Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior
Institution: London Business School
Before current institution: Stanford GSB (PhD Student)
Hometown: Carmel, CA
Marital status: not married
Stanford GSB, PhD, Organizational Behavior
Colby College, BA, Philosophy and Psychology
Courses currently teaching: Paths to Power (elective), Executive MBA International Assignment to Cape Town, South Africa
Fun fact: I rafted the Grand Canyon from Lake Powell to Lake Mead (277 miles) over an 8-day period… and I didn’t fall out of the raft once!
Professor you most admire: Elizabeth Mullen (GWU) and Maggie Neale (Stanford). I learned to teach by TAing for them as a doctoral student.
Most memorable moment as a professor: I give out coffee mugs as prizes to students during an in-class exercise. One student won the coffee mug because the rest of her group had helped her, so she went and bought 15 more coffee mugs to share with all of her group members. I loved seeing a student go out of her way to acknowledge the help she had received from others, especially in a class on obtaining power and navigating organizational politics.
“If I weren’t a b-school professor…” I’d like to improve my coding skills and then work for a start-up!
Organizational Behavior professor Gabrielle Adams researches what makes people tick and the good in people: why people help or harm others, why people behave unethically, as well as people’s punitive or vengeful responses to such wrongdoing. Conversely, she also studies when and why people choose to do things that benefit others, such as donate to charities or give gifts. Check out the 2011 Stanford PhD graduate as she gives her popular TEDxLondonBusinessSchool talk on cheating vs. being a cheater, based on her widely publicized study on how to challenge unethical behavior by using nouns that connect a person’s actions to their identity.
Generally speaking, people don’t like to think of themselves as cheaters. But still, cheating is everywhere: It exists in college classrooms, in global corporations, and beyond. Why is that, and what can we do about it?
These are the kinds of questions London Business School Professor Gabrielle Adams answers in her TED Talk and in her study: “When cheating would make you a cheater: Implicating the Self Prevents Unethical Behaviour.”
Trained as a social psychologist, Adams primarily researches sticky topics like morality. “I was delighted to learn that I could make a career out of thinking about how people behave!” she said in a Q&A wit the Association for Psychological Science, reflecting on the beginnings of her academic career.
Adams hasn’t been a professor for long; she received her PhD in organizational behavior and business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2011. Nonetheless, her study has already given managers an important takeaway: If you want to discourage a certain behavior–say, telling lies–it’s more effective to condemn liars than to condemn lying.
Adams has also won London Business School’s Research and Materials Development Award.