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Jane Howell is an emeritus Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Ivey Business School. Professor Howell earned her Ph.D. in Business Administration and B.A. in Psychology from The University of British Columbia, and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Western University. Prior to joining the Ivey faculty in 1984, Jane worked with the B.C. Justice Institute where she trained police officers in domestic violence intervention and conflict resolution. After dealing with volatile situations, Jane moved to the safer corporate environment of the Toronto Dominion Bank where she worked in Human Resources for two years.
In 1998 Professor Howell received the University's Edward G. Pleva Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, and in 2007 was presented with the Dean Carol Stephenson Excellence in Executive MBA Teaching Award. She teaches leadership and change in Ivey's Executive MBA (Hong Kong and Toronto), and Ph.D. programs, as well as custom executive development programs. Jane has written over 60 cases related to high performing organizations, leadership, teams, and coaching.
Jane has developed and delivered custom executive development programs on leadership, change, teams, and coaching, for companies in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa including, most recently, BMO Financial Group, BMO China, Mattel Asia, J.D. Irving, Aecon, Esquel Enterprise Ltd., Petro-Canada, Maple Leaf Foods, John Squire and Sons, and 3M Canada. Jane is also an executive coach, and has consulted and led executive retreats with many enterprises such as London Life, J.D. Irving, Royal Bank Financial Group, and Spar Aerospace.
Jane's research interests since the early 1980s have included high performing leaders, teams, and organizations, and champions of innovation. She has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on these topics and have received international awards for her work. She is currently involved in three multi-year research projects: leading during crisis and adversity; assessing global leadership practices; and accelerating new product development. Jane has served on the editorial board of The Leadership Quarterly since 1993, and is a reviewer for several journals in Organizational Behavior.
From 1998 to 2001, Jane was Associate Dean, Faculty Development and member of the Ivey Executive Committee and the Ivey Advisory Board. She has also served as a board member for The National Centre for Management Research and Development and The Original Kids Theatre Company.
- Leadership (Executive MBA and MBA programs)
- Leading Change (Executive MBA program)
- Managing People for Exceptional Performance (MBA and HBA programs)
- Ph.D. Seminar in Individual Behaviour (Ph.D. program)
- BA, UBC
- MA, Western
- PhD, UBC
Recent Refereed Articles
MacMillan, K.; Hurst, C.; Kelly, K.; Howell, J.; Jung, Y.,
2020, "Who says there’s a problem? The sending and receiving of prohibitive voice", Human Relations, August 73(8): 1049 - 4076.
Abstract: Which employees are likely to warn leaders about threats to the workplace? When employees do speak up, will these messages gain the leader’s interest? In this article, we rely on theories of power to predict how employee characteristics (work prevention regulatory focus, closeness to the leader (leader-member exchange) and rank) influence whether employees send messages about threats (prohibitive voice). We also explore whether employee characteristics (closeness to the leader and rank) affect leaders’ attention to threat messages. In a two-wave field study with 55 leaders and 214 employees, we found that leaders were more likely to show interest in messages about threats from employees who they were not close to, but who had high rank. However, only employees with a strong work prevention regulatory focus and/or those of higher rank were likely to prioritize the sending of such messages. Although we also expected that employees who had a good relationship with the leader would send more information about threats, we found they were less likely to do so. This research suggests that there may be “opaque zones” in organizations, places where employees are unlikely to warn leaders about threats and where leaders will not pay attention even if they do.
Link(s) to publication:
Sommer, A.; Howell, J. M.; Hadley, C.,
(Forthcoming), "Keeping Positive and Building Strength: The Role of Affect and Team Leadership in Developing Resilience during an Organizational Crisis", Group & Organization Management.
Abstract: During an organizational crisis in healthcare, we collected multilevel data from 426 team members and 52 leaders. The results of hierarchical linear modeling describe the influence of leader behavior on team members’ resilience, which is primarily through affective mechanisms. Specifically, transformational leadership was associated with greater levels of positive affect and lower levels of negative affect, which in turn predicted higher resilience among team members. Inverse effects were found for the passive form of management-by-exception (MBE) leadership. Contrary to expectation, no relationship was found between active MBE leadership and affect. The implications for leaders and team members to foster positive affect and resilience during a crisis are discussed.
Link(s) to publication:
Wang, X.; Howell, J. M.,
2012, "A Multilevel Study of Transformational Leadership, Identification, and Follower Outcomes", Leadership Quarterly, September 23(5): 775 - 790.
Abstract: Using a sample from a large diversified company, this study examines the influence processes of transformational leadership (TFL) at both the individual and group levels concurrently and explores cross-level relationships. Results showed that, at the individual level, followers’ personal identification with the leader mediated the effects of individual-focused TFL behavior on individual performance and empowerment. At the group level, group identification mediated the effect of group-focused TFL behavior on collective efficacy. Results also supported two cross-level effects from the group level to the individual level. The paper addresses the implications for leaders of motivating individuals and teams, at the same time.
Wang, X.; Howell, J. M.,
2010, "Exploring the Dual-Level Effects of Transformational Leadership", Journal of Applied Psychology, November 95(6): 1134 - 1144.
Abstract: A dual-level transformational leadership scale was developed to measure individual-focused behavior at the individual level and group-focused behavior at the group level and was tested using a sample of 203 members from 60 work groups in a Canadian company. Results showed that individual-focused leadership behavior, at the individual level, was positively related to task performance and personal initiative whereas, group-focused leadership behavior, at the group level, was positively associated with team performance and helping behavior. Implications for leadership theory and practice are offered.
Boies, K.; Howell, J. M.,
2009, "Leading Military Teams to Think and Feel: Exploring the Relations between Leadership, Soldiers' Cognitive and Affective Processes, and Team Effectiveness", Military Psychology, April 21(2): 216 - 232.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between leadership and military teams' affective and cognitive processes and the subsequent links between these processes and team effectiveness. Soldiers (N 148) from 32 teams completed questionnaires assessing these variables. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the data. Transformational leadership was positively associated with cognitive and affective processes, but only active management-by-exception leadership was related to negative affect. Neither form of management-by-exception leadership related to cognitive processes. Positive affect, negative affect, and cognitive processes were all related to team viability. Finally, some mediation effects were observed. Implications of the results for developing leadership in military teams are drawn.
Boies, K.; Howell, J. M.,
2006, "Leader-Member Exchange in Teams: An Examination of the Interaction between Relationship Differentiation and Mean LMX in Explaining Team-Level Outcomes", Leadership Quarterly, June 17(3): 246 - 257.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction between mean level of LMX and the differentiation of LMX relationships within a team to explain team potency and team conflict. Hypotheses were tested in a team-based organization, the Canadian Forces. Soldiers (N162), who were members of 35 military teams, completed questionnaires assessing the different variables. All analyses were conducted at the team level. As expected, mean LMX within teams was positively related to team potency and negatively related to team conflict. Furthermore, mean LMX interacted with relationship differentiation within teams to explain team potency and team conflict. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for LMX theory and leadership practice.
Howell, J. M.; Shea, C. M.,
2006, "Effects of Champion Behavior, Team Potency, and External Communication Activities on Predicting Team Performance", Group & Organization Management, April 31(2): 180 - 211.
Abstract: The present study used measures of champion behavior, team potency, and external communication activities to predict the performance of new product development teams over a one-year period. Forty-one product innovations in 13 organizations were studied involving 41 champions, 41 executives to whom the champions reported, and 187 team members. Results from a partial least squares analysis indicated that champion behavior was positively related to team potency and to external communication activities, and predicted team performance. The relationship between champion behavior and team performance one year later was mediated by team potency and two external communication activities (i.e., task coordinator and scout). Implications, limitations and future directions for research on champions and teams are discussed.
Howell, J. M.,
2005, "The Right Stuff: Identifying and Developing Effective Champions of Innovation", Academy of Management Perspectives, December 19(2): 108 - 119.
Abstract: To overcome organizational inertia or fierce opposition, and move new product ideas from small to large project endeavors, market launch, and ultimate market success, requires champions. Yet we do not know much about what makes some champions effective while others fail to deliver the goods. What I discovered by studying 72 innovations in 38 companies is that effective champions differ from ineffective ones in their personal characteristics and behaviors, how they identify the innovations to back, and how they promote them to gain the support they need to bring ideas to realization as new products or services. Effective champions are distinguished by three behaviors: conveying confidence and enthusiasm in the innovation, enlisting the support and involvement of key stakeholders, and persisting in the face of adversity. Relying on their personal networks inside and outside of the organization, they scout widely for new ideas and opportunities to pursue. Effective champions build support for the innovation by astutely analyzing key stakeholders' interests and tailoring their selling strategies to be maximally persuasive, and tying the innovation to positive organization outcomes such as profitability, enhanced reputation, or strategic advantage. I conclude with seven action steps that enterprise leaders can take to breed, rather than block, potential champions in their organizations.
Howell, J. M.; Shea, C. M.; Higgins, C. A.,
2005, "Champions of Product Innovations: Defining, Developing and Validating a Measure of Champion Behavior", Journal of Business Venturing, September 20(5): 641 - 661.
Abstract: This research defined, developed and validated a measure of champion behavior by collecting data from different samples in multiple stages. Using the act frequency method, a comprehensive set of 102 items reflective of champion behavior was developed based on a survey of middle managers and executives. Next, a different managerial sample rated the extent to which each of the 102 items was representative of champion behavior, and 29 were deemed to represent the core of the domain of championship. Finally, to evaluate the psychometric properties of the champion behavior measure, 47 product innovations in 13 firms were studied. Forty-seven nominated champions completed personality measures, 47 top division managers rated project performance, and 216 innovation team members rated champion behavior and leadership style. Results from principal components and confirmatory factor analyses yielded a 14-item champion behavior measure composed of three factors: expressing enthusiasm and confidence about the success of the innovation, persisting under adversity and getting the right people involved. This measure showed acceptable reliability as well as convergent and discriminant validity. Preliminary evidence of criterion-related validity indicated that the champion behavior measure was also positively related to project performance. Together these analyses provided support for the construct validity of the champion behavior measure.
Howell, J. M.; Neufeld, D. J.; Avolio, B. J.,
2005, "Examining the Relationship of Leadership and Physical Distance with Business Unit Performance", Leadership Quarterly, April 16(2): 273 - 285.
Abstract: Measures of transformational and transactional contingent reward leadership and physical distance were used to predict the business unit performance of 101 managers. Results revealed that transformational leadership positively predicted unit performance, while contingent reward leadership was not related to performance. Physical distance between leaders and followers negatively moderated the relationship between transformational leadership and unit performance, and positively moderated the relationship between contingent reward leadership and performance. Implications for future work on leadership at a distance are discussed.
Howell, J. M.; Shamir, B.,
2005, "The Role of Followers in the Charismatic Leadership Process: Relationships and their Consequences", Academy of Management Review, January 30(1): 96 - 112.
Abstract: Theories of charismatic leadership have been criticized for being too 'leader centered' and promoting a 'heroic' concept of leadership. This paper presents a theoretical analysis of the follower's role in the charismatic leadership process. Specifically, we distinguish between two types of charismatic relationships, personalized and socialized, and present general propositions about how followers' self-concepts may determine the type of charismatic relationship they form with the leader. We then develop more specific propositions about the follower's role in various stages of the charismatic relationship process including susceptibility to charismatic leadership, responses to charismatic influence, empowerment of the leader, and consequences of the charismatic relationship. We conclude by outlining the implications of the propositions for followers' responsibility for the consequences of charismatic leadership and suggest further opportunities for theoretical extension.
Howell, J. M.; Boies, K.,
2004, "Champions of Technological Innovation: The Influence of Contextual Knowledge, Role Orientation, Idea Generation, and Idea Promotion on Champion Emergence", Leadership Quarterly, April 15(1): 123 - 143.
Abstract: This study examined the role that champions play in the generation and promotion of ideas in the innovation process, and considered the influence of flexible role orientation and contextual knowledge in this process. Content analysis of interview transcripts from 19 matched pairs of champions and nonchampions revealed that flexible role orientation was positively related to idea generation, and contextual knowledge was positively related to packaging ideas for promotion. Idea generation was positively related to promoting ideas through informal and formal channels. Finally, in comparison to nonchampions, champions demonstrated more enthusiastic support for new ideas, tied the innovation to a greater variety of positive organizational outcomes, and used informal selling processes more often during idea promotion.
Howell, J. M.; Shea, C. M.,
2001, "Individual differences, environmental scanning, innovation framing and champion behavior: Key predictors of project performance", Journal of Product Innovation Management, January 18(1): 15 - 27.
Abstract: Although increasing evidence points to the importance of champions for keeping product innovation ideas alive and thriving, little is known about how champions identify potential product innovation ideas, how they present these ideas to gain much needed support from key stakeholders, and their impact on innovation project performance over time. This knowledge gap is addressed by using measures of individual differences, environmental scanning, innovation framing and champion behavior to predict the performance of 47 product innovation projects. Champion behavior was defined as expressing confidence in the innovation, involving and motivating others to support the innovation, and persisting under adversity. Interviews with 47 champions were conducted to collect information about the innovation projects and the champions' tendency to frame the innovation as an opportunity or threat. Survey data were obtained from three sources: 47 champions provided information on their personal characteristics (locus of control and breadth of interest) and activities (environmental scanning), 47 division managers subjectively assessed project performance at two points in time, and 237 innovation team members rated the frequency of champion behavior. The results revealed that an internal locus of control orientation was positively related to framing the innovation as an opportunity, and breadth of interest was positively related to environmental scanning. Environmental scanning of documents and framing the innovation as a threat was negatively related to champion behavior, while environmental scanning through people was positively related to champion behavior. Champion behavior positively predicted project performance over a one-year interval. Overall, the findings suggest that in scanning the environment for new ideas, the most effective source of information is the champion's personal network of people inside and outside the organization. Also, the simple labeling of an idea as a threat appears to diminish a champion's perceived influence and erode credibility in promoting an innovation. From the perspective of division managers, champions make a positive contribution to project performance over time, reinforcing the crucial role that champions play in new product development process.
Shea, C. M.; Howell, J. M.,
2000, "Efficacy-performance spirals: An empirical test", Journal of Management, July 26(4): 791 - 812.
Abstract: This study examined the pattern of the relationships between self-efficacy and performance in an experiment involving 148 students who worked on a manufacturing task over four trials. Task feedback and task experience, two variables that may influence the occurrence of efficacy-performance spirals, were also investigated. Results indicated strong support for a significant relationship between self-efficacy and performance over time. However, the pattern of changes in self-efficacy and performance from trial-to-trial contained self-corrections, suggesting that the efficacy-performance relationship does not necessarily proceed in a monotonic, deviation-amplifying spiral. Task feedback and task experience affected the occurrence of self-corrections in the pattern of changes in self-efficacy and performance over time. Implications are drawn about the dynamic nature of self-efficacy. © 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
Link(s) to publication:
Shea, C. M.; Howell, J. M.,
2000, "Efficacy Performance Spirals: An Empirical Test", Journal of Management, January 26(4): 791 - 812.
Abstract: This study examined the pattern of the relationships between self-efficacy and performance in an experiment involving 148 students who worked on a manufacturing task over four trials. Task feedback and task experience, two variables that may influence the occurrence of efficacy-performance spirals, were also investigated. Results indicated strong support for a significant relationship between self-efficacy and performance over time. However, the pattern of changes in self-efficacy and performance from trial to trial contained self-corrections, suggesting that the efficacy-performance relationship does not necessarily proceed in a monotonic, deviation-amplifying spiral. Task feedback and task experience affected the occurrence of self-corrections in the pattern of changes in self-efficacy and performance over time. Implications are drawn about the dynamic nature of self-efficacy.
- Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Ivey Business School, Western University (2001-present)
- Associate Dean, Faculty Development, Ivey Business School, Western University (1998-2001)
- Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Ivey Business School, Western University (1993-2000)
- Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour, Ivey Business School, Western University, (1984-1992)
- Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Management Studies, The University of Toronto (1988-1989)
- Champions of Innovations