Robert Livingston

Robert W. Livingston is a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Prior to joining Harvard, Dr. Livingston held professorships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and the University of Sussex in England, where he was also Director of the Centre for Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity (LEAD).

Broadly speaking, Dr. Livingston’s research focuses on diversity, leadership, and social justice. More specifically, Dr. Livingston’s research ranges from micro-level experimental investigations of the psychological and physiological processes that underlie unconscious bias—to more macro-level examinations of bias and discrimination in the workplace, particularly in upper-level leadership positions. For example, his research on the “Teddy Bear Effect”, finding that Black CEO’s uniquely benefit from “disarming mechanisms” (e.g., babyfaceness) that make them appear warmer and less threatening, has been widely cited. He is also known for his research on “intersectionality” which explores variability in perception and treatment of individuals within the same gender (e.g., Black women vis-à-vis White women) or racial (e.g., Black men vis-à-vis Black women) categories.

His work has been published in top-tier academic journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Leadership Quarterly and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BBC, Newsweek, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Financial Times, ABC News, The Guardian, CNN, and MSNBC. He has also authored several book chapters and co-edited an award-winning book on social identity and intergroup relations.

Dr. Livingston has served as a diversity consultant for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, public-sector agencies, and non-profit organizations. Dr. Livingston was publicly identified by Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, as someone hired to combat discrimination on the online platform—designing an unconscious bias training module that was rolled out to millions of users. He has also worked with other corporate CEOs, tech entrepreneurs, health care administrators, law partners, professional sports teams, mayors of U.S. cities, state commissioners, police chiefs, university presidents, and members of Congress.

In his spare time, he enjoys jazz, wine and whiskey tasting, gastronomy, philosophy, interior design, real estate investing, hiking, and nature documentaries. He has resided in five countries and speaks four languages.