Ulf Schaefer

at SDA Bocconi School of Management


SDA Bocconi School of Management

His collaboration with SDA Bocconi began in April 2019 as Associate Professor of Practice in the knowledge group "Leadership, Organization & Human Resources". Ulf teaches sessions on leadership development, understanding and leading change, group decision-making, and responsible leadership / business ethics. In addition, Ulf is a visiting lecturer at ESMT Berlin and tasked to establish collaborative educational interventions of SDA and ESMT. Ulf’s research interest spans themes of leadership and followership, understanding and leading change, and understanding (un)ethical behavior in organizations via moral psychology. Currently, taking behavioral ethics and social identity perspectives, Ulf studies how people and groups (incl. organizations) can normalize individual and collective unethical behavior via moral disengagement, i.e. via cognitive reconstrual of morality, agency, and events. He investigates both the emergence of group moral disengagement – especially how the saliency of group contexts, group cohesiveness and prototypical group members (which often occupy leadership roles) foster group moral disengagement emergence – and effects of group moral disengagement on individual group members’ thought and actions. Between 1996 and 2005, Ulf was a strategy consultant at A.T. Kearney, a co-founder and consultant of The Launch Group, a manager at DaimlerChrysler, and director strategy and head of strategy consulting Germany for Sapient Corp. Ulf joined SDA Bocconi from ESMT Berlin where he worked since 2005 helping to build up the school (founded in 2003) to become one of the world’s leading executive education providers. Ulf directed and taught in numerous customized executive education programs for, e.g., Airbus, Allianz, Bertelsmann, Bosch Siemens, Celtel, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, E.ON, Gazprom, Metro, Julius Berger, Lufthansa, Postbank, RWE, Sanofi Aventis, and TÜV in Europe, Turkey, Russia, Nigeria, Brazil, UAE, Singapore, and China. Ulf is the program director of ESMT’s Understanding and Leading Change program, the founding program director of the Emerging Leaders Program, and taught in ESMT’s MBA, EMBA programs as well as the Executive Transition Program. Additionally, Ulf regularly teaches at HEC Paris (France and Qatar) and at IAE Buenos Aires (Argentina). Ulf is the co-author of “The seven styles of influencing” and a best-selling and award winning case author. Since 2014, he serves as tutor on case writing and case teaching with “The Case Centre”. Ulf earned an M.A. degree in Philosophy, Mathematics, Logic and Theory of Science from the University of Bonn (Germany) after studying in Bonn and at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Tennessee Knoxville (USA). He earned an MBA degree from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Universiteit (The Netherlands) after studying in Rotterdam and at Richard Ivey School of Business in London (Canada). His PhD studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands) focus on moral psychology in organizational contexts.



  • Rathje, S. and Schaefer, U. (2013). The seven styles of influencing: A workbook for managers. Berlin: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin;
  • Schaefer, U. (2013): Autorisierung und Deautorisierung: Warum Mitarbeiter geführt werden wollen und ihre Führungskräfte herausfordern. In: Führungskompetenzen lernen: Eignung, Entwicklung, Aufstieg, edited by Karin Häring, Sven Litzcke, 181–202. Stuttgart: Schäffer-Poeschel.


  • Korotov, K. and Schaefer, U. (2010). Discussing values in executive education: From "non-discussable" to learning management of meaning. Training and Management Development Methods 24 (4): 3.15–3.21;
  • Mueller, U. and Schaefer, U. (2016). The Dirty Dozen: How Unethical Behaviour Creeps Into Your Organisation. European Business Review. July-August 2016. p.37-41.


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