Heather Caruso

Adjunct Associate Professor of Behavioral Science
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Heather Caruso

Heather Caruso is a faculty member and executive director at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with a passion for helping people in organizations make the most of their opportunities to grow, inspire, and work effectively together.

Passion for facilitating collaborative success runs deep in Caruso’s life, and emerged perhaps most intensely during her years as an engineer and executive in a multinational Silicon Valley startup. In countless experiences there, she observed fascinating ways in which interpersonal problems could derail even the most talented individual performers, and ways in which effective collaboration could not only prevent such problems but raise individual contributions to new heights. As a result of these experiences, Heather decided to devote herself to helping organizations to consistently achieve the latter benefits, ultimately leading her to leave her position as director of engineering to do her MA in social psychology and her PhD in organizational behavior - social psychology, both at Harvard. Thus layering rigorous academic training on top of practical experience, Heather’s interests ultimately grounded themselves in the areas of: team dynamics (especially for cross-functional and multicultural teams); management of identity, power, and influence; and strategies for optimal choice, judgment, and decision making.

To pursue these interests in recent years, Heather’s work has branched into multiple streams. As an adjunct associate professor of behavioral science at Chicago Booth, Heather offers classes in leadership, team dynamics, and power and influence to both MBA students (including Executive MBA students) and to participants in the school’s Executive Education Program. Because Heather’s interests in these areas grew out of her real-world executive experience in organizations, she has also made it a priority to consult for private- and public-sector organization leaders, so as to stay in close touch with the everyday priorities and challenges faced by leaders on the ground. And to support all of these activities with a robust foundation of cutting-edge behavioral science, Heather advances millions of dollars in new research each year through her work as executive director of Booth’s Center for Decision Research.