Department of Strategy and Marketing


Dr Zahira Jaser’s research into strategic organisational change recognised by the Academy of Management

Dr Zahira Jaser, Assistant Professor and lecturer in Management at the University of Sussex Business School, has been nominated for the prestigious 2019 William H Newman Award by the Academy of Management, for her research paper: Bounded Authenticity during Strategic Change. The Award recognizes the best annual meeting paper based on a dissertation.

Zahira’s research focuses on multilevel relationships in organisations, and leadership processes during change. By studying managers in their position concurrently of leaders and followers, she has run large qualitative studies in financial institutions, and written insightful research.

Her paper looks at managers’ authentic leadership behaviour, and explores how they can behave consistently with their beliefs, thoughts and feelings, during stressful periods of uncertainty, like strategic change. At these times, managers are asked to embrace decisions made by others that they might not agree with.

Through a three-year study during change in one of the largest banks in the world, Zahira categorised organisational, relational and individual barriers to authentic leadership. She defined the concept of Bounded Authenticity, manifesting itself through covert, surreptitious, hidden behaviours, often in breach of corporate rules (e.g. confidentiality agreements, hierarchical norms). Bounded Authenticity, however, allowed relationships of trust to flourish, and was instrumental for the implementation of strategic change. Her research contributes to our understanding of authentic leadership as a much more complex phenomenon than previously theorised. Whilst authenticity is promoted as a force for good, Zahira’s research shows being authentic can deplete managers' cognitive and emotional resources.

 Zahira said:

“I’m delighted that my research has reached the finals of this prestigious Award, and I’m looking forward to meeting committee members and fellow finalists from McGill, Stanford and INSEAD in August.”

 Zahira will join the three other finalists at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 10 August, where the winner will be announced.

The Academy of Management was founded in 1936 to advance the philosophy of management. Today, the organisation has over 19,000 members from over 120 countries, and seeks to promote excellence in management disciplines.

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Posted on behalf of: The University of Sussex Business School
Last updated: Friday, 2 August 2019