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James Fredrickson - The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. Austin, TX, US

James Fredrickson James Fredrickson

Professor, management department | The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


Strategic decision processes, strategy implementation, and executive leadership.


Areas of Expertise (9)

Executive Compensation Leadership Development High Performance At Work Top Management Teams Management Strategy Executive Leadership Strategy Implementation Strategic Decision Processes Strategy Formulation


James W. Fredrickson is a management professor and holds the Tom E. Nelson, Jr. Regents Professorship. He is an expert in the areas of strategy formulation, top management teams, CEO compensation, and strategy implementation. His research discoveries shed light on the challenges faced by decision makers in corporations, nonprofits, and governmental entities, helping separate management facts from popular business mythology.

He has received multiple teaching awards and was listed in Bloomberg Businessweek as among the best graduate business school teachers in the nation. In his popular Art of Leadership course, Fredrickson uses the film "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," which he produced based upon Martin Luther King, Jr.'s writings, as a tool for exploring the role language plays in leadership.

Fredrickson has extensive consulting and executive education experience, the majority of which has been on the topics of strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and executive leadership. Clients have included Accor Brasil, Advanced Micro Devices, Allstate Insurance, Applied Materials, BBVA (Spain), BMC Software, Banco do Brasil, Chase Manhattan Bank, Club Resorts, Deloitte & Touche, FedEx Kinko’s, GKN (England), Global Marine, GlobalSanteFe, GTE, Gulf States Toyota, HSBC, Halliburton, High End Systems, IBM, La Quinta, Local Insight Media, NationsBank, Rio Tinto (Australia), USX, Tandem Computers, Federal Reserve Bank, Tandy, Vitro, S.A. (Mexico), YPF (Argentina), and M.D. Anderson Cancer Medical Center.





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Language of Leadership: MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail


Education (3)

University of Washington: Ph.D., Strategic Management 1980

Wake Forest University: M.B.A. (With Distinction), General Management 1973

Wake Forest University: B.B.A., Business Administration 1969

Media Appearances (6)

This Summer, Take a Vacation From Business Buzzwords

McCombs Today  online


Sometimes perfectly good words transform into jargon or business clichés through repeated abuse.

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Martin Luther King's Legacy of Leadership

Texas Enterprise  online


McCombs Management Professor James Fredrickson uses King’s writings, particularly his 1963 essay “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” in his MBA Art of Leadership class.

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Should Your Next CEO Be an Ex-CMO?

Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business  online


Fredrickson says that a CEO’s work history is more or less important depending on industry and circumstances. One key element is the level of uncertainty.

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Greed at the Top: CEO Pay and the Great Recession

Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business  online


“For most executives, other than the people who founded the companies, you cannot justify the scale of their pay based on their contributions to the company.”

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Frederickson Produces Film of MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" for MBA Leadership Class

McCombs Today Online  online


Fredrickson has been using King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in his Art of Leadership class for many years. "It is very powerful and illustrates a lot of important leadership issues."

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Fredrickson Discusses What Makes a Great Teacher

McCombs Today  online


So what makes someone a great teacher? We asked Professor of Management James Fredrickson to weigh in.

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Articles (5)

James W. Fredrickson Citations Google Scholar

Listing of top scholarly works by James W. Fredrickson.

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The influence of a firm's approach to innovation on its ability to attract analyst coverage Academy of Management


This paper explores a tension that firms may face when attempting to develop competitive advantage based on knowledge-based resources.

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Sharing the wealth: social comparisons and pay dispersion in the CEO's top team Strategic Management Journal


The antecedents and consequences of pay dispersion are studied using theory that focuses on the social comparisons that occur among members of the CEO's top team.

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The effect of strategic decision process and information source on strategy content Academy of Management


This study addresses the link between strategic decision-making processes and actions that result from those processes.

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Are you sure you have a strategy? Academy of Management Executive


After more than 30 years of hard thinking about strategy, consultants and scholars have provided an abundance of frameworks for analyzing strategic situations. Missing, however, has been any guidance as to what the product of these tools should be— or what actually constitutes a strategy.

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