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Michael O’Leary

MSF Faculty

Michael O’Leary faculty member of McDonough School of BusinessMichael Boyer O’Leary graduated from MIT’s Sloan School of Management (PhD, Organization Studies) and Duke University (BA, Public Policy). Previously, he was on the faculty at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and worked as a management consultant (Coopers & Lybrand) and policy analyst (Pelavin Associates/American Institutes of Research).

Prof. O’Leary’s research deals with high performing teams, global collaboration, information technology use, young leaders, and the changing context of 21st century knowledge work (e.g., increasingly dispersed; increasingly subject to the tensions of multiple team membership; increasingly subject to dramatic changes in the teams’ environments). His work has been published by MIT Press and in the Academy of Management Review, IESE Insight, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Organization Science, MIS Quarterly, Organization Studies, and Academy of Management’s Best Paper Proceedings.

Prof. O’Leary teaches classes on leadership, organizational change, organizational behavior, and teams at the executive, PhD, MBA, and undergraduate levels. He has won multiple teaching awards at both Boston College and Georgetown. At Georgetown, he led the effort to re-design the undergraduate Management major and received the 2010 Dean’s Distinguished Service Award. At Boston College, he helped design a first-year introductory course in leadership, management, and ethics for all incoming undergraduate students, and helped re-design the MBA and undergraduate leadership and management majors.

O’Leary is a member of the executive committee of the Academy of Management’s Organizational Communications and Information Systems Division, has been an active member of Interdisciplinary Network of Group Researchers (INGRoup) and Harvard’s GroupsGroup since their founding, serves (or has served) as an expert reviewer for three National Science Foundation grant review panels -- Innovation and Organizational Sciences (IOS), Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) program, and Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE). He also has reviewed for more than two dozen academic journals.

Prof. O’Leary also worked as a management consultant for Coopers & Lybrand, where his practice focused on higher education, medical, and non-profit institutions. Before that, he served as a policy analyst in the Washington, DC office of Pelavin Associates Inc., now part of American Institutes of Research. At Coopers & Lybrand, his clients included major research universities and medical centers (e.g., Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Tufts, Boston University, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota), as well as several large nonprofit organizations (e.g., the Educational Testing Service and the NCAA). His consulting clients were all undergoing major changes in their information technology systems and dealing with the strategic, organizational, and behavioral implications of those new systems. At Pelavin Associates, his clients included the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Prisons.

Prof. O’Leary served as a member of the Duke University Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1995 and the Academic Advisory Board of Creative Realities Inc., an innovation consultancy. He grew up and attended public schools in Stony Brook and Setauket, New York, lives with his wife and two children in Bethesda, Maryland, and has traveled to more than 35 countries.

Selected Publications

Articles in journals:

  • O’Leary, M.B., Mortensen, M, and Woolley, A.W.. "Multiple Team Membership: A Theoretical Model of Productivity and Learning Effects for Individuals and Teams." Academy of Management Review 36.3 (2011): 461-78.
  • M.B. O’Leary, M. Mortensen. "Go (Con)figure: Subgroups, Imbalance, and Isolates in Geographically Dispersed Teams." Organizational Science 21.1 (2010): 115-31.
  • M.B. O’Leary, B. Almond. "The Industry Settings of Leading Organizational Research: The Role of Economic and Non-Economic Factors." Journal of Organizational Behavior 30 (2009): 497-524.
  • J.M. Wilson, M.B. O’Leary, A. Metiu, Q. Jett. "Perceived Proximity in Virtual Work: Explaining the Paradox of Far-but-Close." Organization Studies 29.7 (2008): 979-1002.
  • M.B. O’Leary, J.N. Cummings. "The Spatial, Temporal and Configurational Characteristics of Geographic Dispersion in Teams." MIS Quarterly 31.3 (2007): 433-452.
  • M.B. O’Leary, B. Almond, E. Lamm. "Which Organizations, What Work? The Industry, Job Level, Firm Size and Occupational Contexts of Leading Management Research, 1988-2002." Academy of Management Proceedings (2006): C1-6.
  • M.B. O’Leary, W.J. Orlikowski, J. Yates. "Managing By Canoeing Around: Lessons from the Hudson’s Bay Company." Knowledge Directions 3.1 (2001): 26-37.

Articles in books

  • O’Leary, M.B., Woolley, A.W., and Mortensen, M. . "Multiteam Membership in Relation to Multiteam Systems." Multi-Team Systems: An Organization Form for Dynamic and Complex Environments. Ed. Zaccaro, S., Marks, M. and DeChurch, L.. NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2012: xx-yy
  • M. Mortensen, A. W. Woolley, M.B. O’Leary. "Conditions Enabling Effective Multiple Team Membership." Virtuality and Virtualization vol. 236. Ed. K. Crowston, S. Sieber, E. Wynn. Boston: Springer, 2007.
  • M.B. O’Leary, W.J. Orlikowski, J. Yates. "Distributed Work Over the Centuries: Trust and Control in the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1826." Distributed Work. Ed. P. Hinds, S. Kiesler. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2002.


  • O’Leary, M.B., Mortensen, M., and Woolley, A.W. 2010. “Multiple Team Membership: Working Together before It All Goes Downhill,” IESE Insight, Q3(6):52-58.
  • O’Leary, M.B., Mortensen, M., and Woolley, A.W. 2010. “Trabajo en Múltiples Equipos: Cómo pedalear en varios equipos in perder el equilibrio,” IESE Insight, Q3(6):52-58. pp.50-56.