Amy C. Edmondson

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. Edmondson's research examines the social and psychological dimensions of leadership, learning and innovation in teams and organizations, and has been published in numerous academic and managerial articles. Her emphasis is on teaming – the activities of collaborative work across boundaries – rather than on teamwork in stable team structures. She is currently studying innovation in the context of the built environment, with a particular focus on projects developing eco-districts and sustainable cities.

Video Interview of Amy Edmondson

May 10, 2011

Q: Please introduce us to some of your thinking about learning as an individual, as a team, and as an organization. Do they relate? How might these ideas relate to the work of a teacher?Q: What are some of the observations you have made about effective teams, the utility of processes, and the role of team-leader? Q: Do you have any thoughts about the particular job of school principal?Q: Help us understand some of your ideas about the role of failure. How is failure different from what you refer to as a blame-worthy event?Q: Please help us understand your phrase execution as learning. When is it beneficial to learn throughout the phases of work?Q: Can there be a downside to emphasizing outcomes?Q: Single-loop and double-loop learning -- could you please help us understand what you mean by these terms?Q: Do you have advice about the handling expertise within an organization in productive, positive ways?

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Professor Edmondson teaches courses on leadership, teams, and organizational learning. She has served on 26 doctoral committees and is the author of more than 25 Harvard Business School case studies, including cases on The Cleveland Clinic, Prudential Financial, YUM brands, IDEO product design, Arup, and NASA's failed Columbia mission. In 2003, the Academy of Management's Organizational Behavior Division selected Professor Edmondson for the Cummings Award for outstanding achievement in early mid-career, and in 2000 selected her article, "Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams," for its annual award for the best published paper in the field. Her article with Anita Tucker, "Why Hospitals Don't Learn from Failures: Organizational and Psychological Dynamics That Inhibit System Change" received the 2004 Accenture Award for significant contribution to management practice.

Before her academic career, Edmondson was Director of Research at Pecos River Learning Centers, where she worked with founder and CEO Larry Wilson to design and implement organizational change programs in a variety of Fortune 100 companies. In the early 1980s, she worked as Chief Engineer for architect/inventor Buckminster Fuller, and her book, A Fuller Explanation, clarifies Fuller's mathematical contributions for a non-technical audience.

Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University. She live with her husband and their two young sons.


For a more complete list, please visit Dr. Edmondson's page on the Harvard Business School Website.


Moingeon, B., and A. Edmondson. Organizational Learning and Competitive Advantage. London: Sage Publications, 1996.

Edmondson, A. A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992.


Kish Gephart, Jennifer, James R. Detert, Linda K. Trevino, and Amy C. Edmondson. "Silenced by Fear: The Nature, Sources, and Consequences of Fear at Work." Research in Organizational Behavior 29 (2009): 163-193.

Garvin, David A., Amy C. Edmondson, and Francesca Gino. "Is Yours a Learning Organization?" Harvard Business Review 86, no. 3 (March 2008).

Edmondson, Amy C., and Sara J. Singer. "Confronting the Tension Between Learning and Performance." The Systems Thinker 19, no. 1 (February 2008).

Cannon, M. D., and A. C. Edmondson. "Failing to Learn and Learning to Fail (Intelligently): How Great Organizations Put Failure to Work to Innovate and Improve." Long Range Planning Journal 38, no. 3 (June 2005): 299-319.

Tucker, Anita L., Amy C. Edmondson, and Steven Spear. "When Problem Solving Prevents Organizational Learning." Journal of Organizational Change Management 15, no. 2 (2002). (Best paper proceedings, Academy of Management Conference, Healthcare Management Division.)

Edmondson, Amy C., Richard Bohmer, and Gary P. Pisano. "Disrupted Routines: Team Learning and New Technology Adaptation." Administrative Science Quarterly 46 (December 2001): 685-716.

Edmondson, A. "Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Team." Administrative Science Quarterly 44, no. 4 (December 1999): 350-383. (Winner of the 2000 Academy of Management Outstanding Publication in Organizational Behavior.)

Edmondson, A., and B. Moingeon. "The How and Why of Organizational Learning." The Financial Times, February 6, 1998, 14-15.

Book Chapters

Nembhard, Ingrid M. and Amy C. Edmondson. "Psychological Safety: A Foundation for Speaking Up, Collaboration, and Experimentation." In Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship, edited by K. Cameron and G. Spreitzer. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Edmondson, Amy C., Kate Roloff and Lucy H. MacPhail. "Collaboration Across Knowledge Boundaries within Diverse Teams: Reciprocal Expertise Affirmation as an Enabling Condition." In Exploring Positive Identities and Organizations: Building a Theoretical and Research Foundation, edited by Laura M. Roberts and Jane E. Dutton, 311-332. Psychology Press, 2009.

Edmondson, A. and Kate Roloff. "Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration: Psychological Safety and Learning in Diverse Teams." In Team Effectiveness in Complex Organizations: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives and Approaches, edited by E. Sales, G. G. Goodwin and C. S. Burke. SIOP Frontier Series. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2008.

Singer, Sara Jean and A. C. Edmondson. "When Learning and Performance Are at Odds: Confronting the Tension." In Learning and Performance Matter, edited by Prem Kumar and Phil Ramsey. Singapore: World Scientific, 2008.

Edmondson, Amy C., James R. Dillon and Kate Roloff. "Three Perspectives on Team Learning: Outcome Improvement, Task Mastery, and Group Process." In The Academy of Management Annals, edited by James P. Walsh and Arthur P. Brief, 269-314. Psychology Press, 2007. Abstract

Edmondson, A., and B. Moingeon. "Learning, Trust and Organizational Change: Contrasting Models of Intervention Research in Organizational Behavior." In Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization: Developments in Theory and Practice, edited by L. Araujo, J. Burgoyne and M. Easterby-Smith. London: Sage Publications, 1999.

Edmondson, A., and B. Moingeon. "The Learning Organization: An Integrative Approach." In Business Research Yearbook: Global Business Perspectives. Vol. 2, edited by A. F. Alkhafaji. University Press of America, Inc., 1995.

Edmondson, Amy C. "Notes on Edgar Schein." In The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, edited by P. Senge, R. Ross, B. Smith, C. Roberts and A. Kleiner, 267-268. New York: Doubleday, 1994.