I began my career in the fashion industry, followed by a decade in the UK charitable sector, and finally a move into universities and to academe. I did my PhD on leadership and performance in research universities at Warwick Business School in 2007. It was published into ‘Socrates in the Boardroom: Why Research Universities Should be Led by Top Scholars’ (Princeton University Press, 2009). My research, on 'expert leadership', focuses on the relationship between leadership and organizational performance using quantitative data. The central argument (empirically supported) is that leaders need to be credible and therefore should have a deep understanding of the core business of the organizations they are to lead and manage. Being a good general manager alone is not sufficient. I have developed, with Agnes Bäker, the ‘theory of expert leadership’ (TEL). The evidence supporting expert leadership comes from all kinds of work settings, including US and UK firms randomly selected into large data sets, from hospitals, universities, Formula 1 Championships, basketball, among professional service firms, football clubs, and in a new study that examines the leaders of every single firm in Denmark.
How do expert leaders influence organisational performance? Core business experts at the top or CEO level raise standards across many areas, for example, the bar is higher in hiring and retention, they take the long view in investment and innovation, the org strategy is focused, quality is signalled to employees, future hires and other stakeholder. We have found, in numerous studies, that expert line managers have the best manager behaviours, create the right working conditions for people to do their jobs, their departments have high morale and employees are less likely to quit. Importantly, the mechanism through which high performance is expressed in expert led organisations is through high levels of job satisfaction. We all want employee wellbeing in our workplaces. But it is also important for performance because happy workers are known to be the most productive workers.
I also work on gender, and a little on climate change. My personal website is www.amandagoodall.com. I publish in both academic journals and practitioner magazines (e.g. HBR Digital, Financial Times), and my work is often featured in the media. I have a 2020 Research Excellence Framework Impact Case study, and REF publications. I have been a research fellow at Yale, Cornell, Zurich U and IZA in Bonn.
I am Director and founder of the Executive Masters in Medical Leadership, an MSc especially tailored to the needs of medical doctors. I teach Personal Leadership Development and other leadership courses on the MBA and previously the MSc Management.