Senior Director, Executive Education
David Ager is Senior Fellow within Executive Education at Harvard Business School.
Professor Ager's research focuses on the leadership and organizational challenges that firms face as they conduct post-acquisition integration. He recently published a paper entitled "The Emotional Impact and Behavioral Consequences of Post-M&A Integration," which considers the complexities of post-merger integration and demonstrates how social identity, emotions, and coping strategies both motivate and constrain human behavior, leading to perverse unintended consequences that directly impact individual and organization-level goals of integration. He recently has begun a second stream of work that focuses on the leadership and organizational challenges of recruiting and retaining high potential talent from the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) and Internet Generation (Generation Z).
Professor Ager has co-authored over thirty case studies that focus on a diversity of management dilemmas in the areas of leadership, organizational change, strategy, M&A, and international business.
Professor Ager has designed and directed executive programs for several large multinational firms addressing leadership development, strategic planning, talent management, change management, M&A, team building and succession planning. He has worked with firms around the world that operate in diverse sectors that include finance, energy, high technology, hospitality, consumer products, bio-technology, retail, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications. In addition, he has advised large, family controlled businesses around the world.
From 2004 to 2012 Professor Ager served as a faculty member and the director of undergraduate studies in the Sociology Department at Harvard University. One of the first faculty to introduce the case method of learning to Harvard College, Ager offered courses on leadership, organizational sociology, and field research methods. In 2008 he introduced the first undergraduate course on Social Entrepreneurship at Harvard College with an emphasis on using entrepreneurial approaches to create for-profit, not-for-profit, and hybrid ventures to address social problems and bring about social change.
In 2004 Professor Ager earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, a joint degree granted by Harvard Business School and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He also earned an Honors B.Sc. in Economics and Human Biology from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario and a Master's degree in Sociology from Harvard University. In 2010 Harvard University awarded Ager the Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize for excellence in teaching and dedication to undergraduate education. In 2011 he was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for excellence in teaching at Harvard University by the Alpha-Iota of Massachusetts Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Ager serves as an advisory board member to several organizations including The Resolution Project, Lead Us Today, and Styleta.
Describes the situation facing Paul Bentington, the president, CEO, and member of the owning family of BIND, PLC, a large and successful family-owned engineering consulting firm in London. Bentington's sister and brother, both of whom are owners of the firm, confront him regarding family participation both in the governance and management of the firm. Third- and fourth-generation members of the family represent a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, which Bentington's siblings believe would benefit the firm. Yet Bentington has misgivings about whether it is appropriate for his siblings, their spouses, and their children to serve in any leadership role at the family company.
Keywords: Family Business;
Business or Company Management;
Conflict and Resolution;
Ager, David, and John A. Davis. "Bentington Industries.
" Harvard Business School Case 806-115, September 2007. (Revised from original January 2006 version.)
Cat is out of the Bag, The: KANA and the Layoff Gone Awry (A)
Vicki Amon-Higa, vice president of KANA, a publicly traded, midsize development company, was working with Bryan Kettle, KANA's CFO, to plan a layoff in which KANA would reduce the size of its workforce by nearly 40%. Despite the best of intentions, news of the layoff leaked before the planned announcement. The situation quickly deteriorated as a series of irate managers called Amon-Higa, demanding to know why they weren't aware of the layoff and asking her how to handle the situation. She must quickly assess the situation, figure out what went wrong, and decide how to manage each of the company's stakeholders, including Chuck Bay, KANA's CEO.
Keywords: Crisis Management;
Job Cuts and Outsourcing;
Problems and Challenges;
Business and Stakeholder Relations;
Ottawa Voyageurs, The
Manuel Tertuliano, head coach of a professional soccer club, must make some difficult decisions about the compensation of six of his players. Specifically, he must decide how to allocate $850,000 among these six players in a way that will benefit his team, which has just finished second to last in the league and faces being eliminated from the league if team performance and game attendance don't improve. Tertuliano realizes that compensation is a key tool in motivating his players. In deciding on these six players' compensation, Tertuliano must ensure that he not only recognizes them, but also the other players on the team for the value each individual contributes to the team.
Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions;
Compensation and Benefits;
Motivation and Incentives;
Groups and Teams;
Entertainment and Recreation Industry;
DeLong, Thomas J., Scott Baldwin, Chris Strong, Andrew Feng, Eliza Moody, and David Ager. "Ottawa Voyageurs, The.
" Harvard Business School Case 404-023, October 2003. (Revised from original July 2003 version.)
C&S Wholesale Grocers: Self-Managed Teams
Rick Cohen, president and CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers, is trying to decide whether and how to implement the self-managed teams concept in his warehouse. Eight months earlier, C&S had begun to act as principal wholesaler to A&P throughout New England, a decision that was consistent with the firm's growth strategy, but that also represented a significant increase in daily throughput. Cohen was concerned about whether the company's existing operations would be able to meet the needs of all its customers and maintain the high levels of customer satisfaction for which the company was known throughout New England. When implemented successfully, the self-managed teams concept had been credited with enhancing an organization's productivity and competitiveness. Cohen wondered how such a concept could be implemented in the context of a labor-intensive, unionized warehouse environment.
Keywords: Customer Satisfaction;
Growth and Development Strategy;
Organizational Change and Adaptation;
Groups and Teams;
Cat is out of the Bag, The: Kana and the Layoff Gone Awry (TN) (A), (B), and (C)
Teaching Note for (9-403-117), (9-403-118), and (9-403-119).
Cat is out of the Bag, The: KANA and the Layoff Gone Awry (B)
Supplements the (A) case.
Cat is out of the Bag, The: KANA and the Layoff Gone Awry (C)
Supplements the (A) case.
De La Salle Academy
Brother Brian Carty, headmaster and founder of De La Salle Academy, a private school for academically talented, economically disadvantaged children in grades six to eight in New York City, is scheduled to meet with the school's board of directors to discuss how the school and its education concept can be extended to more children. Over 750 children apply each year for the 50 spaces at De La Salle, and most have few other options if rejected but to enroll in the New York Public School system. The school relies on the financial support of the local community and charitable foundations to cover operating expenses, as most of the students are unable to pay the tuition of approximately $9,000 a year to attend. Not only do the school's graduates go on to elite preparatory and independent schools in the Northeast, but they also attend some of the most well-regarded colleges in the country, including Brown, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.
Keywords: Middle School Education;
Giving and Philanthropy;
Business and Community Relations;
Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact;
Growth and Development;
New York (city, NY);
DeLong, Thomas J., and David Ager. "De La Salle Academy.
" Harvard Business School Case 404-024, July 2003.