• Faculty Spotlight: Alicia Boisiner


The Faculty Spotlight feature is designed to introduce prospective students to the teaching and research interests of the Sawyer Business School Faculty. Each week a new faculty member will be profiled.  
“Management is a science,” says Alicia Boisnier. “Some people believe they can manage by intuition, that it’s just common sense. Well, sometimes it is just common sense. But many things we know about management practices, we know only because of research conducted in the field. Research is valuable, I teach my students to pay close attention to it, to consult the scientific view before they consult their intuition, especially in Organizational Behavior. People don’t always behave in predictable ways. With science we can make more accurate predictions and better decisions.” Boisnier’s own published research includes studies of the effects of race, gender and other subcultures in the workplace, and focuses on the creativity and energy which diversity can bring.

Boisnier teaches International Management from a cross-cultural perspective. “Students need to learn how to manage effectively in different cultures and work with employees from different cultures. In most cultures, but especially Asia and the Middle East, there is more formality and hierarchy. People are reserved. Americans have a very particular style, which can be both informal and aggressive. Using a first name prematurely, failing to establish relationships, saying too much too soon, going right to the bottom line, all those things could be considered rude.” Boisnier finds that the diversity of the Suffolk student body helps her teach this point. “Students bring their own perspective from their own individual cultures, and provide examples of what it’s like to work in a different culture.”

Boisnier also values Suffolk’s size and the opportunity it gives for intensive contact with students. “I taught at a state university with huge classes. If you got to know someone’s name it was a big shock. Suffolk students expect a lot of interaction with their faculty, and they get it. I run a very interactive classroom, with plenty of frank discussion, exercises, and cases. I don’t spend much time lecturing.”

Professor Boisnier began her career studying psychology, and still views her mission as increasing human happiness. “Work is one of the places that make people very unhappy and where people potentially could gain a lot of satisfaction and self-esteem and identity. I realized that if I could improve people’s work life and experiences, they would actually be happier in general. If I can get to students before they become managers, before they are interacting with employees, I can improve the quality of life in work organizations.”

Alicia Boisnier is an assistant professor of management. She earned her PhD and MS degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA from Hampshire College.

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Alicia Boisnier, PhD