• Phone 617-353-5003
  • Office 658A
    Questrom School of Business
    Rafik B. Hariri Building
    595 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

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Dr. Anita L. Tucker is an Associate Professor at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. Prior to joining Boston University, Professor Tucker taught at Wharton, Harvard, and Brandeis Business Schools. She has bachelor's and master's degrees in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and a doctorate in Business Administration. Before pursuing her doctorate, Anita worked in operations positions for General Mills and the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics. Her manufacturing experiences are therefore diverse: ranging from fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt to nuclear submarines.


She investigates how service process design impacts quality and efficiency. In particular, she has studied care delivery processes in hospitals. Her research finds that a lack of internal integration results in a culture of workarounds that wastes up to 10% of staff’s time. She leverages principles from operations management to help hospitals decrease workarounds and create an improvement-oriented culture. Her research has won numerous awards including a Best Dissertation award from AcademyHealth, a Sloan Industry Studies Fellowship, a best paper award from California Management Review, seven best paper proceedings awards from the Academy of Management, and outstanding abstract from AcademyHealth.


Professor Tucker teaches operations management, service operations, quality improvement, healthcare operations,  operations strategy and supply chain management at the undergraduate, MBA, executive, and doctorate levels. She has written case studies and conducted research on process improvement in collaboration with hospitals such as Kaiser Permanente, Cincinnati Children’s, Cleveland Clinic, Brigham and Women’s, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She has taught her cases in executive education programs for Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Macy’s Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has presented her research at Boston Children’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Improvement Science Research Network, and Vermont Oxford Network.

  • Berry Jaeker, J., Tucker, A. (In Press). "The Value of Process Friction: The Role of Justification in Reducing Medical Costs", Journal of Operations Management
  • Tucker, A., Zheng, S., Gardner, J., Bohn, R. (In Press). "When do Workarounds Help or Hurt Patient Outcomes? The Moderating Role of Operational Failures", Journal of Operations Management
  • Roth, A., Tucker, A., Venkataraman, S., Chilingerian, J. (In Press). "Being on the Productivity Frontier: Identifying "Triple Aim Performance" in hospitals", Production and Operations Management
  • Song, H., Tucker, A., Murrell, K., Vinson, D. (2018). "Closing the productivity gap: Improving worker productivity through public relative performance feedback and validation of best practices", Management Science, 64 (6), 2628-2649
  • Mazza, M., Dynan, L., Siegel, R., Tucker, A. (2018). "Nudging Healthier Choices in a Hospital Cafeteria: Results from a Field Study", Health Promotion Practice, 19 (6), 925-934
  • Fryer, A., Singer, S., Tucker, A. (2018). "The Impact of Middle Manager Affective Commitment on Perceived Improvement Program Implementation Success", Health Care Management Review, 43 (3), 218-228
  • Zheng, S., Tucker, A., Ren, Z., Heineke, J., McLaughlin, A., Podell, A. (2018). "The Impact of Internal Service Quality on Preventable Adverse Events in Hospitals", Production and Operations Management, 27 (12), 2201-2212
  • Berry Jaeker, J., Tucker, A. (2017). "Past the Point of Speeding Up: The Negative Effects of Workload Saturation on Efficiency and Patient Severity", Management Science, 63 (4), 1042-1062
  • Nembhard, I., Tucker, A. (2016). "Applying organizational learning research to accountable care organizations", Medical Care Research and Review, 73 (6), 673-684
  • Tucker, A. (2016). "The impact of workaround difficulty on frontline employees’ response to operational failures: A laboratory experiment on medication administration", Management Science, 62 (4), 1124-1144
  • Senot, C., Chandrasekaran, A., Ward, P., Tucker, A., Moffat-Bruce, S. (2016). "The impact of combining conformance and experiential quality on hospitals’ readmissions and cost performance", Management Science, 62 (3), 829-848
  • Song, H., Tucker, A. (2016). "Performance Improvement in Health Care Organizations", Foundations and Trends in Technology, Information, and Operations Management, 9 (3-4), 153-309
  • Song, H., Tucker, A., Murrell, K. (2015). "The diseconomies of queue pooling: An empirical investigation of emergency department length of stay", Management Science, 61 (12), 3032-3053
  • Tucker, A., Singer, S. (2015). "The effectiveness of Management-By-Walking-Around: A randomized field study", Production and Operations Management, 24 (2), 253-271
  • Singer, S., Tucker, A. (2014). "The evolving literature on safety walkrounds: Emerging themes and practical message", BMJ Quality and Safety, 23 (10), 789-800
  • Tucker, A., Heisler, W., Janisse, L. (2014). "Designed for workarounds: A qualitative study of the causes of operational failures in hospitals", The Permanente Journal, 18 (3), 33-41
  • Nembhard, I., Tucker, A. (2011). "Deliberate learning to improve performance in dynamic service settings: evidence from hospital intensive care units", Organization Science, 22 (4), 907-922
  • Tucker, A., Singer, S., Hayes, J., Falwell, A. (2008). "Front-line staff perspectives on opportunities for improving the safety and efficiency of hospital work systems", Health Services Research, 43 (5 part 2), 1807-1829
  • Tucker, A., Nembhard, I., Edmondson, A. (2007). "Implementing new practices: An empirical study of organizational learning in hospital intensive care units", Management Science, 53 (6), 894-907
  • Tucker, A. (2007). "An empirical study of system improvement by frontline employees in hospital units", Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 9 (4), 492-505
  • Tucker, A., Spear, S. (2006). "Operational failures and interruptions in hospital nursing", Health Services Research, 41 (3), 643-662
  • Tucker, A. (2004). "The impact of operational failures on hospital nurses and their patients", Journal of Operations Management, 22 (2), 151-169
  • Tucker, A., Edmondson, A. (2003). "Why hospitals don’t learn from failures: Organizational and psychological dynamics that inhibit system change", California Management Review, 45 (2), 55-72
  • Tucker, A., Edmondson, A. (2002). "Managing routine exceptions: A model of nurse problem solving behavior", Advances in Health Care Management, 3 (1), 87-113
  • Tucker, A., Edmondson, A., Spear, S. (2002). "When problem solving prevents organizational learning", Journal of Organizational Change Management, 15 (2), 122-137
  • Song, H., Tucker, A., Graue, R., Moravic, S., Yang, J."Capacity pooling in hospitals: The hidden consequences of off-service placement", Working paper
  • Feizi, A., Berry Jaeker, J., Tucker, A."Misinformation Reduction in Patient-doctor Relationships", Research in Progress
  • Adepoju, T., Tucker, A., Jin, H., Lara, R., Manasseh, C."Coordinating during chaos: The enhanced benefit of coordinating future discharges during occupancy crises", working paper
  • Turkoglu, A., Heineke, J., Tucker, A."Effect of hybrid relative performance feedback on worker productivity and best practice sharing", Research in progress
  • Park, M., Berry Jaeker, J., Tucker, A."Adverse Effects of Drug Shortages", Research in Progress
    Research Presentations
  • Tucker, A.How can hospitals learn from failure, Christiana Care Value Institute, Delaware, MD, 2018
  • Tucker, A.Operational failures and workarounds impact on care delivery, Huntington Hospital, Pasadena, CA, 2018
  • Tucker, A.Driving Transformational System Improvement, University of Texas, Austin, Austin, TX, 2017
    Awards and Honors
  • 2018, Most Influential Paper Award, Production and Operations Management Society, Service Operations Track
  • 2018, Excellence in Teaching Award, MBA Cohort Beacon, Class of 2019
  • 2018, M&SOM Service SIG Prize (for Best Published Paper), INFORMS M&SOM Service Special Interest Group (SIG)
  • 2017, Excellence in Teaching Award, MBA Cohort B, Class of 2018
  • 2015, INFORMS Behavioral Operations Management Best Working Paper Award, INFORMS Behavioral Operations Management Society
  • 2015, Best Student Paper Award, INFORMS Health Application Society