Robert Hooijberg

Professor of Organizational Behavior

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Robert Hooijberg is Professor of Organizational Behavior. His areas of interest include leadership, negotiations, team building, digital transformation, and organizational culture, with a specific focus on the alignment of culture and strategy. He helps organizations to create powerful performance-oriented cultures aligned with strategy, and has developed an innovative approach to the study of cases on the topic.

Hooijberg believes that too many companies lose out because they artificially separate strategy and culture, seeing culture as of secondary importance, whereas aligning strategy and culture from the start leads to better strategy, and better execution of strategy, as people feel more engaged.

He outlined this thinking in Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations: Aligning Culture and Strategy, his 2012 book with organizational culture expert Dan Denison, and in more recent years he has developed a series of video cases on the topic to help executives understand how to address the issue. Hooijberg has applied this technique to several cases including AIA, Allianz Africa, BCG, Carlsberg, Lundbeck and the National CEO Program of Oman.

Strategy is what to do, and culture is how to do it. The truth is, if you start any sort of culture program after the rollout of a new strategy, it looks like a mere afterthought. Ideally, strategy and culture should be created and implemented simultaneously.

His research has appeared in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Academy of Management Learning & Education, The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Management, Human Relations, Organization Science, Human Resource Management, Hospital & Health Services Administration, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Management Education, Administration & Society, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, and Journal of Organizational Behavior. His article The Future of Team Leadership Is Multimodal, co-authored with Michael Watkins, was the most read piece of 2021 in MIT Sloan Management Review.

Hooijberg’s recent articles have focused particularly on lessons that can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and he argues that the crisis has fostered more efficient and effective ways of working that have the potential to lead to a better quality of life at work and at home if they are implemented well.

He says people’s working lives are likely to be divided between time in the office and working from home in the future, but this split should be based on the nature of the tasks they have to perform, with people coming to the office when interaction with colleagues is required but working from home when carrying out individual tasks. Prescribing fixed allocations of time at home or in the office just creates unnecessary friction and diminishes people’s quality of life.

At IMD, Hooijberg has provided programs and consultancy services for a wide range of organizations, including KPN, Carlsberg, Eneva, Julius Bär, Bayer, Safran, FirstRand, Allianz Africa, EY, PSE&G, Korea Telecom, FrieslandCampina, Axiata, and the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

He is also Director of Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives (BPSE) and Negotiating for Value Creation (NVC).

Before joining IMD in 2000, he taught at Rutgers University in their MBA and EMBA programs in New Jersey, Singapore, and Beijing.

Selected publications
Book
Leading culture change in global organizations: Aligning culture and strategy
Filled with case studies from firms such as GT Automotive, GE Healthcare China, Vale, Dominos, Swiss Re Americas Division, and Polar Bank, among others, this book combines twenty years of research ...
Published 7 August 2012
Article
The future of team leadership is multimodal
The pandemic has accelerated a pre-COVID-19 shift in how individuals and teams do intellectual work. Companies have learned that routine tasks involving transactions and coordination can be done pu...
Published 9 February 2021
Article
When do we really need face-to-face interactions?
While work will likely never go back to our pre-pandemic status quo, the future will be a blended one that leverages the best of what both virtual and face-to-face experiences can offer. The autho...
Published 4 January 2021
Article
How boards botch CEO succession
The strategic importance of CEO succession is indisputable, and the elements of effective succession planning have long been known. So why do many boards plan poorly for the CEO succession when the...
Published 21 June 2016
Book
Being there even when you are not: Leading through strategy, structures, and systems
In this book, the authors focus on how leaders use strategy, structures, and systems to create the conditions that stimulate others to meaningfully contribute to the overarching goals of the organi...
Published 7 June 2007
Article
Putting a premium on African peace of mind
Insurance take up on the continent is low, but Delphine Traoré, CEO of Allianz Africa, is confident that a wind of change is blowing.
Published 17 March 2022
Insight for Executives
Article
The future workplace depends on efficiency, effectiveness, and balance
Many leadership teams are grappling with how to build and sustain the requisite talent foundation to grow their businesses as the world emerges from the pandemic. Unprecedented high levels of profe...
Published 16 June 2022
Article
When does it make sense to have mixed-mode meetings?
While organizations are preparing to return large numbers of workers to offices this fall, many senior leaders have questions about how to lead a reassembled workforce when not everyone is together...
Published 25 August 2021
How diversifying its asset portfolio revitalized one company’s teams and business
Article
How diversifying its asset portfolio revitalized one company’s teams and business
What happened when AIA – the largest pan-Asian life insurance group – decided that its long-standing investment function was in need of a transformation?
Published 9 June 2021
Report
Julius Baer and IMD: Winning the future: Building Julius Baer's leadership capabilities
In 2018, Julius Baer was confronted with reputational legacy issues and leadership challenges in a rapidly evolving external environment, increased regulatory scrutiny and significant technological...
Published 1 March 2021
Designing powerful blended leadership development experiences
Article
Designing powerful blended leadership development experiences
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of new, virtual ways of developing leaders and teams (and ways of working more generally). While we will never go back to the pre-crisis status quo,...
Published 13 February 2021
Article
The future of team leadership is multimodal
The pandemic has accelerated a pre-COVID-19 shift in how individuals and teams do intellectual work. Companies have learned that routine tasks involving transactions and coordination can be done pu...
Published 9 February 2021
The six tips to ensure your organization has a breakthrough – and not a breakdown – in times of crisis
Video
The six tips to ensure your organization has a breakthrough – and not a breakdown – in times of crisis
‘Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks,’ says IMD Professor of Organizational Behavior Robert Hooijberg, bucking age-old advice on how companies can channel innovation and creativity during the ...
Published 21 January 2021
Article
When do we really need face-to-face interactions?
While work will likely never go back to our pre-pandemic status quo, the future will be a blended one that leverages the best of what both virtual and face-to-face experiences can offer. The autho...
Published 4 January 2021
Empowerment at Julius Baer
Case Study
Empowerment at Julius Baer
The case reveals the challenges faced by a traditional Swiss wealth management firm, Julius Baer, which is trying to modernize amidst the industry transforming changes in regulation and technolo...
Published 8 November 2020
Article
How intelligent is your AI?: Ask these four questions to tell if your AI solution is really AI.
In a world where buzzwords come and go, artificial intelligence has been remarkably durable. Since it first emerged as a concept in the 1950s, there has been a relatively constant flow of technolog...
Published 22 June 2020
Learning through bonding and bonding through learning
Article
Learning through bonding and bonding through learning
On a trip to Israel, IMD professors learn more about each other as they learn how new technologies are impacting local businesses.
Published 14 May 2020
When small is beautiful
Article
When small is beautiful
The AI race is not only about digital giants from China and the US.
Published 6 May 2020
Artificial intelligence: one area where startups can teach established firms
Article
Artificial intelligence: one area where startups can teach established firms
Firms with a solid past may still be inventing as well as ever, but they need to look up to startups when it comes to implementing their AI
Published 17 March 2020
Beyond algorithms: the impact of AI and ML on organizations
Article
Beyond algorithms: the impact of AI and ML on organizations
When AI/ML companies truly understand the challenges of their potential customers, they can create products that add real value in terms of efficiency and/or effectiveness in the that customer’s en...
Published 10 March 2020
The problem with digital: zebras, horses and unicorns
Article
The problem with digital: zebras, horses and unicorns
Do we really need A.I. to solve intractable human problems? In many cases good old data science can be substituted for A.I.
Published 9 March 2020
Report
AIA, ALC and IMD: A partnership to future-proof the AIA investment function
AIA is the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group with a presence in 18 markets across the Asia-Pacific region. AIA Investments (Investments) is a key internal functio...
Published 1 March 2019
In the field with Carlsberg
Article
In the field with Carlsberg
This article explores how companies can address the increasingly changing and uncertain operating environments they face. These include, but are not limited to, shifting geopolitical alliances, reg...
Published 19 June 2018
Report
IMD and the Diwan of Royal Court : The national CEO program: A partnership to develop Oman’s future talent
This case follows the partnership between IMD and Oman’s Diwan of Royal Court as they co-created, designed and delivered an innovative program - called the National CEO Program (NCP) - to nurture O...
Published 11 March 2018
In the field with Royal FrieslandCampina
Article
In the field with Royal FrieslandCampina
Two Dutch dairy cooperatives, each with their own operating companies, faced an increasingly competitive and uncertain European market and so they decided to merge. A new CEO was appointed to lead ...
Published 4 December 2016
The right leadership mix to transform organizations
Article
The right leadership mix to transform organizations
What CEO or board member doesn’t dream of transforming their company? Of course the nuts and bolts of changing an organization from top to bottom are more than daunting. But it makes a huge differe...
Published 3 May 2016
Royal Frieslandcampina: A moo-ger equals (B)
Case Study
Royal Frieslandcampina: A moo-ger equals (B)
In December 2007, two diary cooperatives – Campina and Royal Friesland Foods - based in The Netherlands decided to merge. The cooperatives both owned operating companies that were responsible for b...
Published 30 December 2015
Royal Frieslandcampina: Moo-ger of equals (A)
Case Study
Royal Frieslandcampina: Moo-ger of equals (A)
In December 2007, two diary cooperatives – Campina and Royal Friesland Foods - based in The Netherlands decided to merge. The cooperatives both owned operating companies that were responsible for b...
Published 30 December 2015
Royal Frieslandcampina: A moo-ger of equals (C)
Case Study
Royal Frieslandcampina: A moo-ger of equals (C)
In December 2007, two diary cooperatives – Campina and Royal Friesland Foods - based in The Netherlands decided to merge. The cooperatives both owned operating companies that were responsible for b...
Published 30 December 2015
Brazil: What next?
Article
Brazil: What next?
Brazil has always been referred to as a land of opportunity and great potential. Famous Austrian writer Stefan Sweig declared in 1941 that, “Brazil is the Country of the Future.” In his welcome int...
Published 23 March 2015
Instrumental leadership:
The nuts and bolts of leadership
Article
Instrumental leadership: The nuts and bolts of leadership
There is a gap between what can be called the “soft” side of leadership (transformational) and the side that is more focused on “carrots and sticks” (transactional). Although both are important ele...
Published 27 October 2014
Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations
Book
Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations
Filled with case studies from firms such as GT Automotive, GE Healthcare China, Vale, Dominos, Swiss Re Americas Division, and Polar Bank, among others, this book combines twenty years of research ...
Published 25 July 2012
Article
A relação entre integridade e a eficácia da liderança
For many years business thinkers have told senior executives that acting with integrity will help to make them more effective leaders. Indeed, when you read what well-regarded authors such as Steph...
Published 26 July 2010
Article
How to ensure integrity
To build integrity into an organization, top management must clearly outline the company's core values. These values statements are often generated separately from strategy. This is a mistake. Ofte...
Published 1 February 2005
IMD and the Diwan of Royal Court
Report
IMD and the Diwan of Royal Court
This case follows the partnership between IMD and Oman’s Diwan of Royal Court as they co-created, designed and delivered an innovative program - called the National CEO Program (NCP) - to nurture O...
Published 1 January 2000
Julius Baer and IMD: Winning the future: Building Julius Baer's leadership capabilities
Report
Julius Baer and IMD: Winning the future: Building Julius Baer's leadership capabilities
In 2018, Julius Baer was confronted with reputational legacy issues and leadership challenges in a rapidly evolving external environment, increased regulatory scrutiny and significant technological...
Published 1 January 2000
Aligning culture and strategy
Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations
Programs
On campus
Orchestrating Winning Performance

Reset for sustainable and inclusive growth

IMD's signature program, OWP, brings you the latest business trends, thought leadership and insights to revitalize your business, drive innovation and lead you forward. Fully customizable schedule. For executives and teams.

Location: Lausanne Length: 5 days Fee: CHF 10,900 Next start: 26 June 2023
On campus
Negotiating for Value Creation

Leveraging complexity to build win-win partnerships

Helps executives master the negotiation frameworks and processes required to manage successful value-driven win-win partnerships.

Location: Lausanne Length: 3 days Fee: CHF 6,000 Next start: 18 April 2023
On campus
Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives

Do what matters

Uncover breakthrough insights top-level managers need to confidently tackle the most critical and difficult-to-solve issues that are limiting the organization. ​

Location: Lausanne Length: 10 days Fee: CHF 25,500 Next start: 29 November 2022