John J. Sumanth, Ph.D.

John SumanthAffiliate Faculty, UNC Executive Development
James Farr Fellow and Assistant Professor of Management at Wake Forest University School of Business

John Sumanth is the James Farr Fellow and an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Wake Forest University School of Business. Prior to joining Wake, Sumanth spent two years on the faculty at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. An award-winning teacher, he has been recognized at multiple institutions (Wake, SMU, UNC) for his outstanding performance in the classroom. His extensive corporate consulting experience includes coaching, teaching and mentoring student-athletes and coaches (e.g., Wake Forest Athletics), senior-level executives (e.g., ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo, Royal Caribbean) and top US military officers and government personnel (e.g., Army, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations, Veterans Affairs) on how to enhance their leadership effectiveness. 

Sumanth’s research interests and expertise are in the areas of organizational communication (e.g., employee voice), leadership/trust, and status. To date, his research has appeared in several top, FT50 journals, including the Harvard Business Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business Ethics, Personnel Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Organizational Psychology Review. In addition, Sumanth serves as an Editorial Board Member for the Academy of Management Discoveries journal.

Sumanth holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), an MBA in Marketing and Management from the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial Engineering (cum laude) from the University of Miami. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, Tau Beta Pi and Iron Arrow, the University of Miami’s highest honor.

Prior to academia, Sumanth spent nearly a decade working in a number of high-profile strategic planning, marketing, and R&D positions for large, multi-national corporations in the insurance, global tourism and fast food industries. At Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), Sumanth had executive-level responsibilities for product development and planning of cruise itineraries for fourteen NCL Corp. vessels operating under three separate brands. Despite being the youngest member of the leadership team, he successfully negotiated long-term, multi-million-dollar agreements with port authorities and local, state and national governments to help facilitate NCL’s expansion into new markets. During his time in the R&D group at Burger King Corp. (BKC), Sumanth worked effectively across functional lines to lead the rollout of a variety of new menu items and process improvements across the BKC system.

In his spare time, Sumanth enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching college sports and following the auto industry. He resides in Winston-Salem with his wife and two young daughters.