Chair of Leadership –

Developing actionable insights for Human Resource Management.

About us

The Chair of Leadership at Campus Düsseldorf seeks to improve leadership in different contexts to ultimately create better organizations through scientific research, practice collaborations and education on leadership. We take a holistic approach and consider leadership as a dynamic process in which managers and employees mutually influence each other to achieve a common goal.

Many people across different contexts – e.g., the corporate world, politics, or voluntary organizations – are not satisfied with their leaders. Despite the willingness to improve this situation, many managers are not sure how to adapt their leadership styles to face challenges such as managing through or with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and supervising self-managed teams in which informal leaders take on responsibility.

To help remedy this situation, our Chair investigates leader-follower dynamics as they unfold in organizational life. We are particularly committed to help organizations appreciate diversity among their leaders, with a specific focus on age diversity and female leadership. Our work has been published in leading research journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Learning & Education, Human Relations, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology or The Leadership Quarterly

Exemplary Research –
Who is talking themselves into a leader role?

News and stories

Read the news from our Chair –
Keep up with the latest events and activities.

Chair of Leadership visits VR company in Berlin

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Research talk and BBQ at WHU campus in Düsseldorf

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Researchers from WHU and KLU shine a light on the “KUKD” management style, where it comes from, and how companies can prevent it from coming into play

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Chair of Leadership visits research conference in Seattle

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"Work in Progress" conference at Handelsblatt in Düsseldorf

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The Chair of Leadership reinforces a sense of togetherness and works on teamwork during a lakeside group outing

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Research conference in Hamburg!

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Our team

The Chair of Leadership Team:

Professor Dr. Fabiola H. Gerpott

+49-(0)211 44709-375

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Fabienne Wrobel

Personal Assistant
+49-(0)211 44709-376

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Lukas Lanz

Research Assistant/Doctoral Candidate
+49-(0)211 44709-377

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Vera M. Schweitzer

Research Assistant/Doctoral Candidate
+49-(0)211 44709-379

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Anna van der Velde

Research Assistant/Doctoral Candidate

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Lioba A. Gierke

Research Assistant/Doctoral Candidate
+49-(0)211 44709-374

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Sofia Schlamp

External Doctoral Student/
Shell Trainee

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Our research focus

Studying leader-follower dynamics in daily life –
Improving leadership for organizations.

With our research, we seek to inspire leaders in different contexts, share practices, and inform public policy debates.

Our research falls into three broad areas of interest:

In its essence, leadership is communication. To influence others, people have to talk – and some do so more effectively than others. In this stream of research, we answer questions such as:

  • How do people talk themselves into leadership role?
  • Which non-verbal signs do (emergent) leaders use?
  • How and under which circumstances do specific communication styles – such as leading and communicating with respect – positively influence employees?

The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse – not only in terms of easily visible attributes such as age or gender, but also in terms of more subtle attributes such as culture or educational background. This can be an opportunity for creating a richer knowledge base in organizations. However, diversity may also be challenging to handle for leaders. In this stream of research, we seek to provide evidence for leaders to be able to profit from the bright side of diversity and avoid the potential dark sides. We answer questions such as:

  • How can leaders enhance intergenerational learning in organizations?
  • Which tools can leaders use to foster knowledge sharing in a diverse workforce?
  • What are the micro-dynamics occurring in the daily life of female leaders that may prevent them from climbing the career ladder?

Leaders strongly influence the organizational context that shapes employees’ behaviors. In this stream of research, we investigate the interplay of leadership and employee behavior as well as organizational context factors to answer questions such as:

  • Through which mechanisms do leaders enhance employees’ pro-organizational behaviors?
  • How can leaders manage the daily (self-control) demands of their employees in an optimal way?
  • Why are some leaders able to advance their career by using “dark leader behaviors” such as being nice to those above and mean to those below?

Our publications –
A selection of journal articles.

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Get in touch

Get in touch with us –
We look forward to hearing from you.

Prof. Dr. Fabiola H. Gerpott


Tel.: +49 211 44709-375
Cell: +49 176 6461 2659


WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Erkrather Straße 224a
D-40233 Düsseldorf

Entrance 228c
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