When Harvard professor Francesca Gino suggests you engage in a little rebelliousness in the workplace, she’s urging you to be authentic rather than to graffiti the walls in the toilets. Gino’s 15-minute keynote presents rich research regarding the impact of authenticity on performance, feelings and behavior. She makes a strong case for greater individuality in the workplace, although her link between authenticity and rebelliousness needs further clarification. Leaders and HR professionals interested in enhancing their corporate culture will enjoy Gino’s insights.


When Francesca Gino moved to Boston from her native Italy, she tried to conform to local social norms. She enrolled in speech classes to minimize her Italian accent and began wearing American clothing. But conforming made her feel inauthentic. The discomfort that sprang from her lack of authenticity inspired her research, which revealed that inauthenticity can generate feelings of immorality and shame. These distressing emotions often drive people to compensate by, for example, donating to charity.

Authenticity, on the other hand, has several positive associations, including persistence...

About the Speaker

Francesca Gino is the head of the Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School.

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