Ansgar Richter

Professor Ansgar Richter

Dean of Surrey Business School
+44 (0)1483 684283
43 MS 02
PA: Donna Shanks



Ansgar Richter joined Surrey Business School as Dean in October 2016. Prior to his appointment at Surrey, he was Head of the Organisation and Management Group at University of Liverpool Management School (2013-2016), and Head of the Department of Strategy, Organisation & Leadership at EBS Business School in Wiesbaden, Germany (2002-2013).

Ansgar studied Philosophy and Economics in Frankfurt and Bochum (Germany), before continuing his studies at London School of Economics (LSE), where he earned an MSc in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, and a PhD in Management. Following his studies, he worked for over three years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, advising clients in Great Britain, Germany, Luxemburg, Finland and the USA on matters of strategy and organisation. At various points in his academic career, Ansgar was a visiting scholar at Berkeley, Stanford, and INSEAD. He has also taught at INSEAD (France), LSE (UK), Cranfield Management School (UK), Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (India), Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (India), Xi'an Jiatong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Souzhou (China), University of Montana Business School, Missoula (USA), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), and Leipzig Graduate School of Business (Germany). In addition, he has provided a wide range of executive education programmes for companies in the automotive, chemical, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and professional service sectors.

Ansgar's research interests are at the interface of strategy, organisation and governance. He has published extensively in journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Leadership Quarterly, Global Strategy Journal, Journal of Organizational Behavior, International Journal of Human Resource Management, British Journal of Industrial Relations, and many others. Five of his papers have been included in the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Journal of Management, Long-Range Planning, and International Journal of Human Resource Management, and serves as a reviewer for many other journals on a regular basis. He has also served as Chair of the Management Consulting Division of the Academy of Management. Furthermore, he works closely with accreditation bodies.

Ansgar and his wife Dorothee have three children. All of them enjoy classical music, reading, and sharing time with friends and family.

Research interests

Dynamic Capabilities; Organisational Design; Incentives, Ownership and Justice in Organisations; Strategy and Structure of Professional Service Firms




Academy of ManagementStrategic Management SocietyBritish Academy of ManagementGerman Academic Association for Business Research (Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft)

My publications


According to uncertainty management theory (UMT), organizational justice helps individuals to cope with uncertainty. Employees will thus respond stronger to organizational justice when uncertainty is high. We contribute to UMT by highlighting poor socioeconomic conditions, specifically, weak rule of law, low human development, and high income inequality, as salient sources of uncertainty. We argue that when these conditions are unfavorable, the effects of organizational justice on employee reactions will be stronger than when they are more favorable. We test our arguments using a meta-analysis of 279 studies involving 315 samples from 31 countries. Our findings suggest that poor socioeconomic conditions raise the strength of the relationship between organizational justice on the one hand and task performance and organizational citizenship behavior on the other but not the relationship between organizational justice and counterproductive work behaviors. Our study responds to recent calls to place greater emphasis on contextual factors and to close the macro?micro gap in the literature on organizational justice.
Karna A, Richter A, Riesenkampff E (2016) Revisiting the role of the environment in the capabilities?financial performance relationship: A meta?analysis, Strategic Management Journal 37 (6) pp. 1154-1173 Wiley
Within the capabilities-based view of the firm, there is debate about the relative importance of
ordinary and dynamic capabilities for firm performance and about the extent to which their
performance effects are contingent on environmental conditions. We meta-analyze 115 studies
to investigate the relationship between both ordinary and dynamic capabilities and the financial
performance of firms in relatively stable versus changing environments. The results suggest that
the performance effects of both types of capabilities are positive and similar in magnitude.
Environmental dynamism reinforces the effects of both ordinary and dynamic capabilities.
Furthermore, the two types of capabilities are closely associated. Our findings provide support for
a moderate capabilities-based view of the firm, rather than one that considers dynamic capabilities
as superior to ordinary ones.
Richter Ansgar, Schommer Monika, Karna Amit (2017) The Performance Effects of Diversification in the Context of Its Decline: A Meta-Analytical Review, Academy of Management Proceedings (Meeting Abstract Supplement) Academy of Management
We study changes in the performance effects of diversification in the context of the decline in levels of diversification over time. We argue that the decrease in levels of unrelated diversification has been greater than that of related diversification. We also expect the aggregate effects of diversification on firm performance to have improved over time, and the differences between the performance effects of related and those of unrelated diversification to have decreased. We employ two meta-analytical approaches (MARA and HOMA) in order to test our hypotheses, using a total of 267 primary studies containing 387 effect sizes and over 150,000 firm-level observations from over 60 years of research on the diversification?firm performance relationship. The findings support our hypotheses. We contribute to the corporate strategy literature by arguing that the pressure to reduce diversification may have affected those firms particularly strongly whose diversification strategies were most detrimental to firm performance. Our study is the first one to investigate the secular shift in the performance effects of diversification.
Hilger S, Mankel S, Richter A (2012) The use and effectiveness of top executive dismissal, The Leadership Quarterly 24 (1) pp. 9-28 Elsevier
We provide a systematic assessment of the empirical evidence on the use and effectiveness of top executive dismissal as a governance and performance improvement mechanism. Our results suggest that poor individual and firm performance significantly increase the likelihood of executive dismissal. A strong power base might help under-performing top executives to extend their tenure in office, but effective ownership and governance structures can provide a counterweight to such entrenchment behaviors. However, our review casts doubt on the effectiveness of top executive dismissal as a means to enhance future firm performance: employing meta-analytical techniques we show that, although the dismissal announcement leads to positive abnormal returns, it has no significant effect on long-term measures of firm performance. On the basis of our findings, we develop a conceptual model of the possible antecedents and consequences of top executive dismissal. We derive implications for boards involved in situations of executive dismissal and for the successors of dismissed executives, and we provide directions for future leadership research on executive dismissal.
Littmann A, Richter A (2013) Strategy and Structure, In: Kessler E (eds.), Encyclopedia of Management Theory 2 pp. 800-803 Sage publications, Inc.
Mankel S, Richter A, Uhlenbruck N (2014) Pay Disparity, External Pay Alternatives and Turnover of the Second Best Paid Executive, SSRN Electronic Journal SSRN
We contribute to the intersection of top executive turnover and compensation research by investigating pay structure implications on turnover, focusing on the second best-paid executive as the one being closest to winning the tournament for the best-paid position. Building on tournament theory and using competing-risks survival regression, we develop and test hypotheses with regard to the effects of pay disparity among a firm?s top executives and external pay alternatives on the exit of the second best-paid executive. For a sample of S&P 500 firms in the 14-year period between 1993 and 2006, we find that comparisons with higher paid executives and external pay alternatives matter for individuals? decisions whether to stay in or to leave a pay tournament, whereas comparisons to lower paid executives do not.
Richter A, Wendlandt V (2010) Inhouse Consulting als Motor des Wandels: Champions oder Loser? Balanceakt interne Beratung - Eine Bestandsaufnahme, Organisationsentwicklung 29 (2) ZOE0349689 pp. 14-19 Handelsblatt Fachmedien
Saller T, Richter A (2011) Unternehmensberater praktisch ausbilden, In: Consulting 2012: Das Jahrbuch der Unternehmensberatung pp. 48-53 Frankfurter Allgemeine Buch
Landau C, Karna A, Richter A, Uhlenbruck K (2016) Institutional Leverage Capability: Creating and Using Institutional Advantages for Internationalization, Global Strategy Journal 6 (1) pp. 50-68 Wiley
Plain language summary

Home country institutions, for instance chambers of commerce and educational systems, can support firms' efforts to expand into foreign markets. However, only some firms utilize this support and become successful in international markets. We propose that these firms have a particular ability to leverage institutions; they have institutional leverage capability. More precisely, we explain that firms need to be aware of the institutional support, access it, decide to adopt it, and adapt their resources to fully exploit the institutions available in their home countries. We recommend that firms design organizational structures and processes to leverage institutions for internationalization. We illustrate our suggestions with the example of the German ?hidden champions,? medium-sized firms that are global market leaders, and how they leverage institutions to internationalize.

Technical summary

We develop the notion of a firm's institutional leverage capability in order to explain heterogeneity among firms with respect to their ability to turn a location's generally available institutional benefits into firm-specific institutional competitive advantages. Institutional leverage capability represents a higher-order construct formed by the four components of awareness, access, adoption and adaption of institutional benefits. It is of particular strategic relevance in institutional contexts that provide high levels of support to firms. Firms can use institutional competitive advantages, which they generate by leveraging their home country's institutions, for the purpose of internationalization. We illustrate our argument using the example of several mid-sized German companies that have leveraged home-country institutional benefits and attained leading positions in international markets. Copyright © 2016 Strategic Management Society.

Karna A, Richter A, Schommer M (2014) Seesaw Staffing, Managing Partner 17 (3) pp. 12-15 ARK Conferences Ltd
Richter A, Schrader S (2016) Financial participation and recruitment and retention: causes and consequences, The International Journal of Human Resource Management 28 (11) pp. 1563-1590 Taylor & Francis
Using a sample of over 5000 establishments in Germany, we analyze the antecedents and effects of profit sharing (PS) and employee share ownership (ESO) with respect to the ability of firms to meet their recruitment and retention objectives and to achieve employment growth. We draw on both economic and behavioral perspectives to argue that firms that adopt PS and ESO plans do so in order to attract and retain employees. Using logistic regression and a propensity score matching technique, we find that firms that face higher recruitment problems, and those that have greater employment growth objectives, are more likely to use ESO and PS. Unlike ESO, PS enhances firm-level employment growth. However, neither ESO nor PS help firms to fully resolve recruitment and retention problems.
Richter A, Schrader S (2016) Levels of Employee Share Ownership and the Performance of Listed Companies in Europe, British Journal of Industrial Relations 55 (2) pp. 396-420 Wiley
We investigate the effects of employee share ownership (ESO) on three alternative measures of firm performance in a panel of 1,115 companies from the five largest European economies. The results show that firms with ESO enjoy significantly higher levels of capital market performance and of accounting performance than firms without ESO; however, the marginal effects of ESO are declining with increasing ESO levels. ESO does not have a clear effect on productivity. These findings hold for all countries except Spain. Variations in ESO levels within firms over time exert few performance effects.
Extant theory and empirical evidence suggest that strategies of diversification and geographic scope expansion carry benefits as well as costs. However, it is unclear whether the arguments relating diversification and geographic scope expansion with firm performance are applicable in the specific context of professional service firms (PSFs). These firms are also characterized by particular organizational features, such as the importance of maintaining an optimal leverage ratio, defined as the ratio between junior professionals and senior ones as partners. Our hypothesis development suggests an inverted U-shaped relationship between service line diversification, geographic scope and leverage on the one hand, and PSF performance on the other. We empirically test these relationships using fixed-effects regression and polynomial response surface analysis (RSA) on panel data from 61 German law firms from 2003 to 2012. RSA provides a finely-grained understanding of the relationships among the variables of interest. We find an inverted U-shaped performance effect of diversification and leverage, but no relationship between geographic scope and performance. Moreover, we find evidence of a complementary relationship between diversification and leverage ratio. We conclude with a discussion of our findings and their implications for theory and practice.
Richter A (2013) Strategic Structure, Managing Partner 16 (4) pp. 16-19 ARK Conferences Ltd
Hilger S, Richter A, Schäffer U (2013) Hanging Together, Together Hung? Career Implications of Interpersonal Ties Between CEOs and Top Managers, Business Research 6 (1) pp. 8-32 SpringerOpen
Is it good or bad for senior executives to have strong interpersonal ties to the CEO? We argue that a strong relationship with the CEO raises the likelihood that a top manager stays in office or makes an upward career move when the CEO leaves office voluntarily. At the same time, such interpersonal ties also reinforce the negative spillover effects of a dismissal of the CEO on the career prospects of the manager concerned. Our empirical analysis lends support to both arguments. We contribute to managerial succession research by underlining the ambivalence of interpersonal ties within top management teams.
Richter A, Ennen E (2011) Die Bedeutung von Strategie und Struktur in der Rechtsberatung, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (NJW) 2011 (32) C.H.BECK oHG
Richter A, Weiss C (2012) Determinants of ownership concentration in public firms: The importance of firm-, industry- and country-level factors, International Review of Law and Economics 33 pp. 1-14 Elsevier
We analyze the relative importance of firm-, industry-, and country-level factors as determinants of the level of ownership concentration of firms. We apply hierarchical linear models to a sample of 900 firms from nine countries. Our models explain up to 28% of the variance in ownership concentration. The results show that firm- and country-level factors influence ownership concentration far more strongly than industry-level factors do. The institutional context in which companies operate has a relatively large effect on ownership concentration. Our results should spark further multi-level research on the relationship between environmental factors on the country level and the allocation of ownership rights.
Galal K, Richter A, Wendlandt V (2012) It Consulting And Outsourcing Firms: Evolution, Business Models, And Future Prospects, In: Kipping M, Clark T (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Management Consulting pp. 117-137 Oxford University Press
This article discusses the evolution of IT consulting and outsourcing firms. It first describes the emergence and evolution of IT consulting and outsourcing, and then identifies the various players in this market. The next section studies the size and structure of IT consulting. This article also examines the different business models of IT consulting and outsourcing firms and compares these models with those of general management consulting firms.
The concept of complementarity denotes the beneficial interplay of the elements of a system where the presence of one element increases the value of others. However, the conceptual work on complementarities to date has not progressed sufficiently to constitute a theory that would offer specific predictions regarding the nature of the elements that form complementary relationships or the conditions for their emergence. To advance our understanding of complementarities, the authors provide a synoptic review of the empirical studies on this concept in leading journals in management, economics, and related disciplines over the period 1988-2008. The authors find that whether a study provides evidence of complementarities in organizations is at least partially driven by its investigative approach. On the basis of the findings, the authors argue that complementarities are most likely to materialize among multiple, heterogeneous factors in complex systems. Therefore, the absence of complementary relationships between a limited set of individual factors may not negate the possibility of complementarities, but rather point to the need for including further systems-specific factors in the analysis. The authors conclude by providing directions for future theoretical and empirical research and outlining managerial implications of the work.
Richter A, Schommer M (2018) Veränderung der Organisationsstruktur (Redimensionierung), In: Knecht T, Hommel U, Wohlenberg H (eds.), Handbuch Unternehmensrestrukturierung: Grundlagen ? Konzepte ? Maßnahmen Gabler Verlag
Richter A, Chakraborty I (2015) Promoter Ownership in Publicly Listed Firms in India: Does Group Affiliation Matter?, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata Occasional Papers OP 45 Institute of Development Studies Kolkata
Many of the largest Indian firms are characterized by promoter
ownership, a hybrid form of ownership and governance in which the
companies? founders or their heirs hold controlling stakes, while
inviting external minority shareholders to contribute capital, and
outside managers to participate in the day-to-day administration of
the companies concerned. We analyze a sample of 360 publicly
quoted firms with promoter ownership in India during the 2006-2013
period. We find that in group-affiliated firms, the level of promoter
ownership is positively associated with capital market performance,
whereas in stand-alone firms there is a U-shaped relationship
between promoter ownership and capital market performance. There
are only minor performance differences between group-affiliated and
stand-alone firms, once other performance determinants are
controlled for. Our findings cast doubt on the idea that group affiliation
in promoter-owned firms allows promoters to extract value for
themselves at the expense of outside shareholders.
Richter A, Schommer M (2018) Veränderung der Organisationsstruktur von Unternehmen: Redimensionierung, In: Hommel U, Knecht T, Wohlenberg H (eds.), Handbuch Unternehmensrestrukturierung 1 pp. 827-843 Springler Gabler
Mavis Christos, Richter Ansgar, Landau Christian, Schmidt Sascha L., Simons Tony, Steinbock Kai (2018) What happens when companies (don?t) do what they said they would? Stock market reactions to strategic integrity, European Management Review Wiley
Literature on the ?power of words? has emphasized the importance of a firm?s corporate
communication as a source of legitimacy and reputation in the eyes of its stakeholders. We argue
that it is not just the content or style of a firm?s communication about its strategy, but also the
alignment between this communication and its subsequent strategic actions that help building
legitimacy amongst stakeholders and creating firm performance. We introduce the organizationlevel
construct of ?strategic integrity? to capture the notion of alignment between a firm?s strategy
communication and its subsequent strategic actions. We investigate the importance of strategic
integrity using the case of the German pharmaceuticals firm Bayer AG in the context of its portfolio
restructuring. The results of an event study of 98 acquisitions/divestments indicate that stock
markets react positively to strategic integrity.
Schommer M, Richter Ansgar, Karna A (2018) Does the Diversification ? Firm Performance Relationship Change Over Time? A Meta-Analytical Review, Journal of Management Studies Wiley
We study the relationship between diversification and firm performance in the context of the decline in levels of diversification over time. We argue that the pressure to reduce diversification may have more strongly affected those firms whose diversification strategies were most detrimental to firm performance. We employ meta-analytical regression (MARA) in order to test our hypotheses, using a total of 267 primary studies containing 387 effect sizes based on 150,000 firm-level observations from over 60 years of research on the diversification?firm performance relationship. The findings suggest that levels of unrelated diversification have decreased, whereas levels of related diversification have increased since the mid-1990s, following an initial decrease in the 1970s and 1980s. Furthermore, we find that the relationship between unrelated diversification and firm performance has improved significantly over time, whereas the relationship between related diversification and performance has remained relatively stable.
Heirati Nima, Henneberg Stephan C., Richter Ansgar, Harste Roland (2019) Differential Importance of Social and Economic Determinants of Relationship Performance in Professional Services, Industrial Marketing Management 76 pp. 23-35 Elsevier
Managing business relationships successfully is critical for many professional service
firms (PSFs) in order to be able to address complex client needs. Furthermore, the projectbased
nature of PSFs? work puts pressure on them to retain clients across project periods.
Drawing on both net effect and configurational perspectives, this study provides a holistic
understanding of the relative importance, and of the interplay of social and economic
determinants of business relationship performance in the context of dynamic relationships
between PSFs and their clients. Using data from 297 business clients, the results reveal that,
overall, social determinants are more important than economic determinants as drivers of the
client?s willingness to cooperate with a PSF in future. The importance of social determinants
increases further in later relationship lifetime phases. The configurational analysis also reveals
several equifinal constellations of social and economic determinants across the lifetime phases
to drive a client?s willingness to cooperate in future. Therefore, no single determinant by itself
is sufficient for ensuring relationship performance. We advance the literature by showing that
distinct constellations of social and economic determinants are required to achieve the desired
outcome, and that these constellations change across business relationship lifetime phases.
Pidun Ulrich, Richter Ansgar, Schommer Monika, Karna Amit (2018) A Playbook for Today?s Diversified Companies. Here?s How Strong Performers Are Defying Expectations about the Demise of Multi-Business Firms, MIT Sloan Management Review 60 (2) 60208 Sloan Management Review Association