Marya Besharov

Professor of Organisations and Impact

  • marya.besharov@sbs.ox.ac.uk

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Marya Besharov is Professor of Organisations and Impact and Academic Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Her research and teaching focus on leadership, social impact, and hybrid organisations. She engages with leaders and organisations worldwide to help them manage competing demands of social impact and financial performance. Marya received a BA in Social Studies, an MA in Sociology, and a PhD in Organisational Behaviour from Harvard University. She also holds an MBA from Stanford University. View Marya's CV.


  • Social innovation and impact
  • Hybrid organisations
  • Organisation theory
  • Leadership
  • Qualitative research methods



Marya’s research examines how organisations and leaders navigate competing goals, with a particular focus on hybrid organisations such as social enterprises and mission-driven businesses that seek to address deep-rooted societal challenges while also making a financial profit.

Her research has been published in leading academic journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, and Academy of Management Review, and in practitioner outlets such as Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review.


How Bureaucracies Address Complex Social Issues(opens in new window)

  • Journal article
  • Academy of Management Proceedings
  • Pedro Monteiro,
  • Akshay Mangla,
  • Renate Elisabeth Meyer,
  • Marya Besharov,
  • Sanjay K Pandey,
  • Leisha DeHart-Davis,
  • Aroon Manoharan
  • Silvia Velmer,
  • Tommaso Ramus,
  • Marya Besharov,
  • Susanna Kislenko,
  • Tracy A Thompson,
  • Gervase R Bushe,
  • Rodrigo Canales,
  • Mikaela Bradbury,
  • Anthony Sheldon,
  • Anne-Laure Fayard,
  • Antonino Vaccaro,
  • Stefano Brusoni
  • Marya Besharov,
  • M Diane Burton
  • Marya Besharov,
  • Bjӧrn Mitzinneck
  • Haley Allison Beer,
  • Pietro Micheli,
  • Marya L Besharov
See more publications


Marya engages with business and social sector leaders through the Skoll Centre’s research initiatives, impact education programmes, and community convenings. Insights from Marya’s research on leadership and social impact have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and outlets such as The Conversation and Huffington Post.

She conducts seminars, workshops, and executive education sessions on leadership, managing competing demands, and catalysing positive social impact and systems change.


Marya’s teaching draws inspiration from the work of early organisational theorists who recognised that organisations are complex social systems in which there is not a universally correct approach to management and leadership. Contingencies abound, tensions arise between technical and symbolic aspects of organisations, and decisions are constrained by political, historical, and cultural factors.

Managing and leading such complex social systems requires navigating seemingly competing demands. Marya’s teaching introduces frameworks and tools for leading amidst competing demands. She uses case discussions and experiential exercises to help participants gain practical experience applying these frameworks to address real-world problems.

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Oxford Answers

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View articles by Marya.

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