Taya Cohen, PhD

Organizational Behavior & Business Ethics / Keynote Speaker / Researcher / Professor

Dr. Taya R. Cohen is an organizational psychologist who studies honesty, moral behavior, negotiation, and conflict, and is known for her research on moral character in the workplace and the surprising benefits of honest communication.

Fee range:  $7,500 – $15,000 (+ $1,500 travel expenses)
Travels from: Pittsburgh, PA
Virtual: $3,000 – $5,000

Dr. Taya R. Cohen is a tenured Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Business Ethics at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Her research cuts across disciplines to develop and rigorously test new theories about human behavior that can be applied in practice to solve difficult problems in business, law, and health care. Using theory and methods from the fields of organizational behavior, psychology, and business ethics, she investigates the cascading effects of individuals’ honesty and ethical choices on those they interact with and the organizations where they work.

Dr. Cohen publishes her work in top management and psychology journals, and is regularly featured in prominent media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, BBC, NPR, TIME magazine, and elsewhere. She has received outstanding publication awards from the International Association for Conflict Management and from the International Society for Self and Identity. In 2020, she was recognized as one of the Best 40 Under 40 MBA Professors by Poets & Quants. She is a Past-President of the International Association for Conflict Management (IACM) and serves on editorial review boards for a number of journals in her field. Her professional service at Carnegie Mellon includes leading the interdisciplinary Center for Behavioral and Decision Research (CBDR) as one of the faculty steering committee members.

Dr. Cohen teaches graduate-level courses and executive education seminars on organizational behavior and negotiation. She co-directs the Collaboration and Conflict Research Lab (CCRL) with Dr. Laurie Weingart, where they manage an active lab of doctoral students and post-doctoral research fellows working toward advancing applied and basic research on conflict, negotiation, and moral behavior.

Dr. Cohen earned a B.A. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the faculty at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Cohen spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Dispute Resolution Research Center at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

The Truth About Honesty
In this episode of the Hidden Brain, psychologist Taya Cohen helps us understand when — and how — to be honest. https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/the-truth-about-honesty/

Honesty & Difficult Conversations in Business
People across the world value honesty. We hold honesty in high esteem in ourselves and in others. Yet, honesty can be challenging and often we communicate less honestly than we could or should. To encourage honesty in organizations, we need to do more than simply discourage lying or distorting facts. We also must consider how to encourage people to seek out truthful information so that what they are communicating is accurate, and how to deliver information so that they foster true beliefs in others. In this presentation, Dr. Taya Cohen will discuss her research on honesty and present strategies for giving and receiving feedback effectively.

Having a Conscience in the Workplace: Guilt Proneness, Job Performance, and Leadership Potential
Overlooked in previous models of personality, guilt proneness is a moral character trait that predicts job performance and leadership potential. We all make mistakes or fail to live up to our own or other people’s standards on occasion. People who are low in guilt proneness are not particularly bothered by mistakes or transgressions, and as such fail to take corrective action to fix them or avoid such behavior in the first place. The highly guilt prone, on the other hand, feel bad about mistakes and transgressions, especially when their actions negatively impact others. Moreover, they can anticipate such feelings before they occur and as a result behave more responsibly and ethically. In this presentation, Dr. Taya Cohen will provide evidence suggesting that individuals with higher (versus lower) levels of guilt proneness have better job performance (e.g., they work harder at their jobs, commit less workplace deviance, and do more organizational citizenship), make more favorable impressions on negotiation counterparts, and are better leaders, owing to their heightened sense of interpersonal responsibility.

The Art & Science of Negotiation
We negotiate daily in a variety of contexts: business, family, and social. Negotiations serve several purposes: (1) establishing new or renewing old relationships; (2) changing behaviors and expectations; and (3) resolving conflict and disputes. How effectively we negotiate exerts important effects on the quality of life we live and how successful we are at work. Although negotiations are a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives, many of us know little about the strategy and psychology of effective negotiations. Why do we sometimes get our way, while other times we walk away feeling frustrated by our inability to achieve the agreement we desire? In this presentation, Dr. Taya Cohen will describe strategies for claiming and creating value through effective negotiation and conflict management

Honesty Among Lawyers: Moral Character, Game Framing, and Honest Disclosures in Negotiations
Lawyers have broad discretion in deciding how honestly to behave when negotiating. Professional rules of conduct, such as those based on American Bar Association guidelines, generally prohibit outright lying about material facts or statements of the law, yet these guidelines do not offer clear-cut direction about when silence or failure to disclose information constitute misconduct. As such, lawyers are often tasked with striking what at times can be a difficult balance between client advocacy and honesty. What factors might lead lawyers to be more (vs. less) honest in their dealings with others? Dr. Taya Cohen will present results of a new research study that addresses this question and will discuss how these findings relate to the practice of negotiation. The presentation will provide insight into how viewing negotiation through a “game-frame”–that is, seeing negotiation as an adversarial context with arbitrary and artificial rules—puts lawyers at risk of acting dishonestly.