February 18, 2020

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Michigan Ross Campus, Ross Building, 701 Tappan, Robertson Auditorium, Ann Arbor

Lindy Greer
Associate Professor of Management and Organizations
Faculty Director, Sanger Leadership Center

About the talk

Hierarchy is the most ubiquitous way in which human beings organize social interactions. However, hierarchy comes with substantial downsides in terms of inequities and conflicts. As a result, organizations have explored flatter modes of organizing, such as holacracy, which unfortunately have yet to yield much success. In this presentation, Greer will explore the possibility that hierarchy may still be the most effective form of organization but needs to be used wisely. She will discuss data-driven strategies which can allow hierarchy to be a useful and positive organizational tool, including helping leaders learn how to ‘flex’ the hierarchy for bursts of flatness, to humanize the hierarchy through sharing emotions at work, and to reduce competitions around hierarchy by creating areas of individual ownership and autonomy.

About Greer

Lindy Greer is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at Michigan Ross and the Faculty Director of the Sanger Leadership Center. Her research focuses on how to lead effective organizational teams with specific interests in leadership skills in conflict management, diversity and inclusion, vision crafting, and the communication of emotions.

Lindy has published in top management and psychology research outlets such as Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among others. Her work has also been covered in well-known media outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, and Fast Company. She has received awards for her research from the Academy of Management and American Psychological Association, and she was recently named one of the Top 40 under 40 Business School Professors by Poets and Quants.

Lindy is currently an Associate Editor at the Academy of Management Journal, on the boards of seven of the top management and psychology journals, and has served on the boards of professional associations such as the International Association of Conflict Management and the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management. Lindy received her BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in social and organizational psychology from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She joined the team at Ross in 2019.


Jane Dutton, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations; Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Business Administration and Psychology


The Center for Positive Organizations thanks University of Michigan Organizational Learning, Sanger Leadership Center, Tauber Institute for Global Operations, Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Lisa and David (MBA ’87) Drews, and Diane (BA ’73) and Paul (MBA ’75) Jones for their support of the 2019-20 Positive Links Speaker Series.

See all Positive Links events