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6 June 2024 - 6 June 2024

10:00AM - 12:00PM

Durham University Business School and Online

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Join us for a Centre for Leadership and Followership hosted seminar with Professor Cynthia Wang (Northwestern University)

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Durham University Business School

Novel Perspectives on Perspective-Taking


Perspective-taking involves imagining the world from the viewpoint of others to comprehend their thoughts, emotions, motivations, and intentions. In this talk, I will discuss two lines of research that provide novel perspectives on the role of perspective-taking. First, I examine the impact of perspective-taking on responses to COVID-19 conspiratorial beliefs. In several studies, I find that perspective-taking is an effective intervention that mitigates the adverse effects of such beliefs (i.e., reduced perceived importance of COVID-19 vaccines). Despite the potential of perspective-taking, recent research suggests it may also yield unintended consequences. Aligned with this theorizing, we find that the detrimental effects of COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs on the perceived importance of COVID-19 vaccines are exacerbated when adopting the viewpoint of someone with negative attitudes towards these vaccines. Thus, perspective-taking is not a panacea; its effects depend on context. My second line of research proposes that perspective-taking by Black employees can enhance their ability to navigate organizational environments effectively. Despite the psychological advantages of authenticity, Black employees in predominantly White-majority organizations often grapple with the choice between concealing or expressing their social identity. Through a series of studies, I identify novel factors at the organizational level (authenticity climates) and individual level (perspective-taking) that can encourage Black employees to affirm their social identities, fostering increased organizational involvement.

About the speaker

Cynthia Wang is the Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution and Research Center (DRRC) and a Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Management and Organizations from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Professor Wang has taught classes in negotiations, organizational behavior, group decision-making, and cross-cultural communications at the undergraduate, MBA, and executive levels. She currently teaches Negotiation Fundamentals and Advanced Negotiations at Kellogg. Her research interests include managing intergroup conflict, cultural and social diversity, and negotiations. An ongoing line of her research examines how to reduce social bias. She has examined how perspective-taking (i.e., actively imagining the world from another’s viewpoint) reduces prejudice, encourages the coordination of social behavior, and bolsters social bonds in diverse settings. Complimenting her interest in perspective-taking to reduce bias, she has also demonstrated how stigmatized groups can reduce the social biases they experience. She explores how individuals employ social creativity to diminish the pernicious impact of stigmatizing labels by self-labeling (self-consciously referring to oneself in terms of a stigmatizing label). She publishes in top research outlets such as Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organization Science, and Psychological Science. She has received attention from media outlets such as Time Magazine, Scientific American, New York Times, and BBC. She has received several research and teaching awards, including a Fulbright Scholar Fellowship and several best paper awards at the Academy of Management Conference.

She is an active member of the international academic community. She is President of the International Association for Conflict Management and served as this association's program chair and board representative. Before her academic life, she worked at Imagitas Corporation (a subsidiary of Red Ventures) in a role managing and consulting for public and private sector organizations.