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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

Michael Christian

Professor of Organizational Behavior

Mike Christian is an award-winning teacher and researcher. Poets & Quants named him a “Best 40 Under 40 Professor” and the Association for Psychological Science  honored him as a “Rising Star.”

His research focuses on understanding the mind-body connection at work. He examines how somatic states such as sleep, pain and sickness affect energy, work engagement and self-control at work. He studies how these factors dynamically relate to unethical behavior as well as desirable work performance.

Dr. Christian has examined:

  • How mindfulness helps employees to cope with unfairness at work by reducing anger, rumination, and reducing retaliation behaviors.
  • How daily fluctuations in human energy resulting from somatic pain lead to ebbs and flow in engagement and withdrawal at work
  • The effects of sleep deprivation on deviant and unethical behavior in the workplace, and how caffeine might reduce these effects while unethical social influence exacerbates them
  •  The “slippery slope” of unethical behavior, identifying the regulatory role of moral disengagement in leading people to commit increasingly larger ethical transgressions

His teaching interests include leadership coaching, leading effective teams and organizational change at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Dr. Christian has an ongoing interest in human resource management. He has worked with organizations, including the Tucson Police Department and the South Central Public Health Training Center, on issues concerning employee selection, promotion and training. He is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Administrative Science Quarterly, The Academy of Management Journal, The Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology and The Journal of Management have published his research.

He has received research grants from the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation.

Dr. Christian received his PhD in management from the University of Arizona, his master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Tulane University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.