Research Summary


by Nancy F. Koehn


My research focuses on effective leadership and how leaders craft lives of purpose, worth and impact. Using the lens of history, my work examines how individual leaders from business, government and other walks of life accomplish important missions; navigate failure, calamity and great turbulence; use their emotional intelligence to help them do all this; and inspire others to be better than they would otherwise have been. I am particularly interested in how leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Shackleton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer,Howard Schultz and Rachel Carson consciously learn, grow and change as they lead. All of my research and teaching, including my HBS course on the history of leadership, is concerned with these issues.

Keywords: Effective Leadership in Turbulent Times; venture capital; private equity; Emotional Experience of Leaders; History of Leadership; Leadership; Entrepreneurship; History; Service Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Health Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Fashion Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Advertising Industry; United States; Europe;