Mark de Rond

Professor of Organisational Ethnography

Fellow of Darwin College

DPhil (University of Oxford)

I am interested in how people live challenging circumstances on their own terms – in the explanations they give for why things are as they are and in the compromises they make with life and those around them.

My approach to research means living life as they do and has included sustained periods spent with doctors and nurses at war, Boat Race crews, a ragtag band rowing the Amazon, peace activists, and paedophile hunters.

Professional experience

Mark’s unique fieldwork and teaching approach have fostered an eclectic portfolio of executive education clients, including Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, White & Case, and various other law firms; Stonehage Fleming, McKinsey, KPMG, PWC, Ernst & Young and other professional service firms; organisations such as Sky, Ascential, OfCom, Lloyds-TSB, BT, Diageo, Moody’s, The Economist, and the NHS, and such NGOs as UNICEF, the British Academy, and the Church of England. He received training in mediation and negotiation at Harvard Law School (Program on Negotiation), is part of the University mediation team, and holds advanced degrees in management and economics, photojournalism and documentary photography, and biography and creative nonfiction. His research has featured widely in the press, including in The Economist, TIME magazine, The Financial Times, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Week, Der Spiegel, Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Evening Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The British Medical Journal (BMJ), The Lancet, and on the BBC’s Thinking Allowed, Thought for the Day, and World Service. His photographs have been published in The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and by the BBC News.

Previous appointments

Prior to joining Cambridge Judge Business School, Mark was an assistant professor in strategy at ESSEC Business School, Paris, a college lecturer at University College and Trinity College (University of Oxford), a research fellow at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (2001), and a Fulbright visiting scholar at Stanford University (2008).


Selected publications

Journal articles

  • de Rond, M. (2014) “The structure of serendipity.” Culture and Organization, 20(5): 342-358 (DOI: 10.1080/14759551.2014.967451)
  • de Rond, M. (2014) “Why less is more in teams.” Harvard Business Review OnPoint, Spring: 13-14
  • Lok, J. and de Rond, M. (2013) “On the plasticity of institutions: containing and restoring practice breakdowns at the Cambridge University Boat Club.” Academy of Management Journal, 56(1): 85-207 (DOI: 10.5465/amj.2010.0688) (Paper shortlisted for the OMT Best Published Paper Award, Academy of Management, 2014)
  • de Rond, M. (2012) “Soldier, surgeon, photographer, fly: fieldwork beyond the comfort zone.” Strategic Organization, 10(3): 256-262 (DOI: 10.1177/1476127012452819)
  • Sminia, H. and de Rond, M. (2012) “Context and action in the transformation of strategic scholarship.” Journal of Management Studies, 49(7): 1329–1349 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01059.x)
  • King, A. and de Rond, M. (2011) “Boat Race: rhythm and the possibility of collective performance.” British Journal of Sociology, 62(4): 565-585
  • Midwinter, M.J., Mercer, S., Lambert, A.W. and de Rond, M. (2011) “Making difficult decisions in major military trauma: a crew resource management perspective.” Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 157(3, Suppl.1): S299-S304
  • Runde, J. and de Rond, M. (2010) “Evaluating causal explanations of specific events.” Organization Studies, 31(4): 431-450
  • de Rond, M. (2008) “Teams: lessons from the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.” Harvard Business Review, 86(9): 28
  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R.A. (2007) “Choice, chance and inevitability in strategy.” Strategic Management Journal, 28(5): 535-551 (DOI: 10.1002/smj.602)
  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R.A. (2007) “Responsabilité stratégique des dirigeants: entre hasard, choix et inévitabilité.” Revue Française de Gestion, 33(172): 63-77
  • Lou, K. and de Rond, M. (2006) “The ‘not invented here’ myth.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 5: 451-452
  • de Rond, M. and Miller, A.N. (2005) “Publish or perish: bane or boon of academic life?” Journal of Management Inquiry, 14(4): 321-329
  • de Rond, M. and Bouchikhi, H. (2004) “On the dialectics of strategic alliances.” Organization Science, 15(1): pp.56-69
  • de Rond, M. (2002) “Reviewer 198, the hedgehog, and the fox: next generation theories in strategy.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 11(1): 35-45

Special issues of journals

  • Rouleau, L., Musca, G. and de Rond, M. (2014) “Special issue on from the ethnographic turn to new forms of organizational ethnography.” Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 3(1)

Books, monographs, reports and case studies

Book chapters

  • de Rond, M. (2021) “Ethnography and the traffic in pain.” In: Mir, R. and Fayard, A.L. (eds.) Routledge companion to anthropology and business. New York, NY: Routledge
  • de Rond, M. and Hallett, T. (2019) “The long walk to Aleppo: institutional myths, inhabited institutions, and ideals in the real world.” In: Reay, T., Zilbert, T.B., Langley, A. and Tsoukas, H. (eds.) Institutions and organizations: a process view. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.134-153
  • Claus, L., de Rond, M., Howard-Grenville, J. and Lodge, J. (2019) “When fieldwork hurts: on the lived experience of conducting research in unsettling contexts.” In: Zilber, T.B., Amis, J.M., Mair, J. (eds.) Research in the sociology of organizations: vol.59: the production of managerial knowledge and organizational theory: new approaches to writing, producing and consuming theory. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, pp.157-172

Conference papers

  • Runde, J. and de Rond, M. (2007) “Evaluating causal explanations of samples of one.” In: Organization Studies as Applied Science: The generation and use of academic knowledge about organizations: Organization Studies Summer Workshop, 3rd, 7-9 June 2007, Crete, Greece.
  • de Rond, M. and Marjanovic, S. (2005) “The legitimacy of messiness: interdisciplinary research and interorganizational relationships.” In: A new vision of management in the 21st century: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Research Methods Division, 5-10 August 2005, Honolulu, HI.
  • de Rond, M. and Miller, A.N. (2005) “‘What’s young Dixon’s stuff like?’: the effect of publish-or-perish cultures on faculty.” In: Getting through the research pipeline: Western Academy of Management Annual Conference, 46th, 30 March-2 April 2005, Las Vegas, NV.
  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R-A. (2005) “Chance, choice and inevitability in strategy.” In: A new vision of management in the 21st century: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, OMT Division, 5-10 August 2005, Honolulu, HI.
  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R.A. (2005) “Innovation is seeing what everybody else has seen, but thinking what nobody else has thought.” In: Strategic management: achievements and opportunities: Strategic Management Society Conference, 25th, 23-26 October 2005, Orlando, FL.
  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R-A. (2005) “The structure of serendipity.” In: A new vision of management in the 21st century: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Technology and Innovation Management Division, 5-10 August 2005, Honolulu, HI.
  • de Rond, M. (2004) “Chance, choice and determinism.” In: Critical Realist Workshop, 3 May 2004, Cambridge.
  • de Rond, M. and Bouchiki, H. (2003) “On the dialectics of strategic alliances.” Democracy in a knowledge economy: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Organization and Theory Division, 1-6 August 2003, Seattle, WA, USA.
  • de Rond, M. and Miller, A.N. (2003) “The brave new world of business school faculty: publishing, perishing, and the democracy of knowledge.” Democracy in a knowledge economy: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Research Methods Division, 1-6 August 2003, Hawaii, USA.
  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R.A. (2003) “Chance, choice and inevitability in strategy.” Democracy in a knowledge economy: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Organization and Management Theory Division, 1-6 August 2003, Seattle, WA.
  • de Rond, M. (2001) “Reviewer 198 and next generation theories in strategy.” In Academy of Management (eds.) How governments matter: Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (61st), 3-8 August 2001, Washington, D.C., USA. [Published on CD-ROM], pp.RM:A1-A6

Working papers

  • de Rond, M. and Thietart, R.-A. (2004) “Chance, choice and determinism in strategy.” Judge Institute of Management, Cambridge University, Research Paper No.2004/5

Book reviews

Awards and honours

  • Winner in the Academic Research category of the Financial Times Responsible Business School Education Awards (for the AMJ article “To catch a predator: the lived experience of extreme methods”), 2024
  • Sandra Dawson Research Impact Award, 2023
  • OMT Best Published Article Award, 2020
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Teaching Award, 2020
  • The Last Amateurs listed on the JP Morgan “Words of Inspiration” Reading List Special (22 most inspiring books for difficult times from 20 years of reading lists), 2020
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Teaching Award, 2019
  • Academy of Management Annals Best Article Award, 2019
  • EGOS Book Award (for Doctors at War), 2018
  • Finalist, George R. Terry Award (for Doctors at War), 2018
  • Honorable Mention, Outstanding Qualitative Book Award (for Doctors at War), 2018
  • The Last Amateurs listed as “One of 30 best ever sports books”, Metro, 2018
  • Academy of Management Journal Best Article Award, 2017
  • Finalist, EGOS Best Conference Paper Award, 2017
  • Honourable Mention, Research Impact on Practice Award, Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division, Academy of Management, 2017
  • Sandra Dawson Research Impact Award (“in recognition of the outstanding impact of his research into the social dynamics of high performing teams”), 2016
  • Winner, BAAG Afganistan Journalism Competition (based on Mark’s work on understanding the sociological basis of war-related PTSD), 2015
  • Finalist, OMT Best Published Paper Award, Academy of Management, 2014
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Teaching Award, 2014
  • Gold Winner in the Feature Story Category and Gold Winner in the War Category, Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3) (these photos are part of Mark’s work on PTSD among military medics and soldiers), 2013
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Teaching Award, 2012
  • Imagination Lab Award for Innovative Scholarship, awarded annually by the Swiss-based Imagination Lab Foundation and the European Academy of Management for work that is both highly scholarly and very innovative, 2009
  • Financial Times Best Business Books of 2008 (The Last Amateurs)
  • BBC Sport Best Sporting Reads of 2008 (The Last Amateurs)
  • Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award, 2007/8
  • Ascendant Scholar Award by the Western Academy of Management, awarded annually to up to four young scholars who have shown exceptional promise in their early research careers, 2007
  • George R. Terry Award for the book, published in the last two years, judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of management knowledge, Academy of Management, 2005 (for Strategic Alliances as Social Facts: Business, Biotechnology & Intellectual History))
  • Past Presidents’ Best Paper Award, Western Academy of Management, 2004
  • Best Doctoral Student Paper Award, Research Methods Division, Academy of Management, 2001
  • Shortlisted for the William H. Newman Award for Outstanding Paper based on PhD dissertation, Academy of Management, 2001
  • American Friends of Christ Church Scholar, 1998-1999

News and insights

FT Responsible Business Education Awards.

Purpose of Finance course wins top Teaching award and a study on paedophile hunters wins Academic Research award, while Cambridge Judge is Highly Commended for School-wide activities in the Financial Times awards for business education responsibility and impact.

Sandra Dawson Research Impact Award.

Global strategy and international business

How seeing beyond academic boundaries creates impact

Faculty members Mark de Rond and Kamiar Mohaddes win the 2023 Sandra Dawson Research Impact Award at Cambridge Judge Business School.

People looking at a computer screen.

Paedophile ‘hunters’ portray themselves as the last line of defence for children, but a study of their language reveals more complex motivations, with some even expressing boredom when potential predators don’t initiate sexual comments online.

Media coverage

Poets & Quants | 28 September 2022

Favorite professors of the MBA class of 2022

Mark de Rond, Professor of Organisational Ethnography and Philip Stiles, Associate Professor in Corporate Governance at Cambridge Judge Business School, are featured in a Poets & Quants article about the favourite professors of the MBA class of 2022.

Luvina Weilu Yao, MBA student at Cambridge Judge (MBA 2022) is also mentioned in the article. (subs)

Poets & Quants | 1 August 2021

Favourite MBA professors of the class of 2021

Mark de Rond, Professor of Organisational Ethnography at Cambridge Judge Business School, is among favourite MBA professors of the class of 2021. Aaron D’Souza, a current Cambridge MBA student, commented:

“We are spoiled for choices at Cambridge when it comes to our teaching faculty. However, one of my favourites so far is Professor Mark de Rond, who teaches the Management Praxis II: Cambridge Negotiations Lab. During his course, we roleplay complex negotiations in groups and develop relational skills including empathy, collective problem solving and mutual value creation. Some of the scenarios included an internal company dispute and trying to secure consensus around the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre post 9/11. Professor de Rond has made these negotiations engaging over Zoom and has provided numerous interesting anecdotes from his experiences observing Army surgeons in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan and with the Cambridge Boat Race Team. He also has a Guinness World Record for the first-ever unsupported row of the Amazon.”

Forbes | 13 July 2021

How extreme situations clarify your purpose, according to Cambridge Ethnography Professor Mark de Rond

An interview with Mark de Rond, Professor of Organisational Ethnography at Cambridge Judge Business School, about his research on human behaviour in extreme situations. “I’m intensely curious about what happens to people when they are forced into environments that are uncomfortable, or more extreme,” de Rond said. “The underlying idea is a very familiar one – by putting people in something like a pressure cooker, it helps smoke out the issues that exist in everyday life but are usually so subtle that they’re difficult to observe. Once you turn up the temperature, they tend to come to the fore. I think that’s one of the attractive features of extreme context research in general.”

Forbes, 14 July 2020
How to have courageous conversations in lockdown

Financial Times, 10 April 2020
‘Woodford protégé’ finds he needs to update CV

The Wall Street Journal, 21 February 2020
Nine ways to make your work day better

Network for Business Sustainability, 16 July 2019
When researchers affect what they study

Metro, 29 April 2015
Pick out these top 30 sports books

The Lancet, 5 May 2018
Moral injury in time of war

The Wall Street Journal, 18 April 2018
Running a team is becoming a ‘science’ for academia and the corporate world