Dr Mariano Heyden

Dr Mariano Heyden


Newcastle Business School (International Business)

Cents, sense and innovation in the corporate hierarchy

An out-of-the-box thinker with a razor-sharp mind, Dr Mariano Heyden is working to cement a systematic, nuanced understanding of strategic decision making.

Mariano Heyden

Dr Mariano Heyden's research is intricately interdisciplinary but unusually effective. It dwells in the muddied fringes between psychology, sociology and organisation theory, offering up answers – and often more questions – to a "continuity versus change" balancing act which businesses, especially established ones, must address.

"I'm a strategist by training, but more of an organisation theorist by passion," he elaborates.

"I'm focused on discovering how organisations adapt to changes in their environment over time."

"It's crucial that they leverage what made them successful, whilst also reinventing themselves to avoid becoming prisoners of past choices."

Reputed as a savvy methodologist, Mariano's research questions rest at the intersection between strategic leadership, corporate governance and innovation. Intrigued by individuals and groups of individuals, particularly CEOs, other executives, directors and middle managers, he's seeking to suss out micro sources of innovation up and down the corporate ranks.

"Innovation happens when people are dissatisfied with the status quo and have an insatiable thirst for something better," the Curaçao native affirms.

"Complacency means things stay the same."

"Yet firms often struggle to break loose from 'the way we've always done things around here'."

The edge of knowledge

Mariano started looking into this aspect of management in 2008, when he undertook a PhD at the prestigious Erasmus University in The Netherlands. Specifically exploring the various directions in which it can take businesses, the longitudinal, mixed-methods probe sought to understand why similar organisations respond differently to comparable internal and external stimuli.

"I concentrated on how different aspects of diversity in corporate leadership ranks, including experiential, gender and cultural, influenced the adaptive choices made by these organisations," he explains.

"We can understand, describe, and to some extent, predict, how individuals and groups make choices based on cognitive and behavioural mechanisms associated with diversity."

"However, this becomes more complex when we factor in the social mechanisms at play."

"The interface between multiple strategic leaders is much more difficult to analyse."

"My latest research highlights how this area particularly matters for understanding why some organisations are consistently more innovative than others."

Comprising several essays, two of which are published in A* journals, Mariano's examination showed there is much more to innovation than most might otherwise have thought.

"It's about the creation of new knowledge that you can commercialise – often codified in successful patents, new products and novel services," he asserts.

"A lot of new knowledge is created through failures and these invaluable insights are often retained, uncodified, in complex social relationships between individuals."

In the business of ideas

Mariano moved to Australia after receiving his doctorate in 2012, signing on to become a lecturer at the University of Newcastle. He has since pioneered several successful research projects within the Newcastle Business School, publishing in some of the most prestigious journals in the field.

His most recent A* publication, where he led a team of lauded senior international co-authors, examined the pros and cons of management innovation.

"This isn't only about technology," he clarifies.

"Innovation doesn't just refer to the latest iPad."

"We're currently finding that innovative managerial practices, processes, and structures, offer more lasting advantages and even make it easier to adopt new technologies."

Elegantly defining management as "goal-directed coordination" and the "compounding of human effort," Mariano is similarly aiming to identify innovative ways of managing organisations.

"The traditional one-year budgeting cycle, for instance, is completely arbitrary and in direct conflict with the needs of most firms," he contends.

"Why not have one that is event-driven, like Statoil in Norway?"

"Why not align the long term interests of employees by switching to a four day work week?"

"Letting employees 'repay' the one day after their retirement, if they want, by coming back once a week to the office, like 'Semco' in Brazil?"

Encouraging companies to "get creative" and "be progressive" in how they think about management, Mariano warns there is no advantage to be gained if everyone keeps doing the same thing.

"Many companies still rely on managerial processes, practices, and systems that were devised to cope with the specific challenges of an industrial epoch," he elaborates.

"But the business landscape has changed radically since – and will continue to change rapidly."

"So must our approach to management."

"Of course, it is not simply an exercise in verbatim adoption of best practices."

"Management innovation must be aligned sensibly with the strategy of the organisation."

The leadership puzzle

Faithful to his academic heritage, Mariano is also surveying the importance of strategic leadership. Currently in the process of determining the managerial characteristics that are associated with a willingness to embrace alternative types of innovation, Mariano is dually working to provide a compositional view of governance.

"Biases are frequently introduced as a result of team configurations," he says.

"For instance, in teams dominated by individuals with a finance focus, decisions will tend to overemphasise short-term dividends and other tangible outcomes that are consistent with this worldview."

"Our research shows that such teams could benefit from engineers, marketers, and researchers and developers to counterbalance this insular and myopic way of thinking."

"While there are trade-offs and potential downsides to such diversity, like disruptive conflict and slower decision-making, the evidence shows that teams with assorted interests and backgrounds innovate more."

Another feather to his already impressive cap, Mariano is evaluating the effectiveness of gender diversity too. One of his most ambitious projects is a global examination of the effectiveness of different strategies used for stimulating gender diversity on corporate boards.

"It's a hot topic - and rightfully so" the early career researcher notes.

"Both regulators and companies are eager to understand the trade-offs between different approaches, as well as their implications for innovation."

"We've come up with some controversial insights and ideas that are currently undergoing rigorous peer review."

"We hope to release them in the not-too-distant future."

The Red Queen's race

A big believer in sustainability, Mariano declares that global businesses must develop the capacity to innovate "time and time again." The multilinguist quotes Lewis Carroll's famed 'Through the Looking Glass' in his argument, maintaining that firms "must run as fast as they can, just to stay in place."

"Anyone can innovate once – the challenge is to do so again," he states.

"Innovating repeatedly is great for customers, but also creates tons of new management problems – which is great for coming up with new research topics."

Expanding his own worldview is additionally on Mariano's research agenda.

"I'm collaborating with a promising PhD student from Bangladesh on a project that looks at the broader social roles and responsibilities of organisations in developing economies," he shares.

"It is an exciting challenge, the contextual dynamics are very complex. I am learning a lot."

"Our book chapter based on this topic won best manuscript from the Faculty of Business and Law at the recent Newcastle University Postgraduate Students' Association (NUPSA) Awards."

A workhorse and a wordsmith, Mariano is also taking on larger international leadership roles in research, set to join the editorial board of the European Management Journal in late 2015.

"It is unusual to be appointed as associate editor for an international journal at this early stage," he divulges.

"You basically become a gatekeeper of knowledge - it is quite a responsibility."

"I am eager to take on the challenge though."

"I'm running as fast as I can."

More about Mariano's career

Related links

Mariano Heyden

Cents, sense and innovation in the corporate hierarchy

An out-of-the-box thinker with a razor-sharp mind, Dr Mariano Heyden is working to cement a systematic, nuanced understanding of strategic decision making.

Read more

Career Summary


  • PhD (Management), Erasmus University - Rotterdam


  • Corporate governance
  • Decision making
  • Innovation
  • Managerial cognition
  • Organizational demography and diversity
  • Organizational learning
  • Strategic Leaders(hip)
  • Strategic Management
  • Strategic renewal

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
150310 Organisation and Management Theory 25
150312 Organisational Planning and Management 25
150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified 50

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
Newcastle Business School


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Book (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Heyden MLM, Essays on Upper Echelons & Strategic Renewal: A Multilevel Contingency Approach, Erasmus Research Institute of Management ¿ ERIM, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2012)

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Mamun AA, Heyden MLM, Seamer M, 'Corporate Social Action in Developing Economies', Corporate Responsibility: Social Action, Institutions and Governance 38-72 (2016)
DOI 10.1057/9781137450722_3
Co-authors Michael Seamer

Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Heyden MLM, Kavadis N, Neuman Q, 'External Corporate Governance and Strategic Investment Behaviors of Target CEOs', Journal of Management, 1-25 (2016)
DOI 10.1177/0149206314563400
2016 Reimer M, Van Doorn S, Heyden MLM, '¿Where the rubber hits the road¿: a panel discussion on management control systems at the middle management level', Journal of Management Control, 27 281-287 (2016) [O1]
DOI 10.1007/s00187-016-0232-7
2016 Van Doorn S, Heyden MLM, Volberda HW, 'Enhancing Entrepreneurial Orientation in Dynamic Environments: The Interplay between Top Management Team Advice-Seeking and Absorptive Capacity', Long Range Planning, (2016)
DOI 10.1016/j.lrp.2016.06.003
2016 Reimer M, Van Doorn S, Heyden MLM, 'Managers and management control systems in the strategy process', Journal of Management Control, 27 121-127 (2016)
DOI 10.1007/s00187-016-0231-8
2015 Van Doorn S, Heyden MLM, Troester C, Volberda HW, 'Entrepreneurial orientation and performance: Investigating local requirements for entrepreneurial decision-making', Advances in Strategic Management, 32 211-239 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1108/S0742-332220150000032007
2015 Heyden MLM, Oehmichen J, Nichting S, Volberda HW, 'Board Background Heterogeneity and Exploration-Exploitation: The Role of the Institutionally-Adopted Board Model', Global Strategy Journal, 5 154-176 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/gsj.1095
Citations Scopus - 2
2015 Heyden MLM, Reimer M, Van Doorn S, 'Innovating Beyond the Horizon: CEO Career Horizon, Top Management Composition, and R&D Intensity', Human Resource Management, (2015)

© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Decreasing research and development (R&D) can impair the ability of firms to remain innovative in the long run. CEOs have been accused of curtailing... [more]

© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Decreasing research and development (R&D) can impair the ability of firms to remain innovative in the long run. CEOs have been accused of curtailing R&D investments as they approach expected retirement, yet received findings on R&D investment behaviors of late-career CEOs are mixed. We argue that one reason for these inconsistent findings could be that traditional approaches overlook the fact that CEOs are not isolated agents in making R&D decisions. We build on the premise that CEOs interact with their top management team (TMT) when shaping R&D strategy and advance a contextualized view of CEO dispositions in their late career stages as being constrained or enabled by their TMT. We hypothesize that some TMT attributes (e.g., tenure and age) may amplify, whereas others (e.g., functional experience and education) may mitigate inclinations to reduce R&D. Our findings, based on a longitudinal sample of 100 US manufacturing firms from 1998 to 2008, provide nuanced insights into how different TMT characteristics influence CEO-TMT dynamics, with TMT age and TMT tenure playing particularly pronounced roles. We discuss implications of our CEO-TMT interface approach for theory and practice.

DOI 10.1002/hrm.21730
2015 Heyden MLM, Sidhu JS, Volberda HW, 'The Conjoint Influence of Top and Middle Management Characteristics on Management Innovation.', Journal of Management, (2015)
DOI 10.1177/0149206315614373
2013 Heyden MLM, Sidhu JS, Van Den Bosch FAJ, Volberda HW, 'Top management team search and new knowledge creation: How top management team experience diversity and shared vision influence innovation', International Studies of Management and Organization, 42 27-51 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.2753/IMO0020-8825420402
2013 Heyden MLM, van Doorn S, Reimer M, Van Den Bosch FAJ, Volberda HW, 'Perceived Environmental Dynamism, Relative Competitive Performance, and Top Management Team Heterogeneity: Examining Correlates of Upper Echelons' Advice-Seeking', Organization Studies, 34 1327-1356 (2013) [C1]

Advice-seeking is one of the most basic practices in making real-life decisions and has been shown to be a predominant mode of knowledge acquisition at the upper echelons level. C... [more]

Advice-seeking is one of the most basic practices in making real-life decisions and has been shown to be a predominant mode of knowledge acquisition at the upper echelons level. Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in particular seek advice to obtain formulated judgments, opinions, and suggestions about current strategic directions and recommended alternatives for future courses of action. In this study we distinguish between intra-organizational and extra-organizational sources of advice and examine how factors at the environmental, firm, and top management team (TMT) level relate to patterns of CEO advice-seeking. We develop and test hypotheses linking perceived environmental dynamism, relative competitive firm performance, and TMT heterogeneity to CEO advice-seeking from internal and external sources and uncover asymmetric patterns. We discuss implications for upper echelons theory and strategic decision-making research. © The Author(s) 2013.

DOI 10.1177/0170840612470229
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 2
Show 7 more journal articles

Conference (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Zinko R, Hunt J, Tuchtan C, Heyden M, Furner C, 'Capitalizing on Personal Reputation: Leveraging Celebrity Reputation to Engage Local Talent' (2016)
Co-authors James Hunt, Robert Zinko
2015 Mamun A, Heyden, Seamer, 'Conceptualizing CSR as innovation adoption by emerging Asian economies: How the rate of diffusion and corporate governance influence performance potential' (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Michael Seamer
2015 Mamun A, Seamer D, Heyden D, 'Institutional drivers of CSR adoption in emerging economies: Examining interactions between macro and mezzo effects' (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Michael Seamer
2014 Heyden MLM, Sidhu JS, Fourne S, 'Top And Middle Management Influences On Management Innovation: The Role Of Demographic Similarity', Best Paper Proceedings (Organization & Management Theory Division) (2014)
DOI 10.5465/AMBPP.2014.15027abstract
2013 Heyden MLM, Koene BAS, Fourne S, 'Examining Role Involvement of Top and Middle Management in Organizational Change', Best Paper Proceedings (Organization & Management Theory Division) (2013)
DOI 10.5465/AMBPP.2013.16601abstract
2012 Heyden MLM, Oehmichen J, Nichting S, 'Board Capital, Board Structure, and Organizational Learning: A Cross-National Analysis', Best Paper Proceedings (International Management Division) (2012)
DOI 10.5465/AMBPP.2012.321
Show 3 more conferences

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 2
Total funding $7,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20161 grants / $2,000

Research and Innovation Excellence Award$2,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Mariano Heyden
Scheme Award for Research and Innovation Excellence
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1501438
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20131 grants / $5,000

Reconceptualizing Decision-making Involvement in Upper Echelons Research$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Mariano Heyden
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1300928
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 PhD How Does the Top Management Team Fragmentation Influence Strategic Innovation?
PhD (Management), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle
2015 PhD Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Implication for Developing Economy Firms
PhD (Accounting & Finance), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle

Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
Australia 7
Germany 6
United Kingdom 5
Netherlands 4

Dr Mariano Heyden


Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law

Focus area

International Business

Contact Details

Email mariano.heyden@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6725
Fax (02) 4921 6911


Room UNH3.20b
Building University House (City Precinct)
Location Crn. Auckland St & King St Newcastle, 2300, NSW