Robert Hooijberg

Professor of Organizational Behavior

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 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
Leading culture change in global organizations: Aligning culture and strategy
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
Putting a premium on African peace of mind
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
Academic publications
Article
Leadership complexity and development of the Leaderplex Model
Researchers have considered cognitive, social and behavioral aspects of leadership, but except for Zaccaro, not all 3 simultaneously. A comprehensive of all three aspects in one model enhances the ...
Published 1 January 1997
Article
Diversity and the demands of leadership
In this paper, the authors develop a framework for conceptualizing the research on diversity, examine the relationship between diversity and the demands of leadership, and attempt to link the liter...
Published 1 January 1996
Article
On cultural change: Using the competing values framework to help leaders execute a transformational strategy
This article describes how the Competing Values Framework (Quinn, 1988) can be used to assess an organization's existing and desired culture and how one organization consultant uses the assessments...
Published 1 May 1993
Article
Using multisource feedback coaching effectively in executive education
Many executive education programs focused on leadership now use multisource feedback. Both the faculty and clients then hope that providing this feedback will lead to performance improvements. Mult...
Published 1 January 2009
Article
Leadership in and of demographically diverse organizations
The leadership literature has not adequately addressed leadership in and of demographically diverse organizations. In this article, the authors examine what is known about male/female, white/non-wh...
Published 1 January 1996
Article
Which leadership roles matter?: An examination of rater effects on perceptions of effectiveness
Using a 360-degree feedback approach, the authors examined the extent to which raters vary in the leadership roles they associate with effectiveness, as well as the extent to which self-ratings ref...
Published 1 January 2000
Article
Toward new-wave organization creativity: Beyond romance and analogy in the relationship between orchestra-conductor leadership and musician creativity
Some researchers have argued that symphony orchestras, their conductors, and musicians can be used as analogies for the flatter and more creative new-wave organizations of the future. In doing so, ...
Published 1 February 2004
Article
From selling peanuts and beer in Yankee stadium to creating a theory of transformational leadership: An interview with Bernie Bass
This is an interview with Bernard Bass. Besides all of his work in the area of leadership, Dr. Bass is also the co-founder of the Leadership quarterly.
Published 1 January 2000
Article
Strategic leadership research: Moving on
During the last 20 years, the field of strategic leadership has undergone both a rejuvenation and a metamorphosis. The essence of strategic leadership involves the capacity to learn, the capacity t...
Published 1 February 2001
Article
A model for reflective pedagogy
Business schools have been sharply criticized for institutional cultures and reward systems that promote scholarship at the expense of pedagogy. In this article the authors argue that to achieve a ...
Published 1 May 1997
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
Article
A multidirectional approach towards leadership: An extension of the concept of behavioral complexity
This paper explores the idea that behaviorally complex managers are more effective than their less complex counterparts. An empirical examination of the perceptions of the subordinates, peers, and ...
Published 1 January 1996
Insight for Executives
The best of both worlds? 
Article
The best of both worlds? 
Hybrid working is all the rage, but it is not yet right for everyone. Some organizations are struggling to establish models that spark the chemistry that can only happen in the workplace. But they ...
Published 18 August 2022
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
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
Putting a premium on African peace of mind
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
Designing hybrid models that boost company performance
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
Stop Zoom bashing and master the hybrid world of work
Article
Stop Zoom bashing and master the hybrid world of work
Whether it’s taking 15 minutes after a call to make a start on your “to do” list or having coffee in-person with a colleague, there are more efficient, effective and healthier ways to organize our ...
Published 4 January 2022
The convergence of executive pay and corporate social responsibility
Article
The convergence of executive pay and corporate social responsibility
CEOs pledged to take COVID pay cuts but many didn’t go through with it. Now their investors are rebelling, and amplifying calls to reform executive compensation
Published 30 September 2021
Return to the office or stay at home?: There is a third way
Article
Return to the office or stay at home?: There is a third way
Much of the conversation about hybrid work focuses on striking the right balance between the in-person and virtual modes. And we, too, have begun to explore the differences in how leaders need to s...
Published 16 September 2021
AIA, ALC & IMD: A partnership to future-proof the AIA investment function
Report
AIA, ALC & 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 function ...
Published 10 September 2021
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 10 September 2021
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
The post-pandemic ‘org chart’ for the hybrid workspace
Article
The post-pandemic ‘org chart’ for the hybrid workspace
Julius Baer CEO explains how to manage in the new normal to optimize operational readiness.
Published 28 July 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 10 June 2021
Don’t return to work; reimagine it
Article
Don’t return to work; reimagine it
Many businesses are mandating rigid approaches to returning to the office. Instead, leaders should focus on leveraging what we have learned about work through the pandemic and organize schedules an...
Published 10 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 22 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
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
Article
Se dépasser et adopter un nouveau regard
The role of senior managers is both to focus their attention on two objectives simultaneously. They must scan the horizon for new opportunities and threats, while understanding what is happening in...
Published 5 October 2019
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 20 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 5 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 4 May 2016
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 28 October 2014
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
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
Integrity and leadership effectiveness
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 1 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
Aligning culture and strategy