Anand Narasimhan

Shell Professor of Global Leadership and Dean of Research

Anand Narasimhan is Shell Professor of Global Leadership and Dean of Research. He focuses on top team and board dynamics and their impact on organizational transformation. He works with board directors and senior executives on how to enhance their leadership presence to create a positive impact on their followers and stakeholders.

Anand’s teaching, consulting, and research highlights the importance of the specific contexts that top leaders operate in, particularly the tendency of successful individuals to accentuate their own abilities and discount the importance of supporting factors such as team members and institutional structures and process. His research shows how leaders need to understand their own powers of containment and acquire literacy in reading conscious and unconscious cues to create aligning mechanisms that generate large-scale transformation.

A top leader is frequently made aware of the special abilities and characteristics that have made them successful. The sooner a leader transcends such hype and starts to recognize the many others on whose shoulders they stand, the more impactful their legacy.

Anand is co-author of Quest: Leading Transformation Journeys, a book summarizing IMD faculty’s research on corporate transformations, which won the 2015 Axiom Business Books International Business Gold Medal. He is currently working on a book on the unconscious dynamics of teams as an underappreciated factor in corporate governance failures.

His research has been published in top organizational, sociological, and psychological journals such as Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organizational Science, Annual Review of Sociology, and Personnel Psychology. He has served on the editorial boards of Organization Studies and Human Relations.

Anand has led programs on board and top leadership effectiveness for clients from a wide range of industries such as Iberdrola, Borealis, Borouge, Qatar Petroleum, Shell, and Holcim.

At IMD, he is Director of the Team Dynamics for Boards program. He serves on IMD’s Executive Committee as Dean of Research and was additionally Dean of Faculty until 2021. He is also a board member of the Case Center and the International School of Lausanne and is currently qualifying to be a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

Before joining IMD in 2007, Anand served for a decade as organizational behavior faculty member at London Business School, and prior to his academic career he worked for Unilever.

Selected publications
Article
What everyone gets wrong about change management
Corporate transformations still have a miserable success rate: About three-quarters of change efforts either fail to deliver the anticipated benefits or are abandoned entirely. And because flawed i...
Published 30 October 2017
Book
Quest : leading global transformations: The IMD guide to the seven journeys reshaping corporations today
This book identifies and addresses the seven transformation journeys that are reshaping corporations today. It integrates and builds on the collective experience and learning of IMD's professors,wh...
Published 10 February 2014
Article
Emotion helpers: The role of high positive affectivity and high self-monitoring managers
Who provides help to employees suffering anxiety and emotional pain in organizations? From an interactionist perspective, the authors anticipated that increasing levels of managerial responsibility...
Published 1 August 2007
Article
The production of culture perspective
The production of culture perspective focuses on how the symbolic elements of culture are shaped by the systems within which they are created, distributed, evaluated, taught, and preserved. After t...
Published 30 August 2004
Article
Tournament rituals in the evolution of fields: The case of the Grammy Awards
The authors show how award ceremony rituals influence organizational field evolution through four critical processes: distributing prestige in "situated" performances; enacting a highly charged cer...
Published 1 January 2004
Academic publications
Article
Knowledge-based innovation: Emergence and embedding of new practice areas in management consulting firms
How do innovative knowledge-based structures emerge and become embedded in organizations? The authors drew on theories of knowledge-intensive firms, communities of practice, and professional servic...
Published 1 January 2007
Article
What is the right organization design?
The purpose of this article is to present key developments in organization structure and design that have occurred since 1979 and describe when each can be used for greatest effect. The authors wil...
Published 1 January 2007
Article
Manufactured authenticity and creative voice in cultural industries
This article presents some articles which examines the tension between manufactured authenticity and creative voice in cultural industries in the U.S. in 2005. Two distinct strategies may be used f...
Published 1 July 2005
Article
Capabilities of the consummate networker
Popular stereotypes of the consummate networker depict an individual whose days are spent phoning everyone he or she has ever known, power-dining with movers and shakers, and entering the date of y...
Published 1 January 2007
Article
The process of team boundary spanning in multi-organizational contexts
Work teams must increasingly operate in complex environments characterized by multiple external actors beyond team and organizational boundaries. Although previous research demonstrates the importa...
Published 1 October 2014
Article
Emotion helping by managers: An emergent understanding of discrepant role expectations and outcomes
Why do managers help employees with their negative emotions, and how do employees respond? We analyzed interview and network data from the head office of a recruiting agency. We found that managers...
Published 1 January 2013
Article
Tournament rituals, category dynamics, and field configuration: The case of the booker prize
In this article the authors theorize the ways in which tournament rituals, in the form of prominent industry award ceremonies, configure organizational fields. They review field theory to distil fo...
Published 27 August 2008
Article
Tournament rituals in the evolution of fields: The case of the Grammy Awards
The authors show how award ceremony rituals influence organizational field evolution through four critical processes: distributing prestige in "situated" performances; enacting a highly charged cer...
Published 1 January 2004
Insight for Executives
Books to inspire, inform and entertain 
Article
Books to inspire, inform and entertain 
From dealing with burnout and bullsh*t to the joys of friendship and climbing mountains, IMD professors offer a varied choice of summer reading material.
Published 16 June 2022
Why young talent should join the plastic revolution
Article
Why young talent should join the plastic revolution
The future of the plastics industry hinges on a shift to a circular business model and the recruitment of the brightest and the best young people, Lucrèce Foufopoulos says in an I by IMD interview.
Published 16 June 2022
How to help the workforce through the cost of living crisis
Article
How to help the workforce through the cost of living crisis
Employees are facing a difficult few years as inflation pushes the cost of living out of reach. What does this mean for their employers, and should they step in to help?
Published 8 June 2022
Article
$66 billion burnout buster
Companies have massively expanded wellbeing programs offered to employees in recent years, and this is likely to gather pace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Global Wellness Institute proj...
Published 17 June 2021
Top teams in the time of crisis: containment and compassion
Video
Top teams in the time of crisis: containment and compassion
Understand what phase of the crisis your team is in and and how to apply containment and compassion.
Published 12 May 2020
Article
Raising your board's strategic game
Board members are expected to contribute more to the strategy debate but often lack the tools to do so. Based on our empirical research of corporate transformation efforts, we propose a framework t...
Published 1 March 2019
Article
Theranos founder fooled investors with the promise to revolutionise healthcare – it offers three big lessons for companies
Less than three months after being charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with “massive fraud” and barred from being the CEO of a public company for ten years, entrepreneur Eliz...
Published 18 June 2018
Article
What everyone gets wrong about change management
Corporate transformations still have a miserable success rate: About three-quarters of change efforts either fail to deliver the anticipated benefits or are abandoned entirely. And because flawed i...
Published 30 October 2017
Report
The globalization capability gap: Execution, not strategy, separates leaders from laggards
Despite high aspirations, few companies are ready to build and run truly global organizations and operations, according to the Global Readiness Survey, conducted jointly by BCG and IMD business sch...
Published 24 June 2015
Article
Insular Takeda adopts a global outlook
The story. When Yasuchika Hasegawa took over as president of Takeda in 2003, the Japanese pharmaceutical company was experiencing sluggish domestic growth and facing a drop in revenue as lucrative ...
Published 28 October 2013
Article
Business school professors face an uncertain future
Massive open online courses (Moocs) threaten the existing business school model and that includes many professors in the classroom. The arrival of Moocs will make 60-70 per cent of existing busines...
Published 30 June 2013
Article
Case study: Goli Vada Pav
When Venkatesh Iyer co-founded Goli Vada Pav with Shiv Menon in 2004, he saw a big opportunity in selling affordable, clean, ethnic fast food to lower-income customers in India. Mr Venkatesh, now c...
Published 4 September 2012
Article
Case study: Rethinking hiring and retention: An Indian tech group gets persuasive
Twelve years and an estimated 50m internet users later, the company had come a long way. After an initial public offering and expansion into other related businesses under the umbrella of its Info ...
Published 24 April 2012
Article
Reinventing the British Museum: Rally diverse stakeholders
The story. When Neil MacGregor became director of the British Museum in 2002, the institution was one year short of its 250th anniversary. It was also ÂŁ6m in debt, viewed as one of the least user-f...
Published 31 January 2012
Article
Case study: Developing Indian's taste for wine
The story. When Rajeev Samant left India to study and work in California, he also found himself learning about wine thanks to that state’s burgeoning industry. After returning to India in the late ...
Published 5 December 2011