Modupe Akinola

Modupe Akinola

Assistant Professor of Management, Columbia Business School

Visiting Assistant Professor 2013-2014

Hosted by JoAnne Yates, Work and Organization Studies Group, Sloan School of Management

Modupe Akinola is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School.


Modupe Akinola is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. Modupe uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation, implicit and reaction time measures, and physiological responses to examine how cognitive outcomes are affected by stress. In addition, Modupe examines workforce diversity. Specifically, she explores the strategies organizations employ to increase the diversity of their talent pool, and examines the biases that affect the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in organizations. As an MLK Visiting Assistant Professor, she was hosted by JoAnne Yates in the Work and Organization Studies Group at the Sloan School of Management.

Modupe holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Harvard University, as well as a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior. She also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.



Temporal Distance and Discrimination: An Audit Study in Academia

"Why Mission Matters at MIT Sloan School of Management" (Clear Admit, June 6, 2015)

"Evidence Of Racial, Gender Biases Found In Faculty Mentoring" (NPR Morning EditionApril 22, 2014)

Research found faculty in academic departments linked to more lucrative professions are more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty in fields linked to less lucrative jobs.

In this field experiment set in academia (with a sample of 6,548 professors), Prof. Akinola and her colleagues found that decisions about distant-future events were more likely to generate discrimination against women and minorities (relative to Caucasian males) than were decisions about near-future events. In their study, faculty members received e-mails from fictional prospective doctoral students seeking to schedule a meeting either that day or in 1 week; students’ names signaled their race (Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese) and gender. When the requests were to meet in 1 week, Caucasian males were granted access to faculty members 26% more often than were women and minorities; also, compared with women and minorities, Caucasian males received more and faster responses. However, these patterns were essentially eliminated when prospective students requested a meeting that same day. Prof. Akinola and her colleagues’ identification of a temporal discrimination effect is consistent with the predictions of construal-level theory and implies that subtle contextual shifts can alter patterns of race- and gender-based discrimination.