Faculty Directory

Sydney Finkelstein

Steven Roth Professor of Management; Faculty Director, Center for Leadership





Personal Website



PhD, Columbia University, 1988; MSc, London School of Economics, 1981; BComm, Concordia University, 1980

Areas of Expertise

Leadership and strategy

Current Research Topics

  • Developing leadership talent
  • Why smart executives fail
  • Early warning signs for corporate disasters
  • Learning from mergers and acquisitions
  • Board of director effectiveness

Professional Activities

Academic positions

  • Tuck School of Business, 1993–present
  • Assistant Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California, 1987–93 

Board memberships

  • Assembly of Overseers, Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital
  • Board of Overseers, Dartmouth College Hillel

Editorial positions

  • Administrative Science Quarterly (1996-2008)
  • Strategic Organization (2001–2009)
  • Journal of Business Strategy (2003–present)
  • Journal of Strategy and Management (2008–present)
  • Strategic Management Journal (1994 - 2007)
  • Academy of Management Journal (1991-1996)
  • Journal of Management (1989-1999; Consulting Editor 1995-1999)
  • Organization Science (1995 - 2002)


  • Finalist for the Academy of Management Terry Book Award, 2010 (“Strategic Leadership,” and “Think Again.”)
  • Emerald Management Reviews Citation of Excellence (for having been selected as one of the 50 best articles published in 2009 (out of 15,000) in management) for “Inappropriate Attachments.”
  • Elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Management in 2007.
  • Article included in Special issue: Classic Articles from AME, which “reprises and celebrates the most enduring articles from its past as chosen by the editors.” Academy of Management Executive, 2005.
  • Finalist for the Academy of Management Executive Best Article of the Year, 2004.
  • Honorable Mention for the McKinsey & Co. SMS Best Conference Paper Prize, 2002.
  • Finalist for the Academy of Management’s George R. Terry Award, 1998
  • Academy of Management Executive Best Article of the Year, 1997
  • Selected as one of the “Best Papers,” SMS Annual Conference, 1997.
  • Citations of Excellence, ANBAR Management Intelligence, for "Interindustry Merger Patterns" (1998) and “Leveraging Intellect" (1997).
  • Ascendant Scholar, Western Academy of Management, 1993.
  • The Leadership Research Fund, The Leadership Institute, USC, 1993.
  • Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Fund, USC, 1991-1992.
  • Cenafoni Award for Best Research Proposal in Entrepreneurship, 1991.
  • A.T. Kearney Award Finalist, 1988.
  • Irwin Foundation Fellowship, 1986-1987.

Selected Publications

  • With J. Kim and J. Haleblian, “All aspirations are not created equal: The differential effects of historical and social aspirations on acquisition behavior,” Academy of Management Journal, in press.
  • “Zombie-virksomheder – Sådan lærer de af deres fejltagelser!” Børsens Ledelseshåndbøger: Strategi & Ledelse, September 2014
  • With J. Kim and J. Haleblian, “When Firms Become Desperate to Grow via Acquisition: The Effect of Growth Patterns and Acquisition Experience on Acquisition Premiums," Administrative Science Quarterly, 2011
  • How to Avoid a Bad Call, FT Press, 2010
  • With A. Campbell and J. Whitehead, "Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions," Harvard Business Review, February, 2009
  • With J. Kim, "The Effects of Strategic and Locational Complementarity on Acquisition Performance: Evidence from the U.S. Commercial Banking Industry, 1989-2001," Strategic Management Journal, 30, 2009
  • With J. Whitehead and A. Campbell, Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep It From Happening to You, Harvard Business School Press, 2009
  • With D.C. Hambrick and A. Cannella, Strategic Leadership: Theory and Research on Executives, Top Management Teams, and Boards, Oxford University Press, 2008
  • With C. Helfat, W. Mitchell, M. Peteraf, H. Singh, D. Teece, and S. Winter, Dynamic Capabilities: Understanding Strategic Change in Organizations, Blackwell Publishing, 2007
  • Why Smart Executives Fail: And What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes, Portfolio, 2003
  • With A. Mooney, "Not the Usual Suspects: How to Use Board Process to Make Boards Better," Academy of Management Executive, May 2003