Prof. Dr. Björn Michaelis

Associate Professor of Management Practice

Prof. Dr. Björn Michaelis

Associate Professor of Management Practice

Björn Michaelis is Associate Professor of Management Practice at Kühne Logistics University. Before coming to KLU, Prof. Michaelis was a post-doc researcher and Habilitand at the UBS-Endowed Professorship for Strategic Management at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. At the Goethe University Frankfurt he received his post-doctoral qualification (habilitation) and was granted the "venia legendi" in Business Administration (2011-2015). Moreover, Prof. Michaelis was an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior (2009-2011) and a Research Associate and doctoral student (2006-2009) at Heidelberg University, Germany. Gaining experience abroad he was a Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of Business in Fontainebleau (France). His research interests include corporate strategy, mergers & acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures and strategic alliances, strategic human resource management, and leadership.

Prof. Michaelis has taught in diverse strategy, management, and leadership classes in bachelor, master, and executive education programs in various institutions. He served as the Program Director of China Development Bank’s (CDB) executive education program in “Strategy, Innovation, and Leadership” and taught in the CDB “Strategic Management for Financial Groups” program “ at Goethe Business School, Frankfurt. Björn Michaelis also serves as a lecturer in the executive education program on “Micro and SME Banking” and taught “Learning to Lead for New Leaders” and “Leading for Results” as well as in the Master’s Program in Management at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (Bankakademie HFB). Moreover, Prof. Michaelis taught several bachelor’s and master’s level courses on strategy and global strategy, organization, and management at the Kühne Logistics University, the Goethe University Frankfurt, the University of Heidelberg, and the European Business School (EBS).

Putting Prof. Michaelis’ knowledge into practice, he advises firms in various industries on strategy, management, and leadership issues. He gained business experience, for example, in corporate strategy with Daimler AG in Stuttgart, in strategic human resource management with DaimlerChrysler Japan Holding, Ltd. in Tokyo, and in executive search and selection with Kienbaum Executive Consultants in Gummersbach.

Up Close & Personal

“For me, the entrepreneurial spirit sets KLU apart.”
– Prof. Dr. Björn Michaelis

Selected Publications

DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2016.05.006 

Abstract: This study examines individual-level origins of team organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB). Building on the literature on trust and social exchange theory, we hypothesize that individual-level leader charisma is indirectly related to team OCB through individual-level trust in leader. Additionally, we propose that the positive relationship between leader charisma and trust in leader is stronger under conditions of high organizational change. Based on data from 142 team members and 33 leaders, results reveal an indirect bottom-up relationship between individual-level leader charisma and team OCB through trust in leader. High change impact at the team- but not at the individual-level facilitates the positive relationship of leader charisma with trust in leader. The findings show how individual-level phenomenon can contribute to the emergence of team-level OCB.

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Open reference in new window "Team OCB, leader charisma, and organizational change: A multilevel study"

DOI: 10.1007/s11573-014-0753-1 

Abstract: We extend theories on charismatic leadership by investigating the influence of prior company performance on subordinates’ attributions of chief executive officer (CEO) charisma within companies of different sizes and ownership structure. First, we use an experimental design to examine the effects of prior company performance on attributions of CEO charisma. Second, in a field study with 69 companies we replicate the experimental finding and show that this relationship is moderated by the size of the company such that the relationship between prior company performance and attributions of CEO charisma is significant only in large companies. We find no evidence, however, that the ownership structure of a company could strengthen or weaken this relationship.

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Open reference in new window "New insights on CEO charisma attribution in companies of different sizes and ownership structure: the role of prior company performance"

DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2014.10.005 

Abstract: Abstract Drawing on the knowledge-based view of the firm, we develop and test a theoretical model linking high-performance work systems (HPWS) and workforce productivity via employee exchange and combination of knowledge. A test of our model in a sample of junior enterprises in Germany supports the proposal that knowledge exchange and combination plays a mediating role. However, knowledge-management effectiveness interacts. That is, knowledge exchange and combination mediates the relationship between 5HPWS6 and workforce productivity only when knowledge-management is effective at medium and high levels, but not at low levels.

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Open reference in new window "Knowledge as a key in the relationship between high-performance work systems and workforce productivity"

DOI: 10.1002/hrm.21589 

Abstract: The present study extends knowledge of the performance consequences of workgroup diversity climate. Building upon Kopelman, Brief, and Guzzo’s () climate model of productivity, we introduce workgroup discrimination as a behavioral mediator that explains the positive effects of diversity climate on workgroup performance. In addition, we investigate group size as a moderator upon which this mediated relationship depends. We test these moderated-mediated propositions using a split-sample design and data from 248 military workgroups comprising 8,707 respondents. Findings from structural equation modeling reveal that diversity climate is consistently positively related to workgroup performance and that this relationship is mediated by discrimination. Results yield a pattern of moderated mediation, in that the indirect relationship between workgroup diversity climate (through perceptions of workgroup discrimination) and group performance was more pronounced in larger than in smaller workgroups. These results illustrate that discrimination and group size represent key factors in determining how a diversity climate is associated with group performance and, thus, have significant implications for research and practice. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Open reference in new window "Expanding Insights on the Diversity Climate–Performance Link: The Role of Workgroup Discrimination and Group Size"

DOI: doi: 

Abstract: Abstract What makes people perceive a leader as charismatic, and how do team leaders obtain performance outcomes from their followers? We examine leaders in times of organizational change and investigate the mechanisms through which leaders’ change-promoting behaviors are associated with team performance. In a multilevel mediation model, we propose that the indirect relationship between change-promoting behaviors and team performance is sequentially transmitted through followers’ perceptions of charisma and followers’ commitment to change. A study of 33 leaders and 142 followers provides empirical support for the model, using multilevel structural equation modeling to analyze top-down relationships between leaders and followers and bottom-up relationships between followers and team outcomes. Results suggest that team leaders are perceived as more charismatic when they engage in change-promoting behaviors. These behaviors facilitate team performance through individual followers’ perceived charisma and commitment to change.

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Open reference in new window "Charisma and organizational change: A multilevel study of perceived charisma, commitment to change, and team performance"

Academic Positions

since 2015

Adjunct Professor for Management and Organization at Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany.

2011 - 2015

Post-Doc ("Habilitand"), Goethe University Frankfurt (Chair for Strategic Management), Germany.

2009 - 2011

Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior („Vertretungsprofessur“), Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, Germany.

2006 - 2009

Research Assistant ("Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter"), Organizational Behavior, Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, Germany.


2009 - 2015

"Habilitation" at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Goethe University Frankfurt; Granting of the "venia legendi" in Business Administration; Title of Habilitation: "Essays on Management: A Dynamic Capabilities, Human Resources, and Leadership Perspective“.

2006 - 2009

Ph.D., Organizational Behavior; Title of Dissertation: “Transformational and Charismatic Leadership Effects on Performance Outcomes: An Analysis of Linking Mechanisms and Boundary Conditions”; distinguished with Südwestmetall Dissertation Award 2010; Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany.

2003 - 2004

Academic year at the Graduate School of Business, Fontainebleau, France.

2000 - 2006

M.Sc., Undergraduate and Graduate Studies in Psychology and Business Administration with Majors in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Title of Master Thesis: “Leadership and Job Satisfaction in Western and Asian Cultures: A Comparison between German, Japanese, and Chinese Executives”; Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany.