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