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Prof. dr. Svetlana Khapova is Full Professor of Organisational Behaviour & Leadership at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is Head of Department - Management & Organisation, and Programme Director of the (Executive) PhD programme in management and business studies at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Between 2009-2017, she served as Director of Doctoral Education and a founding Director of Amsterdam Business Research Institute (ABRI) of the School of Business and Economics (SBE), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

She is a passionate organizational behavior scholar who believes that science has an important role in making human life better. Her research puts human cognition and human behaviors in organizations in the spotlight. Trained as an interdisciplinary career scholar and initially interested in career success and star performance, currently she studies top management teams and boards. Among her current research topics are strategic leadership, leadership development, executive career paths, cognitive biases in decision making, emotions in organizations, and board dynamics. She authored more than 100 refereed papers, and is author (together with M. B. Arthur and J. Richardson) of the book “An Intelligent Career: Taking Ownership of Your Work and Your Life” published by Oxford University Press in 2017. Her research papers are published in such top tier journals as Academy of Management Learning and Education, Human Relations, International Journal of Management Reviews, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Personnel Psychology, and many other.

She is active in both academic and business domains.

Within the academic domain, she is a long-standing member of the Academy of Management and European Group for Organizational Studies. Between 2009-2013, Professor Khapova served as Division Chair and Program Chair of Careers Division of the Academy of Management for which she received Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service, from Careers division of the Academy of Management, Orlando, 2013, and Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service from the Academy of Management, Montreal, 2010. At the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), she regularly convens scientific research tracks on board dynamics. In 2021, she was one of the lead organizers of the 37th EGOS Colloquium in Amsterdam.

Within the business domain, Professor Khapova regularly gives keynote speeches, delivers corporate training programmes and advises organizations on leadership and management related topics. Her favorite programme is the (Executive) PhD, in which she has a privilege to work with executives on most pressing topics that concern contemporary “C-suite” executives. This programme is her most impactful project through which she supports executives in shaping the future of management practice.

Next to her passion for engaged scholarship, Professor Khapova loves to teach. She is an educational innovator and has a track record in developing and delivering new educational programmes, including Research Master Business in Society, Doctoral Education (broadly), Executive PhD programme, and Executive MBA “Leading with Purpose”. She can be found delivering lectures and interactive seminars on the topics of strategic leadership development, diversity and inclusion, well-being and mental health at work, business and peace, career management, HRM, and academic writing in various parts of the world, including Antilles, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Oman, Russian Federation and South Africa.

Her current teaching includes:

  • Executive MBA “Leading with Purpose”: Module 1 “Leader Identity and Purpose” and Module 3 “Thought Leadership: Business and Peace”
  • Executive Education module: “The new HRM realities” (as a visiting professor at the Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean)
  • PhD level courses “Writing a Systematic Literature Review” and “Advanced seminars in Organizational Behavior”
  • MSc Business Administration course: Contemporary Careers and Organizations

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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