Jean-François Manzoni

Canadian / French

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development


On September 1, 2016 Jean-François Manzoni re-joined IMD as Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development. On January 1, 2017 he will become the President (Dean) of IMD, where he will also serve as the Nestlé Professor. 

Professor Manzoni’s research, teaching and consulting activities are focused on leadership, the development of high performance organizations and corporate governance.

At the organizational level, he studies the content of change (including the use of levers such as strategy, structure and systems), the management of the change process and the role of leaders therein. His work in this area has appeared in several articles and books, including Process Re-engineering, Organizational Change and Performance Improvement (McGraw Hill, with Soumitra Dutta) and Performance Measurement and Management Control: Behavioral Implications and Human Actions (co-edited with Antonio Davila and Marc J. Epstein, Emerald, 2014). He has written over 30 cases, four of which received Case of the Year Awards from the European Foundation for Management Development or the European Case Clearing House. He also acted as content expert in the development of a ground-breaking computer-based change management simulation, the Change Pro Simulation®.

At the individual level, Professor Manzoni studies how leaders can create a high performance work environment and what they can do to modify their leadership style in that direction. This stream of research has led to several articles and a book entitled The Set-Up to Fail Syndrome: How good managers cause great people to fail (Harvard Business School Press, with Jean-Louis Barsoux). This book, which built on Manzoni’s and Barsoux’s initial Harvard Business Review article introducing the term “set-up-to-fail syndrome”, received two Book of the Year awards and is being discussed in undergraduate, MBA and executive development programs all over the world.

On the corporate governance side, Professor Manzoni focuses on interpersonal dynamics within the Boardroom and between Management and the Board. Ongoing research examining the impact of interpersonal dynamics on increasingly diverse Boards of Directors received the 2011 Research Award on Leadership & Corporate Governance from the Association of Executive Search Consultants. He is a member of the Board of Singapore’s Civil Service College and a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Directors.

A citizen of Canada and France, Professor Manzoni received his Doctorate from Harvard Business School. He had earlier graduated from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Montréal and worked with Ernst and Young in Montreal before receiving an MBA from McGill University.

Prior to re-joining IMD, he spent 5 years on INSEAD’s Singapore campus where he founded and directed the LEAP programme (for Leadership Excellence through Awareness and Practice), a ground-breaking modular leadership development programme for senior executives. Between January 2011 and September 2013, he also directed the Global Leadership Centre supporting INSEAD’s leadership-related coaching, teaching and research activities throughout the world.

Prior to that, Professor Manzoni had spent seven years at IMD (2004-2010), where he served as Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development and directed, among other programmes, IMD’s Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives. He had earlier spent twelve years on the faculty of INSEAD (Fontainebleau), where he founded and directed the PwC Research Initiative on High Performance Organizations (funded by a €5 million grant from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, at the time the largest corporate donation ever received by the school).

The recipient of several awards for excellence in teaching, Professor Manzoni is a frequent keynote speaker. He also performs consulting, top management team support and leadership development work for several international organizations, which has led him to work in more than thirty countries over the years.

He is a member of the Human Capital Leadership Institute’s International Advisory Panel and was invited to the 2014 and 2016 World Economic Forum meetings in Davos.