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Expert Leaders in a Fast-Moving Environment


  • Goodall, Amanda H.

    () (Cass Business School)

  • Pogrebna, Ganna

    () (University of Warwick)


This paper is an attempt to understand the effects of leaders on organizational performance. We argue for an ‘expert leader’ model of leadership. We differentiate between four kinds of leaders according to their level of inherent knowledge and industry experience. After controlling for confounding variables, teams led by leaders with extensive knowledge of the core business perform better than others. Our study collects and analyses 60 years of data from one of the world’s most competitive high-technology sectors (Formula 1 competition) in which each organization’s performance can be measured objectively. We show that the most successful team leaders in F1 motor racing are more likely to have started their careers as drivers and mechanics compared with leaders who were principally managers or engineers with degrees. There is a notable association between driving and later success as a leader. Within the sub-sample of former drivers, those with the longest driving careers go on to be the most successful leaders.

Suggested Citation

  • Goodall, Amanda H. & Pogrebna, Ganna, 2012. "Expert Leaders in a Fast-Moving Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 6715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6715

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
    2. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Ralf Martin & Raffaella Sadun, 2010. "Modern Management: Good for the Environment or Just Hot Air?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 551-572, May.
    3. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
    4. Kocher, Martin G. & Pogrebna, Ganna & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Other-regarding preferences and management styles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 109-132.
    5. Kevin J. Murphy & Jan Zabojnik, 2006. "Managerial Capital and the Market for CEOs," Working Papers 1110, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    6. Amanda H Goodall, 2005. "Should Research Universities be Led by Top Researchers? Part 1: Are they?," HEW 0506003, EconWPA.
    7. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2002. "Reliable estimation of generalized linear mixed models using adaptive quadrature," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, February.
    8. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
    9. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen & Francisco Perez-Gonzalez & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2007. "Inside the Family Firm: The Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 647-691.
    10. Goodall, Amanda H., 2011. "Physician-leaders and hospital performance: Is there an association?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(4), pages 535-539, August.
    11. 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.
    12. Mark Jenkins, 2010. "Technological Discontinuities and Competitive Advantage: A Historical Perspective on Formula 1 Motor Racing 1950-2006," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(s1), pages 884-910, July.
    13. 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.
    14. 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).
    15. Goodall, Amanda H., 2012. "A Theory of Expert Leadership," IZA Discussion Papers 6566, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Peeters & Steven Salaga & Matthew Juravich, 2015. "Matching and Winning? The Impact of Upper and Middle Managers on Team Performance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-115/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Goodall, Amanda H., 2012. "A Theory of Expert Leadership," IZA Discussion Papers 6566, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Goodall, Amanda H. & Osterloh, Margit, 2015. "Women Have to Enter the Leadership Race to Win: Using Random Selection to Increase the Supply of Women into Senior Positions," IZA Discussion Papers 9331, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Christian Zehnder & Holger Herz & Jean-Philippe Bonardi, 2016. "A Productive Clash of Cultures: Injecting Economics into Leadership Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 6175, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Amanda Goodall, 2013. "Should Doctors Run Hospitals?," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(1), pages 37-40, 04.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:11:y:2013:i:1:p:19078515 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    expert leaders; leadership; organizational performance; high-tech; teams;

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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