UCL School of Management

Colin Fisher

Associate Professor
Programme Director (MRes/PhD in Management )
Departmental Graduate Tutor
Office location
Level 38, 1 Canada Square
Rm N4


Colin M. Fisher has been fascinated by how people make sense of real-time group interaction since his days as a professional jazz trumpet player. Inspired by a question about how to teach team leaders to act with better timing, he has been studying processes underlying team leadership and group dynamics for over a decade. As an associate professor at UCL School of Management, his teaching and research focus on how teams and individuals doing complex, creative, or improvisational work can get the leadership, advice, and help they need.

Colin’s research highlights the importance of temporal issues (e.g., timing, rhythm, development over time) in collaborative processes and has been published in leading journals, such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Perspectives, Academy of Management Review, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Negotiation Journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Organizational Dynamics, and Small Group Research, as well as in several edited book chapters. He serves on the editorial boards of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Small Group Research and Psychology of Creativity, Aesthetics and the Arts. Previously, Colin served as an Assistant Professor and Peter Paul Career Development Professor at Boston University’s School of Management. Colin has also engaged with organizations such as BARBRI, BP, Cambridge Health Alliance, IDEO, NHS, and P&G to provide lectures or workshops on teamwork, creativity, and leadership. His research has been profiled in prominent media outlets, including BBC, HBR’s IdeaCast, The Times, and NPR. 

 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 (listen on Spotify).


 Keywords: Group Dynamics, Improvisation, Creativity, Team Leadership, Helping, Advice, Temporality (e.g., timing, rhythm)

News: Colin is leading the Executive Education Course Leading for Creativity and Innovation. Learn more or sign up at


PhD supervisor to:

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
Goh, K. T., Fisher, C., & Sommer, S. A. (2022). The Effect of Formal Time Allocations on Learning Trajectories and Performance. Small Group Research: an international journal of theory, investigation and application. doi:10.1177/10464964221092331 [link]
Harrison, S., Rouse, E., Fisher, C., & Amabile, T. (2022). The turn toward creative work. Academy of Management Collections. doi:10.5465/amc.2021.0003 [link]
Landis, B., Fisher, C., & Menges, J. (2022). How Employees React to Unsolicited and Solicited Advice in the Workplace: Implications for Using Advice, Learning, and Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 107 (3), 408-424. doi:10.1037/apl0000876 [link]
Yip, J., & Fisher, C. M. (2022). Listening in Organizations: A Synthesis and Future Agenda. Academy of Management Annals. doi:10.5465/annals.2020.0367 [link]
Fisher, C. M., Amabile, T. M., & Pillemer, J. (2021). How to Help (Without Micromanaging). Harvard Business Review, 2021 (January-February), 1-6.
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.