Modupe Akinola speaks at 2016 Gender & Work Symposium: Talking the Walk


Columbia Business School
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics


Modupe Akinola is the Sanford C. Bernstein Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Professor Akinola worked in professional services at Bain & Company and Merrill Lynch. Professor Akinola examines how organizational environments- characterized by deadlines, multi-tasking, and other attributes such as having low status- can engender stress, and how this stress can have spill-over effects on performance. She uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation, implicit and reaction time measures, and physiological responses (specifically hormonal and cardiovascular responses) to examine how cognitive outcomes are affected by stress. In addition, Professor Akinola examines workforce diversity. Specifically, she examines the strategies organizations employ to increase the diversity of their talent pool. She also explores biases that affect the recruitment and retention of minorities in organizations.

Columbia Caseworks cases

Strathmore Medical College (2016)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Caitlin Snow, Ting Zhang, Katherine Phillips

More Information

The Janesville Plant Seeking a Just Decision (2013)
Coauthor(s): Katherine W. Phillips, Modupe Akinola

ClothingCo: Redesigning the Sleepwear Business (2009)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola


Journal articles

"Switching on" creativity: Task switching can increase creativity by reducing cognitive fixation In Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2017)
Coauthor(s): Guannan Lu, Modupe Akinola, Malia Mason

Adaptive appraisals of anxiety moderate the association between cortisol reactivity and performance in salary negotiations In PLOS ONE (2016)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Ilona Fridman, Shira Mor, Michael Morris, A.J. Crum

Collective hormonal profiles predict group performance In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Elizabeth Page-Gould, Pranjal Mehta, Jackson Lu

Incorporating neuroendocrine methods into intergroup relations research In Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (2015)
Coauthor(s): E. Page-Gould, Modupe Akinola

Vagal flexibility: A physiological predictor of social sensitivity In Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2015)
Coauthor(s): L. Muhtadie, Katrina Koslov, Modupe Akinola, Wendy Berry Mendes

What happens before? A field experiment exploring how pay and representation differentially shape bias on the pathway into organizations In Journal of Applied Psychology (2015)
Coauthor(s): Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola, Dolly Chugh

It''s Good to Be the King: Neurobiological Benefits of Higher Social Standing In Social Psychology and Personality Science (2013)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Wendy Berry Mendes

Consistency Over Flattery: Self-Verification Processes Revealed in Implicit and Behavioral Responses to Feedback In Social Psychological and Personality Science (2013)
Coauthor(s): Özlem Ayduk, Anett Gyurak, Modupe Akinola, Wendy Berry Mendes

Temporal Distance and Discrimination: An Audit Study in Academia In Psychological Science (2012)
Coauthor(s): Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola, Dolly Chugh

Stress-induced cortisol facilitates threat-related decision making among police officers In Behavioral Neuroscience (2012)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Wendy Berry Mendes

Measuring the pulse of an organization: Integrating physiological measures into the organizational scholar's toolbox In Research in Organizational Behavior (2010)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola

The dark side of creativity: Biological vulnerability and negative emotions lead to greater artistic creativity In Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2008)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Wendy Berry Mendes

Working papers

Capitalizing on Stress: Changing Mindsets to Harness the Beneficial Psychological, Physiological, and Performance Effects of Stress (2013)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola

Channeling Arousal Through Altering Mindset: The Adaptive Role of Elevated Cortisol in Negotiation Outcomes (2013)
Coauthor(s): Ilona Fridman, Shira Mor, Modupe Akinola, Michael Morris

Heterogeneity in Discrimination? A Field Experiment (2012)
Coauthor(s): Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola, Dolly Chugh

Inspiration is facilitated by positive mood and vagal withdrawal (2009)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Katrina Koslov, Wendy Berry Mendes

Narcissistic tendencies and sensitivity to social feedback: An examination of cardiovascular reactivity during social evaluative situations (2009)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, Wendy Berry Mendes

Defining the attributes and processes that enhance the effectiveness of workforce diversity initiatives in knowledge intensive firms In HBS Working Paper Series (2006)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola, David Thomas

Case studies

ClothingCo: Redesigning the Sleepwear Business (A) (2009)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola

ClothingCo: Redesigning the Sleepwear Business (B) (2009)
Coauthor(s): Modupe Akinola

Ideas and Insights

Stop Stressing So Much about Multitasking (2017)

How Setbacks Spur Leaps Forward (2016)

Feedback Doesn’t Have to be Stressful (2015)


Seeking feedback across boundaries: Barriers for women and minorities in the workplace (2014)
Coauthor(s): Negin Toosi, Katherine Phillips, Modupe Akinola

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In The News

Media Mentions

Life Hack Your Brian: The Best Way to Multitask – and Improve Productivity – According to Science


Manage Your Ego – and More Advice for MBA Students

The Financial Times

Uncommon Knowledge: Creationism and Bull Markets

The Boston Globe

It Turns Out Scheduled Relaxation Time Is Better for You Than Chilling Out Whenever You Fancy


Why You Should Actually Schedule Your Breaks, According To Science


Press Releases

Research from Columbia Business School Says Harsh Feedback from a Manager May Inspire Creative Thinking

Awards And Honors

Columbia Business School Dean''s Award for Teaching Excellence


SSRN Honor: Author of One of the 10 Most Downloaded Papers of the Year


Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship


Association for Psychological Science Rising Star


Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research


Society for Personality and Social Psychology Best Graduate Student Paper Award


Society for Psychophysiological Research Student Poster Award


Society for Personality and Social Psychology Diversity Fund Award


Wyss Fellowship for Graduate Study


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