Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior
Zhike Lei is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior. She is an award-winning organizational scholar and an expert on psychological safety, team dynamics, organizational learning, error management, and patient safety.
Lei studies how organizations, teams, and employees adapt and learn in complex, time-pressured, consequence-laden environments. As a global management educator, she has taught executives and PhD, DBA, EMBA, and MBA candidates, as well as undergraduates, and has won numerous teaching awards and recognitions.
“Engaging with power for a good purpose still makes us vulnerable to failure or becoming blissfully unaware. Leaders can overcome these challenges by relentlessly cultivating a healthy work culture, where courage, psychological safety, and compassion are both emphasized and expected.”
She has delivered custom programs and consultancy services for a wide range of organizations in different continents, including Allianz, Bosch, Cathay Pacific, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dubai Falcon, Karma Automotive, Nielsen, Siemens, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China.
Her scholarly work on team adaptation, psychological safety, error management, and crisis management has been published in premier academic outlets, including the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Health Affairs, Academic Medicine, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Academy of Management Discoveries, and Harvard Business Review. Her management insights have also been featured in general business journals and magazines, such as Harvard Business Manager, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Chief Executive.
Lei’s research on team adaptation and team reflectivity, in collaboration with hospital surgical teams, aviation pilots, and manufacturing engineers, has been recognized by best paper awards from leading academic journals.
She has also won prestigious awards and grants to study patient safety, error management, and team processes, including from the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Peter Curtius Foundation, and the Juran Center for Leadership in Quality.
She has served on the editorial review board for premier management journals including the Academy of Management Review and Academy of Management Discoveries (AMD) and was a guest editor of the AMD special issue on errors in organizations.
Before joining IMD in 2023, Lei served as Professor of Applied Behavior Science at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School in California, where she was also the research director overseeing faculty research and chair of the management department. She was previously a professor at the European School of Management and Technology and George Mason University. She worked as a marketing specialist for leading advertising and marketing firms such as Dentsu and Nielsen in China before embarking on her academic career.