Wendy Smith

Title Dana J. Johnson Professor of Business, Faculty Director & Co-Founder - Women's Leadership Initiative
Email smithw@nospam666be9e54c887.udel.edu
Office 234 Lerner Hall


Wendy Smith earned her Ph.D. in organizational behavior at Harvard Business School, and is currently a professor of management at the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics and Co-director of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the University of Delaware.

Wendy’s research focuses on strategic paradoxes – how leaders and senior teams effectively respond to contradictory agendas. She studies 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, Administrative Science Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, Organization Science and Management Science. In 2018, she won the University of Delaware’s first Mid-Career Excellence in Scholarship Award. In 2015, she won the Lerner College Outstanding Scholar Award.

Wendy teaches leadership, organizational behavior and business ethics. She has taught MBAs and undergraduates at University of Delaware, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania – Wharton. Wendy was awarded the University of Delaware MBA Teaching Award in 2016. 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.

Wendy’s book Both/And Thinking was published by Harvard Business School Press in August 2022.

View Wendy’s TEDx-UD talk, “The Power of Paradox.” Follow her on Twitter @profwendysmith.


  • Ph.D. in organizational behavior, Harvard University/Harvard Business School, 2006
  • M.A. in psychology, Harvard University, 2004
  • B.A. in psychology & political science, Yale University, 1996

Select Publications

Awards & Honors

  • Academy of Management Review Decade Award, 2021
  • Delaware Today, Women in Business, 2019
  • Web of Science, Highly Cited Researcher, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Mid-Career Award for Excellence in Scholarship, University of Delaware, 2018
    • Awarded to two faculty across the university
  • Best Paper Award, Ivey Business School Institute for Leadership, 2017
    • Awarded to the best paper in any management journal from 2014 (for AMJ, 2014)
  • Best Paper Award Runner-Up, Academy of Management Annals, 2017
    • Runner-Up for the Best Paper in the journal from 2016 (for Annals, 2016)
  • Outstanding Scholar Award, Lerner College 2015; Business Administration Department 2014, 2017
  • Outstanding Reviewer, Academy of Management Review, 2015
  • Most Developmental Reviewer Finalist, Academy of Management Review, 2015
  • Best Overall Conference Paper, European Group for Organization Studies, 2008
  • MBA Teaching Award, University of Delaware, MBA Program, 2016; Runner-Up 2018
  • MBA Teaching Award nomination, Univ. of Delaware, MBA Program, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Excellence in Teaching nomination, Univ. of Delaware, University Senate, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

Curriculum Vitae

Download Wendy Smith’s CV (PDF)