Ethan Bernstein (@ethanbernstein) is the Edward W. Conard Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at the Harvard Business School. He teaches the second-year MBA course in Managing Human Capital, the Harvard Business School Online course on Developing Yourself as a Leader, and various executive education programs. He previously taught the first-year MBA course in Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD), an MBA immersive field course in Tokyo on Innovation and Leadership through the Fusion of Digital and Analog, and a PhD course on the craft of field research.
In an era when the nature of work is changing, Professor Bernstein studies the impact of workplace transparency—the observability of employee activities, routines, behaviors, output, and/or performance—on productivity, with implications for leadership, collaboration, organization design, and new forms of organizing.
Professor Bernstein’s research has been published in journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Academy of Management Annals, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Research on Organizational Change and Development, and People + Strategy, and it has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNBC, NPR, Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, Businessweek, Freakonomics (Podcast), WorkLife with Adam Grant (TED Podcast), Esquire, Nikkei Business, Nikkei Shimbun, Le Monde, Maeil Business (Korea), and TEDx Boston, among others. He is a 2014 HBR McKinsey Award Finalist, and his research has won awards including the inaugural J. Richard Hackman Dissertation Award, the Academy of Management’s 2013 Outstanding Publication in Organizational Behavior award, the Academy of Management’s 2013 Best Publication in Organization and Management Theory award, the Academy of Management's 2014 Outstanding Practitioner-Oriented Publication in Organizational Behavior award, and the 2020 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize. His article on the impact of open offices was ranked the 13th most mentioned article of 2018 by Altmetric, and his 2020 HBR on “Working Without an Office” attracted more unique visitors than any Big Idea program in history.
Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Bernstein spent a half-decade at The Boston Consulting Group in Toronto and Tokyo. Tapped by Elizabeth Warren to join the implementation team at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he spent nearly two years in executive positions, including Chief Strategy Officer and Deputy Assistant Director of Mortgage Markets, at the newest United States federal agency.
Professor Bernstein earned his doctorate in management at Harvard, where he also received a JD/MBA degree. While a doctoral student, he was a Kauffman Foundation Fellow in Law, Innovation, and Growth, and he remains a member of the New York and Massachusetts Bar Associations. He holds an AB in Economics from Amherst College, which included study at Doshisha University in Kyoto.
Professor Bernstein is a self-declared culinary adventurer and avid cyclist, runner, skier, reader, and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me listener. Originally from Los Angeles, he lives in Newton with his wife, Maly (HBS MBA 2006), and two young sons.