About Dr. Martin Davidson
Martin began his unique path towards “leveraging difference” at Harvard, earning his AB in Psychology & Social Relations in 1983. His PhD in Psychology was received from Stanford University in 1988, where his emphasis of study was on Personality and Social Psychology. The topic of his dissertation, entitled Distinguishing Repressive Coping from Impression Management, served as the beginning of his career-long exploration into emotion, conflict, and differences in identity. That work evolved into his current work—a unique approach to managing diversity, leveraging difference, and developing talent in organizations.
Martin’s captivating and thought-provoking teaching style has earned him praise and recognition from MBA students and Executive Education participants he has impacted at two of the top-ranked business schools in the country—currently at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, and previously at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.
Martin teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Darden, and has served as the Faculty Leader for the Leadership and Diversity section. And he served two years as the Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer for the Darden School, where he is worked to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for faculty, administration, staff, and students.
Research and Teaching Interests
Martin’s main research and teaching focus takes a unique approach to the broad topic of diversity. Rather than only addressing the traditional diversity challenges of race and gender, Martin also incites interest, thought, and action into the complex workplace challenges that require leveraging a variety of differences to fully manage talent in the workplace:
- The End of Diversity as We Know It!: Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed, his upcoming new book, teaches us that everyone is diverse. He presents his unique approach to diversity, which tears down our preconceptions of what that means to organizations, and presents it as something to embrace – creating strategies around it that can result in significant outcomes. Read a chapter from The End of Diversity as We Know It!: Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed
- Looking ahead to his second book now in its inception, Embrace the Weird will explore the idea that in the workplace, individuals who are on the margin, who are a little bit different, or who don’t seem to quite fit in often have the great ideas and can help organizations see what they are trying to accomplish in a different way. They are the real resource.
- In collaboration with the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Martin has contributed two bodies of work to the Batten Briefings series: Diversity That Matters, (2004) and Leveraging Difference for Organizational Excellence, (2003).
- Case studies and technical notes used in teaching MBA and Executive Education classes—”Jeri Caldwell at MOEX,” “Diversity at JP Morgan Chase: Right is Good Enough for Me,” “The Path to Leveraging Difference: Seeing, Understanding, and Valuing Difference,” and “Leveraging Difference for Organizational Excellence” help future and current leaders take diversity initiatives to the next level, and the entire organization moves forward as a result.
- In Chapter 7 of Exploring Positive Relationships at Work: Building a Theoretical and Research Foundation (2007), Martin Davidson and Erika James explore the engines of positive relationships across difference, conflict, and learning.
On a Personal Note
Martin is currently living in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife, Rachel Bagby, a composer and vocalist, lawyer, and sustainability advocate.