Francis J. Flynn

Francis J. Flynn
Professor, Organizational Behavior
Contact Info
Spence Faculty Fellow for 2020–2021
Academic Area: 
Organizational Behavior

Additional Administrative Titles

  • Co-Director, Executive Leadership Development: Analysis to Action

Research Statement

Professor Flynn’s research focuses on three topics of interest: (1) How employees can develop healthy patterns of cooperation; (2) How the negative impact of racial and gender stereotyping in the workplace can be mitigated; and (3) How people can emerge as leaders and assume positions of power in organizations. His work bridges the fields of management and social psychology, leading to scholarly as well as practical insights on organizational life.


Francis (Frank) Flynn received his PhD in Organizational Behavior from the University of California, Berkeley. From 2000-2006, he served as an Assistant and then an Associate Professor at Columbia Business School, joining the GSB in September 2006. A winner of multiple teaching awards, Professor Flynn’s courses focus on leadership issues, particularly how young managers can learn to navigate complex political environments and build interpersonal influence.

Professor Flynn’s research centers on the topics of employee cooperation, work group dynamics, and leadership in organizations. His articles have appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the discipline’s top research outlets. 

Professor Flynn has worked for the Department of Commerce in the International Trade Administration, the Institute for Business and Economic Development, and the Institute for Urban and Regional Development. He has provided executive education for various companies, including Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, Box, Caterpillar, Cisco, Cooley, Facebook, Flextronics, Genentech, Goldman Sachs, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser, LinkedIn, Logitech, Medtronic, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Prudential, Standard & Poor’s, Symantec, Twitter, Yammer, Yelp, and Yahoo! – training that focuses on improving employee decision making and interpersonal leadership skills.

Frank is also a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He lives close to the Stanford campus with his wife, Christina, and his three sons, Colin, Jack, and Aiden.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Organizational Behavior, UC Berkeley, 2000
  • MS in Business, UC Berkeley, 1999
  • BBA, University of Notre Dame, 1994

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2006
  • Class of 1967 Associate Professor of Business, Columbia Business School, Columbia University, 2006
  • Associate Professor of Business, Columbia Business School, Columbia University, 2004-2006
  • Assistant Professor of Business, Columbia Business School, Columbia University, 2000-2004

Awards and Honors

  • James & Doris McNamara Faculty Fellow, 2013–2014


Journal Articles

Rebecca L. Schaumberg, Francis J. Flynn. Academy of Management. October 2017, Vol. 60, Issue 5, Pages 1859-1881.
Francis J. Flynn, RL Schaumberg. The Journal of Applied Psychology. June 2017, Vol. 102, Issue 6, Pages 982-992.
Daniel A. Newark, Vanessa K. Bohns, Francis J. Flynn. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. January 20, 2017, Vol. 139, Pages 18-29.
Magnus Thor Torfason, Francis J. Flynn, Daniella Kupor. Social Psychological and Personality Science. May 2013, Vol. 4, Issue 3, Pages 348-354.
Robb Willer, Francis J. Flynn, Sonya Zak. Administrative Science Quarterly. May 9, 2012, Vol. 57, Issue 1, Pages 119-155.
Francis J. Flynn, Rebecca L. Schaumberg. Journal of Applied Psychology. January 2012, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Pages 124-133.
Francis J. Flynn, Ray E. Reagans, Lucia Guillory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. November 2010, Vol. 99, Issue 5, Pages 855-869.
Francis J. Flynn, Scott S. Wiltermuth. Academy of Management Journal. October 1, 2010, Vol. 53, Issue 5, Pages 1074-1089.
Francis J. Flynn, Emily T. Amanatullah. Organization Science. July 20, 2010, Vol. 23, Issue 2, Pages 402-415.


Degree Courses


Our seminar is designed for students interested in improving their communication skills. Right now, you probably don't spend much time thinking about the way you communicate, nor are you likely, in the academic setting, to get much feedback on...

Building on the discipline of social psychology, this course helps you cultivate mindsets and build skills to understand the ways in which organizations and their members affect one another. You will learn frameworks for diagnosing and resolving...


Building on the discipline of social psychology, this course helps you cultivate mindsets and build skills to understand the ways in which organizations and their members affect one another. You will learn frameworks for diagnosing and resolving...

The primary objective of this course is to provide you with an organizing framework of the micro-organizational behavior literature. This entails reading many seminal pieces and several broad overview articles that will cover the classic areas of...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Insights by Stanford Business

December 6, 2019
Stanford GSB professors recommend the books they’re most likely to give as presents over this year’s holiday season.
April 19, 2018
Stanford GSB professors recommend their favorite books and articles related to the concept.
March 6, 2018
When it comes to work attendance, “guilt proneness” may be a bigger factor than job satisfaction.
November 12, 2014
Research examines how experiencing physical distress can impact charitable donations.
August 4, 2014
Researchers find that the perceived status of those in need can be an important factor in determining how we help.
May 12, 2014
Research examines whether people are more naturally self-interested or cooperative.
February 27, 2014
Professor Frank Flynn looks at the difference between “happiness” and “meaning” in life –– and how these two concepts relate to being prosocial.
November 21, 2013
In his quarterly column, a Stanford professor of organizational behavior describes how group membership influences behavior.
November 18, 2013
A look at the work of some of our finest researchers on what spurs people to do something on behalf of someone else, what psychologists call “prosocial behavior.”
September 25, 2013
In his quarterly column, Francis J. Flynn looks at research that examines how to spend your way to a more satisfying life.
September 19, 2013
Why the people you least expect to help you are the ones you should approach.
June 12, 2013
This column takes a look at an innovative therapy for one of our society’s most serious problems: teen depression.
February 21, 2013
A recent paper shows that helping others can actually make you feel like you have more time.
February 19, 2013
What spurs people to do something on behalf of someone else? This quarter’s column explores giving the gift of our time to others.
December 17, 2012
Professor Francis Flynn discusses research on giving away a present you don’t really want.
July 27, 2012
In his quarterly column, a scholar examines the social value of no-cash exchanges on Freecycle and Craigslist.
April 30, 2012
Raising teachers’ awareness about students' help-seeking dynamics could be an important first step in supporting equality in elementary school education.
April 13, 2012
Stanford GSB researchers find that how people respond to mistakes can be a "clue to who they are."
March 1, 2012
Research findings suggest that when helpers are thanked for their efforts, the resulting sense of being socially valued is critical in encouraging them to provide more help in the future.
September 15, 2011
Research shows that when it comes to gift giving, most people are simply not paying enough attention to what others want.
June 20, 2011
Frank Flynn explores research showing that the most generous, trusting, and helpful people are not those with more money, but, rather, those with less.
January 1, 2011
Creating opportunities for “shared social responsibility” — among companies, charities, and customers — will stimulate prosocial behavior.
November 1, 2010
This quarter’s column looks at how charities get people to give — and give generously.
March 6, 2010
The Center for Social Innovation conference showcased how to use gentle nudges, subtle tweaks, and quiet prompts to summon better behavior.
November 1, 2009
The Silicon Valley master networker explains the importance of relationship building.
December 1, 2008
Studies show that gift recipients are just as happy with small presents as with big ones.
July 1, 2008
A study shows that we dramatically underestimate how likely others are to help us.

School News

November 29, 2011
Stanford Executive Education launches Leadership Development: Analysis to Action, aimed at high-potential executives and emerging leaders.
January 1, 2007
To attendees at the WIM banquet, 2007 from Prof. Joanne Martin