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MARCH 22-23, 2018


Markus Menz (Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva) 
Sven Kunisch (School of Management, University of St. Gallen)



Tine Buyl (Department of Organization Studies, Tilburg University)
Alejandro Escribá (Department of Management, University of Valencia)
Sven Kunisch (School of Management, University of St. Gallen)
Markus Menz (Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva)
Marko Reimer (Institute of Management Accounting and Control, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management)



Albert A. Cannella, Jr., Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, USA
Guoli Chen, INSEAD, Singapore



Top executives are among the most important decision-makers influencing the strategy and performance of their organizations. The series of EIASM Workshops on Top Management Teams and Business Strategy was initiated as a specialized and focused forum where researchers can engage in constructive discussions about the relationship among Top Management Teams and the ability of firms to strategically respond to the challenges they face, as well as finding new opportunities for research collaborations.

To date, eight editions of the EIASM workshop on Top Management Teams and Business Strategy have been organized, seven regular editions and one ‘special edition’. The regular editions of the workshop took place in Seville, Spain (March 2017, co-chaired by Carmen Barroso, Tine Buyl, Alejandro Escribá and Marko Reimer), Groningen, the Netherlands (April, 2016, co-chaired by Kees van Veen, Niels Hermes, Reggy Hooghiemstra and Dennis Veltrop), Antwerp, Belgium (March 2015, co-chaired by Tine Buyl and Christophe Boone), Copenhagen, Denmark (October 2013, co-chaired by Sabina Nielsen, Sibel Yamak and Bo Nielsen), Milan, Italy (June 2012, co-chaired by Alessandro Minichilli and Alejandro Escribá-Esteve), Istanbul, Turkey (March-April 2011, co-chaired by Sibel Yamak and Sabina Nielsen) and Valencia, Spain (March 2010, co-chaired by Alejandro Escribá-Esteve and Alessandro Minichilli). The fifth workshop was a ‘special edition’, specifically focused on the creation of research collaborations, and was also hosted in Valencia, Spain (June 2014, co-chaired by Tine Buyl and Alejandro Escribá-Esteve).

The workshops have been great successes and provide an excellent opportunity to develop and strengthen the research networks among scholars interested in these topics.



Deadline for research proposals:  December 1st, 2017
Notification: as of December 20th, 2017
Registration of authors: February 1st, 2018
Deadline for full paper submission: March 1st, 2018



The workshop will feature keynotes, panel(s) and paper discussion sessions. Specifically, two keynote speakers, Albert Cannella, Jr. (Mays Business School, Texas A&M University) and Guoli Chen (INSEAD) will talk about their past and present research on strategic leaders like CEOs and TMTs and whether their findings are likely to hold true or may need to be revisited in the digital age, in fundamentally changing business environments, and across contexts. In addition, there will be at least one panel session involving other experienced scholars and practitioners to discuss the opportunities and challenges for upper echelons research in times of digital transformation, big data and analytics, and increasing automation of skilled labor and managerial work. The workshop will offer plenty networking opportunities for strategic leadership researchers.

The program will start on March 22nd at around 9 AM and finish on the 23rd at around 5 PM. A welcome reception will take place on Wednesday, 21st of March 2018 late afternoon (participation is not mandatory).

Overview of the schedule.

Final schedule.



The way business is conducted has changed and will likely continue to change dramatically. Digitalization and automation have already changed and will continue to alter the nature of competition and the nature of doing business in general. Yet, the dramatic shifts in the business landscape set the stage for new opportunities and challenges for research on strategic leaders and top management teams (TMT), including the phenomena of interest, theories, research contexts, as well as the methods.

The existing knowledge about organizations’ influential actors and groups like TMTs is largely grounded on the works by Cyert and March (1963) about the “behavioral firm” – which postulates that large firms’ dominant coalitions engage in problemistic search to address a problem, and Hambrick and Mason (1984) “upper echelons” (UE) perspective – which postulates that an organization is a reflection of its top management. On these grounds, scholars have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the potential relationships between executives’ demographic and personality characteristics and organizational outcomes over the last decades.

Yet, much of these works rest on premises concerning the conduct of business which, however, seem to change dramatically now. For example, during the 20th century large, diversified corporations emerged as the most effective way of doing business in the US (Chandler, 1962; Menz, Kunisch, and Collis, 2015). However, today only few diversified corporations still exist and even large public corporations appear to be on the decline (e.g. Davis, 2016). As another example, during the 20th century competition took largely place within rather discrete industries (Porter, 1980, 1985). However, today’s economies are characterized by blurring industry boundaries (e.g. Atluri, Dietz, and Henke, 2017; McKinsey Global Institute, 2016) and disaggregated value chains at the business and the corporate levels. Furthermore, digitalization and automation is not only affecting the workforce (e.g. Colbert, Yee, and George, 2016) but also increasingly skilled labor such as those of doctors, lawyers and managers. In short, the dramatic shifts in the business landscape affect organizations, competition, and influential organizational actors, such as top managers.

In light of these fundamental changes, we need to revisit the existing knowledge, explore new phenomena, and develop new theories in order to advance our understanding of what top management teams (TMTs) and influential individuals, such as the CEO, do and what the potential effects on businesses are. Pressing research questions that arise include the following: How does the composition, structure, and processes of TMTs change in the digital age, for example, the emergence of new TMT member roles, such as chief digital officers (CDO), and the co-location and mobility of TMT members? What is the (changing) nature of strategic leadership work, decisions, and actions in times of digitalization, automation, and robots? How does big data and analytics influence the tasks, decisions and actions of TMTs? What are the roles of emotions, feelings, and other “human” traits in TMT decisions and effects in the age of big data, and analytics? What are the (changing) effects of TMTs (e.g., what is the UE effect on organizational and supra-organizational outcomes)? How is upper echelon work evaluated (i.e. how are CEOs/TMTs evaluated by analysts; how do shareholders such as activists influence strategic leaders’ work)? How do TMTs function in different contexts, for example, in different geographies and types of organizations, such business enterprises, non-profit organizations, international organizations, and broader business ecosystems, alliances, and networks? In addition, there is a great potential for TMT research to benefit from new methodological advances that are facilitated by the digital age, including the use of big data (e.g. George, Osinga, Lavie, and Scott, 2016) and new analytical methods such as neuroscience that allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the characteristics, personality, and impact of strategic leaders.

The aim of this workshop is to open up the discussion and determine to what extent these (and related) new and emerging avenues and trends in the digital age can guide UE scholars towards novel research questions, as well as to explore the implications of these emerging trends for data collection and methodology. 

We invite researchers to submit papers that address any of the topics suggested above, as well as other research questions related to TMTs and executives. We particularly encourage submissions of papers that fall into one of the following domains:

  1. Literature reviews and state-of-the-art papers that encourage debate about the role of strategic leaders and discuss theoretical and empirical challenges for future TMT research;
  2. Conceptual papers that combine different and novel theoretical perspectives to explain the antecedents, nature, and/or consequences of the TMT’s composition;
  3. Empirical papers focusing on an array of TMT-related research topics: e.g., TMT structure and dynamics; the boundaries of the TMT; interactions and power relations within TMTs and/or between the TMT and other influential actors, such as the board, middle managers, or (external) network ties; executive succession and turnover; executive performance and compensation, etc.




  • Atluri, V., Dietz, M., & Henke, N. 2017. Competing in a World of Sectors without     Borders. McKinsey Quarterly, 54(2): 1-14.
  • Chandler, A. D. 1962. Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Colbert, A., Yee, N., & George, G. 2016. The Digital Workforce and the Workplace of the Future. Academy of Management Journal, 59(3): 731-739.
  • Cyert, R. M. & March, J. G. 1963. A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Davis, G. F. 2016. The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
  • George, G., Osinga, E. C., Lavie, D., & Scott, B. A. 2016. Big Data and Data Science Methods for Management Research. Academy of Management Journal, 59(5): 1493-1507.
  • Hambrick, D. C. & Mason, P. A. 1984. Upper Echelons: The Organization as a Reflection of Its Top Managers. Academy of Management Review, 9(2): 193-206.
  • McKinsey Global Institute. 2016. The Age of Analytics: Competing in a Data-Driven World.
  • Menz, M., Kunisch, S., & Collis, D. J. 2015. The Corporate Headquarters in the Contemporary Corporation: Advancing a Multimarket Firm Perspective. The Academy of Management Annals, 9(1): 633-714.
  • Porter, M. E. 1980. Competitive Strategy. New York: Free Press.
  • Porter, M. E. 1985. Competitive Advantage. New York: Free Press.



The submission should contain a cover page and an abstract/body of the proposal (in one single document).
The cover page must include:
- The title of the proposal
- Authors’ names, affiliations, address, telephone and e-mail
The body of the proposal should contain an abstract of max. 2 pages (cover page not included). Proposals must be single-spaced, font size 12. The abstract should clearly highlight the following issues: research gap, theories used, research method, and contribution of the research.


Full papers

* go on the EIASM web site (http://www.eiasm.org ) 
* click on "Workshops & conferences / Event administration" 
* enter your login (which is your e-mail) 
Please note that you need to enter your e-mail address exactly as it appears in your EIASM profile 
* add your password (in case you have forgotten one of these items, please follow the procedure indicated). 
* at that stage, you will see that the final version of your paper is needed. Clicking on "details" enables you to upload it 
- In case the title is different from the title of the abstract you submitted, please modify it. 
* once it’s done, don't forget to click on the "SAVE" button. 


Graduate Institute Geneva
Building Pétale 5, Avenue Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Genève


Starling Residence Hotel
Route des Acacias 4, 1227 Geneva
Phone: +41 22 304 03 00
Email: contact@shresidence.ch
Please ask for preferred "UNIGE" rate for superior rooms priced at CHF 175/night.

Tiffany Hotel
Rue de L'Arquebuse 20, 1204 Geneva
Phone: +41 22 708 16 16
Email: info@tiffanyhotel.ch
Please ask for preferred "UNIGE/EIASM TMT workshop" rate for classic rooms priced at CHF 260/night and superior rooms at CHF 289/night (available until January 31, 2018).

Intercontinental Hotel
Chemin du Petit Saconnex 7-9, 1209 Geneva
Phone: +41 22 919 32 61
Email: gvaha.reservations@ihg.com
Please ask for preferred "UNIGE/EIASM TMT workshop" rate for superior rooms priced at CHF 350/night (available until January 31, 2018).


The fees include participation to the workshop, documents, two lunches, one workshop dinner, coffee breaks, one welcome reception. 

For participants affiliated with an institution that is member or associate member of the EIASM's
Academic Council
235,00 € (VAT Exempt)
For participants coming from another academic institution 310,00 € (VAT Exempt)

Cancellations made before February 26, 2018 will be reimbursed minus 20% of the total fee. No reimbursement will be possible after that date.

Payments should be made by :

  • The following credit cards: Visa or Eurocard/Mastercard/Access




Ms. Cristina Setyar - EIASM Conference Manager
Tel: +32 2 226 66 69 - Fax:
Email: setyar@eiasm.be