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Lionel Paolella

Lionel Paolella

University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation

Ecole Normale Supérieure, LLM (Rennes I), MSc (Paris X Université), MA (EHESS), PhD (HEC Paris)

Research interests

Strategy and economic sociology; organisation theory; categorisation; valuation; status; legal studies.

Subject group: Strategy & International Business

Professional experience

Lionel Paolella is a University Lecturer at Cambridge Judge Business School, and an Affiliated Faculty at Harvard Law School (Center on Legal Profession). He graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS) in France, after which he took a MA in Sociology at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), a MS in Management and Organization Science (University Paris X), and a PhD in Strategy (HEC Paris). Before joining the University of Cambridge, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago (Booth Graduate School of Business) in 2011, and a Chazen visiting scholar at Columbia University (Graduate School of Business) between September 2012 and December 2013.

Lionel's main line of research explores how market categories – a set of firms that share cognitive and cultural similarities - affect the social evaluation and performance of organisations, specifically in the international legal services market.

Lionel currently teaches the core Strategy course in the MBA curriculum, and he is also involved in Executive Education programmes on Professional Service Firms. He received the Cambridge Judge Teaching Award in 2017.

Awards & honours

  • Cambridge Judge Business School Teaching Award, 2017
  • Emerald Citations of Excellence Award (for "Category stretching: reorienting research on categories in strategy, entrepreneurship, and organization theory" by R. Durand and L. Paolella), 2016
  • Winner, Best PhD Paper Prize (with Maima A. Syakhroza), Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, 2016
  • Nominee, Best Paper Prize, Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, 2016
  • Cambridge Art and Humanities Research Grant Scheme, 2016
  • Winner, Roland Calori Award, Best Young Scholar in Strategy, AIMS (French Association of Strategic Management), 2015
  • Finalist, Wiley Blackwell Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research in Business Policy & Strategy, 2015
  • Center for Research on Society & Organizations Visiting Scholarship, 2012
  • HEC Paris Foundation Visiting Scholarship, 2011
  • HEC Paris Doctoral Fellowship, 2008-2013
  • ENS Cachan Fellowship, 2003-2007

Selected publications

Paolella, L. and Sharkey, A.J. (2017) "Forging consensus: an integrated view of how categories shape the perception of organizational identity." Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 51: 327-353 (DOI: 10.1108/S0733-558X20170000051009) (also available online via the SSRN)

Paolella, L. and Durand, R. (2016) "Category spanning, evaluation, and performance: revised theory and test on the corporate law market." Academy of Management Journal, 59(1): 330-351 (DOI: 10.5465/amj.2013.0651)

Durand, R. and Paolella, L. (2013) "Category stretching: reorienting research on categories in strategy, entrepreneurship, and organization theory." Journal of Management Studies, 50(6): 1100-1123 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2011.01039.x)

Responding to code violations

Paper on codes of conduct by Cambridge Judge PhD student, Maima Aulia Syakhroza wins Best PhD Paper at the Strategic Management Society …

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Faculty news update

A regular update on articles, awards and other developments involving Cambridge Judge Business School faculty and fellows. Article co-authored by Dr Khaled …

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Law firms, listen up. This is why it pays to be a jack of all trades.

Research from CJBS Lecturer Lionel Paolella suggests that law firm customers want a one-stop shop. “Jack of all trades, master of none” …

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Diversify and conquer

Legal clients value law firms that straddle different areas of the law, finds study co-authored by Dr Lionel Paolella of Cambridge Judge …

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Reputation spillover

Each law firm practice area affects reputation of other areas, shows Cambridge Judge research. The reputation of one practice area in a …

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Cambridge Business Magazine: Legal clients value law firms that straddle different areas of the law

Dr Lionel Paolella, University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation, writes about “category spanning” – the provision of a range of distinct services …

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YouTube: Lionel Paolella, Category inferences & reputation spillovers in international legal services market

Dr Lionel Paolella, University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation at Cambridge Judge Business School, delivers a paper on “Category inferences and reputation …

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Contact details

Lionel Paolella
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG

Tel: +44 (0)1223 768388