Mai Trinh

Faculty and Affiliate

Mai Trinh stud­ies how to effec­tive­ly lead com­plex social sys­tems — com­posed of high­ly inter­de­pen­dent, het­ero­ge­neous agents such as lead­ers, group mem­bers, and their oper­at­ing envi­ron­ments — in uncer­tain and chang­ing con­texts. She draws on research from orga­ni­za­tion sci­ence, com­plex sys­tem sci­ence, edu­ca­tion, phi­los­o­phy, and soci­ol­o­gy and uses mul­ti­ple research meth­ods such as sur­veys, inter­views and com­pu­ta­tion­al sim­u­la­tion in order to iden­ti­fy nov­el path­ways for lead­ers to opti­mize their influ­ence with­in both tra­di­tion­al and emerg­ing organizations.

Prac­ti­cal­ly and ped­a­gog­i­cal­ly, Mai uses Kolb’s Expe­ri­en­tial Learn­ing The­o­ry as well as exec­u­tive and peer coach­ing to help lead­ers devel­op absorp­tive, adap­tive and gen­er­a­tive capac­i­ties to be more effec­tive in a chang­ing world. She focus­es on key com­pe­ten­cies such as learn­ing iden­ti­ty, team­work, appre­ci­a­tion of diver­si­ty, humil­i­ty, and flex­i­bil­i­ty.  Over­all, Mai’s work high­lights the mul­ti­ple pos­si­bil­i­ties of effec­tive lead­er­ship and empha­sizes that one’s lead­er­ship port­fo­lio is depen­dent on indi­vid­ual strengths and weak­ness­es, as well as their fit with exter­nal envi­ron­ments. Her schol­ar­ship helps peo­ple real­ize and enact their lead­er­ship port­fo­lio and equips them with the skills to be able to nav­i­gate com­plex­i­ty, antic­i­pate uncer­tain­ty, and adapt to changes in their local orga­ni­za­tions and communities.

Mai earned her Ph.D. in Orga­ni­za­tion­al Behav­ior from the Weath­er­head School of Man­age­ment at Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­si­ty. She is an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor in the fac­ul­ty of Lead­er­ship and Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Stud­ies at Ari­zona State University.