UCL School of Management

Colin Fisher

Lecturer (assistant professor)


Colin M. Fisher is a scholar, author, and teacher of team leadership, creativity, and improvisation. As an Assistant Professor of Organisations and Innovation at University College London, Colin teaches executives, graduate students, and undergraduates about leading teams that foster creativity, learning, and effective decision-making.

Colin studies collaboration and temporal dynamics (e.g., timing, rhythm, development over time) in three areas: (1) leading, helping, and coaching teams, (2) collective creativity and improvisation, and (3) group decision-making and negotiations. His research has been published in leading journals, such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, Colin served as an Assistant Professor and Peter Paul Career Development Professor at Boston University’s School of Management.

Colin received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and M.A. in Social Psychology from Harvard University/Harvard Business School. He also studied improvisation in the arts at New York University (M.A.) and jazz trumpet at New England Conservatory of Music (B.Mus.). In his work as a professional jazz trumpet player, Colin was a long-time member of the Grammy-nominated Either/Orchestra, with whom he toured the U.S., Europe, and Africa and recorded several critically acclaimed albums.



Research projects

Timing of Team Coaching Interventions

When to intervene to help a team can be as important as what to do.

Helping Creative Teams

Teams doing creative work often need external help. Who do they go to?

Creativity, Improvisation, and Organizations

Not all creativity in organizations is planned -- improvisation plays a key role in contemporary organizational life

Team Leadership

Team leadership is not only the domain of individual team leaders. Authority for key leadership functions can be shared over time.
Selected publications
Fisher, C. M., & Barrett, F. J. (2019). The experience of improvising in organizations: A creative process perspective. Academy of Management Perspectives. doi:10.5465/amp.2017.0100 [link]
Kahn, W. A., Barton, M. A., Fisher, C. M., Heaphy, E. D., Reid, E. M., & Rouse, E. D. (2018). The Geography of Strain: Organizational Resilience as a Function of Intergroup Relations. Academy of Management Review, 43 (3), 509-529. doi:10.5465/amr.2016.0004 [link]
Fisher, C. M. (2017). An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure? Two experiments on in-process interventions in decision-making groups. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 138, 53-73. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2016.11.004 [link]
Wang, L., Han, J., Fisher, C. M., & Pan, Y. (2017). Learning to Share. Small Group Research, 48 (2), 165-189. doi:10.1177/1046496417690027 [link]
Fisher, C. M., Pillemer, J., & Amabile, T. M. (2017). Deep help in complex project work: Guiding and path-clearing across difficult terrain. Academy of Management Journal. doi:10.5465/amj.2016.0207 [link]
Amabile, T. M., Fisher, C. M., & Pillemer, J. (2014). IDEO’s culture of helping. Harvard Business Review (Jan/Feb), 54-61.
Fisher, C. M., & Amabile, T. M. (2009). Creativity, improvisation, and organizations. Rotman Magazine (Winter), 40-45.
Wageman, R., Fisher, C. M., & Hackman, J. R. (2009). Timing is everything: The importance of finding the right moment in leading teams. Organizational Dynamics, 38, 192-203.
Fisher, C. M., & Amabile, T. M. (n.d.). Creativity, improvisation, and organizations. The Routledge Companion to Creativity (pp. 13-24). New York: Routledge.