Deborah H. Gruenfeld

Professor, Organizational Behavior
+1 (650) 725-6939

Deborah H. Gruenfeld

The Joseph McDonald Professor and Professor of Organizational Behavior

Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Co-Director, High-Potential Women Leaders Program
Co-Director, Executive Program in Women’s Leadership

Research Statement

Deborah H. Gruenfeld is a social and organizational psychologist who studies power and group behavior. Key publications include Power, Approach and Inhibition (Psychological Review, 2003); From Power to Action (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003); Power and the Objectification of Social Targets (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008); Organizational Preferences and Their Consequences (Handbook of Social Psychology, 2010); Status, Ideology and Integrative Complexity on the U.S. Supreme Court (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,1995); Group Composition and Decision Making (Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 1996). Recent work examines when dominance is a source of influence in groups and why, and lay theories of group potential and dysfunction. Gruenfeld is author of the trade book Acting with Power (Penguin Random House).


Professor Gruenfeld received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Illinois (UIUC) in 1993, joined the faculty at Northwestern University (KGSM) in 1993, and moved to Stanford University (GSB) in 2000. Professor Gruenfeld was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley (psychology) in 1998, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavior Sciences from 2002-2003, and is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. She received dissertation prizes from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and American Psychological Association (Division 49), and won a Most Influential Paper award from the Academy of Management (Conflict Management Division).

Gruenfeld is co-director of the Stanford Executive Program for Women Leaders (EPWL) and High Potential Women Leaders (HPWL). In the MBA program, she teaches Managing Groups and Teams (OB 205) and Acting with Power (OB 533). 

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, University of Illinois, 1993
  • MS, New York University, 1985
  • BA, Cornell University, 1983

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2000
  • Assistant-Associate Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1993–2000

Awards and Honors

  • Lacob Family Faculty Fellow, 2022–23
  • R. Michael Shanahan Faculty Fellow for 2021–22
  • James and Doris McNamara Faculty Fellow for 2016–17
  • Stanford GSB Trust Faculty Fellow, 2013–14
  • Fellowship Recipient, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 2002
  • Dissertation Research Award, American Psychological Association at Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1993, 2000
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, Society of Experimental Social Psychology, 1994


Journal Articles

Em Reit, Deborah H. Gruenfeld
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
July 2022 Vol. 101
Melissa J, Williams, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Lucia E. Guillory
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
February 2017 Vol. 112 Issue 2 Pages 201-223
M. Ena Inesi, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Adam D. Galinsky
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
2012 Vol. 48 Issue 4 Pages 795-803
Li Huang, Adam D. Galinsky, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Lucia E. Guillory
Psychological Science
January 2011 Vol. 22 Issue 1 Pages 95-102
Adam D. Galinsky, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Joe C. Magee
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
2003 Vol. 85 Issue 3 Pages 453-466
Dacher Keltner, Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Cameron Anderson
Psychological Review
2003 Vol. 110 Issue 2 Pages 265-284
Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Jared Preston
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
2000 Vol. 26 Issue 8 Pages 1013-1022
Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Paul V. Martorana, Elliott T. Fan
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
2000 Vol. 82 Issue 1 Pages 45–59
Deborah H. Gruenfeld
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1995 Vol. 68 Issue 1 Pages 5-20


Deborah H. Gruenfeld
April 7, 2020

Working Papers

Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Nathanael Fast, Adam Galinsky, Niro Sivanathan 2008
Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Cameron Anderson, Dacher Keltner 2000
Deborah H. Gruenfeld, Margaret Ann Neale, Elizabeth Mannix, Katherine Williams 1998

Academic Publications

Don DeCarlo, Deborah H. Gruenfeld
Insurance Advocate
May 2020 Vol. 131 Issue 7 Pages 17–25


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Act with power, navigate the workplace, and take the lead with new strategies and tactics in this unique women’s leadership program.
Act with power, strengthen negotiating skills, learn to manage teams, and lead with impact in this unique leadership program for women on the rise.
Reinvigorate and ramp up your professional journey and evolve as a leader in our flagship executive program.

Stanford Case Studies

Deborah Gruenfeld, Arar Han, Lisa Sweeney

Service to the Profession

  • Member, Society of Experimental Social Psychology, Academy of Management

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

May 17, 2024
Marketing and organizational behavior professors share how their recent research applies to communication.
January 24, 2024
If we want to change power structures, then we need to understand the animal forces that drive our behavior.
December 13, 2022
Members of the Stanford GSB faculty recommend some of their favorite programs.
December 12, 2022
Eleven articles to help you work, lead, and collaborate better.
August 04, 2022
When confronted with a controlling, aggressive leader, people “have more power than they think they do,” says Deborah Gruenfeld.
July 07, 2022
The latest books from Stanford GSB faculty and lecturers.
June 20, 2022
This episode explores ways to overcome the unique challenges women in business face from society and themselves.
April 12, 2022
How to use power more effectively in your business.
February 17, 2022
Five lessons in five minutes: Professor Deborah Gruenfeld shows how to build and lead successful teams.
December 11, 2020
Cozy up and listen up to our top episodes from 2020.
December 09, 2020
We’ve compiled an eclectic collection of books to share — or hoard — while sheltering in place this season.
November 19, 2020
We’ve gathered together the most memorable articles, interviews, podcasts, and videos from a year of world-changing events.
June 08, 2020
On this podcast episode, we discuss how to harness power through non-verbal communication.
April 28, 2020
We all know what it looks like to use power badly. A new book shows us how it can be used well.
December 19, 2016
Read 10 Stanford Business stories from the past year, including pieces on work-life balance, power, and management.
September 09, 2016
How the lessons of improv theater help business leaders become their true, powerful selves.
March 20, 2012
Body language is critical to your effectiveness in working with other people, says social psychology researcher Deborah Gruenfeld.
December 01, 2008
Research explores the relationship between having power and taking action.
April 01, 2004
Research suggests that those with a team's minority viewpoint force the majority to think more and consider diverse evidence.

School News

May 09, 2024
If you’re looking for smart answers to complex questions, then you should check out this new podcast.
January 18, 2024
If/Then aims to help business leaders address modern problems
December 06, 2022
Articles, videos, and podcasts that capture great teaching and memorable lessons.
November 04, 2021
Squad game: New MBA students get a crash course in decision-making under pressure.
February 19, 2019
The newly established symposia are a testament to the lasting impact of David M. Kreps’ contributions to Stanford GSB.
June 01, 2011
Neale is the 13th recipient and first woman to receive the Davis Award for lifetime achievement by a faculty member.
April 15, 2008
Christina, BA ’78, and Hamid Moghadam, MBA ’80, established the Moghadam Family Professorship in Stanford GSB, adding their names to an honor roll of donors.
January 01, 2007
To attendees at the WIM banquet, 2007 from Prof. Joanne Martin