresthat students submit assignments for almost every class session. Thematically, this course highlights how your relationships with organizational stakeholders and an understanding of the organizational context are crucial to successfully navigating the political terrain of organizations. Organizations are inherently political arenas that require social astuteness, and an understanding of the "rules of the game." This course is designed for students aiming to develop their leadership, general management and career skills through a better understanding of power and politics, and relates to other courses on these topics in the Management department.

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

  • MGMT772 - POWER & POL IN ORGANIZ

    The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the power dynamics in organizations. The course is designed so that you will learn concepts that are useful for understanding, analyzing, and harnessing power. But beyond discovering ways to extend your own power, influence and political skill in organizations, we will also uncover lessons about ways in which power and politics can blind you,and how to navigate situations in which you are up against powerful people. Using a range of theoretical and business articles, cases, exercises, assesments, and simulations, we will extract a variety of lessons about power and politics in organizations. Topics include political skill, influence, issue selling, change management, networks, hierarchy, political conflict, corruption, coping with intolerable bosses, speaking up, redemption, and downsizing. Thematically, this course highlights how your relationships with organizational stakeholders and an understanding of the organizational context are crucial to successfully navigating the political terrain of oganizations. Organizations are inherently political arenas that require social astuteness, and an understanding of the "rules of the game." This course is designed for students aiming to develop their leadership, general management and career skills through a better understanding of power and politics, and relates to other courses on these topics in the Management department.

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