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Erika James - Emory University, Goizueta Business School. Atlanta, GA, US

Erika James Erika James

John H. Harland Dean; Professor in Organization & Management | Goizueta Business School





Erika H. James became the John H. Harland Dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in July 2014. A published researcher and award-winning educator with a passion for consulting and speaking, she places an emphasis on what higher education can do to be of service to industry. James says business leaders need to have a broad understanding of the world and problem solving, thus championing avenues of creative thinking and liberal arts education. A staunch “virtue capitalist,” James believes business can be a force of positive change in society, going beyond the bottom line to create products, solutions, and/or services that not only better industry, but communities.

A noted influencer in her field, James sits not only on multiple councils and committees at Emory University, but is an active board member of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), SurveyMonkey and Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. She is a previous board member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the foremost accrediting body in business education. In 2017, James was named one of the most admired CEOs in education by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Her expertise in workplace diversity and crisis leadership has led to recognition in scholarly journals and mainstream media including The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, and CNBC.

Under James’ leadership, Goizueta remains one of the top business schools in the nation with an upward trajectory in student career success, diversity, and faculty thought leadership. As of May 2019, the school boasted one of the most gender-diverse faculty populations in the top 25—34 percent female. Most recently, in Spring 2019, she received the Earl Hill Jr. Faculty Achievement and Diversity Award from The Consortium—an organization committed to increasing diversity in business, starting with graduate business school admissions.

Before arriving at Goizueta, James served as the Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Darden She also served as an assistant professor at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and a visiting professor at Harvard Business School. James holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan. She received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges in California.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Leadership Development

Organizational Behavior


Racial Diversity

Power and Influence

Crisis Leadership

Education (3)

University of Michigan: PhD, Organizational Psychology 1995

University of Michigan: Master's, Organizational Psychology 1993

Pomona College: Bachelor's, Psychology 1991

Media Appearances (8)

How business schools and the liberal arts mesh

Atlanta Business Chronicle  online


Emory University’s Goizueta Business School Dean Erika James and Emory College of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Elliot discuss the complimentary nature of liberal arts and business education in this podcast.

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As business needs evolve, so should business education, says Goizueta's dean

Atlanta Business Chronicle  online


As a business school firmly situated within Emory – a university grounded in the liberal arts – Erika James, dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, says Goizueta is positioned to shape students with the requisite characteristics and competencies to become both engaged citizens with critical thinking skills and problem solvers for tomorrow’s workforce.

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Without Moonves, CBS execs could be 'picked off by other networks,' USA Networks founder says

CNBC  online


Beyond even retaining talent, Erika James, the John H. Harland Dean and professor at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, said CBS leadership will be on the hook for cleaning up the company's culture, as "culture is created from the top."

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How to avoid becoming the next late-night punchline

LSE Business Review  online


Make sure what you say is accurate, and correct any misstatements quickly. “Just like your mother told you, honesty is always the best policy.”

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Decision Making under Pressure

Enterprising Investor  online


According to Erika James, the John H. Harland Dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the best process for making decisions under pressure is to use the data and numbers to inform our intuition. Leaders must recognize and avoid falling prey to mind tricks and biases. Power dynamics can also lead to poor decisions, and leaders do best to pursue an approach that is inquiry-based rather than advocacy-based...

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Market challenge: Cooper Global’s New leadership team finds opportunities for growth

Atlanta Business Chronicle  print


Subscription Required. "Organizations of all types that effectively turn challenges into catalysts for innovation and positive changes share some major attributes, according to Erika James, dean of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School."

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Business Schools Are Fighting to Recruit Top Women

The Wall Street Journal  online


"As fewer U.S. students show interest in a business degree, M.B.A. programs work to boost pipeline of qualified female applicants.”Professor Erika James is featured in this article for The Wall Street Journal.

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Erika H. James named dean of Emory's Goizueta Business School

Emory News Center  online


Emory University Provost Claire Sterk announced that Erika Hayes James, PhD, has been appointed dean of the university's Goizueta Business School. James will assume her new role on July 15. She comes to Emory from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, where she served most recently as senior associate dean for executive education...

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Articles (5)

Crisis Management: Informing a New Leadership Research Agenda The Academy of Management Annals


As the business community becomes more complex, crisis events are likely to increase in both prevalence and severity. Whether management scholarship has kept pace with this new reality is debatable. Moreover, much of the existing crisis research—perhaps understandably—stems from a negative frame: crises are threats or problems to be overcome. Such research has produced relevant insight into crisis handling, has helped categorize the plethora of crisis events, and has connected crisis events to relevant management strategies. We argue here that this framing fundamentally limits the types of questions asked and the methodological approaches used to answer those questions. Perhaps worse, given the important role that leadership plays in crisis handling, this negative frame can hinder the possibilities for the practice and study of leadership. In this article, we review an array of crisis research and explore two theoretical domains—issue framing and deviance—and their potential role for influencing leadership theory. We discuss the challenges of conducting crisis research, and offer suggestions for new methodological approaches and new research questions that are consistent with a more positive leadership approach.

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Linking Crisis Management and Leadership Competencies: The Role of Human Resource Development Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


The problem and the solution. Most executives are aware of the negative consequences associated with an organizational crisis and focus on communications and public relations as a reactive strategy. However, many neglect the other leadership responsibilities associated with organizational crises.This may result from lack of formal training and on-the-job experiences that prepare executives to lead crises. Executives who enable their organizations to recover from a crisis exhibit a complex set of competencies in each of the five phases of a crisis—signal detection, preparation and prevention, damage control and containment, business recovery, and reflection and learning. In this article, through the use of qualitative research design and the analysis of firms in crises, we examine leadership competencies during each phase of a crisis. In addition, this article links the important role of human resource development to building organizational capabilities through crisis management activities.

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She'-e-os: gender effects and investor reactions to the announcements of top executive appointments Strategic Management Journal


This study uses Kanter's token status theory to link announcements of top executives to shareholder reactions, highlighting possible gender effects. Using a sample of top executive announcements from 1990 to 2000, our results show that investor reactions to the announcements of female CEOs are significantly more negative than those of their male counterparts. Furthermore, women who have been promoted from within a firm are viewed more positively than women who come from outside. To supplement our analysis of investor reactions, we also analyze the text of popular press articles surrounding the announcements of male and female CEOs. These results show that articles about the appointment of a female CEO tend to emphasize gender, gender-related and other job or organizational considerations.

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Toward an Understanding of When Executives See Crisis as Opportunity Journal of Applied Behavioral Science


Whereas it has long been noted that crises may be sources of opportunity for organizations and their constituents, relatively little is known about the conditions under which executives come to perceive crises as opportunity. The authors delineate some factors that affect the tendency of executives to adopt a “crisis as opportunity” mindset as well as the behavioral concomitants of their having done so. The analysis also includes a future research agenda, a consideration of some of the challenges in enacting that agenda, and a few suggested ways to overcome those challenges.

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Race-related differences in promotions and support: Underlying effects of human and social capital Organization Science


This study examined two alternative explanations for disparity in reported work-related experiences and outcomes between black and white managers: treatment discrimination because of race, and differences in human and social capital. Education and training, representing human capital, and racial similarity of network ties and proportion of strong ties, representing social capital, were used to predict whether human and social capital would mediate the relationship between race and the work-related experiences and outcomes under investigation.

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