image of Sandra Cha
Specializations

Leadership, Diversity, Authenticity, Identity, Corporate Values.

Biography

Sandra Cha is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Brandeis University's International Business School. She has taught executive, doctoral, masters, and undergraduate students, and has been featured as “Professor of the Week” in the Financial Times.

Professor Cha conducts research on leadership, diversity, authenticity, identity, and corporate values in 21st-century organizations. Her work on diversity and authenticity examines how individuals manage their own identities—such as by expressing, suppressing, or acting upon various facets of who they are—in demographically diverse organizations. Bringing one’s “whole self” to work can be challenging, especially for cultural minorities from historically lower status identity groups, such as women and racial minorities. Cultural minorities often face negative stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, which can undermine organizational performance and individual careers. Thus, the management of diverse identities is a critically important issue for 21st-century organizations, as workforces around the world diversify at unprecedented rates.

Her work on leadership focuses on "values-driven leadership": how leaders can inspire and motivate employee performance by appealing to shared values such as quality, respect for employees, or social responsibility. Corporate values have become an increasingly powerful leadership tool at a time when traditional sources of meaning and identity, such as religious institutions, have been eroded. Further, shared values can help to focus employees on a company's strategic priorities, motivating and coordinating employees without impinging on the autonomy needed for excellent performance under changing conditions.

Professor Cha’s research has been published in journals including Organization Science, the Academy of Management Annals, the Journal of Applied Psychology, The Leadership Quarterly, and Harvard Business Review. She has received multiple awards for her research, including the Accenture Award for a significant contribution to management.

Professor Cha holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, awarded jointly by Harvard Business School and the Harvard Department of Psychology. She also earned an M.A. in Social Psychology and a B.A. in Psychology (magna cum laude) from Harvard University. Her past homes include La Paz, Bolivia; Manila, Philippines; Montreal, Canada; and Washington, D.C.

Degrees

Harvard University, Ph.D.
Harvard University, M.A.
Harvard University, B.A.

Courses Taught
  • BUS 120a Organizational Behavior in Business
  • BUS 227a Influence, Power and Identity
Publications
  • Cha, Sandra E., Creary, Stephanie J., & Roberts, Laura M.. "Fumbling in relationships across difference: The potential spiraling effects of a single racial identity reference at work." Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal 40. 1 (2021): 90-102.
  • Cha, Sandra E., Kim, Sung S., Hewlin, Patricia F., & DeRue, D. Scott. "Turning a blind or critical eye to leader value breaches: The role of value congruence in employee perceptions of leader integrity." Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 27. 3 (2020): 286-306.
  • Cha, Sandra E., & Roberts, Laura M. "Leveraging minority identities at work: An individual-level framework of the identity mobilization process." Organization Science 30. 4 (2019): 735-760.
  • Cha, Sandra E., & Roberts, Laura M. "The benefits of bringing your whole identity to work." Harvard Business Review, digital article (2019)
  • Cha, Sandra E., Hewlin, Patricia F., Roberts, Laura M., Buckman, Brooke R., Leroy, Hannes, Steckler, Erica L., Ostermeier, Kathryn, & Cooper, Danielle. "Being your true self at work: Integrating the fragmented research on authenticity in organizations." Academy of Management Annals 13. 2 (2019): 633-671.
  • Roberts, Laura M., & Cha, Sandra E. "Sources of strength: Mobilizing minority racial, ethnic, and cultural identities as resources." Positive organizing in a global society: Understanding and engaging differences for capacity building and inclusion. Ed. L. M. Roberts, L. P. Wooten, and M. N. Davidson. New York, NY: Routledge, 2016. 31-36.
  • Roberts, Laura M., Cha, Sandra. E., & Kim, Sung S. "Strategies for managing impressions of racial identity in the workplace." Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 20. 4 (2014): 529-540.
  • Roberts, Laura M., Cha, Sandra E., Hewlin, Patricia F., & Settles, Isis H. "Bringing the inside out: Enhancing authenticity and positive identity in organizations." Exploring positive identities and organizations: Building a theoretical and research foundation. Ed. L. M. Roberts & J. E. Dutton. New York, NY: Routledge, 2009. 149-169.
  • Schaubroeck, John, Lam, Simon S. K., & Cha, Sandra E. (three equal first authors, as noted in the article). "Embracing transformational leadership: Team values and the impact of leader behavior on team performance." Journal of Applied Psychology 92. 4 (2007): 1020-1030.
  • Cha, Sandra E., & Edmondson, Amy C. "When values backfire: Leadership, attribution, and disenchantment in a values-driven organization." The Leadership Quarterly 17. 1 (2006): 57-78.
  • Chatman, Jennifer A., & Cha, Sandra E. "Using organizational culture as a leadership tool." Next generation business handbook: New strategies from tomorrow’s thought leaders. Ed. S. Chowdhury. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004. 22-38.
  • Chatman, Jennifer A., & Cha, Sandra E. "Leading by leveraging culture." California Management Review 45. 4 (2003): 20-34.
  • Edmondson, Amy C., & Cha, Sandra E. "When company values backfire." Harvard Business Review 80. 11 (2002): 18-19.
Awards & Honors
  • (2020) Finalist, 2020 Academy of Management Annals Best Paper Award
  • (2020) Finalist, Best Symposium Award, Academy of Management Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division
  • (2019) Outstanding Reviewer Award, Academy of Management Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division
  • (2018) Honoree, Brandeis Senior Week Faculty & Staff Appreciation Event. Recognized by seniors as having “assisted, mentored, and inspired them throughout their time at Brandeis.”
  • (2016) Outstanding Reviewer Award, Academy of Management Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division
  • (2013) Outstanding Reviewer Award, Academy of Management Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division
  • (2012) Professor of the Week, Financial Times
  • (2010) Diamond in the Rough Award, Academy of Management Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division
  • (2009) Principal Investigator, $99,976 grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • (2004) Accenture Award
  • (2003) Best Student Paper Award, Academy of Management Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division
  • (2003) Winner, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Dissertation Fellowship Competition