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Germany’s University of Passau honors Penn State Smeal’s Hambrick

June 27, 2019

The University of Passau in Germany recently bestowed yet another honor on world-renowned management scholar Donald C. Hambrick, Evan Pugh University Professor and Smeal Chaired Professor of Management at the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

Passau’s School of Business, Economics and Information Systems presented Hambrick with an honorary doctorate degree during a festive award ceremony in the Neuberg Castle. The ceremony was embedded into a concert performed by acclaimed violin virtuoso Christine-Maria Höller, award-winning pianist Keiko Hattori, and renowned baroque trumpet ensemble Schwanthaler Trompetenconsort.

U of Passau honors Hambrick
Professor Donald C. Hambrick and his wife, Peg (fourth and third from right), being welcomed by University of Passau President Carola Jungwirth, vice presidents Harry Haupt and Harald Kosch, the dean of the School of Business, Economics and Information Systems, professor Michael Grimm, and professor Andreas König.
 

The award ceremony took place at the conclusion of the 10th European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) Workshop on Top Management Teams and Business Strategy Research, which was hosted by Passau and EIASM. 

Hambrick’s research focuses on the question of how top executives’ attributes, such as their personalities, experiences, and values affect the actions and the success of the companies they lead. 

Hambrick also holds honorary doctorates from the Sorbonne in Paris, the University of Antwerp in Belgium and Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Hambrick has authored numerous seminal scholarly papers as well as several books of great relevance to practitioners, for instance, “Navigating Change: How CEOs, Top Teams, and Boards Steer Transformation.” 

An acknowledged leader in his field, Hambrick has been a member of the board of the Strategic Management Society and president of the Academy of Management – the world's leading society for management scholars. He has served on the editorial boards of virtually all major academic journals in his field and is one of a very small group of scholars to receive both lifetime achievement awards of the Academy of Management: the Distinguished Scholar Award and the Distinguished Educator Award.

“Your astounding academic achievements, your work with upcoming scholars and your service to the academic community are a role model and an inspiration to all of us,” Passau President Carola Jungwirth said. “We are grateful and extremely glad to have the opportunity to award you for being such a role model and to celebrate you tonight.”

Jungwirth pointed out parallels between Hambrick’s research and the mission statement of the University of Passau, saying that across all disciplines and faculties, “we deeply share the idea that what we teach, and how we teach, and how we create a community affects those entrusted to us: our students.” Universities like ours, after all, “shape future leaders – who they are and what they become.”

Andreas König, chair of Strategic Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, delivered an especially personal laudatory speech. He highlighted Hambrick’s eminence as “one of the most influential management researchers of the past four decades – well beyond the field of management itself.”

König emphasized that “Don Hambrick’s Upper Echelons Theory constitutes one of the most significant contributions to the field of management and organizational research of the last four decades.” As König pointed out, the notion that, over time, organizations become mirrors of the characteristics of their top executives, fundamentally changed management and organizational research, which until the late 1970s had been dominated by structuralist approaches.

“Professor Hambrick’s research in the scientific community is regarded as exemplary not only because of its theoretical rigor, creativity, and methodological skill, but certainly also because of its exceptional beauty in scholarly writing,” König said.

“We should also appreciate Professor Hambrick’s very special didactic gift and his selfless dedication to his students. Many of them are now leading management scholars – not only in the United States, but also in other countries. Clearly, I would not be standing here either if it wasn’t for you.”

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