Sunita Sah

Sunita Sah

  • Associate Professor
  • Director of the Cornell University Academic Leadership Series

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Interdisciplinary Theme

  • Behavioral Economics and Decision Research

Faculty Expertise

  • Compliance and Defiance
  • Behavioral Research
  • Decision Making
  • Ethics
  • Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Negotiations
  • Critical Thinking
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Disclosure
  • Trust
  • Advice and Influence


Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Cornell Directory Entry


Sunita Sah's research focuses on ethics, influence, and advice. Specific topics include trust, advisor-advisee relationships, conflicts of interest, institutional corruption, transparency, disclosure, improving decisions, influence, compliance, and defiance. In particular, Sah researches why we comply with bad advice and how disclosure policies can backfire. Using a multi-method approach of laboratory and field experiments as well as qualitative analysis and utilizing large real-world archival data sets, Sah incorporates organizational behavior, psychology, and behavioral economics theory to study different aspects of the advisor-advisee relationship.

Sah's work has been published in top academic journals in management, science, medicine, law, economics, and psychology, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA Internal Medicine, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Psychological Science. Her work has also been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Nature, BBC News, Financial Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Boston Globe, and National Public Radio, as well as BBC World Television and national radio stations.

Sah recently served as a commissioner on the National Commission of Forensic Science and on the Human Factors Committee for the National Institute of Science and Technology Forensic Science Standards Board. She is currently on the advisory board of the American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services, the editorial board of the Behavioural Public Policy Journal, the advisory committee of The Productivity Institute, the scientific advisory board of the Behavioral Economics in Health Network, and an Officer at the International Behavioural Public Policy Association.

Sah has won best paper awards from the Academy of Management, Society of Business Ethics, Society of Judgment and Decision-Making, and Society of Personality and Social Psychology, as well as scholar awards from the Russell Sage Foundation, Harvard University, Kellogg School of Management, and the Medical Research Council.

Sah was previously the KPMG Professor of Management Studies at the University of Cambridge in the UK and held academic positions at Georgetown, Duke, and Harvard Universities in the United States. Before entering academia, Sah worked as a medical doctor for the UK's National Health Service, subsequently becoming a senior consultant and European marketing director at IMS Health Consulting and then managing director [CEO] of Organisational Dynamics Ltd.

Sah holds a PhD and MS in organizational behavior from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA with distinction from London Business School, an MB ChB (UK equivalent to the US MD) in medicine and surgery, and a BSc (Hons) in psychology from the University of Edinburgh.

Selected Publications

Awards and Honors

  • Mid-Career Achievement Award (2022) Health Care Management, Academy of Management
  • Initiative Award (2021) Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

Recent Courses

  • NBAY 6820 - Negotiation Essentials
  • NBAE 6660 - Negotiations

Academic Degrees

  • PhD Carnegie Mellon University, 2010
  • MS Carnegie Mellon University, 2010
  • MBA London Business School, 2005
  • MBChB (MD) University of Edinburgh, 1997
  • BS University of Edinburgh, 1994