Stephen Smulowitz

Term Research Professor at the IMD Global Board Center

Stephen Smulowitz is a Term Research Professor at the IMD Global Board Center. His main research interests relate to the topics of corporate governance, strategy, and stakeholder management. Specifically, he has published research relating to local communities, wrongdoing, diversity, CSR, and firm financial performance in top international journals including the Strategic Management Journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Human Relations and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.

Smulowitz’s teaching strongly aligns with his research interests. He teaches classes on strategy, stakeholder management, and risk management to members of boards of directors and executives, and to Master’s students.

He has won several awards for his research. His paper on human relations was nominated for Best Paper of the Year for 2019. He was awarded the Best Paper Award at the 2018 EIASM 15th Workshop on Corporate Governance, the Best Paper in Track Winner for Strategy Track at the 2018 Southern Management Society Conference, the Outstanding Doctoral Student Paper Award at the 2017 Southern Management Society Conference, and was a finalist for the Best PhD Paper prize at the 2016 Strategic Management Society Conference in Berlin, Germany.

Smulowitz holds a PhD in Management from IESE Business School, a Master’s degree in Management from IE Business School, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Prior to joining IMD, he practiced law for several years in the areas of securities law, commercial litigation, and corporate law. He worked as a law clerk on the Delaware Court of Chancery, as an associate attorney at the international law firm Skadden Arps, and as a Staff Attorney at the US Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington DC. As an attorney, he regularly advised executives and board members of Fortune 500 firms on their fiduciary duties.

Smulowitz is deeply committed to helping the community. He currently serves as the Senior Advisor on Board Education at the Professional Boards Forum, where he provides simulated board meetings bringing together Chairmen and Senior Board Directors with high potential women for Non-Executive Director positions. His community service also includes previous work for the Grievance Committee of the Florida Bar, and as a pro bono attorney for Delaware Volunteer Legal Services. In recognition of his public service, he was awarded the Achievement Award for Distinguished Pro Bono Service from the Delaware State Bar Association.

He is also an Ad Hoc Reviewer for Human Relations and the Journal of Business Ethics.

Selected publications
Article
Predicting employee wrongdoing: The complementary effect of CEO option pay and the pay gap
Research examining the influence of executive compensation on organizational wrongdoing has focused on pay’s incentive aspects. However, existing theory in sociology and social psychology has argue...
Published 2 January 2021
Article
The behavioral theory of the (community‚Äźoriented) firm: The differing response of community‚Äźoriented firms to performance relative to aspirations
Combining insights from the behavioral theory of the firm with sociological research on local embeddedness, we propose that community‚Äźoriented firms respond differently to performance relative to a...
Published 1 June 2020
Article
Racial diversity and its asymmetry within and across hierarchical levels: The effects on financial performance
The benefits and drawbacks of diversity inside organizations have been the focus of attention for researchers and practitioners for several decades. In our article, we investigate the business case...
Published 1 October 2019
Academic publications
Article
Predicting employee wrongdoing: The complementary effect of CEO option pay and the pay gap
Research examining the influence of executive compensation on organizational wrongdoing has focused on pay’s incentive aspects. However, existing theory in sociology and social psychology has argue...
Published 2 January 2021
Article
The behavioral theory of the (community‚Äźoriented) firm: The differing response of community‚Äźoriented firms to performance relative to aspirations
Combining insights from the behavioral theory of the firm with sociological research on local embeddedness, we propose that community‚Äźoriented firms respond differently to performance relative to a...
Published 1 June 2020
Article
Racial diversity and its asymmetry within and across hierarchical levels: The effects on financial performance
The benefits and drawbacks of diversity inside organizations have been the focus of attention for researchers and practitioners for several decades. In our article, we investigate the business case...
Published 1 October 2019
Insight for Executives
Striking the right balance on executive pay
Article
Striking the right balance on executive pay
Boards should see shareholder rejections of inflated CEO compensation as a serious warning of the social and commercial dangers of pay‚ÄĮinequity.
Published 13 October 2022
Article
Employees behaving badly: How high CEO pay can encourage wider wrongdoing
Research suggests that CEO stock option schemes combined with a large pay gap can encourage and motivate lower-ranking employees to commit illegal behavior.
Published 1 November 2021