Ethan Burris
Job Title
Research Interests

My research, teaching and consulting work is around people analytics – using data and analytics to help make employees healthier, happier and more productive at work. I teach a class on this for MBAs where we go through the basics of using analytics for things like selection and hiring, performance management, managing culture and employee engagement and retention. I’ve also been able to leverage my research collaborations to provide tangible recommendations for partnering organizations – I was a visiting scholar at Google for over a year, in addition to other partnerships in education, grocery and food services, technology, and consulting. I also lead a Center for Leadership and Ethics, where we aim to integrate analytics into conventionally fuzzy topics like leadership and ethics.

My primary research focus is on what I call “employee voice” – getting employees to candidly speak up about problems and opportunities for improvement. Specifically, my current research focuses on understanding 1) the antecedents and consequences of employees speaking up or staying silent in organizations, 2) leadership behaviors, processes and outcomes, and 3) the effective management of conflict generated by multiple interests and perspectives. In particular, I have investigated how leaders shape employees decisions whether to speak up or stay silent, and how these voice behaviors influence the performance of employees who offer their input and leaders and organizations who receive it. Myresearch has appeared in several top management and psychology journals, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and has been covered in major media outlets such as the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and the Houston Chronicle. A sample of my projects, those in progress and recently completed, include:

• Fortune 500 tech company: In a study with over 20,000 employees, we are testing how patterns of communication networks can enable engagement, reduce turnover and spur innovation within teams.
• With a dozen financial service firms: We documented the impact of unconscious bias in assigning credit for innovative ideas and identifying high-potential employees.
• Major national restaurant chain: Across nearly 140 restaurants with over 5500 employees, we found that the impact of responsive leadership accounted for a reduction in annual turnover by 30%.
• Fortune 500 technology design and manufacturing company: In an experiment, we are testing the impact of a workshop on redesigning your own job on employee well-being and performance.
• Fortune 500 insurance company: We are studying the most effective strategies for employees to voice their ideas, accumulate support, and improve their performance. We have found that employing different strategies can account for up to 20% difference in sales performance.

For background, here are some short articles/blog posts on my research.

Here is a print article in HBR last year on how to create a culture of voice -…

And a few blog posts on HBR’s site too:…………

And a few other posts:…

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