Wendy Smith

Associate Professor of Management

Department: Business Administration
Campus Address: 234 Lerner Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-1570


Wendy Smith earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School, and is currently an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Alfred Lerner School of Business at the University of Delaware. Wendy is a Research Fellow at the Cambridge University Social Innovation Centre, and an International Fellow at the University of Bath.

Wendy’s research focuses on strategic paradoxes – how leaders and senior teams effective respond to contradictory agendas. She has studied how organizations and their leaders simultaneously explore new possibilities while exploiting existing competencies, and how social enterprises simultaneously attend to social missions and financial goals. Her research has been published in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, and Management Science.

Wendy teaches leadership, organizational behavior and business ethics. She has taught MBAs and undergraduates at University of Delaware, Harvard, and University of Pennsylvania - Wharton. She was nominated for the MBA Teacher Award at the Lerner Business School each year from 2007-2014 and nominated for the University of Delaware Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Wendy has also taught executive and senior leadership teams how to manage interpersonal dynamics, emotional intelligence, high performing teams, organizational change and innovation, managing in times of crisis, and managing strategic paradoxes. She facilitated senior leadership teams at the Harvard Business School Executive Education program. She has also worked with senior teams at organizations such as American Automobile Association (AAA), Wilmington Trust, DHL, and IBM.

Wendy lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three children.

View Wendy's featured work on YouTube.


  • Ph.D. - Organizational Behavior, Harvard University/Harvard Business School, 2006
  • M.A. - Psychology, Harvard University, 2004
  • B.A. - Psychology & Political Science, Yale University, 1996
  • Curriculum Vitae


Schad, J., Lewis, M., Raisch, S., & Smith, W.K. 2016. Paradox research in management science: Looking back to move forward. "Academy of Management Annals," 10(1): 5-64.

Fairhurst, G., Smith, W. K., Banghart, S., Lewis, M. W., Putnam, L.,Raisch, S., & Schad, J. 2016. Diverging and converging: Integrating insights on a paradox meta-perspective. "Academy of Management Annals", 10(1): 173-182.

Smith, W. K., & Tracey, P. 2016. Institutional complexity and paradox theory: Complementarities of competing demands. "Strategic Organization". DOI:10.1177/1476127016638565

Smith, W. K., Lewis, M., & Tushman, M. L. 2016. Dynamic equilibrium: Leadership competencies to leverage strategic paradoxes. "Harvard Business Review."

Smith, W.K. (2014). Dynamic Decision Making: A Model of Senior Leaders Managing Strategic Paradoxes, Academy of Management Journal, 57, 1592-1623. (AMJ Most Viewed; #3 in Dec 2014)

Besharov, M. L., & Smith, W. K. (2014). Multiple institutional logics in organizations: Explaining their varied nature and implications. Academy of Management Review, 39, 364-381.

Lewis, M., Andriopoulos, C., Smith, W.K., (2014). Paradoxical Leadership to Enable Strategic Agility. California Management Review50(20): 127-149.

Lewis, M., & Smith, W. K. (2014). Paradox as a Metatheoretical Perspective: Sharpening the Focus and Widening the Scope. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 50, 127-149.

Smith, W.K., Gonin, M. , Besharov, M. (2013). Managing Social-Business Tensions. A Review and Research Agenda for Social Enterprises. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23 (3): 407-442.

Smith, W.K., Besharov, M, Wessels, A., and Chertok, M. (2012). A Paradoxical Leadership Model for Social Entrepreneurs: Challenges, Leadership Skills, and Pedagogical Tools for Managing Social and Commercial Demands. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11: 463-478.

Smith, W. K., and Lewis, M. W. (2012). Leadership Skills for Managing Paradox. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 5(2): 232-235.

Smith, W.K. and Lewis, M. W. 2011. Toward a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Organizing. Academy of Management Review, 36(2): 381-403.

Tushman, M., Smith, W.K., & Binns, A. (2011). The Ambidextrous CEO. Harvard Business Review, 89(6): 1700-1706.

Binns, A., & Smith, W. K. (2011). Managing Paradox: The Discipline of Strategic Execution. The European Business Review, November-December: 30-33.

Dobrow, S., Smith, W.K., & Posner, M. (2011). Managing the Grading Paradox: Leveraging the Power of Choice in the Classroom. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(2): 261-276.

Smith, W. K., Lewis, M. W., & Tushman, M. (2011). Organizational sustainability: Organization Design and Senior Leadership to Enable Strategic Paradox. In K. Cameron, & G. Spreitzer (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship (pp. 798-810). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Tushman, M., Smith, W. K., Wood, R., Westerman, G., & O'Reilly, C. (2010). Organizational Design and Innovation Streams. Industrial and Corporate Change,19(5), 1331-1366.

Smith, W. K., Binns, A., & Tushman, M. (2010). Complex Business Models: Managing Strategic Paradox Simultaneously. Long Range Planning, 43, 448-461.

Smith, W. K. (2009). A Dynamic Approach to Managing Contradictions. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 2, 338-343.

Smith, W. K., and Tushman, M. (2005). Senior Teams and Managing Contradictions: On the Team Dynamics of Managing Exploitation and Exploration. Organization Science, 16, 522-536.

Reprinted: Smith, W. K. & Tushman, M. (2007). Gestion des Contradctions Strategiques. In F. Bournois & J. Duval-Hamel & S. Roussillon & J.-L. Scaringella (Eds.), Comites Executifs: Voyage au coeur de la dirigeance, 37-46. Paris: Eyrolles: Editions d'Organisations.

Reprinted: Smith, W. K. and Tushman. M. (2010). Managing Strategic Contradictions: A Top Management Team Model for Simultaneously Exploring and Exploiting. In F. Bournois, J. Duval-Hamel, S. Roussillon and J.-L. Scaringella. Houndmills, Palgrave-MacMillian Handbook of Top Management Teams, 60-70.        

Tushman, M., and Smith, W.K.,  (2002). Organizational Technology. J. Baum (Ed.), Companion to Organization,  Malden, MA, Blackwell. 386-414.

Gatignon, H., Tushman, M., Smith, W.K., and Anderson, P. (2002). A Structural Approach to Assessing Innovation:  Construct Development of Innovation Locus, Type, and Characteristics. Management Science, 48, 1103-1122.

Professional Service

Editorial Board, Academy of Management Review, 2014- present

Academy of Management, Organization and Management Theory Division, Representative-At-Large, 2015 - present

Guest Editor, Organization Studies, Special Research Forum: Paradox, Tensions and Dualities of Innovation and Change, 2014

Editorial Board, Academy of Management Journal, 2014-present

Editorial Board, Business Ethics Quarterly, 2014-present

Awards & Honors

Research Awards

2015 Lerner College Outstanding Scholar Award

2015 Research Fellow of Social Innovation, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

2014 Department of Business Administration Outstanding Scholarship Award

2010 Best Paper in Graduate Management Education, Academy of Management

2008 Best Overall Conference Paper, European Group for Organizational Studies

2007 & 2013 Best Reviewer Award, Academy of Management, Org. and Management Theory Division

2006, 2010, 2013Best Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management


Grants and Funding

General University Research Grant, University of Delaware, $6K; 2013

Center for International Studies Research Grant, University of Delaware, $10K; 2009-10

Center for Integrative Leadership Research Grant, University of Minnesota, $2,500; 2009-10

Institute for Social Science Research Grant, Cornell University, $7K; 2009-10

General University Research Grant, University of Delaware, $6K; 2008

Women’s Affairs Faculty Travel Grant, University of Delaware, 2010

Center for International Studies Travel Grant, University of Delaware, 2009


Teaching Awards

MBA Teaching Award, Univ. of Delaware, MBA Program, 2016

MBA Teaching Award Nomination, Univ. of Delaware, MBA Program, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Excellence in Teaching Nomination, Univ. of Delaware, University Senate, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014

Bok Center Award for Teaching Fellow Excellence, Harvard University, 2005


Undergraduate and MBA

  • BUAD 870 - Leadership and Organizational Behavior (MBA)
  • BUAD 840 - Ethical Issues in Business (MBA)
  • BUAD 309 - Management and Organizational Behavior (Undergrad)

Executive Education          

  • Leadership and Organizational Change
  • Paradoxical Leadership
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Skills for Change Agents

The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.5 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Club, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Undergraduate scholarships, made possible through the generosity of alumni and friends, enable us to support promising scholars. Here, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and his mother, Leni Markell, join recipients of the William Markell Scholarship (center), which benefits students in Accounting and MIS.

The Institute for Financial Services Analytics is a collaboration between the Lerner College, UD's College of Engineering and JPMorgan Chase, and hosts events for academics and the business community designed to address consumer analytics and industry applications.

All Lerner College departments offer discovery learning experiences and emphasize data-based analytics to enrich the student experience. Here, students at Vita Nova, our award-winning restaurant run through HRIM, joined professional chefs and winemakers in hosting a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival event.

Lerner College faculty - like Meryl Gardner, whose research on foods and moods was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

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