This series will shine a light on the faculty behind the Henley Executive MBA. The people teaching, leading and convening on each module bring experience not only from their academic experience and extensive research, but from real-world business too.
Karen Jansen is a Professor in Leadership and Change at Henley Business School and the Research Division Lead for Organisational Behaviour, Leadership and Coaching. Her research covers temporal and dynamic aspects of leading change in organisations, such as how leaders can build engagement and momentum and how people’s fit with their work environment shifts over time.
Where did you study and work before coming to Henley?
I started my career at IBM working as a computer engineer. Over my ten years there, I migrated from deep technical work to client-facing and consulting roles. My PhD and first academic roles were in the US, followed by Australia and now Henley. I consider myself a global citizen.
What areas of research do you focus on and why?
My research is tied to my experience at IBM – they missed the PC market because their identity was large mainframe computing, and the employees were lifelong IBMers. I wanted to understand how organisations get themselves into this position and, more importantly, how they get themselves out of it. So my research focuses on how to transform an organisation’s culture and maintain both fit and flexibility along the way.
What module do you teach and what do you hope the cohort take away from it?
I teach Leadership and Change, and my top priority is to help leaders navigate complex change, sustain momentum, and use the best metrics available throughout the transformational journey.
Why would you recommend doing an MBA at Henley?
Personal development, a diverse and supportive cohort, the Management Research Challenge, and a huge base and loyal family of Henley alum.
What do you think we should expect from the future of business and work?
Leaders need to build capabilities for managing complex systems, and organisations need to think outside their boundaries to address grand challenges.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
I want to have dinner with a type of leader rather than a specific person:
Al Truistic – Al finds value in helping others develop and grow.
Una Summing – Una comes from humble roots, works hard, and takes pride in what she accomplishes.
Mo Mentary – Mo emerges as a leader by being at the right place and time and rallying people together for a greater good (e.g., Tank Man at Tiananmen Square and the Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about the coronavirus).