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Mary Crossan

Professor, General Management & Strategy

Paul MacPherson Chair in Strategic Leadership

Mary Crossan

Contact Information


  • Strategic Management
  • Leadership Character
  • Organizational Learning for Competitive Advantage
  • Improvisation
  • Cross Enterprise Management

Research Publications

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Crossan is a Distinguished University Professor – Western's highest honour recognizing excellence in teaching, research and service over a substantial career at Western. She teaches in the undergraduate, MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Programs. Her research on organizational learning, strategy, leadership character and improvisation has been widely published in such journals as the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, the Journal of Management Studies, Leadership Quarterly and Organization Dynamics. She has extended her research to management practice through a collection of over 50 cases, many of which have been published in a book she co–authored entitled Strategic Management: A Casebook. She is also an author of the Strategic Analysis and Action textbook. In a joint venture between the Ivey Business School and the Second City Improvisation Company, she developed a management video entitled "Improvise to Innovate" which extends traditional concepts of strategic management to development tools and techniques for more innovative, flexible and responsive strategic action. Her research, case–writing and consulting have provided broad exposure to companies around the world. She has worked with HSBC, Mattel Asia, Bank of Montreal, TD Bank Financial Group, CIBC, Sun Life, Manulife, several public sector organizations and an NHL Team. Her case on Starbucks has been Ivey's top selling case for many years.


  • Strategic Analysis and Action (MBA, Executive MBA)
  • Transformational Leadership (MBA)
  • Leadership Under Fire (HBA)

Programs Taught

  • Executive Education


  • BA
  • MBA
  • PhD, Western

Recent Refereed Articles

  • Nguyen, B.; Crossan, M. M., (Forthcoming), "Character Infused Ethical Decision Making", Journal of Business Ethics.
  • Monzani, L.; Seijts, G. H.; Crossan, M. M., 2021, "Character matters: The network structure of leader character and its relation to follower positive outcomes", PLOS One, September 16(9): e0255940 - e0255940.
  • Crossan, M. M.; Ellis, C.; Crossan, C., 2021, "Towards a Model of Leader Character Development: Insights from Anatomy and Music Therapy", Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, August 28(3): 287 - 305.
  • Crossan, M. M.; Cote, S.; Virgin, S., 2021, "Elevating Leader Character Alongside Competence in Selection: A Case Study of Canada Revenue Agency", Organizational Dynamics, July 50(3): 100752 - 100752.
  • Dong, J.; Liu, R.; Qiu, Y.; Crossan, M. M., 2021, "Should knowledge be distorted? Managers’ knowledge distortion strategies and organizational learning in different environments", Leadership Quarterly, June 32(3): 101477 - 101477.
  • Pettit, K.; Crossan, M. M., 2020, "Strategic renewal: Beyond the functional resource role of occupational members", Strategic Management Journal, June 41(6): 1112 - 1138.
  • Tang, J.; Crossan, M. M.; Rowe, W. G., 2019, "Dominant Leaders: Heroes or Villains?", Organizational Dynamics, March 48(1): 1 - 7.
  • Seijts, G. H.; Byrne, A.; Crossan, M. M.; Gandz, J., 2019, "Leader Character in Board Governance", Journal of Management and Governance, March 23(1): 227 - 258.
  • Byrne, A.; Crossan, M. M.; Seijts, G. H., 2018, "The Development of Leader Character Through Crucible Moments", Journal of Management Education, April 42(2): 265 - 293.
  • Tang, J.; Crossan, M. M., 2017, "Are Dominant CEOs the Saviors of Troubled Firms?", Long Range Planning, December 50(6): 782 - 793.
  • Crossan, M. M.; Byrne, A.; Seijts, G. H.; Reno, M.; Monzani, L.; Gandz, J., 2017, "Toward a Framework of Leader Character in Organizations", Journal of Management Studies, November 54(7): 986 - 1018.
  • Furlong, B.; Crossan, M. M.; Gandz, J.; Crossan, L., 2017, "Character’s Essential Role in Addressing Misconduct in Financial Institutions", Business Law International, September 18(3): 199 - 224.
  • Sturm, R. E.; Vera, D.; Crossan, M. M., 2017, "The Entanglement of Leader Character and Leader Competence and its Impact on Performance", Leadership Quarterly, June 28(3): 349 - 366.
  • Seijts, G. H.; Crossan, M. M.; Carleton, E., 2017, "Embedding leader character into HR practices to achieve sustained excellence", Organizational Dynamics, March 46(1): 30 - 39.
  • Krylova, K. O.; Vera, D.; Crossan, M. M., 2016, "Knowledge Transfer in Knowledge-Intensive Organizations: The Crucial Role of Improvisation in Transferring And Protecting Knowledge", Journal of Knowledge Management, October 20(5): 1045 - 1064.

For more publications please see our Research Database


  • Bell Canada: Engineering Economics - Ottawa; Installation Foreman - Barrie, Toronto; Construction - London; Human Resource Management - London
  • Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics - Ottawa
  • Department of Finance - Ottawa
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP): Human Resource Management - Ottawa; Criminal Investigations, Ottawa

Research/Course Development

  • Strategic Analysis and Action
  • Improvisation and Strategy
  • Organizational Learning and Strategic Renewal
  • Developing and Executing Strategies
  • Leadership and Character