• PHONE: 617-353-6397
  • EMAIL:  mbarton@bu.edu
  • OFFICE: 623
  • OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment
    Questrom School of Business
    Rafik B. Hariri Building
    595 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215


Michelle Barton is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Questrom School of Business, Boston University. She received a PhD in Management & Organizations from the University of Michigan. Her research explores how groups organize within extreme contexts. Specifically, she considers how coordination processes and relational dynamics impact sensemaking, adaptation and resilience during uncertain and dynamic situations. Her work also explores the criticality and limitations of expertise in these contexts. Her work has been published in a variety of outlets, including Academy of Management Review, Organizational Psychology Review, Human Relations, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review.

  • EDUCATION Open or Close

    PH D, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, Management and Organizations, 2010.

    BA, Pomona College, Psychology, 1992.

  • CURRENT COURSESOpen or Close

    GSM ES707 F2 Managing Career Growth

    GSM OB712 X2 Leading Organizations and People

  • PUBLICATIONSOpen or Close


      Kahn, W. A., Barton, M., Fisher, C., Heaphy, E., Reid, E., & Rouse, E. (2017). The Geography of Strain: Organizational Resilience as a Function of Intergroup Relations. Academy of Management Review.

      Barton, M., & Bunderson, J. (2014). Assessing member expertise in groups: An expertise dependence perspective. Organizational Psychology Review, 3 (4).

      Barton, M., Sutcliffe, K., Vogus, T., & DeWitt, T. (2015). Performing under uncertainty: Contextualized engagement in wildland firefighting. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 23 (2), 74-83.

      Kahn, W. A., Barton, M., & Fellows, S. (2013). Organizational Crises and the Disturbance of Relational Systems. Academy of Management Review, 2 (38), 377-396.

      Leonard, D., Barton, G., & Barton, M. (2013). Make Yourself an Expert - How to Pull Knowledge from the People around You. Harvard Business Review, 91 (4), 127-131.

      Barton, M., & Sutcliffe, K. (2010). Learning when to stop momentum. MIT Sloan Management Review, 51 (3), 69-76.

      Black, A., Sutcliffe, K., & Barton, M. (2009). After-action reviews - Who conducts them?. Fire Management Today, 3 (69), 15-17.

      Black, A., Sutcliffe, K., Barton, M., & Dether, D. (2008). Assessing high reliability practices in the wildland fire community. Fire Management Today, 2 (68), 24-35.

      Thompson, S., & Barton, M. (1994). Ecocentric and anthropocentric attitudes toward the environment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2 (14), 149-157.

      Barton, M., & Sutcliffe, K. (2009). Overcoming dysfunctional momentum: Organizational safety as a social achievement. Human Relations, 62 (9), 1327-1356.

      Barton, M., & Sutcliffe, K. (2008). Mindfulness as an organizational capability: Evidence from wildland firefighting. Revue für postheroisches Management.


      Barton, M., & Leonard, D. (2015). In Deep Smarts as the Underpinnings of Dynamic Capabilities. In The Oxford Handbook of Dynamic Capabilities. United States: Oxford University Press.

      Leonard, D., & Barton, M. (2013). In Knowledge and the Management of Creativity and Innovation. In M.Dodgson, D. Gann and N. Phillips (Eds.) Handbook of Innovation Management. Oxford University Press.

      Barton, M. (2011). Entering Wonderland: Connecting through Negative Capability. In Arne Carlsen, Jane E. Dutton (Eds.), Research Alive: Exploring Generative Moments in Doing Qualitative Research (pp 30-32). Copenhagen Denmark: Copenhagen Business School Press.

      Barton, M., & Bunderson, J. S. (2010). In "Status and expertise in groups" Status, Organization and Management.. Cambridge U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

      Barton, M., & Ashford, S. (2007). In Identity based issue-selling. In A. Bartel, S. Blader & A. Wrzesniewski (Eds.), Identity and the modern organization.. Mahwah, NJ USA: Lawrence Erlbaum.



      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA) Summit, Productive Disruptions, Harvard School of Education. (June 8, 2015).

      Barton, M. (Moderator). Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning Partners Meeting, Knowledge Sharing, Harvard Business School. (June 1, 2015).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). The Davis Conference on Qualitative Research, Productive Disruptions, Davis, California. (March 22, 2014).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). Center for Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning, Overcoming Dysfunctional Momentum, United States Military Academy, West Point. (September 24, 2013).

      Barton, M. (Presenter and Author). Boston Medical School Grand Rounds, Learning when to stop momentum. (July 16, 2012).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). Senior Leader Conference, US Army, Overcoming dysfunctional momentum, Army Northern Regional Medical Command, Kentucky, USA. (May 25, 2011).

      Barton, M. (Panelist). Immigration and Customs Enforcement Innovation Summit, Group Innovation, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.. (August 21, 2007).


      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author), & Sutcliffe, K. (Author Only). National Academy of Management Meeting, Resilience in Interaction. (August 7, 2017).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author), & Sutcliffe, K. (Author Only). European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium, Contextualized engagement as resilience-in-action, Copenhagen, Denmark. (July 6, 2017).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). Academy of Management, Productive Disruptions: Military handoffs as opportunities for mindful sensemaking. (September 24, 2013).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). National Academy of Management Meeting, Efficient realignment: Managing uncertainty and equivocality in the entrepreneurial process, Academy of Management, Boston, MA. (August 11, 2012).

      Barton, M. (Presenter and Author), Vogus, T. (Author Only), & Sutcliffe, K. (Author Only). Fourth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies, Enabling Fluid Awareness for Resilient Performance, Kos, Greece. (June 20, 2012).

      Barton, M. (Presenter & Author). National Academy of Management Meeting, Shaping entrepreneurial opportunities. Presented as part of the symposium “Transitions in understanding: Exploring how understanding evolves in dynamic contexts.”, San Antonio, TX. (August 1, 2011).


      Academy of Management, Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division, Executive Committee, Representative-at-Large, Committee Member. (August 2012 - August 2015).


    Barton, M. Human Relations, Editorial Board Member. (September 23, 2014 - Present).

    Barton, M. Administrative Science Quarterly, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. (July 11, 2014 - December 2014).

    Barton, M. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. (February 1, 2014 - December 2014).

    Barton, M. Human Relations, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers, Academic. (2012 - 2013).

    Barton, M. Academy of Management MOC Division Papers, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers, International. (2008 - 2013).

    Barton, M. Administrative Science Quarterly, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers, International, Academic. ( - 2011).

    Barton, M. Academy of Management Journal, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers, Academic. ( - 2011).

    Barton, M. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. ( - 2011).

    Barton, M. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. ( - 2010).

    Barton, M. Strategic Management Journal, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. ( - 2009).

    Barton, M. Organization Studies, Ad Hoc Reviewer, Papers. ( - 2008).


    Product Director, eLearning, Harvard Business School Publishing. (2001 - 2004).

    Responsible for the vision, strategy and management of the Leadership and Management Development product lines, globally

    Producer/Project Manager, Harvard Business School Publishing. (1994 - 2000).
    Co-founded and developed the eLearning business at Harvard Business School Publishing.

    Associate, Boston Consulting Group. (1992 - 1994).

  • AWARDS AND HONORSOpen or Close

    Broderick Award for Outstanding Teaching, Teaching. (June 30, 2014).

    Outstanding Reviewer Award, Academy of Management - MOC Division, Research. (August 4, 2012).

    Finalist for Outstanding Practitioner-Oriented Publication in OB, Academy of Management, Research. (August 1, 2011).

    For the article, "Learning When to Stop Momentum"

    Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, Research. (September 1, 2010).
    This is a 12- month fellowships awarded to the top doctoral candidates in the entire University.