Mary Grace Neville

Areas of expertise
  • Group and team dynamics
  • Organizational behavior
  • Philosophies of business in society
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning: Liberal arts and business

Dr. Mary Grace Neville, holder of the John Shearn Chair in Business, studies and teaches business behaviors and relationships that create world benefit.  She explores business success as measured by the creation of well-being, environmental care, and organizations' long-term financial stability. Neville is currently serving as a Fulbright Fellow at Ashesi University College in Ghana, Africa.

Neville follows a teacher-scholar-professional model of social change; each stream of work co-creates the others.  She teaches, theorizes and consults from a three-pronged belief about business in society: wealth is well-being, systems are highly interdependent, and relevant time spans multiple generations.  She believes positive actions shape larger social patterns that make a difference in the world over time.  Hence, her teaching, research and consulting advance positive intersections between business and society.

At Southwestern, Neville integrates liberal arts philosophies with business thinking.  She draws heavily on experiential pedagogy in order to expand students' critical thinking and analytical reasoning capacities.  She regularly teaches the program's business ethics and social responsibility course, the organizational behavior course, and the capstone course. 

Prior to her work at Southwestern, Neville was a manager in the strategic services practice of a global management consulting firm.  Before consulting, she was on the start-up team for a $52 million public aquarium, and served as the executive director of a state level non-profit agency.


PhD, Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management 2003
MBA, Wharton School of Business 1995
BS, Northwestern University 1985

Teaching Philosophy

My undergraduate and doctoral experiences have shaped my classroom style of integrating the dissemination of information, application of concepts, and integration of experience to become knowledge.  My high school and business school training were most commonly in more traditional lecture format.  Therefore, I integrate multiple methods.  

To this end, I seek to:  

  1. Engender self-respect in each student.
  2. Foster a psychologically safe environment in which students have voice to question and explore their own beliefs and experiences in relationship to codified theory,    principles and practices.
  3. Build bridges between study and practice by integrating examples and dilemmas from professional experience as well as assigning and encouraging fieldwork by students.
  4. Cultivate curiosity and therefore build intrinsic motivation for study within and beyond the walls of the formal classroom.
  5. Learn from my students as they learn from me.
  6. Integrate students into on-going academic research, facilitate students’ participation in professional organizations, and assist students in presenting their academic work to a larger community of practitioners, teachers, and scholars.



Previous Courses

  • Foundations of Business
  • Business Research and Writing
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Leadership
  • Contemporary Issues in Global Business
  • Business Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Business Capstone


As a social scientist, Neville approaches communities and society as her laboratory.  Research contributes to identifying forms of leadership and business that advance well-being in society, what stance positive change leaders use engaging the world, and how we can best educate tomorrow's leaders for handling the complexities of our increasingly global world.

  • "Good" business  - exploring business practices, organizational designs, and leaders' internal guiding principles that, by implication, contribute to fostering a better world. 
  • Gestalt as a lens for business - applying gestalt theory, such as dialogue, awareness, and wholeness to human relationships in order to advance social entrepreneurship through business.
  • Curricular innovation - re-envisioning 21st century undergraduate business education to bridge existing gaps between knowing, thinking and doing.  Objectives include re-conconcpetualizing content and teaching approaches for citizenship in today's highly interdependent and complex global world.

Professional Work

Neville facilitates learning about "good" business and positive change leadership.  Thinking globally and acting locally, she intervenes in groups and systems as she teaches, writes and consults.  She believes that businesses can act as agents of world benefit.

Since 2005, Neville has studied at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland in two post-graduate training programs in Gestalt therapy as a lens and approach for enhancing human interaction in professional settings.


Business in Society Scholarship

"When Poor is Rich: Transformative Power of I-Thou Relationships in a Brazilian Favela" in edited volume Mending the World: Gestalt Practitioners Approach to Change (2009) and pre-printed in Gestalt Review (2008).

"Positive Deviance on the Ethical Continuum: Green Mountain Coffee as a Case Study in Conscientious Capitalism" in Business and Society Review (2008).

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

"Dialogue Starter Kit", in Brown Working Papers in the Arts and Sciences, Southwestern University, Vol XI (2011); available at

"Using Appreciative Inquiry and Dialogical Learning to Explore Dominant Paradigms" in Journal of Management Education (2008); winner of the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society's 2008 Fritz Rothelisberger Award for "Best Paper" in Sage's Journal of Management Education.

"Learning From a Whole-System, Strength-Based Approach: A Case of Collaborative Curriculum Development" in The Journal for Quality & Participation (2008).

"Re-envisioning Business Programs in Liberal Arts Worlds: 2006 Summit Proceeding & Outcomes" cataloged in ERIC database.

"Returning to a Holistic Management Education and the Tradition of Liberal Education" in Wankel, Charles, and Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch. Management Education for Integrity: Ethically Educating Tomorrow's Business Leaders (2011).

Invited Commentary

"It Takes a Village to Empower a Child: A Call for Positive Social Change through Education" in The Black History Bulletin (2009).

"Business in Society: Acts of Compassion Bringing Humanity into Business" in Teacher's Corner section of Business as an Agent of World Benefit (2006).


Review: Beyond the Hot Seat Revisited: Gestalt Approaches to Groups edited by Bud Feder and Jon Frew. New Orleans: The Gestalt Institute Press (2008) in Gestalt Review, 14(2): 187-203 (2010).

Honors & Awards

Fulbright Scholar (2012-2013 academic year, teacher-researcher at Ashesi University, Ghana Africa).Follow her companion blog here.

Aspen Institute Consortium, Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education (2011-2013, Southwestern University project team leader).