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Balancing act: Navigating autonomy in the workplace - 23 Apr 2024

The House of Innovation hosted a breakfast seminar with the Erling Persson Visiting Professor Linus Dahlander who shared insights into workplace autonomy. The seminar was designed specifically for practitioners looking to navigate the nuances of employee freedom.

The House of Innovation organized an exclusive breakfast seminar with Professor Linus Dahlander from ESMT Berlin. This event drew upon Professor Dahlander’s extensive research on the effects of autonomy on team performance.

In his research, Professor Dahlander conducted a field experiment to understand how different levels of autonomy affect team success. The findings revealed a nuanced landscape: while complete autonomy in team and idea selection showed slight improvements over no autonomy, it was the partial autonomy – allowing teams to choose either their project or their teammates, but not both – that significantly enhanced performance and investment appeal.

During our session, Professor Dahlander explored these dynamics, emphasizing the optimal balance between guidance and freedom in professional settings. The seminar addressed how nuanced autonomy, rather than its absolute presence or absence, could lead to better outcomes in innovation, team cohesion, and overall success.

This event was an opportunity for business leaders, HR professionals, and anyone interested in enhancing team dynamics and creativity within their organizations. Attendees gained a deeper understanding of how to apply these insights to foster an environment where autonomy and accountability drive growth and satisfaction.

Linus Dahlander

Linus Dahlander is the Erling Persson Visiting Professor at the House of Innovation and a Professor of Strategy and the Lufthansa Group Chair in Innovation at ESMT Berlin. He is an expert in innovation and strategy and teaches, consults, and does keynotes for startups, large multinationals, and government organizations. Some of the companies he has worked with include Adidas, Aditya Birla, Allianz, Axel Springer, Bayer, BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, EnBW, Geopost, Henkel, Klöckner, KPMG, Lufthansa, PWC, Schott, Siemens, Testo, TUV, Unicredit, and Volvo.

His research focuses on addressing questions that can advance the academic literature, while also providing insights that can help managers make better decisions. His work has been published in top academic outlets such as the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Research Policy, and Strategic Management Journal. Additionally, he has also published several papers in practitioner outlets such as the California Management Review, Harvard Business Review, and MIT Sloan Management Review.


08:30 - 09:00: Arrival & breakfast

09:00 - 10:00: Seminar with Professor Linus Dahlander, followed by a Q&A

House of Innovation