Faculty Spotlight - Ethan Burris

Ethan Burris For Ethan Burris, teaching executives is the best kind of challenge. When describing what being in a classroom full of executives is like compared to undergraduates and MBAs, Professor Burris says, "Teaching is usually a one-way street - it's part of my job to translate 'here's what the research says.' But executives always push back and ask the questions that challenge the research." For Burris, that challenge is part of what makes working with executives such a unique experience. "They want hard, tangible takeaways. That sense of urgency is awesome and invigorating."

As an Associate Professor of Management at the McCombs School of Business, his research by nature puts him on the inside of countless companies and organizations to study the most effective management tactics. From interviews and surveys to experiments and interventions, Burris has seen the inner workings of companies in a huge variety of industries, including tech, government, restaurants, healthcare and more. He recently worked as a visiting scholar at Google to help them establish a culture of voice. "Ultimately if you give employees a sense that they can speak up, innovation comes as a result." His research has also garnered the attention of the Harvard Business Review, where his insights on encouraging employees to speak up were recently published.

Burris brings his insights from the field back to the classroom to deliver the takeaways executives expect, such as strategies for communicating effectively with stakeholders and constituencies, tactics for being influential within organizations, and insights into how they can go about managing differently than they would have otherwise. Through it all, he finds connections between the vast variety of industries he's worked with. "You often see a lot of the same dynamics in different industries. It doesn't matter the industry or the job type, at the end of the day you're still dealing with people."

Upcoming class with Ethan Burris:

Leading For Impact

Leading High Performance Teams

Leading Change and Driving Innovative Thinking



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