michelle barton portrait

Michelle Barton, PhD

Associate Professor of Practice
Academic AreaManagement & Organization

Dr. Michelle Barton is an Associate Professor of Practice at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School with expertise in organizational and team resilience, managing uncertainty, and interpersonal effectiveness during adversity.

Dr. Barton’s work examines how groups manage dynamic and uncertain situations as they are unfolding. Drawing from wildland firefighting, high tech entrepreneurship, expedition racing and military operations, her research considers how groups make sense of ambiguous situations, how they coordinate, learn and share knowledge in the midst of confusion and how they mitigate and recover from adversity. She is especially focused on the relational dynamics that enable these practices. Dr. Barton’s research has appeared in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, BMJ – Leader, Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, The Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Human Relations, Organizational Psychology Review and several edited collections. She is a well-regarded speaker, and has presented her work at venues such as NASA (International Space Station flight directors), the U.S. Army Medical Command, Johns Hopkins University Patient Safety Conference, West Point, Children’s Hospital Association and Boston Medical Center among others.

In addition to her University teaching, Dr. Barton runs workshops on leading in volatile environments, and coaches executives in accelerated learning and knowledge-sharing practices. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Barton spent ten years with Harvard Business Publishing, where she was a co-founder of their eLearning business and the global Product Director for Leadership and Management Development programs. While there, she helped produce over 20 interactive learning programs for managers. Prior to that, she was an Associate at the Boston Consulting Group.


  • PhD, Management & Organizations, University of Michigan
  • BA, Psychology, Pomona College


  • Barton, M.A., Christianson, M., Myers, C.G., and Sutcliffe, K. (2020), Resilience in action: leading for resilience in response to COVID-19. BMJ Leader
  • Barton, M.A. & Kahn, W.  (2019), Group resilience: The place and meaning of relational pauses. Organization Studies, 40 (9), 1409-1429.
  • Kahn, W., Barton, M., Fisher, C., Heaphy, E., Reid, E. & Rouse, E. (2018), The geography of strain: organizational resilience as a function of intergroup dynamics. Academy of Management Review, 43 (3), 1-21.
  • Barton, M.A., Sutcliffe, K., Vogus, T., and DeWitt, T.  (2015), Performing under uncertainty: Contextualized engagement in wildland firefighting. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 23 (2), 74-83.
  • Barton, M.A., & Bunderson, J.S. (2014). Assessing member expertise in groups: An expertise dependence perspective, Organizational Psychology Review, 4 (3), 228 – 257.
  • Kahn, W., Barton, M.A., & Fellows, S. (2013). Organizational Crises and the Disturbance of Relational Systems.  Academy of Management Review.
  • Leonard, D., Barton, G.B., & Barton, M.A. (2013). Make Yourself an Expert – How to pull knowledge from the people around you. Harvard Business Review, April.
  • Barton, M.A. & Sutcliffe, K., (2010). Learning when to stop momentum, MIT Sloan Management Review, 51 (3), 69-76.