Ina Toegel

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change

Ina Toegel is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change. Named one of the top business school professors globally by Poets&Quants, which included her on its ‘Best 40 under 40’ list in 2021, her work focuses on how to build and sustain high-performance teams. She started her career as an economist at the World Bank – an atypical background which means she adopts an interdisciplinary approach in her work. Meanwhile, her strong interest in the creative industries inspires her to incorporate interactive tools from the fields of film, sports, music, and the arts in her teaching.

Toegel says teams play a crucial role as vehicles for change in organizations seeking to make major transformations. Her approach when engaging with companies is to work with project teams or individual units in an agile way – looking at the individual make-up of the team, dynamics within the team, and how these relationships are embedded in the organizational context. Much of her work involves leading organizational change and aligning organizational culture with strategic priorities.

We have tended to see technology as the enemy of softer topics like emotions, but technology can now help with managing emotions in an organization. The bridge that is opening between the tech world and the emotive world presents some interesting opportunities.

She is also keen on leveraging technology to enable executives to develop new ways of working, communicating, and collaborating. She uses virtual reality to explore how teams improve over time, and is investigating how AI can be used to recognize emotions – as well as its implications for an organization’s business, how it structures its operations, and how it works with customers.

She has led and taught on customized leadership programs for a wide range of organizations, including Hilti, Pirelli, Tetra Pak, Beiersdorf, Société Générale, DNB, DENSO, Vontobel, Buehler, Legrand, UEFA, MANE, Siam Commercial Bank, Bank of Communications, Bayer, Electrolux, ASSA ABLOY, T-Systems, Carlsberg, JTI, Hydro, and Tenaris.

She also leads IMD’s Leading High-Performance Teams open program and the culture transformation stream of its MBA and EMBA courses.

Poets&Quants said her inclusion on its ‘Best 40 under 40’ list was a recognition of her structured and inspirational approach to working with team dynamics and organizational culture transformation. She received nearly 100 nominations for the honor, making her one of the most nominated professors in its history. Participants, alumni, and faculty colleagues who nominated her praised her energetic style and ability to get people thinking, with one describing her as “our Socrates”.

She is also a member of the Academy of Management and of the Strategic Management Society, and she presents at the Organizational Development and Change division during the Academy of Management’s Annual Meeting.

Prior to joining IMD in 2015, Toegel taught corporate strategy at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. In her previous role at the World Bank, she was involved in projects on structuring public-private partnerships in the transport, energy, and waste sectors in southeast Europe.

Selected publications
Why every team needs a Ringo
Article
Why every team needs a Ringo
Top teams don’t happen by accident. If you are looking for examples of high performance, examine The Beatles.
Published 17 March 2022
Article
Secrecy in practice: How middle managers promote strategic initiatives behind the scenes
In this study, we focus on secrecy within organizations and examine why and how middle managers (MMs) use secrecy to explore and promote strategic initiatives. We conceptualize secrecy as a dynamic...
Published 1 June 2022
Book Chapter
The role of inclusion in responsible global leadership
Cultural inclusivity in global organizations is a topic of growing importance to scholars and practitioners alike, and the notion of inclusion has even recently become a sensitive political topic, ...
Published 31 May 2020
Case Study
Pep talks: Tapping into collective emotions
Pep Guardiola is often hailed as one of the most successful football managers in the world. He frequently appeals to players’ individual emotions to motivate them and to generate a feeling of belon...
Published 7 December 2020
Article
How to beat gender stereotypes: Learn, speak up and react
While classical economic models predict that discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as gender should naturally disappear thanks to competition, reality seems to tell a different story....
Published 7 March 2019
Thrive as an LGBT+ executive or ally
Article
Thrive as an LGBT+ executive or ally
As societies across many parts of the world are making legal and cultural progress to embrace the LGBT+ communities, many companies lag behind this process. LGBT+ executives still find it difficult...
Published 20 June 2019
How to create a high performance team: Top tips for better collaboration
Article
How to create a high performance team: Top tips for better collaboration
When composing high-performance teams, leaders must pay attention to team size and to ensuring a diversity of thought and perspectives. Leading teams to high-performance requires open conversations...
Published 10 November 2017
Academic publications
Article
Secrecy in practice: How middle managers promote strategic initiatives behind the scenes
In this study, we focus on secrecy within organizations and examine why and how middle managers (MMs) use secrecy to explore and promote strategic initiatives. We conceptualize secrecy as a dynamic...
Published 1 June 2022
Insight for Executives
Progress or pinkwashing? How to foster real LGBT+ inclusion in your business
Article
Progress or pinkwashing? How to foster real LGBT+ inclusion in your business
Organizations should look beyond the rainbow flags to assess how they are engaging with LGBT+ employees and issues on a daily basis.
Published 2 June 2022
DNB and IMD: Building a culture of collaboration, through action learning. At scale
Report
DNB and IMD: Building a culture of collaboration, through action learning. At scale
Norway’s financial services group DNB entered the 2020s on a high note of best-ever quarterly performance; a highly diverse workforce; and great strides in rolling out innovative services. Nonet...
Published 18 May 2022
From a team of stars to a star team 
Article
From a team of stars to a star team 
Developing a shared identity, giving each member equal airtime and creating an environment for honest and authentic exchanges will help lead to better results.
Published 17 May 2022
Why every team needs a Ringo
Article
Why every team needs a Ringo
Top teams don’t happen by accident. If you are looking for examples of high performance, examine The Beatles.
Published 17 March 2022
How HR technology supports new ways of working
Article
How HR technology supports new ways of working
Striking innovations, including in artificial intelligence, are redefining the way employers engage with employees, creating a host of issues around privacy and control
Published 24 February 2022
The secret to successful teams: Why some teams outperform their peers
Article
The secret to successful teams: Why some teams outperform their peers
Team performance can often be the underlying cause of success or failure within a business unit. It’s not just the bottom line that is affected by a team’s dynamics either. Overall morale, employee...
Published 17 March 2021
Report
Perspectives from women of impact: Redefining legacy
Women of great wealth are growing in number and influence. In partnership with IMD, we have interviewed 40 women from across the globe. We found that these women are challenging traditional ideas o...
Published 1 April 2019
Article
How to beat gender stereotypes: Learn, speak up and react
While classical economic models predict that discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as gender should naturally disappear thanks to competition, reality seems to tell a different story....
Published 7 March 2019
Article
Why every company should embrace the World Cup
Whether you like it or not, football is set to invade your workplace. With the 2018 FIFA World Cup starting on June 14, expect coffee breaks, lunches and hallway chats to be dominated by talk of th...
Published 12 June 2018
Report
Hilti and IMD: An outperforming partnership to accelerate professional development
Hilti, a leading global construction company, had long filled over 80% of its management positions and 100% of its top management positions with internal candidates. After the global financial cris...
Published 11 March 2018
How to create a high performance team
Article
How to create a high performance team
When composing high-performance teams, leaders must pay attention to team size and to ensuring a diversity of thought and perspectives. Leading teams to high-performance requires open conversations...
Published 10 November 2017
Report
Pirelli and IMD: An agile partnership
Pirelli, a leading Italian tire manufacturer, has lived life in the fast lane since 1872. After the financial crisis, the pace of change accelerated like never before in the company’s storied histo...
Published 19 March 2017
How to bring back the human element when teamwork goes online
Article
How to bring back the human element when teamwork goes online
The shift to virtual meetings over the past two years has made effective teamworking more challenging, but there are ways of using technology more effectively, according to authors Mike Brent and N...
Published 1 January 0001