Lisa Kwan, Ph.D.

Harvard Senior Researcher & Executive Leadership Educator, Collaboration Consultant, and Author

Dr. Lisa Kwan is a researcher, lecturer, and consultant on collaboration and organizational change. She is a Senior Researcher and Executive Leadership Coach at Harvard Business School. She also instructs on collaboration, teams, and leadership at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. She earned her PhD joint between Harvard Business School and the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Lisa's research interests focus on the tensions organizations face in collaborating across boundaries, especially between groups. "Groups" in Lisa's world span from large organizations and companies to divisions, departments, and small teams. She has projects both in the experimental lab and in the field via interviews, observations, and survey data.

Lisa’s expertise areas include: intergroup collaboration (and resistance), geographically dispersed teams, group effectiveness, and resistance to organizational change.

While Lisa has research focused on topics spanning individual to organizational levels of analysis, her dissertation focused specifically on the spaces in between groups inside organizations. One direction of her dissertation research explored how groups – such as divisions, departments, and teams – manage overlap with one another within the same organization.  Through one theory paper (winner of the 2015 best paper (theoretical or empirical) award in the Conflict Management Division at the Academy of Management) and one empirical paper, Lisa introduces the phenomenon of territory management among groups in organizations.  The second direction of her dissertation research focused on how formal and informal cross-group collaborations overlap (and sometimes conflict) in organizations.

Lisa has published Harvard Business School cases on managing business ties in emerging markets (published in both English and Chinese) and balancing creativity and business in high-end fashion. She has a working paper on the complexities of utilizing expertise within teams, and she recently co-wrote a book chapter on the implications of subgroups within teams, which was published in the capstone volume of the foundational series, Research on Managing Groups and Teams*.

Lisa has additional research experience in the technology, professional services, public health, construction, and multinational restaurant sectors.

Prior to her PhD at Harvard, Lisa obtained her Master of Science, with distinction, from the University of Oxford, and her Bachelor of Science from McGill University.  Her undergraduate thesis focused on motivation, resilience in the face of failure, and goal achievement for which she was awarded the Canadian Psychological Association's Award for Dissertation Excellence.  She was an Oxford Clarendon International Scholar and is a recipient of the Canadian Science Achievement Gold Medal.

Lisa has also taught in the classroom, workshop room, and 1-on-1 at Harvard, Oxford, and internationally, which have been highly-rated for the development of managers and executives. Among these opportunities, Among these experiences, she has taught senior executives for Executive Education at Harvard Business School for 6+ years.

Upcoming Conference Sessions Featuring Lisa Kwan, Ph.D.