Wendy Smith

Assistant Professor of Management

Department: Business Administration
Campus Address: 203 Lerner Hall
Newark, DE 19716


Wendy Smith earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Alfred Lerner School of Business at the University of Delaware.

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 exploit 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 Review, Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, Management Science and Academy of Management Learning and Education.

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 2007-2012 and nominated for the University of Delaware Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008, 2009 and 2012.

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


Smith, W. K. (In Press). Dynamic Decision Making: A Model of Senior Leader Managing Strategic Paradoxes. Academy of Management Journal

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

Lewis, M., Andriopoulos, C., Smith, W.K., (Forthcoming). Paradoxical Leadership to Enable Strategic Agility. California Management Review.

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.


Awards & Honors

Research Awards

Best Paper in Graduate Management Education, Academy of Management, 2010

Best Overall Conference Paper, European Group for Organizational Studies, 2008

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

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

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 Nomination, Univ. of Delaware, MBA Program, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

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

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 $1.4 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Fund, 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.

Lerner College faculty - like Anu Sivaraman, who is among Social Media Marketing Magazine’s “Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter” and’s “Top 50 Marketing Professors on Twitter” - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

All Lerner College departments offer experience-driven learning and emphasize evidence-based analytics methods to enrich the student experience. Here, finance students visit New York City’s financial districts for a first-hand look at markets trading and to meet with UD alumni.

Charles W. Horn, AS75, and wife Patricia, recently made a $3 million commitment to enhance and expand entrepreneurial studies.

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