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Kieran O’Connor

Associate Professor of Management

Headshot of Kieran O’Connor

Contact Information

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland  Oregon  97201


  • Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, Ph.D., Organizational Behavior
  • Stanford University, B.A., Psychology

Research Interests

Authenticity, hypocrisy, decision biases, behavioral ethics, organizational rebels


Kieran O’Connor joined the Willamette MBA faculty fall semester 2021, where he teaches courses on leadership, organizational behavior, managerial decision making, and negotiation. Prior to his arrival, he served on the faculty at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, where he taught management courses across undergraduate and graduate programs. He has also regularly lectured on management and organizational behavior topics at the UVA School of Nursing and the UVA Medical School and has taught leadership, organizational behavior, and negotiation in the Darden School of Business Executive MBA program.

Professor O’Connor’s research focuses on the social and cognitive psychological processes that influence decision making in organizations and judgments of others. His recent work explores authenticity in organizations: what makes some individuals and organizations signal more authenticity than others – whether they behave consistently with their own principles or conform to socially constructed categories – and how these judgments drive increases in different types of value for them. Conversely, he also explores moral judgments of organizations such as hypocrisy, including the penalties that organizations and their members face when behaving inconsistently with stated norms and moral claims. His work ties together these two related but opposing sides of organizational life – authenticity and hypocrisy – and what drives these divergent perceptions and outcomes for organizations and their members. His research has been published in leading journals such as Academy of Management Annals, Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Global Environmental Change, and others. His research has been featured in Harvard Business Review and The Economist.

Professor O’Connor earned his Ph.D. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a former graduate fellow at the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation.

Honors, Awards and Distinction

Best Paper Award, Academy of Management Annals, 2019

McIntire School of Commerce Faculty Teaching Award, awarded by the Order of Claw & Dagger, University of Virginia

David R. Ledford Faculty Fellowship, University of Virginia

Blue Ridge Leadership Faculty Fellowship, University of Virginia

Stanford University B.A. Honors with Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa

Selected Publications

Adams, G. S., O’Connor, K. S., & Belmi, P. (2022). Social perception in moral judgments of interpersonal transgressions. Current Opinion in Psychology, 44, 177-181.

O’Connor, K., Effron, D. A., & Lucas, B. J. (2020). Moral cleansing as hypocrisy: When private acts of charity make you feel better than you deserve. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119, 540- 559.

Lehman, D. W., O’Connor, K., Kovács, B., & Newman, G. E. (2019). Authenticity. Academy of Management Annals, 13, 1-42. [Lead article; *AoM Annals 2019 Best Paper Award*]

Lehman, D. W., O’Connor, K., & Carroll, G. R. (2019). Acting on authenticity: Individual interpretations and behavioral responses. Review of General Psychology, 23, 19-31.

Carroll, G. R., Feng, M., He, Y., O’Connor, K., & Wang, L. (2019). Authenticity and Institutional Context: Individual Preferences in China. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 1-18.

O’Connor, K., Lehman, D. W., & Carroll, G. R. (2019). The kind of authenticity customers will pay more for. Harvard Business Review. H05121.

Effron, D. A., O’Connor, K., Leroy, H., & Lucas, B. J. (2018). From inconsistency to hypocrisy: When does “saying one thing but doing another” invite condemnation? Research in Organizational Behavior, 38, 61-75.

O’Connor, K., & Cheema, A. (2018). Do evaluations rise with experience? Psychological Science, 29, 779-790. [Top 5% of all media mentions tracked by Altmetric]

O’Connor, K., & Cheema, A. (2018). Why ratings on everything from wine to Amazon products improve over time. Harvard Business Review. H04KDW. 

O’Connor, K., Carroll, G. R., & Kovács, B. (2017). Disambiguating organizational authenticity: The unique value and appeal of various interpretations. PLoS One, 12, e0179187.

Bateman, T. S., & O’Connor, K. (2016). Felt responsibility and climate engagement: Distinguishing adaptation from mitigation. Global Environmental Change, 41, 206-215.

O’Connor, K., & Monin, B. (2016). When principled deviance becomes moral threat: Testing alternative mechanisms for the rejection of moral rebels. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 19, 676-693.

Effron, D. A., Lucas, B. J., & O’Connor, K. (2015). Hypocrisy by association: When organizational membership increases condemnation for wrongdoing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 130, 147-59.

Other Publications, Chapters and Proceedings

Making sense of moral ambiguity in organizations (Judgments of organizational size and corporate ethicality). Academy of Management Proceedings, 2020, with Freund, A., & Flynn, F. F.

The costs and benefits of making moral claims in organizations (Intergenerational hypocrisy: When an organization’s past erodes its legitimacy to act). Academy of Management Proceedings, 2020, with Lucas, B. J., Effron, D. A., & Berry, Z.

The dark side of authenticity in organizational life. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018, with Lockwood, C., Lehman, D., Carroll, G. R., Kovács, B., Negro, G., Schultz, M., & Suddaby, R. R.

Authenticity and institutional context: An empirical study into individual preferences in China. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018, with Carroll, G. R., Feng, M., Yuanqiong, H., & Wang, L.

Carroll, G. R., & O’Connor, K. (2018). Comment on “Algorithms and authenticity”. Academy of Management Discoveries, 5, 95-96.

Bateman, T. S., & O’Connor, K. (2017). How to talk climate change across the aisle: Focus on adaptive solutions rather than causes. The Conversation.

Authenticity in markets: Organizations, principals, and audiences. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017, with Carroll, G. R., Zuckerman, E., Kovács, B., & Younkin, P.

Doing good or looking good? Distinguishing between private and public prosociality. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017, with Ruttan, R., Zlatev, J., Mayer, D., & Cain, D.

Carroll, G. R., & O’Connor, K. (2015). Biology, evolution, and organizations: Promises and challenges in building the foundations. In S. M. Colarelli & R. D. Arvey (Eds.), Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior (pp. 311-342). Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

O'Connor, K., & Adams, G. S. (2013). Affective antecedents of revenge. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 29-30.

Monin, B., & O’Connor, K. (2011). Reactions to defiant deviants: Deliverance or defensiveness? In J. Jetten & M. Hornsey (Eds.) Rebels in Groups: Dissent, Deviance, Difference and Defiance (pp. 261- 280). Oxford: Blackwell-Wiley.

Professional Service

Ad-hoc Reviewer: Science, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.