Culture And Community Initiative


The Center has undertaken a project in support of the Culture and Community Initiative (CCI) at the Harvard Business School (HBS), a three-year project designed to cultivate a culture that enables members of the HBS community to discover and realize their full potential for advancing HBS’ mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world.

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The CCI was founded on the belief that a fully engaged community of faculty, staff, and students is vital to HBS’s ability to address the business and leadership challenges facing society.  Full engagement means having the wherewithal to do one’s best work—and to draw out the best in others—in service of the mission.  The CCI strives to diagnose and create the conditions for full engagement, and in so doing, to help HBS model the kind of leadership it seeks to inspire in its students and in the world more broadly.

Project Description

In support of the CCI, the Center is conducting an inquiry and action research project that will serve as a window into the culture of HBS and how it operates.  The project brings a multi-level systems framework to this inquiry, building on the framework of the Architecture of Inclusion developed by Susan Sturm (the project leader) and the Center.  The Center’s approach proceeds from the premise that any effort to analyze and undertake shifts towards the conditions of “full engagement” requires understanding system dynamics at multiple levels—individual, interpersonal, organizational, network, and extra-organizational.


The Center has convened a diverse group of five researchers expressly for this project.  Susan Sturm, the George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility at Columbia Law School and Director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change, is the team’s leader and architect of the team’s approach to change.  Team members were selected for their expertise in the different levels of analysis needed to advance multi-level systems change and for their experience linking institutional research and intervention.  Heidi Brooks, social psychologist and lecturer at the Yale School of Management, has done extensive work on individual leadership development and brings an individual leadership orientation to the work.  Deborah Kolb, professor emerita at Simmons College and co-founder of the Center for Gender in Organizations, focuses on the interpersonal level and is a nationally recognized expert on gender and negotiation, especially in organizational contexts.  Howard Gadlin, Director of the Center on Cooperative Resolution at the National Institutes of Health, is an experimental psychologist who offers expertise in advancing collaboration and change at the team and organizational level.  Peter Bearman, Director of the Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, the Cole Professor of Social Science, and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University, is a sociologist who specializes in networks, the broadest level of analysis represented on the team.  The Team is working with Robin Ely, Senior Associate Dean for Culture and Community and the Warren Alpert Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.