Martin N. Davidson

Martin N. Davidson

Johnson and Higgins Professor of Business Administration
Senior Associate Dean and Global Chief Diversity Officer
Interim Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Contemplative Sciences Center


FOB 299 C

Areas of Expertise

Leveraging Difference, Global Leadership, Identity and Leadership, Managing in Culturally Diverse Firms

Education: A.B., Harvard College; Ph.D., Stanford University 

Martin N. Davidson is the Johnson & Higgins Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. He currently serves as senior associate dean and global chief diversity officer for the School. He is also currently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the University of Virginia's Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC) for the 2023-24 academic year as it launches a national search for an executive director and prepares to open a new building.

His thought leadership has changed how many executives approach inclusion, diversity, and equity in their organizations. He teaches, conducts research and consults with global leaders to help them use difference strategically to drive high performance. His research on the impact of culture and ethnicity on career development and on conflict management appears in top academic and practitioner publications including Administrative Science QuarterlyHarvard Business ReviewResearch on Negotiation in OrganizationsJournal of PersonalityReview of Educational Research, and the International Journal of Conflict Management. He has also conducted research on four continents identifying the critical competencies for managing effectively across national boundaries.

His book, The End of Diversity as We Know It:  Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed, introduces a research-driven roadmap to help leaders more effectively create and capitalize on diversity in organizations. 

In addition to teaching leadership in Darden's MBA and Executive Education programs, Davidson consults with leaders of a host of Fortune 500 firms, government agencies and social profit organizations, including the World Health Organization, Bank of America, Walt Disney Company, Massachusetts General Hospital, The Nature Conservancy, Tiffany Company, and the U.S. Navy SEALs. He was elected the national chair of the Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division of the Academy of Management. Davidson has been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York TimesBloomberg BusinessWeek,The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and CNN. He has been a member of the Darden faculty since 1998. Previously, he was a member of the faculty of the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. For more information on Martin N. Davidson, his current and developing work  visit

Martin N. Davidson's Ideas to Action Posts


Selected Publications

Trawalter, S., Driskell, S., & Davidson, Martin N. 2016. What Is Good Isn't Always Fair: On the Unintended Effects of Framing Diversity as Good. Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy16(1): 69-99.  

Davidson, Martin N. 2012. How Hard Should You Push Diversity? Harvard Business Review, 90, 139-143.

Davidson, Martin N.& Proudford, K.L. 2007. Cycles of resistance: How dominants and subordinates collude to undermine diversity efforts in organizations. In K. Thomas, (Ed.),Diversity Resistance in Organizations: Manifestations and Solutions ( pp. 249-272). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Davidson, Martin N., & James, E. H. 2007. The engines of positive relationships across difference: Conflict and learning. In J. Dutton & B. R. Ragins (Eds.), Exploring Positive Relationships at Work: Building a Theoretical and Research Foundation(pp. 137-158). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ely, R. J., Meyerson, D.A., & Davidson, Martin N. 2006. Rethinking Political Correctness,Harvard Business Review, 84, no. 9 September, pp 78-87.

Davidson, Martin N., & Friedman, R. A. 1998. When excuses don't work: The persistent injustice effect among black managers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43(1): 154-183.

Davidson, Martin. "The End of Diversity: How Leaders Make Differences Really Matter,"Leader to Leader Journal, (2012).

Davidson, Martin. "Why Difference Matters in Organizations," in The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization Studies, D. Barry and H. Hansen (Editors), London: Sage Publications Ltd., May 2008, 362-363.


Selected Books

Davidson, Martin N. (2011) The End of Diversity as We Know It:  Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed, Berrett-Koehler Press, San Francisco, CA. 

Roberts, L.M., Wooten, L.P, Davidson, Martin N., (Ed.)  (2015).  Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity -Building, Taylor Francis Press.


Case Studies

Advancing knowledge through research that shapes business, Darden professors are recognized thought leaders in their fields. They are not only master case method teachers, they also author many of the cases used in Darden classrooms and around the world.

Martin N. Davidson's cases are available in the Darden Business Publishing website.