Jennifer Jordan

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior

Jennifer Jordan is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior. She is a social psychologist and a digital transformation and business ethics expert. Her teaching, research and consulting focus on ethics, digital leadership, influence, and power. In 2019, she was named by Poets&Quants as one of the world’s leading business school professors under 40.

Jordan says leaders in today’s world are faced with massive changes that are disrupting organizations’ business models and society more generally, such as digitalization, the COVID-19 pandemic, and pressures to decarbonize and meet new ESG standards. They therefore have to find ways to manage uncertainty, while simultaneously leading transformations.

Leaders in today’s society need to constantly learn, unlearn, and relearn. They know that they have to learn. The challenge is how to unlearn and relearn. In working with leaders, my aim is to facilitate that process.

She believes the best approach is to create psychological safety by fostering an experimental mindset and empowering others, so that the value of team diversity is captured, and responsibility is shared.

Leaders need to constantly “unlearn” old ways of doing things and “relearn” new behaviors in order to adapt to the perpetual change and disruption of today’s world, but at the same time they should also identify previous approaches that remain relevant, to ensure that they do not “throw out the leadership baby with the organizational bathwater” as they manage the transformation of their organizations, she says.

Jordan has received specialized training and certifications in lie and truthfulness detection, as well as in conflict resolution within organizations, and she has delivered custom programs and consultancy services for a wide range of companies, including Barilla, KONE, Shell, DSM, Cisco, Loomis, Pfizer, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Rolls Royce, Zurich Insurance, Honda, Nexthink, UBS, Siemens, Electrolux, and AIA Insurance.

At IMD, she is Director of the Leadership Skills for the Digital Age (LSDA), Leading in the Digital Age (LDA) and Leadership Essentials (LE) open programs, and she directs the leadership stream for the MBA program.

Her work has appeared in numerous scientific journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Management, Business Ethics Quarterly, the Journal of Business Ethics, Psychological Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. She is also a member of the editorial boards of both Leadership Quarterly and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

When Poets&Quants included Jordan on its ‘Best 40 under 40’ list in 2019, it said her research was in such demand that she had been cited almost 1,500 times by other academics. She has also had several articles published in Harvard Business Review, and her work has been cited in mainstream publications, from The New York Times to Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

She co-edited one of the seminal scientific books on wisdom, Handbook of Wisdom: Psychological Perspectives, and was a contributor to the books Leadership at the Crossroads: Psychology and Leadership and The Handbook of Organizational and Managerial Wisdom.

Before joining IMD in 2016, Jordan was Associate Professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and a post-doctoral fellow at the Kellogg School of Management and Tuck School of Business in the United States. She served as a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin during her doctoral research.

Selected publications
Article
Finding the right balance — and flexibility — in your leadership style
It’s an outdated idea that a leader should adopt a fixed leadership style that’s agnostic to the specific context in which he or she is operating. A single approach to leadership is not going to me...
Published 11 January 2022
Article
How shadow boards bridge generational divides
A shadow board is a group of young, nonexecutive employees tapped to work with the executive board on strategic initiatives. It’s designed to introduce a company’s (typically middle-aged) leadershi...
Published 8 March 2022
Article
Every leader needs to navigate these 7 tensions
In surveys and interviews with hundreds of leaders worldwide, we uncovered seven core tensions between the traditional and emerging leadership approaches. Those tensions create significant stress f...
Published 20 February 2020
Article
Antecedents of leaders' power sharing: The roles of power instability and distrust
Although previous research has identified various beneficial consequences of power sharing, less research has examined antecedents of leaders’ power sharing. To address this gap, across five studie...
Published 1 March 2020
Article
Why you should create a “shadow board” of younger employees
A lot of companies struggle with two apparently unrelated problems: disengaged younger workers and a weak response to changing market conditions. A few companies have tackled both problems at the s...
Published 4 June 2019
Article
Reaching the top and avoiding the bottom: How ranking motivates unethical intentions and behavior
Across six studies we explore when, why, and how an individual’s rank position affects their unethical intentions and behavior. We first demonstrate that competing to attain top ranks leads to more...
Published 1 November 2016
Article
Someone to look up to: Executive-follower ethical reasoning and perceptions of ethical leadership
Despite a business environment that highlights the importance of executives’ ethical leadership, the individual antecedents of ethical leadership remain largely unknown. In this study, the authors ...
Published 1 March 2013
Article
Striving for the moral self: The effects of recalling past moral actions on future moral behavior
People’s desires to see themselves as moral actors can contribute to their striving for and achievement of a sense of selfcompleteness. The authors use self-completion theory to predict (and show) ...
Published 1 January 2011
Article
Something to lose and nothing to gain: The role of stress in the interactive effect of power and stability on risk taking
The current investigation explores how power and stability within a social hierarchy interact to affect risk taking. Building on a diverse, interdisciplinary body of research, including work on non...
Published 1 January 2011
Academic publications
Article
Regulatory focus theory: Disentangling goals and strategies
The purpose of this research was to develop and test the Regulatory Goals and Strategies Questionnaire (RGSQ) to promote conceptual and empirical clarity in the literature on regulatory focus theor...
Published 8 February 2022
Article
Contextualizing the impostor “syndrome”
The impostor “syndrome” refers to the notion that some individuals feel as if they ended up in esteemed roles and positions not because of their competencies, but because of some oversight or strok...
Published 13 November 2020
Article
The dark side of relational leadership: Positive and negative reciprocity as fundamental drivers of follower’s intended pro-leader and pro-self unethical behavior
In this study, we use a social exchange perspective to examine when [i.e., high- vs. low-quality leader–member exchange (LMX)], why (i.e., positive vs. negative reciprocity), and how (i.e., pro-lea...
Published 10 July 2020
Article
The strategic samaritan: How effectiveness and proximity affect corporate response to external crises
This research examines how two dimensions of moral intensity involved in a corporation's external crisis response—magnitude of effectiveness and interpersonal proximity—influence observer perceptio...
Published 1 October 2012
Article
Power increases infidelity among men and women
Data from a large survey of 1,561 professionals were used to examine the relationship between power and infidelity and the process underlying this relationship. Results showed that elevated power i...
Published 1 January 2011
Article
Forgive them for I have sinned: The relationship between guilt and forgiveness of others' transgressions [Corrigendum]
We propose that guilt leads to forgiveness of others’ transgressions. In Study 1, people prone to experience guilt (but not shame) were also prone to forgive others for past misdeeds. In Study 2, w...
Published 1 January 2015
Article
Reaching the top and avoiding the bottom: How ranking motivates unethical intentions and behavior
Across six studies we explore when, why, and how an individual’s rank position affects their unethical intentions and behavior. We first demonstrate that competing to attain top ranks leads to more...
Published 1 November 2016
Article
The evil eye: Eye gaze and competitiveness in social decision making
We demonstrate that a person's eye gaze and his/her competitiveness are closely intertwined in social decision making. In an exploratory examination of this relationship, Study 1 uses field data fr...
Published 18 October 2017
Article
Something to lose and nothing to gain: The role of stress in the interactive effect of power and stability on risk taking
The current investigation explores how power and stability within a social hierarchy interact to affect risk taking. Building on a diverse, interdisciplinary body of research, including work on non...
Published 1 January 2011
Article
The hazard of teetering at the top and being tied to the bottom: The interactive relationship of power, stability, and social dominance orientation with work stress
This study examines the roles of power, stability, and social dominance orientation (SDO) for work stress. Initial laboratory research has demonstrated that power and the stability of one's power p...
Published 1 October 2017
Article
The effect of specific and general rules on ethical decisions
We examined the effects of specific and general rules on ethical decisions and demonstrated, across five studies, that specifically-framed rules elicited ethical decisions more strongly than genera...
Published 1 January 2014
Article
When the motivational consequences of ego depletion collide: Conservation dominates over reward-seeking
Existing research shows that ego depletion—impaired self-regulation following repeatedly exerting self-control—¦increases the need to conserve energy, thus reducing engagement and persistence, and ...
Published 1 January 2014
Article
Data from a pre-publication independent replication initiative examining ten moral judgement effects
We present the data from a crowdsourced project seeking to replicate findings in independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. In this Pre-Publication Independent Replicat...
Published 11 October 2016
Article
Striving for the moral self: The effects of recalling past moral actions on future moral behavior
People’s desires to see themselves as moral actors can contribute to their striving for and achievement of a sense of selfcompleteness. The authors use self-completion theory to predict (and show) ...
Published 1 January 2011
Article
Someone to look up to: Executive-follower ethical reasoning and perceptions of ethical leadership
Despite a business environment that highlights the importance of executives’ ethical leadership, the individual antecedents of ethical leadership remain largely unknown. In this study, the authors ...
Published 1 March 2013
Article
Antecedents of leaders' power sharing: The roles of power instability and distrust
Although previous research has identified various beneficial consequences of power sharing, less research has examined antecedents of leaders’ power sharing. To address this gap, across five studie...
Published 1 March 2020
Article
Constraining temptation: How specific and general rules mitigate the effect of personal gain on unethical behavior
Rules are often installed in order to constrain unethical behavior. Rules can be framed either in specific (“Don’t accepts gifts from clients.”) or general terms (“Don’t engage in conflicts of inte...
Published 1 January 2020
Article
A social cognition framework for examining moral awareness in managers and academics
This investigation applies a social cognition framework to examine moral awareness in business situations.¦Using a vignette-based instrument, the investigation¦compares the recall, recognition, and...
Published 1 January 2009
Insight for Executives
The future of power, with professor Jennifer Jordan
Article
The future of power, with professor Jennifer Jordan
In Episode 16 of ManagementCast, Jennifer Jordan discusses the future of influence and what to expect from the next generation of power brokers
Published 27 October 2022
The problem with power, IMD professor Jennifer Jordan
Article
The problem with power, IMD professor Jennifer Jordan
IMD Professor Jennifer Jordan describes the problems and pitfalls of power; and how the modern executive can avoid them
Published 13 October 2022
Building your power base, with IMD professor Jennifer Jordan
Article
Building your power base, with IMD professor Jennifer Jordan
In Episode 14 of ManagementCast, Jennifer Jordan tells listeners how they conduct a "power audit" in their own workplaces.
Published 29 September 2022
In pursuit of power, with IMD professor Jennifer Jordan
Article
In pursuit of power, with IMD professor Jennifer Jordan
In Episode 13 of ManagementCast, IMD Professor Jennifer Jordan discusses the "unspoken currency" that is power.
Published 16 September 2022
How to get a pay rise – and how to avoid giving one
Article
How to get a pay rise – and how to avoid giving one
As inflation skyrockets, companies are being besieged with pay rise demands. What’s the best way to secure one, and how can managers resist pressure to bump up salaries?  
Published 31 August 2022
Article
Using emojis to connect with your team
Leaders have often relied on physical cues, such as facial expressions and body language, to gauge and communicate emotions or intent. But doing so is more difficult in the remote workplace, where ...
Published 30 May 2022
Article
How shadow boards bridge generational divides
A shadow board is a group of young, nonexecutive employees tapped to work with the executive board on strategic initiatives. It’s designed to introduce a company’s (typically middle-aged) leadershi...
Published 8 March 2022
Article
Designing hybrid models that boost company performance
It has been nearly two years since the first wave of COVID-19 forced organizations worldwide to rethink working practices and shift rapidly to homeworking. Yet as Omicron fears halt the reopening o...
Published 21 January 2022
Article
Finding the right balance — and flexibility — in your leadership style
It’s an outdated idea that a leader should adopt a fixed leadership style that’s agnostic to the specific context in which he or she is operating. A single approach to leadership is not going to me...
Published 11 January 2022
Article
Your employees are your best defense against cyberattacks
Most cyberattacks target people, not systems. In fact, the vast majority of attacks can be traced back to human failures. So, when you’re thinking about your company’s cybersecurity, you should rea...
Published 30 August 2021
Article
When managing change in the virtual world, less is definitely more
It’s always been tough for CEOs to drive through new ways of working, and the virtual office has added to the challenge. But there are solutions.
Published 5 August 2021
Article
Escape shackles of a fixed mindset to fuel growth
The way leaders frame their challenges influences the way they think, feel, take action and interact with others. Those with fixed mindsets tend to believe that intelligence and ability are fixed a...
Published 7 July 2021
Article
The future of work revolves around not WFH or salary, but purpose
Prospective workers will prioritize purpose - whether this means status, pride or meaning derived from work - in the post-COVID world
Published 1 April 2021
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Article
Instead of framing the insecurities of individuals belonging to marginalized groups solely as a
Published 8 March 2021
Article
If you get on with your boss you’re more likely to lie for them – new research
We generally believe that it is a good thing to have strong relationships with the people we work for and those we manage. But good relationships at work can also lead to unethical behaviour. In a ...
Published 14 October 2020
Second that emotion – building emotional resilience
Video
Second that emotion – building emotional resilience
How working effectively with emotions in challenging times presents the opportunity to build up your resilience and become a better leader.
Published 25 May 2020
Leading virtual teams 2.0
Video
Leading virtual teams 2.0
Tips for leading a virtual team with engagement and effectiveness.
Published 15 May 2020
Managing your energy: four dimensions
Video
Managing your energy: four dimensions
Understanding how to manage your energy from a leadership perspective.
Published 11 May 2020
Article
Lessons in agility from a dancer turned professor
“Agility” has become a hugely popular management buzzword. But what does it really mean? My first introduction to the concept came long before I studied management, let alone talked about it with e...
Published 6 April 2020
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Article
Four ways to tackle both task and team spirit effectively
Published 19 March 2020
Article
Every leader needs to navigate these 7 tensions
In surveys and interviews with hundreds of leaders worldwide, we uncovered seven core tensions between the traditional and emerging leadership approaches. Those tensions create significant stress f...
Published 20 February 2020
Article
Why reverse mentoring works and how to do it right
Many companies struggle with how to retain Millennial talent – and also with how to stay relevant to younger consumers. In response to these challenges, leadership teams of major companies around t...
Published 3 October 2019
Article
Why you should create a “shadow board” of younger employees
A lot of companies struggle with two apparently unrelated problems: disengaged younger workers and a weak response to changing market conditions. A few companies have tackled both problems at the s...
Published 4 June 2019
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Article
We usually interpret someone looking us straight in the eye during an interaction as a sign of trustworthiness. In fact, it can be rather unsettling when someone avoids eye contact. But research...
Published 29 March 2019
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Article
We are unquestionably in an age where digital is revolutionizing all we do in the organization – including how we manage people. This article is meant to provide you with insights into the innovati...
Published 19 March 2019
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Article
In times of intense digital disruption, leaders need to position themselves in the group differently to how it was done in the pre-digital era. Why? If, like many of the executives I work with, you...
Published 31 August 2018
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Article
One of the most common questions (and complaints I hear) from managers in the digital age is, “How do I work better with my virtual team?” This is a 5-million-franc answer, as the paucity of rigoro...
Published 23 August 2018
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Article
For the last five years, the influence of Millennials (people born approximately between 1980 and 2000) in the workplace has put pressure on many leaders and their organizations. But generational t...
Published 13 August 2018
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Article
This year has seen a number of scandals in the humanitarian sector come to light – from Oxfam to a high-profile aid-worker in Nepal. What’s common in all these stories is that the accused workers, ...
Published 1 June 2018
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Article
IMD recently interviewed professors Amit Joshi (digital marketing and analytics expert), Jennifer Jordan (digital leadership expert), and Michael Wade (digital business transformation expert) on th...
Published 23 May 2018
Article
Does the quest for high status encourage misconduct: Volkswagen and similar falls from grace motivated by the desire to be Number 1
This article presents a study on how rankings foster competition among people to avoid low ranks or attain high ranks. It showed that those who compete to obtain top ranks in and of themselves were...
Published 1 May 2018
Article
O poder e o assédio sexual
News of harassment, sexism and toxic work environments for women in the technology industry continue to emerge. Stories of obscene comments and sexual advances come from companies like Uber, Google...
Published 1 May 2018
Article
Como resolver tensões de equipe para melhorar os resultados?
In the fast (and growing faster) world in which our organizations are operating, staying innovative is vital to stay alive and successful. But innovation is not just about having good ideas, it is ...
Published 9 March 2018
Article
As AI makes more decisions, the nature of leadership will change
It is tempting to regard artificial intelligence as a threat to human leadership. After all, the very purpose of AI is to augment, improve, and ultimately replace human intelligence, which is still...
Published 22 January 2018
Article
Power, stress and your leadership: Stress is recognized worldwide as a major challenge to workers' health and well-being
Diminishing power causes stress and affects leadership behavior. How can you manage stress and balance your energy to keep your team focused in tough times?
Published 5 January 2018
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Article
Diminishing power causes stress and affects leadership behavior. How can you manage stress and balance your energy to keep your team focused in tough times?
Published 7 December 2017
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Article
The depressing news about harassment, sexism and a generally toxic work environment for women in the tech industry just keeps coming. Uber, venture capitalists, and now Google’s diversity manager, ...
Published 8 September 2017
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Article
In reflecting back on the last 18 months of the U.S. election, I experienced many emotions: sadness, anger, pity, confusion. But one thing that stuck with me most was a change that I have seen grad...
Published 21 November 2016
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Article
Regardless of your political bent, Trump’s unwillingness to state and stick with a policy and attitude does not bode well for the well-being of the American people. We shouldn’t tout his unpredicta...
Published 15 September 2016
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Article
Values-based leadership means that values are not just words but are translated into actions – actions including how targets are set and monitored. Targets are meant to be won or achieved. But in t...
Published 14 September 2016
Article
Lessons from the Wells Fargo scandal
What organisations can do to change the culture and prevent behaviour like this from occurring in the future. I am not arguing for the wholesale removal of incentives; incentives are powerful motiv...
Published 1 September 2016
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Article
When communicating virtually you should look for indirect answers to questions, little detail where it matters, excess detail where it doesn’t, strict chronological order when recounting events, pa...
Published 26 August 2016