Melissa J. Williams joined the Goizueta faculty in 2011, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She earned a PhD in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Williams studies what happens when social identities (gender, race, stigma, or national culture) collide with workplace hierarchies. She also investigates the consequences of putting people in positions of power and leadership. Her research has been published in top journals (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Management), and covered in major media outlets (Forbes, The New York Times, Wall St. Journal). She is currently an Associate Editor at Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and serves as Area Coordinator for the Organization & Management area at Goizueta.

Selected recent papers:

Negro, G., Williams, M. J., Pontikes, E., & Lopiano, G. (2021). Destigmatization and its imbalanced effects. Management Science.

Williams, M. J., George-Jones, J., & Hebl, M. R. (2019). The face of STEM: Racial phenotypic stereotypicality predicts STEM persistence by – and ability attributions about – students of color. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(3), 416-443.

Williams, M. J., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Guillory, L. (2017). Sexual aggression when power is new: Effects of situational high power on chronically low-power individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112(2), 201-223.

Williams, M. J., Tiedens, L. Z. (2016). The subtle suspension of backlash: A meta-analysis of penalties for women’s implicit and explicit dominance behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 142(2), 165-197.

Williams, M. J. (2014). Serving the self from the seat of power: Goals and threats predict self-interested leader behavior. Journal of Management, 40(5), 1365-1395.


  • PhD in Social / Personality Psychology
    University of California, Berkeley
  • BA in Psychology
    Rice University