Mary-Hunter McDonnell is an Assistant Professor in the Management Department at the Wharton School. She studies the political interactions between corporations and their myriad stakeholders, as well as how these interactions shape corporate social activity and non-market strategy. Her work also explores the mechanisms that stakeholders use to enforce behavioral expectations for corporations and to punish corporate transgressions. Her recent work appears in the American Sociological Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in management and organizations from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
In her dissertation, “Moving Targets: Dynamic Interaction in Market Contention,” McDonnell investigated how social movements affect corporate strategy through contentious tactics like boycotts, protest, and negative media campaigns. Her research has been published in several peer-reviewed outlets, including Administrative Science Quarterly, Psychological Science, Strategic Organization, and the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings. Her work has also been covered in several popular media outlets, including The Financial Times, The Economist, and Wired. She has taught courses on business law, corporate governance, and leadership and influence. McDonnell’s professional experience includes work at Mayer Brown LLP, the Office of the President of the Supreme Court of Thailand, and the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
- PhD, Management & Organizations, Northwestern University, ’13
- JD, Harvard University, ’11
- BA, Philosophy, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ’06
Assistant Professor of Management
The Wharton School
In the News
- Human Rights Campaign says Barilla has turned around its policies on LGBT., Washington Post - 11/19/2014
- Women at Business School – Mae McDonnell, Professor. , Financial Times - 01/12/2014
- The Russian Vodka Boycott is Working, whether you Like It or Not. , The Atlantic - 08/08/2013
- Morning Risk Report: Donating to Charities in Face of Boycott. , Wall Street Journal - 08/07/2013
- Charity Might Not Protect Your Company from a Boycott – But it could lessen the Blow. , Forbes - 08/06/2013
- Case Study – Delta Airlines Boycott. , Financial Times - 11/21/2011
- Water Boarding isn’t Torture? Try it, CNN.com - 11/16/2011
- Does the ‘Empathy Gap’ Encourage Torture?, The Huffington Post - 04/20/2011
- Empathy and Torture, The Economist - 04/14/2011
- Is it Torture? Those Who Decide it Have Not Felt it, Reuters - 04/12/2011
- The More Victims, the Less Severe the Judgment, Wired - 09/30/2010
Katarzyna (Kate) Odziemkowska and Mary-Hunter McDonnell (Working). Co-opting Contention: Field-level Effects of Firm-Activist Collaborations.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell and Brayden King (2018). Order in the Court: How Firm Status and Reputation Shape the Outcomes of Employment Discrimination Suits, American Sociological Review, 83 (1), 61-87.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell and Adam Cobb (Under Review). Take a Stand or Keep your Seat: Independent Director Exit after Social Activist Challenges.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell and Elizabeth Pontikes (Under Review). Bad company: The reputational implications of cross-sector interactions with a stigmatized firm.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell & Timothy Werner (2016). Blacklisted Businesses: Social Activist Challenges and the Disruption of Corporate Political Activity, Administrative Science Quarterly.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell (2016). Radical Repertoires: The Incidence and Impact of Corporate Sponsored Social Activism, Organization Science, 27, 53-71.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell, Brayden King, & Sarah Soule (2015). A Dynamic Process Model of Contentious Politics: Activist Targeting and Corporate Receptivity to Social Challenges, American Sociological Review, 80(3), 654-78.
Rachel Ruttan, Mary-Hunter McDonnell & Loran Nordgren (2015). Having ‘Been There’ Doesn’t Mean I Care: When Shared Experience Reduces Compassion for Emotional Distress, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(4), 610-622.
John Joseph, William Ocasio & Mary-Hunter McDonnell (2014). The Structural Elaboration of Board Independence: Executive Power, Institutional Logics, and the Adoption of CEO-only Board Structures in U.S. Corporate Governance, Academy of Management Journal, 57, 1536-1543.
Mary-Hunter McDonnell & Brayden King (2013). Keeping up Appearances: Reputational Threats and Impression Management after Social Movement Boycotts, Administrative Science Quarterly, 58, 387-419.
Janice Nadler & Mary-Hunter McDonnell (2012). Moral Character, Motive, and the Psychology of Blame, Cornell Law Review, 97, 257-304.
Loran Nordgren & Mary-Hunter Morris McDonnell (2011). The Scope-Severity Paradox: Why Doing More Harm is judged to be Less Harmful, Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 97-102.
Loran Nordgren, Mary-Hunter Morris McDonnell & George Loewenstein (2011). What Constitutes Torture? Psychological Impediments to an Objective Evaluation of Interrogation Tactics, Psychological Science, 22, 689-694.
Paul Hirsch & Mary-Hunter Morris (2010). Immoral but not Illegal: Monies vs. Mores Amidst the Mortgage Meltdown, Strategic Organization, 8, 60.
Mary-Hunter Morris (2010). Babies and Bathwater: Seeking an Appropriate Standard of Review for the Asylum Applications of Former Child Soldiers, Harvard Human Rights Journal, 21, 281-299.