Deborah Kolb

By — on / Affiliated Faculty, PON Faculty

Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Professor for Women and Leadership (Emerita), Simmons School of Management

Co-founder, Ford Foundation-Funded Center for Gender in Organizations, Simmons School of Management

Co-director, Negotiations in the Workplace Project, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

An authority on gender issues in negotiation and leadership, Deborah Kolb is the author of several important books. Her most recent work, Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins into Big Gains (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley, 2015)—named by as one of the best negotiation books of 2015—offers practical advice for managing workplace negotiations. She has also published Everyday Negotiation: Navigating the Hidden Agendas of Bargaining (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley, 2003), one of Harvard Business Review’s 10 best business books of 2000. Among her other works are The Mediators (MIT Press, 1983), an in-depth study of labor mediation; Making Talk Work: Profiles of Mediators (Jossey-Bass, 1994), a study of the practice of successful mediators; and more than 100 articles.

Kolb organizes and leads executive development programs and serves as a women’s-leadership consultant to the White House, Deloitte, Dell Computer, Fidelity, Thomson Reuters, Time Warner, Google, Medtronic, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Because of her contributions to women’s leadership issues, she has been honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award for by the Equality Commission of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association.


B.A., Vassar College

M.B.A., University of Colorado

Ph.D., Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research interests

Negotiation, gender, leadership, conflict in organizations, mediation

Selected publications

  • “Be Your Own Best Advocate.” Harvard Business Review, November 1, 2015.
  • With Robin Ely and Herminia Ibarra. “Taking Gender into Account: Theory and Design for Women’s Leadership Development Programs.” Academy of Management Learning and Education 10, no. 3 (2013).
  • “Too Bad for the Women or Does It Have to Be?: Gender and Negotiation Research over the Past Twenty Five Years.” Negotiation Journal 25, no. 4 (2009): 515–531.
  • With Kathleen McGinn. “Introduction: From Gender and Negotiation to Gendered Negotiation.” Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 2, no. 1 (2009): 1–16.
  • With T. Nelson and S. Maxfield. “Women Entrepreneurs and Venture Capital: Managing the Shadow Negotiation.” International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship 1, no. 1 (2009): 57–76.


The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
501 Pound Hall
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
tel 1-800-391-8629
tel (if calling from outside the US) 301-528-2676
fax 617-495-7818