Amber Stark

SIOP Fellow Elected to National Academy of Sciences

SIOP Fellow Michele Gelfand was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

A member of the APS Board of Directors and Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Gelfand was specifically recognized for her contributions to cultural, social, and organizational psychology.

“I was totally shocked,” said Gelfand, who has been a SIOP member since 1994. “When I got the phone call from the NAS committee, I couldn't believe it. There are a number of Gelfand mathematicians so I wondered if they were calling the wrong person!”

One of her first reactions was to give a shoutout to her students and collaborators.

“I have always been very inspired by my students and collaborators—their love for the study of culture and diversity, their hard work, and their perseverance—not to mention them putting up with my own personality,” she said. “Most of the work I have published has been with them, and I am very grateful for the opportunity and privilege to work with such fabulous people.”

Although Gelfand’s contributions to cultural, social, and organizational psychology are many, she said she is most proud of helping to globalize the science of psychology and I-O psychology in particular.

“It's been exciting to carry on the tradition of Harry Triandis and promote the importance of testing the universality of our theories, promote global collaborations, and investigate constructs that are important in other cultures that don't get attention in Western science,” she said.

Her current work is equally important.

“We’re working on how to negotiate cultural norms so that organizations have both tightness to execute and be efficient, but also looseness to enable creativity and tolerance—or cultural ambidexterity,” she said. “Through work with the US Navy, new simulations, and analyzing archival data, we hope to be able to provide tools and insights for leaders to actively negotiate TL in their organizations.”

As a SIOP member, Gelfand has been SIOP’s representative to the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS), has served on the Organizational Frontiers Series editorial board, and has been SIOP’s APS Program Chair. She is joining the Stanford Business School in Fall 2021 as the John H. Scully Professor in Cross-Cultural Management and Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as Professor of Psychology by Courtesy.

“I am very grateful to SIOP for providing both intellectual simulation and many close friendships over the years,” she said.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established under a congressional charter signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Considered one of the highest honors a scientist can receive, NAS membership extends to 2,461 active members and 511 international (nonvoting) members.

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