Faculty & Research
Learn about the ideas, innovation and inquiry driving academic excellence
Over the course of the year, we recruited eight new professors, taking the number of resident faculty in September 2020 to 168 – another record total. With 93 based in Europe, 69 in Asia, four in the Middle East, two in the USA, and 41 nationalities in total, our professors are also more international than ever before.
The quality of our research is arguably even more impressive than the quantity of our great minds. We are consistently ranked among the best institutions in the world for the quality, depth and volume of our research output. This year, INSEAD faculty published 133 papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, 52 working papers, nine books and 43 case studies. Placed at #6 in the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Top 100 Worldwide Business School Research Rankings, the school maintained its position in the global top ten for academic contribution. In addition, INSEAD research rose two places in the Financial Times Global MBA ranking.
Professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne were ranked as the world’s most influential management thinkers at the practitioner-focused Thinkers50 awards in 2019/2020 – with Professors Erin Meyer and Gianpiero Petriglieri improving their rankings. In addition, three of the 30 rising thinkers in the “Radar Class of 2020” are INSEAD professors: Maria Guadalupe, Michael Y. Lee and Kaisa Snellman. Meanwhile, Henning Piezunka was named in the Poets and Quants Best 40 Under 40 Professors.
As the COVID-19 pandemic advanced across the world during 2019/20, so INSEAD’s professors responded with agility. We were particularly fortunate to have the in-house expertise of the Initiative for Learning Innovation and Teaching Excellence (iLITE), led by Professor Gianpiero Petriglieri and Dr. Annie Peshkam. Their research based advice helped our professors to boost the “socio- emotional” side of their teaching as they moved their classes online, thereby strengthening the learning of their students. Our faculty embraced their digital sides by adopting regular polling, simulations and online breakout rooms that served to augment the teaching and learning experience.
The creativity of our faculty proved that a global crisis really can be a learning opportunity, with many professors addressing the pandemic in their teaching and case writing. To date, INSEAD has published a series of case studies on the diverging responses to COVID-19 in five different countries: China, France, Singapore, Sweden and the USA (by Professors Kaisa Snellman and Andy J. Yap). Another, by Professors David Dubois and Joerg Niessing, with co-author Katia Kachan, is about analyticsdriven research at a company in the Middle East and was one of the earliest published cases to study real-life corporate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was soon followed by Professor Phanish Puranam’s timely account of GitLab, an “allremote” company, co-authored with Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Marco Minervini, and Research Associate Jean Wee.
In-depth research into the pandemic has also flourished, from Professor Morten Bennedsen’s study of governmental furloughing policies to Professor Stanislav Shekshnia’s investigation of board chairs’ reaction to the crisis. Professors Phebo Wibbens and Wesley Koo were quick out of the gate as the pandemic struck, publishing an open- access analysis of COVID-19 policies by effectiveness that was widely cited. Meanwhile, Professor Prashant Yadav and the Humanitarian Research Group shared their extensive knowledge on the modelling and prevention of highly infectious disease outbreaks. Further articles already in the publishing pipeline include Professor Theos Evgeniou’s models for personalised isolation and exit policies based on clinical risk predictions.
Other faculty members found themselves much in demand by the global media on the basis of serendipitous earlier research. Professor Andy J. Yap’s contribution to Bloomberg on panic buying, based on a 2016 paper, is just one example of the 642 pieces of media coverage of INSEAD thought leadership related to COVID-19, highlighting the timeless relevance of INSEAD’s research.
As well as publishing case studies and academic research, INSEAD produces several reports and country rankings every year, working with prominent corporate partners such as Google and Adecco. These are not only valuable resources for companies and policy makers as they emerge from the pandemic, they also promote the rigour and relevance of our research to a global audience.
In 2020, the Global Innovation Index focused on the question of who will finance innovation in the fallout from COVID-19, while the Global Talent Competitiveness Index examined global talent in the age of AI. Switzerland topped both country rankings, while New York was the top city for talent.
Another long-term report series on the Institutionalisation of Family Firms focused its attentions on Europe in 2020, having previously covered Asia Pacific and Latin America.
In 2019/2020, we launched the China Initiative and the Centre for Organisational Research.
The China Initiative’s mission is to enhance research and teaching at INSEAD on the Chinese business landscape. Led by Professor Quy Huy and founded thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor, it is already a leading source of expertise on the myriad challenges and opportunities encountered by Chinese companies and senior executives, as well as foreign businesses operating – or planning to operate – in China.
The Centre for Organisational Research’s mission is to facilitate innovative research in organisational science at INSEAD, working with practitioners in Singapore and throughout Asia. Led by Professor Andy J. Yap, it has already involved research participants from the business community in studies on issues such as social interactions in the workplace and job interviews.
Even when campuses were forced to close, research continued as usual, thanks to the digital resources of INSEAD’s newly rebranded “Research and Learning Hubs”, digitally transformed library services, an investment that paid dividends in 2019/2020.
In keeping with INSEAD’s institution-wide commitment, the inauguration of the Bianca and James Pitt Chair in Environmental Sustainability in October 2019 was cause for celebration – all the more so as the first chair holder, Professor Atalay Atasu (PhD’07) is one of our own graduates.
Similarly, INSEAD’s faculty are playing a key role in spearheading school-wide action to promote equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in all its dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and religion. As part of an EDI Core Team, a group of professors are applying their expertise to a broad range of activities such as staff training and programme marketing. Thus practice, teaching and research are coming together as a force for good.
The virtuous circle of scholarship, learning and institutional practice is set to become even stronger in the years to come, following the gift of €60 million from an alumnus to advance excellence in research. The anonymous donor rightly describes research as “the core of the school” and his words sum up its power to make a difference: “With this gift, I entrust INSEAD to continue to have a positive and lasting impact on many lives and business worldwide”.
The figures are proof, if any were needed, that the combination of rigorous, relevant academic research with professional journalism and timely updates is a powerful tool for taking INSEAD’s insights to an ever-wider audience.
This formula truly came into its own during the pandemic, as our global audience turned to us to make sense of the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. During the first wave, traffic increased by about 40% compared to monthly averages the previous year – and remained at least 10% higher for the rest of the year, indicating a lingering growth in audience share.
As of November 2020, we had amassed a library of over 60 research-based articles and blog posts related to the pandemic to support practitioners in their work.
However, our annual top ten is an eclectic mix of crisis management and innovation.