DE

Chair for Organizational Behavior
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Expertise

  • Positive failure culture
  • Corporate reactions to failure
  • Trust restoration after failure

Miriam Müthel (BSc in Business Informatics, MSc in Business Administration, PhD in Management) holds the Chair for Organizational Behavior at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Furthermore, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at the Harvard University in 2016/2017. From 2014 - 2016, she has also been a Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at the Harvard University.

Professor Muethel’s research interests lie at the intersection of business ethics, leadership and international management. She has written about corporate failure and trust restoration, revealing the different tactics that firms apply in reaction to corporate failure.

In her current work, Miriam Muethel (together with Amy Edmondson from the Harvard Business School) argues that leaders - in an effort to restore external parties’ trust after corporate wrongdoing - may engage in actions that unintentionally create a blame culture. This, in turn, destroys employees’ psychological safety and employees become terrified to make mistakes. In consequence, they fear making decisions and show anxiety even about the routine decisions that comprise their day-to-day work. Fear of failure thus leads many important decisions to either not be made at all or to be made too slowly – giving rise to lost business opportunities and thus threatening competitiveness.

Professor Muethel has teaching experience in business ethics, leadership, and organizational behavior on the BSc, MSc, and MBA-level. She also conducts management trainings in the field of global business ethics at leading German multinational companies. As such, she has been invited as a speaker to the Volkswagen Management Association Conference in 2016 and 2017 to speak about individual and corporate failure treatment. In October 2017, she participated in a panel discussion with Volkswagen Chief Compliance and Integrity Board Member Hiltrud Werner, Volkswagen Group Chief Compliance Officer Kurt Michels and Head of Volkswagen Group Academy Ralph Linde to discuss the current state of Volkswagen’s culture change in the aftermath of the scandal. Also in 2017, Miriam Muethel was invited by the Federal Minister of Defense, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen to give a keynote speech on leadership effectiveness during the German Military Force’s Workshop “Innere Führung – Heute”, the kick-off event of the German Military’s current culture change program that has been set up in the aftermath of a recent scandal.

Before joining WHU, Dr. Muethel worked for over two years as a business consultant at Volkswagen in the area of international project management.

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