Hayagreeva Rao

Professor, Organizational Behavior

Hayagreeva Rao

The Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources

Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences
Academic Area:

Additional Administrative Titles

Director, TELUS Senior Leadership Forum
Co-Director Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative - Education
Co-Director, RISE: PTT Leadership Transformation
Co-Director, Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate
Director, People, Culture, and Performance: Strategies from Silicon Valley
Co-Director, Customer-Focused Innovation

Research Statement

Professor Rao studies collective action within organizations and in markets. His research and by implication, his teaching, revolves around scaling up mobilization, innovation, and talent in organizations.

Teaching Statement

Professor Rao teaches courses on Scaling up Excellence, HR for Startups, and Launch to Liquidity - a course he coteaches with Professors Levav and Rauh.


His most recent book, co-authored with Bob Sutton of the School of Engineering at Stanford, is Scaling Up Excellence. The book is a  Wall Street Journal Best seller, and was included in the best business books to read in 2014 by Financial Times, Inc Magazine, Amazon, Forbes, Washington Post and the Library Journal.

His research has been published in journals such as the Administrative Science Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science and Strategic Management Journal. He is also the author of “Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovation”, Princeton University Press. 2009.

He served as the Editor of Administrative Science Quarterly, and has been a member of the editorial boards of American Journal of Sociology and Organization Science and Academy of Management Review. He has been a Member of the Organizational Innovation and Change Panel of the National Science Foundation.

He is a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science, a Fellow of the Sociological Research Association and also a Fellow of the Academy of Management.

His teaching specialties include leading organizational change, building customer focused cultures, and organization design. He teaches courses on these topics to MBA and executive audiences. He has consulted with, and conducted executive workshops for, organizations such as Aon Corporation, British Petroleum, CEMEX, General Electric, Hearst Corporation, IBM, Mass Mutual, James Hardie Company, Seyfarth and Shaw. Additionally, he also worked with nonprofit organizations such as the American Cancer Society and governmental organizations such as the FBI and CIA, and the intelligence community.

Among the awards he has received are the Sidney Levy Teaching Award from the Kellogg School of Management, and the W. Richard Scott Distinguished Award for Scholarship from the American Sociological Association.


Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Case Western Reserve University, 1989
  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, XLRI, India, 1980
  • BA, Andhra University, India, 1978

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2005
  • Richard L. Thomas Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2002–2005
  • Charles Howard Candler Professor of Management, Emory University Goizueta Business School, April–June 2002
  • Professor of Organization & Management, Emory University Goizueta Business School, 2000–2002
  • Associate Professor of Organization & Management, Emory University Goizueta Business School , 1995–2000;
  • Assistant Professor of Organization & Management, Emory University Goizueta Business School, 1989–1994

Awards and Honors

  • BP Faculty Fellow in Global Management for 2019–2020
  • BP Faculty Fellow in Global Management, 2018–2019
  • BP Faculty Fellow in Global Management, 2017–2018
  • Fellow, Academy of Management, 2008
  • Fellow of Sociological Research Association, American Sociological Association, 2007
  • W. Richard Scott Distinguished Award for Scholarly Contributions, American Sociological Association, 2005
  • Sidney Levy Award For Teaching, Kellogg School of Management, 2004
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science, 2004


Journal Articles


Working Papers

Academic Publications


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

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Learn about cutting-edge social science frameworks and design thinking techniques in a unique partnership between Stanford GSB and d.school.
Learn leading-edge strategies, frameworks, and best practices for making complex board decisions — with customized cohorts for public and private company board members
Guide your organization through growth with innovative CFO training that blends financial expertise, strategic thinking, and leadership skills.
Discover business growth strategies and build a stronger company designed to sustain progress, scale management, and facilitate market expansion.
Gain general management training — combining conceptual knowledge with individual experiences — and increase your impact in the nonprofit sector.
Develop your leadership style, create an action plan and inspire innovation in your team, your company, and the world.
Experience Stanford business and medicine in a health care leadership program featuring design thinking and personal leadership skill development.
Develop strategic frameworks, customer empathy, and communication and leadership skills to help you move from product management to the C-suite.
Explore the intersection of innovation, technology, and business, and learn to drive strategic change across your organization.
Leverage diverse research, proven methodologies, and design thinking for change management in this collaboration between Stanford and Harvard.
​Bring effective team management and innovation to your company with actionable strategies, experiential team-based simulations, and design thinking.
​Tackle the entire M&A process through an interdisciplinary curriculum and a hands-on, weeklong team simulation project.
Gain a competitive advantage using Silicon Valley models and mindsets to recruit, retain, and inspire people for performance and growth.
Examine the implications of workplace modality decisions informed by cutting-edge research from Stanford GSB faculty and best practices from peers.
Evolve as a leader in an executive education program that reinvigorates and ramps up your professional journey.
Discover new ways of thinking and acting so that you can solve your biggest business challenges.
Transform knowledge into impact and drive innovation and change in your organization with Stanford LEAD, our flagship online business program.

Stanford Case Studies

Stanford GSB Affiliations

Stanford University Affiliations

Service to the Profession

  • Editor, Administrative Science Quarterly, 2008-2011
  • Member, Macro-Organizational Behavior Society, 1997-present
  • Consulting Editor, American Journal of Sociology, 2001-2003
  • Member, Organization and Innovation Panel, National Science Foundation, 2000-2002
  • Senior Editor, Organization Science, 2000-2002

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