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A Theory of Expert Leadership

  • Goodall, Amanda H.

    ()

    (Cass Business School)

How much knowledge should leaders have of their organization's core business? This is an important question but not one that has been addressed in the management literature. In a new 'theory of expert leadership' (TEL), this paper blends conceptual work with recent empirical evidence. It suggests that organizations perform more effectively when led by individuals who have a deep understanding of the core business of their organization. Being a capable general manager is not sufficient. Expert leaders are those with (1) inherent knowledge, acquired through technical expertise combined with high ability in the core-business activity; (2) industry experience, which stems from time and practice within the core-business industry; and (3) leadership capabilities, which include management skills and a leader's innate characteristics. This paper criticizes the rise of the professional manager and generalist CEO. It argues that expert leaders improve organizational performance through knowledge-based strategy, by acting as a standard bearer, by creating the right environment for core workers, and, finally, by adopting the long view. The paper concludes by identifying the potential boundaries of TEL.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6566.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6566
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  1. Lazear, Edward P., 2012. "Leadership: A personnel economics approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 92-101.
  2. Nick Bloom & Christos Genakos & Ralf Martin & Raffaella Sadun, 2010. "In brief: Modern Management: Good for the environment or just hot air?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 303, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Ralf Martin & Raffaella Sadun, 2008. "Modern Management: Good for the Environment of Just Hot Air?," Discussion Papers 08-009, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  4. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and explaining management practices across firms and countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 733, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Card & Alex Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," Working Papers 1269, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Palley, Thomas I., 1997. "Managerial turnover and the theory of short-termism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 547-557, April.
  8. Antia, Murad & Pantzalis, Christos & Park, Jung Chul, 2010. "CEO decision horizon and firm performance: An empirical investigation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 288-301, June.
  9. Goodall, Amanda H. & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Why Do Leaders Matter? The Role of Expert Knowledge," IZA Discussion Papers 3583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Bridgewater, Sue & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Goodall, Amanda H., 2011. "Substitution and complementarity between managers and subordinates: Evidence from British football," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 275-286, June.
  11. Amanda H Goodall, 2005. "Should top universities be led by top researchers, and are they?," General Economics and Teaching 0510003, EconWPA.
  12. Kevin J. Murphy & Jan Zabojnik, 2006. "Managerial Capital and the Market for CEOs," Working Papers 1110, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  13. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  14. Goodall, Amanda H. & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2011. "Why do leaders matter? A study of expert knowledge in a superstar setting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 265-284, March.
  15. Goodall, Amanda H., 2011. "Physician-leaders and hospital performance: Is there an association?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(4), pages 535-539, August.
  16. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
  17. Goodall, Amanda H. & Pogrebna, Ganna, 2012. "Expert Leaders in a Fast-Moving Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 6715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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