Biography

Professor Sunita Sah is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations and the Balen Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University. Dr. Sah’s research focus is on institutional corruption, ethical decision-making, bias, transparency, improving decisions, influence and advice – in particular how professionals who give advice alter their behavior as a result of conflicts of interest and disclosure policies. Using a multi-method approach of lab and field experiments as well as qualitative analysis and utilizing large real-world archival data sets, Dr. Sah incorporates organizational behavior, psychology and behavioral economics theory to study different aspects of giving, and reacting to, biased or over-confident advice.

Dr. Sah addresses three main questions with regards to conflicts of interest (COIs): First, she explores why professionals or leaders accept COIs that appear to many critics to be unethical. Second, she examines the extent to which COIs bias advice and the situations that increase or decrease that bias. Third, she investigates the impact of COIs on advisees, particularly when they know about the COI. Disclosure (informing advisees about the COI) is one of the most commonly proposed and implemented solutions to address COIs but can have surprising and unintended effects on both advisors and advisees.

Dr. Sah’s work has been published in top academic journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA Internal Medicine, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Psychological Science, and Social Psychological and Personality Science. Her work has also been featured in The New Yorker, Nature, BBC News, Financial Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Boston Globe, National Public Radio as well as BBC World Television and national radio stations.

Dr. Sah is currently on the editorial board of the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and on the Human Factors Committee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Forensic Science Standards Board. Dr. Sah has won best paper awards from the Academy of Management, Society of Business Ethics, London Business School, Society of Judgment and Decision-Making and Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and scholar awards from Harvard University, the International Association of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Center (Kellogg School of Management), the Medical Research Council (UK), and the National Science Foundation (US).  

Prior to joining Cornell University, Dr. Sah held academic positions at Georgetown, Duke and Harvard Universities. Before entering academia, Dr. Sah worked as a Medical Doctor for the UK’s National Health Service, before going on to be Senior Consultant and European Marketing Director at IMS Health Consulting, and then Managing Director [CEO] of Organisational Dynamics Ltd.

Dr. Sah holds a PhD and MS in Organizational Behavior from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA with Distinction from London Business School, an MB ChB (UK equivalent to the US MD) in Medicine and Surgery, and a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh.