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Michele Gelfand

Award-Winning Cultural Psychologist, Best-Selling Author, and University of Maryland Distinguished Professor

  • Leading expert on the impact of organizational culture on teamwork and performance
  • Author of the best-selling book “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World”
  • Her research and writing on culture has received $13 million in funding from the DoD and the FBI, and has been cited over 20,000 times in national media
  • Helps groups understand the differences between “tight” and “loose” cultures, where their own falls, and how to pivot if needed

Topics & Types
InnovationChange ManagementNegotiationGenerations & DemographicsHealth, Happiness, & WellnessHuman ResourcesInternational BusinessLeadershipRelationship BuildingBusiness StrategyTeamworkGrowthDecision MakingCorporate CultureAuthorsFemale Speakers

Distinguished Psychology Professor Michele Gelfand is one of the leading researchers and writers on culture and the impact of culture on behavior. She’s the author of the wildly-popular new book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. Gelfand’s research and writing focuses on the difference between “tight” and “loose” cultures, and how that distinction impacts businesses globally. Arguing that culture drives performance more than mission statements, HR campaigns, or even financial incentives ever will, she helps organizations understand if their culture is “tight” or “loose,” why that is, how that drives everything from performance to revenue to position in the marketplace, and how to create a more “open” or “loose” culture. Gelfand’s work on tight-loose theory and its impact on business performance has been cited over 20,000 times and has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Morning Joe, Voice of America, Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, The Economist, De Standard, and more. She is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.

In eye-opening and fast-paced presentations that hit on the “cultural DNA” driving and guiding the way we act at work, Gelfand explores why certain companies veer tight while others veer loose. She explores how social norms are informed by these invisible guidebooks, and what that means for not only employee experience but also for our customers, markets, stakeholders, and clients. Gelfand uses real-life examples from the organizations she’s studied to explore how we should be thinking about our work cultures and how to establish the optimal tight-loose balance to create the high-performing culture we all strive for.

Called an “engaging writer with real intellectual range” by The New York Times, Gelfand has published in many scientific outlets such as Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, American Psychologist, among others. Her research has received over 13 million dollars in funding from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense (DoD), and the FBI. She received the 2017 Outstanding International Psychologist Award from the American Psychological Association and was invited to be on the board at the National Academy of Sciences in 2018.

She is co-editor of the books, Values, Political Action, and Change in the Middle East and the Arab Spring, The Psychology of Conflict and Conflict Management in Organizations, and The Handbook of Negotiation and Culture. She is the founding co-editor of the Advances in Culture and Psychology annual series and the Frontiers of Culture and Psychology series. She is the past president of the International Association for Conflict Management, past division chair of the Conflict Division of the Academy of Management, and past treasurer of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Gelfand is the recipient of numerous accolades including the 2019 Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Psychology Award, the 2016 Diener award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Annaliese Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation given to 7 scholars worldwide. She was elected to be an Honorary Fellow of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.

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Location/Travels from: DC
$20,001 - $35,000*
US East
$20,001 - $35,000*
US West
$35,001 - $55,000*
$55,001 - $75,000*
$75,001 and up*

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