Thomas Roulet

Professor of Organisational Sociology and Leadership

Fellow, Director of Studies in Psychology & Behavioural Science, and Co-Director of the King’s Entrepreneurship Lab at King’s College

MSc (Audencia), MPhil (SciencesPo Paris), MA (University of Cambridge), PhD (HEC Paris)

I am a social scientist researching and teaching how individuals and organisations can lead social change, and adapt to a changing workplace, especially around wellbeing. I also consult for and advise policy makers, public and private organisations on those issues. My work has appeared regularly in outlets such as the Academy of Management Journal, Review, Organization Science, Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Management Review, and been featured in the Economist and the Financial Times.

In the current era of uncertainty, and fast-paced changes, we need more than ever to revisit managerial and leadership approaches.

Professional experience

Prior to starting an academic career, Thomas worked in Debt Capital Markets on a trading floor in London, and for the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) in Paris.

His research focuses on negative social evaluations (stigma, disapproval) and their antecedents (misconducts, scandals), and more recently on wellbeing and mental health in the context of work. He was made a Mid-Career Fellow of the British Academy in 2023. His work has appeared in a variety of scientific outlets in management, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Annals, Organization Science, Journal of Management Studies, British Journal of Management), ethics (Business Ethics Quarterly, Journal of Business Ethics, Business & Society), and more broadly in social sciences and sociology (Human Relations, Work, Employment & Society, Journal of Vocational Behavior). His work on covert research received the Best Paper Award in Organizational Research Methods in 2017. He also published in practitioner outlets such as Harvard Business Review, and MIT Sloan Management Review, and has been regularly featured in media outlets such as the Financial Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Telegraph, The Guardian, ITV, Die Zeit, Le Monde, France 24 and BBC Radio London, in addition to writing a column for Forbes.

His book ‘The Power of Being Divisive: Understanding Negative Social Evaluations’ (Stanford University Press) was the runner-up for the George Terry book award of the Academy of Management in 2021, an award recognising the book having made the most important contribution to the field of management. The Financial Times described the book as “a fascinating study of the social-media fuelled and fast-changing landscape of public opinion, and the possible ways in which that might be beneficial”.

Since 2020, Thomas is a trustee of the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS), a UK charity encouraging research in management and governing the Journal of Management Studies. He sits on the board of various journals including Organization Studies, Organization Science, the Journal of Management and the Journal of Management Studies. He is associate editor at Business & Society. From 2017 to 2019 he acted as co-editor in chief of M@n@gement – the first open access journal in the field of management, supported by the French National Science Foundation and the French Academy of Strategic Management. He previously sat on the editorial board of Work, Employment & Society, the journal of the British Sociological Association.

Thomas’ teaching received the 2023 Pilkington Prize, awarded to the best teachers at the University of Cambridge, and he was recognised by Poets & Quants (listed among the “40 under 40 best business school professors” in 2020) and Business Because (“Business school professors to look for in 2020”). He received the Cambridge Judge teaching award for his leadership teaching in the MBA in 2021. In parallel to his teaching in the Business School, he teaches social psychology and sociology in College, which earned him a honourable mention for the Supervisory Award attributed by the Cambridge Department of Sociology in 2020. Before joining Cambridge, he received a university-wide teaching award at King’s College London in 2018.

Thomas consults on a regular basis for a variety of clients around questions of diversity, uncertainty management, and wellbeing at work. Most recently, he was involved in questions of organisational culture in a major M&A operation in France. He has also given talks and run seminars in ministries and in the public sectors on the return to work and the hybrid office.

Previous appointments

Before joining the University of Cambridge, Thomas was a Senior Lecturer and MSc Director at King’s College London. He has also taught at various levels from undergraduate to executives in a number of universities, including Oxford, SciencesPo, HEC Paris, Dauphine-PSL, and RMUTP in Bangkok.

In 2011-2012, he was a Chazen Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in the City of New York. Thomas also holds a faculty affiliation with the Society & Organizations (SnO) Research Centre at HEC Paris, where he got his PhD, and with Audencia Nantes.

Publications

Selected publications

Journal articles

 

Books, monographs, reports and case studies

  • Roulet, T.J. (2020) The power of being divisive: understanding negative social evaluations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Book chapters

  • Roulet, T.J., Paolella, L., Gabbionneta, C. and Muzio, D. (2019) “Micro-foundations of institutional change in the career structure of UK elite law firms.” In: Haack, P., Sieweke, J. and Wessel, L. (eds.) Research in the sociology of organizations: vol.65(A): microfoundations of institutions. Bingley: Emerald Publishing, pp.251-268 (available online)

Awards and honours

  • Mid-Career Fellow, British Academy, 2023
  • Pilkington Prize for Excellence in Teaching, University of Cambridge, 2023
  • Runner-Up, George R. Terry Book Award, Academy of Management, 2021
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Teaching Award, 2021
  • Listed among the “40 under 40 Business School Professors”, Poets & Quants, 2020
  • Listed among the “Business School Professors to Look for”, Business Because, 2020
  • Honorable Mention, Supervisor Award, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, 2020.
  • Runner-up, Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices, Organization & Management Theory Division, Academy of Management, 2020
  • Runner-up, Responsible Research Award, Organization & Management Theory Division, Academy of Management, 2020
  • Shortlisted, Bracken Bower Prize for the Best Business Book Proposal by an Author under 35, Financial Times & McKinsey, 2019
  • London50, Top 50 Professors in Management in the London area, 2019
  • University-wide Teaching Excellence Award, King’s College London, 2018
  • Best paper in Organizational Research Methods for 2017, Research Methods Division, Academy of Management, 2018
  • ABCD Reviewer Award, OMT Division, Academy of Management, 2018
  • British Academy/Leverhulme Grant, 2017
  • Best paper nomination, Research Methods Division, Academy of Management, 2016
  • Shortlisted, Bracken Bower Prize for the Best Business Book Proposal by an Author under 35, Financial Times & McKinsey, 2015
  • Runner-up, Grigor McClelland Best Dissertation Award, EGOS, 2014
  • Roland Calori Award (Best young scholar in strategy), AIMS (French Association for Management), 2014

News and insights

Learning from failure is crucial and the growth of AI in the workplace offers more opportunities to deliver machine feedback. A new study co-authored by Thomas Roulet of Cambridge Judge Business School finds that automated critiques can act as a catalyst to motivate people to learn from each other.

Large energy companies ignore online discussion about extreme weather and focus instead on corporate sustainability, finds study co-authored at Cambridge Judge.

From burnout to AI and the US elections, faculty at Cambridge Judge Business School offer their hopes and fears for the year to come.

Media coverage

Financial Times | 22 February 2023

Culture clash – the challenge of uniting fierce rivals UBS and Credit Suisse

Thomas Roulet, Associate Professor in Organisation Theory and Deputy Director of the MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, comments about the integration of UBS and Credit Suisse.

INBusinessnews | 23 March 2017

The new era for entrepreneurship at the heart of the CIM Summit 2023

Thomas Roulet, Associate Professor in Organisation Theory and Deputy Director of the MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, is mentioned in this article about mental health in the era of teleworking, digital marketing and artificial intelligence.

Newsweek | 6 February 2023

More than a third of Americans are ‘quiet quitting’

Thomas Roulet, Associate Professor in Organisation Theory and Deputy Director of the MBA programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, is mentioned in this article regarding Americans’ attitudes towards work after the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In a highly uncertain world, people are looking for purpose, not mind-numbing work where they feel like a cog in a large dehumanised machine,” says Thomas..

Le Point International, 29 January 2023
Cancer vaccines: why BioNTech is betting on the UK

Forbes, 31 December 2022
Forget about new year resolutions. Focus on prioritising and planning.

Financial Times, 6 November 2022
The retirees heading back to work

Business Insider, 1 November 2022
Resentment is mounting as some employees are forced back to the office and some are allowed to work from home

Forbes, 22 October 2022
How failed leaders make successful comebacks: Boris Johnson and the saviour strategy

Metro news, 17 September 2022
‘I had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t’: The reality of LGBTQ work discrimination

Yahoo.com (La Nacion), 2 September 2022
Demonised industries – why people choose to work in companies with a bad reputation

Yahoo Finance, 22 August 2022
Apple employees claim they’re doing ‘exceptional work’ remotely as Tim Cook orders them back. They’re probably wrong

The Economist, 11 August 2022
Why employees want to work in vilified industries

Fox Business, 12 July 2022
How to write a perfect cover letter, according to experts

Forbes, 21 June 2022
Three leadership and entrepreneurial lessons from the crypto crash

European Sting, 17 June 2022
4 experts on how leaders can best respond to a changing global landscape

Receive News, 4 June 2022
4 experts on how leaders can best respond to a changing global landscape

Business Because, 4 June 2022
What is the gig economy? Jobs, apps & platforms explained

Forbes, 10 May 2022
Did remote working result in falling productivity during Covid?

Phys, 22 April 2022
Remote working is ‘mixed bag’ for employee wellbeing and productivity, study finds

MIT Sloan Review, 18 April 2022
How shifts in remote behaviour affect employee wellbeing

The Telegraph, 12 April 2022
Does power really corrupt? Why genetics could be behind politicians repeating career-ending mistakes
12 April 2022

Bored Panda, 28 March 2022
40 hard-to-believe facts shared by the “Unbelievable Facts” Facebook page

We Are Tech Women, 17 February 2022
How tech companies can promote women’s mental health

Harvard Business Review, 19 January 2022
Your career needs a little luck. Here’s how to cultivate it

BBC, 10 January 2022
Will workers continue to pay a price for flexibility?

MIT Sloan Management Review, 5 January 2022
How hyperflexibility can benefit – or burn out – your team

BBC Sloan Management Review, 6 December 2021
Why some work environments breed toxic cultures

Forbes, 5 October 2021
Christmas party at work, online or in-person: A must for corporate morale and culture?

Forbes, 3 December 2021
Management lessons from James Bond, for the post-Covid world

Forbes, 3 December 2021
Management lessons from James Bond, for the post-Covid world

Financial Times, 27 September 2021
Business School Briefing: In-person events; business school awards

Fortune, 6 September 2021
Why more companies like Nike are closing their offices for a mental health break

Lifewire, 1 September 2021
How social media companies are trying to stop abuse

The Telegraph, 3 July 2021
New frontiers beckon for Amazon as Bezos heads up and away

Forbes, 17 June 2021
New frontiers beckon for Amazon as Bezos heads up and away

Forbes, 17 June 2021
Working from home two-days a week should be made a legal right in the post pandemic world

Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 1 June 2021
Three steps for corporations to actually achieve net-zero emissions

MIT Sloan Management Review, 26 April 2021
How organisations can promote employee wellness, now and post-pandemic

Forbes, 22 April 2021
Making hybrid office work: four tips to prepare the transition

ITV News, 19 April 2021
Business boom for Suffolk garden office company as more people work from home

Bored Panda, 2 April 2021
Someone asks people to share conspiracy theories that they actually believe in, here are 30 answers

Forbes, 16 March 2021
The vaccine reputation war will only leave one winner: the virus

Forbes, 9 March 2021
Burger King’s misogynistic tweet: when provocative social media strategies

Forbes, 9 March 2021
Playing blame games is not only unethical, it is also the wrong way out of the Covid-19 mess

Financial Times, 7 February 2021
Making digital MBA learning add up

Forbes, 25 January 2021
How visionary leadership can get us through the end of the tunnel

Financial Times, 11 January 2021
How MBA students have faced a year of uncertainty

The Economic Times India, 11 January 2021
Degrowth will accelerate as consumers change- companies should adapt now

Forbes, 9 December 2020
How to convince people to take the Covid-19 vaccine? A lesson in leadership communication

Financial Times, 9 December 2020
FT top European business schools ranking

Forbes, 1 December 2020
There is another epidemic in the workplace – the domino effect of burn-outs

Les Echos, 17 November 2020
Covid: Cambridge or the revolution in online education

Witf, 17 November 2020
Recognising misinformation amid the 2020 election

Poets & Quants, 7 October 2020
Recognising misinformation amid the 2020 election

The Conversation, 2 October 2020
To combat conspiracy theories teach critical thinking – and community values

Find MBA, 24 September 2020
Business schools adapt the MBA curriculum for the post-Covid era

Financial Times, 24 September 2020
Business books: September edition

ITV News, 16 July 2020
Working from home: will this mean the end of the office?

Poets & Quants, 29 April 2020
The world’s best 40 under 40 MBA professors

Le Monde, 12 April 2020
Coronavirus: “Who would have thought that discussions about the coffee machine would be missed so much”

USA News Hub, 2 April 2020
Five ways to be a better manager while working remotely

The Conversation, 25 March 2020
Five ways to be a better manager when working from home

WIRED, 13 March 2020
Five ways to be a better manager when working from home

Business Because, 2 March 2020
Because: MBA professors to look out for in 2020

Forbes
Leadership needs more diversity and less supremacy

Harvard Business Review, 14 February 2020
Leadership needs more diversity and less supremacy

The Telegraph, 9 December 2019
Only in the tech sector can you be written off as a dinosaur at the age of 29

Financial Times, 15 November 2019
Filthy colleagues are here to stay, in even the best offices

Financial Times, 25 October 2019
Bracken Bower Prize 2019 – the shortlist

Legal Futures, 22 October 2019
Firms with more women likely to adopt salaried partnerships

Business Weekly, 25 September 2019
Gender diversity pushes elite UK law firms towards non-equity partnership model

Sky News, 16 September 2019
Trade War: How firms on both sides of the rift can react

Harvard Business Review, 5 August 2019
Will the 4-day workweek take hold in Europe?

The Guardian, 18 July 2019
The lesson from the ruins of Notre Dame: Don’t rely on billionaires

Le Devoir, 13 July 2019
Ambassador sacrificed on the altar of a war of power

The Washington Post, 7 July 2019
Busting three modern myths of diversity in the workplace

Le Monde, 17 June 2019
Traveling by plane is today taking the risk of being labelled as “polluter”

The Conversation, 25 April 2019
Three lessons for leadership from the Brexit mess

Le Monde, 16 April 2019
Brexit uncertainty is the only constant in the British economic landscape since 2016

Fortune, 29 March 2019
Management experts try to make sense of Theresa May’s unconventional Brexit ultimatum

Harvard Business Review, 1 March 2019
Stressed at work? Mentoring a colleague could help

Harvard Business Review, 22 February 2019
How companies can adapt during times of political uncertainty

Barron’s, 1 February 2019
Research: Bad press brings big banks more business

Le Monde, 12 December 2018
Yellow vests: Citizen hackathon could help to establish dialogue

Bloomberg, 13 November 2018
It’s good to be bad if you’re a bank

The Economist, 9 November 2018
Naughty investment banks win more IPO business

People Management, 25 October 2018
Are your staff too skilled for their jobs?

Financial Times, 10 October 2018
The real reasons why mentors change your life

People Management, 10 October 2018
Employees waste nearly 13 days a year in ‘unproductive’ meetings, survey finds

Financial Times, 10 October 2018
The real reasons why mentors change your life

My Science, 10 October 2018
Mentoring can reduce anxiety

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