Mendoza School of Business

Christopher Adkins

Academic Director of Leadership Development, Associate Teaching Professor
Management & Organization
  261 Mendoza College of Business
  • Biography
  • Background
  • Awards
  • Media

Christopher Adkins is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Management & Organization Department and Academic Director of Leadership Development. His research and teaching explore how the fields of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and behavioral economics provide new insights and best practices for values-based leadership. Empathy is the core theme of his work, offering a foundational and teachable skill to enhance innovation, communication, diversity and inclusion, ethical decision making, and change leadership. In June 2015, he was awarded “Master Teacher of Business Ethics” by the Wheatley Institution at Brigham Young University.

In addition to his teaching and research, Chris designs engaging leadership programs based on the neuroscience of individual and organizational flourishing. Partners and clients have included: World Bank, LPL Financial, Kaiser Permanente, Deloitte, The Aspen Institute, IBM, GlobalFoundries, Agilent Technologies, Novelis, Huntington Ingalls, Novelis, Ashoka, General Cable, Education First, Navigant Consulting, Compliance Week, TXU Energy, Express Scripts, National Grid, Drug Enforcement Agency, Young African Leaders Initiative.

Ph D, The College of William & Mary
MA, Boston University
BA, The College of William & Mary

Areas of Expertise
Empathy in the Workplace
Business Ethics
Cognitive Neuroscience and the implications for Decision-Making and Leadership Development
Leadership Development
Inclusive Leadership

"James Dincolo Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award", University of Notre Dame, 2021

"Master Teacher in Business Ethics", Wheatley Institution at Brigham Young University, 2015

Ashoka, Noted researcher--and parent--Chris Adkins explains the difference between "self-focused"​ empathy and "other-focused"​ empathy, and how to cultivate the latter, whether you're a parent or a CEO. 2011

Harvard Business School Publishing, Reflections on my collaborations with Greg Van Kirk, Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2012, Latin America, Schwab Foundation 2011

Harvard Business School Publishing, Empathy is the foundational skill for cultural understanding. I define empathy as: "seeing and feeling as another."​ Empathy needs to be extended across the entire value chain, across all individuals and cultures, so we seek to understand the worlds of others, and recognize our limitations in understanding another's world and values. 2011

CNBC Video, supported by Carnegie Council & IBM, If you’ve been thinking that “millennials” are the “me generation,” think again. An IBM study shows that far from being self-centered, today’s college students see the fault lines in our shared planet as their generation’s call to action. Teaching college students for the last decade, I’ve often thought of them as the “screen generation”. They’ve grown up surrounded by TVs, laptops, cell phones and iPods. Vivid, exciting and constantly changing, images from these screens are hard to ignore. Over the past decade I have noticed a subtle, yet powerful change in my students: they have elevated the role of business. They readily embrace the notion of the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit – and are seeking companies that share these same objectives. A few years ago this meant corporate philanthropy and community service. But now students want to make a difference by what they do every day in their careers. They want to work for organizations that weave sustainability into their core strategy. 2010