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Mai Trinh

Mai Trinh

Assistant Professor, Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


College of Intergrative Sciences and Arts
Arizona State University
PO BOx 870604
Tempe, AZ 85287-0604


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Assistant Professor, Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


Mai Trinh studies leader development from the perspectives of experiential learning and complex adaptive system. She believes that leader development is a holistic and experiential process that requires coordinating efforts among independent, heterogeneous agents such as leaders, group members, and their operating environments. Her work uses principles of Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory coupled with peer and executive coaching to help current and aspiring leaders foster a positive learning identity, embrace humility, appreciate diversity, value teamwork, and adapt effectively to uncertain and changing contexts. Trinh uses agent-based computational models to simulate the collective impacts as well as policy implications of such individual-level interventions.

Mai Trinh draws on research from organization science, complex system science, education, philosophy, and sociology and uses multiple research methods such as surveys, interviews, and computational simulation in order to identify novel pathways for leaders to optimize their influence within both traditional and emerging organizations. Overall, her work highlights the multiple possibilities of effective leadership and emphasizes that one’s leadership portfolio is dependent on individual strengths, weaknesses, as well as their fit with external environments. Mai's scholarship helps people realize and enact their leadership portfolio and equips them with the skills to be able to navigate complexity, anticipate uncertainty, and adapt to changes in their local organizations and communities.




  • PhD, Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University, 2016
  • BA, Managment and Chinese Studies, Wittenberg University, 2009


Journal Articles

In Press

Castillo, E. A. and M. P. Trinh. Catalyzing capacity: absorptive, adaptive, and generative leadership. Journal of Organizational Change Management DOI: 10.1108/JOCM-04-2017-0100. (link )


Trinh, M. P. 2019. Learning identity, flexibility, and lifelong experiential learning. Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Business and Management DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190224851.013.187. (link )

Trinh, M. P. and E. A. Castillo. 2019. Practical wisdom: The integration of Eastern and Western perspectives of virtue ethics. Academy of Management Proceedings 2019(1):. DOI: 10.5465/AMBPP.2019.13382. (link )


Castillo, E. A. and M. P. Trinh. 2018. In search of missing time: A review of the study of time in leadership research. The Leadership Quarterly 29(1):165-178. DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2017.12.001. (link )


Trinh, M. P. and D. A. Kolb. 2012. Eastern experiential learning: Eastern principles for learning wholeness. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal 27(4):29-43.

Book Chapters


Trinh, M. P. 2016. Which matters more? Effects of surface- and deep-level diversity on team processes and performance. Pp. 213-239 In: Prescott, J. ed., Handbook of Research on Race, Gender, and the Fight for Equality. IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1522500476.


Trinh, M. P. 2015. When demographic and personality diversity are both at play: Effects on team performance and implications for diversity management practices. Pp. 54-79 In: Hughes, C. ed., Impact of Diversity on Organization and Career Development. IGI Global. ISBN: 9781466673243.

Trinh, M. P. and D. A. Kolb. 2015. Learning styles across cultures. Pp. 592-596 In: Bennett, J. M. ed., The SAGE Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence. Vol 2. SAGE Publications, Inc.. Thousand Oaks, CA. ISBN: 978-1452244280.