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Manfred Kets de Vries

Manfred Kets de Vries

Best known for:

Manfred Kets de Vries is best known for being an author, leadership and the psychodynamics of individual and organizational change.


Manfred Kets de Vries bears knowledge and experience of economics, management and psychoanalysis in which he explores the interface between management theory, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, executive coaching and evolutionary psychology.


Manfred Kets de Vries brings a different view to the much-studied subjects of leadership and the psychodynamics of individual and organizational change. His specific areas of interest are leadership, career dynamics, talent management, entrepreneurship, family business among others.

The distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, Kets de Vries has been the Founding-Director of INSEAD’s Global program, “The Challenge of Leadership: Creating Reflective Leaders”. He has also held professorships at McGill University, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Montreal, The European School for Management and Technology (ESMT), Berlin, and the Harvard Business School, and he has lectured at management institutions around the world.

The Financial Times, Le Capital, Wirtschaftswoche, and The Economist have all rated Manfred among the world’s leading management thinkers and among the most influential contributors to human resource management.

Manfred Kets de Vries is the author, co-author and editor of 50 books, some including The Happiness Equation, Are Leaders Made or Are They Born? The Case of Alexander The Great, and, The Family Business on the Couch.

Manfred Kets de Vries has also published more than 400 academic papers as chapters in books and as articles. He has also written approximately 100 case studies, including seven that received the Best Case of the Year award. He is a regular writer for a number of magazines. Manfred’s work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Business Week, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Harvard Business Review. His books and articles have been translated into thirty-one different languages.

Manfred writes regular blogs for INSEAD Knowledge, the editorial boards and has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management. He is a founding member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations, which has honored him as a lifetime member. He is also the first non-US recipient of International Leadership Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to leadership research and development, being considered one of the world’s founding professionals in the development of leadership as a field of discipline. In addition, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Germany for his advancement of executive education.

The American Psychological Association has honored him with the Harry and Miriam Levinson Award for his contributions to organizational consultation. Furthermore, he is the recipient of the Freud Memorial Award for his work to further the interface between management and psychoanalysis. He has received the Vision of Excellence Award from the Harvard Institute of Coaching. Manfred Kets de Vries is also the first beneficiary of the INSEAD Dominique Heau Award for Inspiring Educational Excellence. In addition, he is the recipient of two honorary doctorates.

Manfred Kets de Vries works as a consultant on organizational design / transformation and strategic human resource management for leading US, Canadian, European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian companies. As a global consultant in executive leadership development his clients have included ABB, ABN-AMRO, Aegon, Air Liquide, Alcan, Alcatel, Accenture, ATIC, Bain Consulting, Bang & Olufsen, Bonnier, BP, Cairn, Deutsche Bank, Ericsson, GE Capital, Goldman Sachs, Heineken, Hudson, HypoVereinsbank, Investec, KPMG, Lego among many others.

As an educator and consultant, he has worked in more than fifty countries.  In his role as a consultant, he is also the chairman of the Kets de Vries Institute, a boutique strategic leadership development-consulting firm. The Dutch government made Manfred Kets de Vries an Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau.

He was the first fly fisherman in Outer Mongolia (World champion hucho taimen) and is a member of New York’s Explorers Club. In his spare time he can be found in the rainforests or savannas of Central and Southern Africa, the Siberian taiga, the Ussuri Krai, Kamchatka, the Pamir and Altai Mountains, Arnhemland, or within the Arctic Circle.

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