Julia Lee Cunningham


Core Faculty, Center for Positive Organizations

Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations

University of Michigan

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a National Geographic Fellow for the Making the Case for Nature program. I study the psychology of narratives. I am passionate about understanding the power of narratives in shaping objective reality, discovering the mechanisms that alter them, and illuminating how narratives can be leveraged to yield more ethical, sustainable, and adaptive behavior in the workplace. With my research, I hope to promote the use of scientific evidence in diagnosing and addressing critical problems in public policy and business practices. To that end, I have conducted research with governments, companies, and non-profit organizations.

I received a PhD in Public Policy at Harvard University in 2015, where I was trained in organizational behavior, psychology, and behavioral economics. Previously, I served as a 2017-2019 Non-resident Fellow at Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, a 2014-2015 Lab Fellow in Institutional Corruption at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and a 2013-2014 Research Fellow in Women and Public Policy Program. I am currently a faculty affiliate at the following research centers: Center for Positive Organizations, Sanger Leadership Center, and Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, and STAR Lab (Sustainability, Transparency, Accountability Research Lab) at Harvard.

I teach BBA, MBA, and executive education courses on organizational behavior, global leadership/teams, and negotiation. My teaching reinforces a strong focus on experiential learning, and applies research in a manner that is directly useful to students. In addition to research and teaching, I appreciate and value mentoring emerging researchers and contributing to the field of management and psychology.