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Mary Crossan

Professor, General Management & Strategy

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. In 2021 she was recognized on a global list representing the top two per cent of the most cited scientists in her discipline. 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 recent research focuses on the development of leader character as a critical foundation to support and elevate leader competencies. She and her colleagues have developed courses, cases, and a diagnostic assessment to develop leader character. The “Developing Leadership Character” book is a culmination of the team’s research on leader character. She is also a co-host of the Question of Character podcast series. She works with organizations around the world on developing and investing in leader character.


  • 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

  • Crossan, M. M.; Nguyen, B.; Sturm, R. E.; Vera, D. V.; Ruiz Pardo, A.; Maurer, C. C., 2023, "Organizational learning through character-based judgment", Management Learning, November 54(5)
  • Crossan, M. M.; Nguyen, B.; Vera, D. V.; Sturm, R. E.; Pardo, A. R., (Forthcoming), "Leader Character in Engineering Projects: A Case Study of Character Activation, Contagion, and Embeddedness", IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
  • Crossan, M. M.; Ellis, C.; Crossan, C., 2023, "The Role of Physiology, Affect, Behavior and Cognition in Leader Character Activation: A Music Intervention", Journal of Character and Leadership Development, June 10(2): 14 - 41.
  • Dong, J.; Tian, M.; Li, X.; Crossan, M. M., (Forthcoming), "Effects of human capital and learning rate: When organizations meet with information distortion and environmental dynamism", European Management Review, February n/a
  • Vera, D. V.; Crossan, M. M., 2023, "Character-enabled improvisation and the new normal: A paradox perspective", Management Learning, February 54(1): 77 - 98.
  • Crossan, M. M.; Furlong, B.; Austin, R. D., 2022, "Make Leader Character Your Competitive Edge", MIT Sloan management review, December 64(2): 1 - 12.
  • Nguyen, B.; Crossan, M. M., 2022, "Character Infused Ethical Decision Making", Journal of Business Ethics: 1 - 21.
  • Crossan, M. M.; Cote, S.; Virgin, S., 2021, "Elevating Leader Character Alongside Competence in Selection: A Case Study of Canada Revenue Agency", Organizational Dynamics, September 50(3): 100752 - 100752.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

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