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New Ivey faculty: Barnini Bhattacharyya

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  • Jul 27, 2022
New Ivey faculty: Barnini Bhattacharyya

Barnini Bhattacharyya

Ivey is pleased to be welcoming numerous new faculty members to campus this school year! To help you get to know our new colleagues, we asked each of them a list of questions about their academic – and personal – interests.

Get to know: Barnini Bhattacharyya

Barnini Bhattacharyya is a new Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Ivey who will be teaching Leading People and Organizations in the HBA and MBA programs. Her research sheds light on barriers to inclusion at work for individuals with marginalized identities, and how these barriers can be challenged and new structures of inclusion created. Bhattacharyya did her PhD in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management at Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. She cares deeply about issues of equity and justice, and spends time volunteering with organizations that are trying to make the world a better place. 

Q&A with Barnini Bhattacharyya

What is the most important thing business executives can learn from your research/area of expertise?

My research focuses on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), which is becoming more urgent and critical for organizations and society in general every day. In my research, I find that the most important way that marginalized individuals can be supported is by challenging and dismantling structures that oppress them. For business executives, this translates into approaching work from the perspective of treating all organizational members as deserving of dignity and respect, and reframing systems to align with this. For example, this could be creating separate spaces for new mothers to pump, and integrating breaks into the work day and meetings for everyone, so the new mother is not forced to draw attention to her need for a break.

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

I grew up in New Delhi, India, which is a metropolis in the truest sense. It has a population of 18 million and has been the capital city of seven empires. Growing up there was wonderful because the city is broken up into these 'colonies,' which are self-sufficient neighbourhoods that form tight-knit communities. Everyone in my colony spoke my mother tongue – Bengali – even though the majority language in New Delhi is Hindi. My grandparents were among the first families to put down roots in my colony, so I had very strong ties with many of the residents. I also got to enjoy the benefits of living in a big city and was exposed to dozens of different cultures and many different people and languages. Most importantly, Delhi has the best food in the world! 

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

My strongest influences in life have been my grandparents. Both were uprooted from their countries and communities during the partition of Bengal, and had to start from scratch in a new country. It is because of them that I have the privileges I enjoy today. They have taught me the importance of kindness and compassion, as well as resilience in the face of adversity. Plus, my late grandfather always wanted me to be a professor, so I am glad to be making his dream come true.

What led you to your career?

My first job was as an HR manager at a large global bank. In this job, I saw how inequality and oppression are embedded in organizational structures, and how marginalization is perpetuated by members of the organization. This motivated me to want to uncover how we can challenge and break these structures and set up new ways of working and organizing that are inclusive, equitable, and just. This brought me to my current career, where I study EDI in organizations. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like to swim, go on hikes with my husband and dog, do rally-obedience with my Australian Shepherd, Ringo, learn about history, and draw or paint. 

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

That I love to read for pleasure, and read something every day that is non-academic or research-related. I am currently reading four books!

What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?

I am currently obsessed with Harry Styles and Bollywood music, so it's a mix of those two.

What book would you recommend to others on the personal side?

On the personal side, I would recommend, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

And on the business side?

On the business side, I would recommend Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity by Ella Bell and Stella Nkomo.