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Dr. Agnes Bäker is Associate Professor of Leadership at the department of Management and Organization at VU Amsterdam. Before joining the VU Amsterdam, she worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich (Switzerland, 2016-2021) and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tübingen (Germany, 2010-2015). From 2011 to 2014, Agnes headed the Young Researchers Group on 'the role of human and social capital in the higher education career system' sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. She holds a PhD in Business Economics from the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (2010).

She is on the editorial board of Human Resource Management and ad-hoc reviewer for journals such as Research Policy, Human Relations, Journal of Business Ethics, or Studies in Higher Education. Translating her research insights into practice, Agnes has been teaching in several leadership development programs for medical doctors. Moreover, her research has been published in practitioner outlets such as Harvard Business Review or British Medical Journal Leader, where it was highlighted as the “editor’s choice”. She also was invited to give keynotes to medical audiences, such as the German-speaking Doctors’ Association Boards Meeting (2018) or the Swiss Doctors Association (FMH, 2017).  

Agnes is a member of several academic associations, such as the Academy of Management, Bildungsökonomischer Ausschuss im Verein für Socialpolitik (VfS), CHESS (Center for Higher Education and Science Studies), CRSA (Center for Research in Sports Administration), Deutscher Hochschulverband, German Economic Association of Business Administration e.V. (GEABA), Gesellschaft für experimentelle Wirtschaftsforschung, Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft e.V. (VHB), and the Verein für Socialpolitik.


Agnes’ research focuses on careers and leadership in higher education and hospitals, with a focus on the role of human capital and social capital. Furthermore, she studies humor use at work, teamwork, and peer effects, as well as behavioral economics in general. She strongly believes – supported by her research findings – that leaders within organizations are more effective and have more satisfied subordinates if they are experts in the core business of the organization. Her research is mainly empirical, relying on both experimental and econometric design. Agnes has published in internationally renowned journals such as Research Policy, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Economic Psychology, and Harvard Business Review.


Agnes teaches several courses such as Managing Negotiation (BSc), Cross-Cultural Management (MSc), and Empowering People (EMBA), and supervises PhD students, Master’s students, and Bachelor students.

Prizes and Awards

Career division Outstanding Reviewer Award at the Academy of Management Conference 2022.

2022 Excellence in Reviewing Award 2022 for Human Resource Management (Wiley). Award winners were selected based on recommendations from the Associate Editors as reviewers who stood out in terms of providing exceptionally high-quality reviews. Of the hundreds of individuals, both Editorial Board members and ad hoc reviewers, who provide reviews for HRM, only a dozen were chosen to receive this recognition.

Best Paper Award of the OB SIG at the European Academy of Management Conference 2022

Best Reviewer Award of the OB SIG at the European Academy of Management Conference 2022

Editor's Choice 2021, BMJ Leader

Most downloaded paper 2020, BMJ Leader

Editor's Favorite 2016, Harvard Business Review

Short-listed for the W3-Professorship for Business Administration, particularly Business Politics at the University of Konstanz, 2015.

Best Paper Award of the Spring Meeting of Young Economists 2014

Visiting Fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom, January 2013 to April 2013, Invited by: Professor Andrew Oswald (

Excellent Doctoral Thesis Award 2010 of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Guest Researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, May 2010 and June 2011 (

PhD Scholarship of the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2006-2009 (


Principle Investigator on: Swiss National Science Foundation: “Interpersonal Humor for (Female) Retention and Success in Science”, with Jamie L. Gloor, 2018-2021. CHF 296,980.

Co-Investigator on: Leverhulme Trust Grant RPG-2014-020: “Leadership, the work environment, and scientific productivity”, with Amanda Goodall (PI), 2014-2016. £55,225.

Co-Investigator on: Cass Business School Pump Priming Grant: “Leadership in the Arts: A study of Orchestras”, with Amanda Goodall (PI), 2013-2014. £8,000.

Principle Investigator on: German Federal Ministry of Education & Research: “The Role of Human and Social Capital in Higher Education”, 2011-2014. €460,000.

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