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Next Installment of IHRM Webinar Series to be Held March 11

Next Installment of IHRM Webinar Series to be Held March 11

February 3, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  As part of their ongoing IHRM webinar series, the SFU Centre for Global Workforce Strategy, CIHRS, and ESCP Business School will be hosting their next webinar, "How Global Leaders Advance Organizational Goals: The Power of Downward Deference." The webinar will feature Dr. B. Sebastian Reiche and take place on Thursday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. EST. 

Register here.

About the Presentation

Positional power is an integral element to achieve organizational goals. At the same time, there are important limits to formal hierarchy when it comes to advancing organizational goals, for example as leaders seek to penetrate and cultivate non-native markets where they have limited expertise. However, we know little about how global leaders get their work done. To advance our understanding of global leadership, positional power and social distance, I draw on results from a recent study that theorizes about how people with positional power enact downward deference—a practice of lowering oneself to be equal to that of lower power workers. An analysis of 115 top global leaders at a large U.S. company revealed that some leaders enacted downward deference when they recognized that they had less expertise, networks, and influence relative to their local subordinates. This manifested in two ways:

  1. attempts to reduce social distance, which involved seeking connection, earning trust, and participating in adjacent collaboration with local subordinates;
  2. yielding to subordinates’ expertise by privileging their judgement, transferring influence to them, and conforming to their local hierarchical expectations.

Supplementary quantitative analyses showed that previous experiences in foreign cultures, both in terms of total time spent abroad and exposure to cultures that were distant from their own, correlated with adopting downward deference. Those leaders also had higher job performance ratings and were promoted to higher executive levels over time compared to their counterparts who did not practice downward deference.

About the Speaker

B. Sebastian Reiche (Ph.D., University of Melbourne, Australia) is Professor of People Management at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. At IESE, he serves as Associate Director of Faculty, Academic Director of the Program for Management Development, and is a member of the Academic Committee for Executive Education. Sebastian is an expert on the forms, prerequisites, and consequences of global work, international HRM, global leadership, and knowledge transfer. His work has appeared in leading scholarly outlets, including Academy of Management Discoveries, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, and Personnel Psychology, among others. Sebastian’s contributions have been acknowledged by the International HRM Scholarly Research Award of the Academy of Management in two consecutive years and the Journal of International Business Silver Medal, and have featured in the international press, including The Economist, Financial Times, BBC Capital, and Forbes. He has co-edited Readings and Cases in International Human Resource Management (6th edition, Routledge) and International Human Resource Management (5th edition, Sage). In addition, he serves as Associate Editor of Human Resource Management Journal and co-editor of Advances in Global Leadership.

Sebastian has consulted with companies such as SAP, Haier, Wacker and Puig, and has designed, directed, and delivered Custom Executive Education programs for a number of companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Deloitte, Allied Irish Banks, and Rijk Zwaan. Sebastian advises start-ups in the human capital space and regularly blogs on the topic of global work (

Other Information

Watch the previous IHRM Webinar Series installments on our YouTube Channel.

Zoom event access information will be provided all registered attendees 24 hours, and 1 hour, prior to the event start.

For inquires about this event, please contact

February 22, 2021

Next Installment of IHRM Webinar Series to be Held March 11