Rebecca M. Henderson

John and Natty McArthur University Professor

Unit: General Management, Strategy

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Rebecca Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School in the General Management and Strategy units and is the Co-Director of the Business and Environment Initiative. Professor Henderson is also a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her work explores how organizations respond to large-scale technological shifts, most recently in regard to energy and the environment. She teaches Innovation in Business, Energy, and Environment and Reimagining Capitalism in the MBA Program.

From 1998 to 2009, Professor Henderson was the Eastman Kodak Professor of Management at the Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she ran the strategy group and taught courses in strategy, technology strategy, and sustainability. She received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and a doctorate in business economics from Harvard. 

Professor Henderson sits on the boards of Amgen and of IDEXX Laboratories, and she has worked with both members of the Fortune 100 and small, technology-orientated start-ups. She was retained by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with the remedies phase of the Microsoft trial, and in 2001 she was named Teacher of the Year at the Sloan School. Her work has been published in a range of scholarly journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Research Policy, The RAND Journal of Economics, and Organization Science.

Her most recent publication is Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors, edited jointly with Richard Newell and published by the University of Chicago Press for National Bureau of Economic Research.

Featured Work

Publications

Books

  1. Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors

    Accelerating energy innovation could be an important part of an effective response to the threat of climate change. Written by a stellar group of experts in the field, this book complements existing research on the subject with an exploration of the role that public and private policy have played in enabling—and sustaining—swift innovation in a variety of industries, from agriculture and the life sciences to information technology. Chapters highlight the factors that have determined the impact of past policies, and suggest that effectively managed federal funding, strategies to increase customer demand, and the enabling of aggressive competition from new firms are important ingredients for policies that affect innovative activity.

    Keywords: Energy Sources; Innovation and Invention; Weather and Climate Change; Policy; Competition; Demand and Consumers; Finance; Energy Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Richard G. Newell, eds. Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors. National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report. University of Chicago Press, 2011. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. Management Practices, Relational Contracts and the Decline of General Motors

    General Motors was once regarded as one of the best managed and most successful firms in the world, but between 1980 and 2009 its share of the US market fell from 62.6 to 19.8 percent, and in 2009 the firm went bankrupt. In this paper we argue that the conventional explanation for this decline—namely high legacy labor and health care costs—is seriously incomplete, and that GM's share collapsed for many of the same reasons that many of the other highly successful American firms of the 50s, 60s and 70s were forced from the market, including a failure to understand the nature of the competition they faced and an inability to respond effectively once they did. We focus particularly on the problems GM encountered in developing the relational contracts essential to modern design and manufacturing. We discuss a number of possible causes for these difficulties: including GM's historical practice of treating both its suppliers and its blue collar workforce as homogeneous, interchangeable entities, and its view that expertise could be partitioned so that there was minimal overlap of knowledge amongst functions or levels in the organizational hierarchy and decisions could be made using well-defined financial criteria. We suggest that this dynamic may have important implications for our understanding of the role of management in the modern, knowledge-based firm, and for the potential revival of manufacturing in the United States.

    Citation:

    Helper, Susan, and Rebecca Henderson. "Management Practices, Relational Contracts and the Decline of General Motors." Journal of Economic Perspectives 28, no. 1 (Winter 2014): 49–72. View Details
  2. Relational Contracts and Organizational Capabilities

    A large literature identifies unique organizational capabilities as a potent source of competitive advantage, yet our knowledge of why capabilities fail to diffuse more rapidly—particularly in situations in which competitors apparently have strong incentives to adopt them and a well-developed understanding of how they work—remains incomplete. In this paper, we suggest that competitively significant capabilities often rest on managerial practices that in turn rely on relational contracts (i.e., informal agreements sustained by the shadow of the future). We argue that one of the reasons these practices may be difficult to copy is that effective relational contracts must solve the twin problems of credibility and clarity and that although credibility might, in principle, be instantly acquired, clarity may take time to develop and may interact with credibility in complex ways so that relational contracts may often be difficult to build.

    Keywords: Competitive Advantage; Organizations;

    Citation:

    Gibbons, Robert, and Rebecca Henderson. "Relational Contracts and Organizational Capabilities." Organization Science 23, no. 5 (September–October 2012): 1350–1364. View Details
  3. Platform Owner Entry and Innovation in Complementary Markets: Evidence from Intel

    Keywords: Ownership; Innovation and Invention; Markets; Technology; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    Gawer, Annabelle, and Rebecca M. Henderson. "Platform Owner Entry and Innovation in Complementary Markets: Evidence from Intel." Journal of Economics & Management Strategy 16, no. 1 (spring 2007). View Details
  4. Knowledge Spillovers, Geographic Location, and the Productivity of Pharmaceutical Research

    Keywords: Geographic Location; Knowledge; Health; Research;

    Citation:

    Furman, Jeffrey, Margaret K. Kyle, Iain Cockburn, and Rebecca M. Henderson. "Knowledge Spillovers, Geographic Location, and the Productivity of Pharmaceutical Research." Annales d'économie et de statistique, nos. 79-80 (2006). View Details
  5. Inertia and Incentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Competence

    Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Economics; Competency and Skills;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Sarah Kaplan. "Inertia and Incentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Competence." Organization Science 16, no. 5 (September–October 2005): 509–521. View Details
  6. Do Firms Change Capabilities by Hiring New People? A Study of the Adoption of Science-based Drug Discovery

    Keywords: Selection and Staffing; Change; Science; Health; Information;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Nicola Lacetera, and Iain Cockburn. "Do Firms Change Capabilities by Hiring New People? A Study of the Adoption of Science-based Drug Discovery." Advances in Strategic Management 21 (2004). View Details
  7. Discontinuities and Senior Management: Assessing the Role of Recognition in Pharmaceutical Firm Response to Biotechnology

    Keywords: Management; Science; Technology; Biotechnology Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Sarah Kaplan, and Fiona Murray. "Discontinuities and Senior Management: Assessing the Role of Recognition in Pharmaceutical Firm Response to Biotechnology." Industrial and Corporate Change 12, no. 2 (2003). View Details
  8. Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT

    Keywords: Patents; Knowledge Sharing;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ajay Agrawal. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT." Economic Institutions of Strategy 21 (fall 2000): 1123–1145. (Reprinted in Advances in Strategic Management, Volume 26, “Economic Institutions of Strategy," edited by J. Nickerson and B. Silverman, 2009.) View Details
  9. Untangling the Origins of Competitive Advantage

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Iain Cockburn, and Scott Stern. "Untangling the Origins of Competitive Advantage." Strategic Management Journal 21 (fall 2000): 1123–1145. (Reprinted in The SMS Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Capabilities: Emergence, Development and Change, edited by C. Helfat. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.) View Details
  10. Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery

    Keywords: Behavior; Research and Development; Organizations; Health;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Iain Cockburn. "Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery." Journal of Industrial Economics XLVI, no. 2 (June 1998): 157–182. View Details
  11. The Perils of Excellence: Barriers to Effective Process Improvement in Product-Driven Firms

    Keywords: Product; Performance Improvement;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Jesus del Alamo, Todd Becker, James Lawton, Peter Moran, Saul Shapiro, and Dean Vlasak. "The Perils of Excellence: Barriers to Effective Process Improvement in Product-Driven Firms." Production and Operations Management 7, no. 1 (spring 1998): 2–18. View Details
  12. The Interactions of Organizational and Competitive Influences on Strategy and Performance

    Keywords: Organizations; Competition; Strategy; Performance;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Will Mitchell. "The Interactions of Organizational and Competitive Influences on Strategy and Performance." Special Issue on Organizational and Competitive Interactions. Strategic Management Journal 18 (Summer 1997): 5–14. View Details
  13. University versus Corporate Patents: A Window on the Basicness of Invention

    Keywords: Higher Education; Patents; Innovation and Invention; Business Ventures;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Adam Jaffe, and Manuel Trajtenberg. "University versus Corporate Patents: A Window on the Basicness of Invention." Economics of Innovation and New Technology 5, no. 1 (1997): 19–50. View Details
  14. Scale and Scope in Drug Development: Unpacking the Advantages of Size in Pharmaceutical Research

    Keywords: Research and Development; Health; Size;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Iain Cockburn. "Scale and Scope in Drug Development: Unpacking the Advantages of Size in Pharmaceutical Research." Journal of Health Economics 27, no. 1 (spring 1996): 32–59. View Details
  15. Measuring Competence? Exploring Firm Effects in Drug Discovery

    Keywords: Measurement and Metrics; Competency and Skills; Health;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ian Cockburn. "Measuring Competence? Exploring Firm Effects in Drug Discovery." Strategic Management Journal 15 (winter 1994): 63–84. (

    Winner of Dan and Mary Lou Schendel Best Paper Prize To honor substantial work published in the Strategic Management Journal presented by Strategic Management Society​

    .) View Details
  16. Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations

    Keywords: Knowledge Sharing; Patents; Geography;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Adam Jaffe, and Manuel Trajtenberg. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations." Quarterly Journal of Economics 434 (August 1993): 578–598. (Reprinted in Recent Developments in Growth Theory, edited by Daron Acemoglu, Cheltenham U.K: Elgar, 2004.) View Details
  17. Underinvestment and Incompetence as Responses to Radical Innovation: Evidence from the Photolithographic Industry

    Keywords: Investment; Competency and Skills; Innovation and Invention; Fine Arts Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca. "Underinvestment and Incompetence as Responses to Radical Innovation: Evidence from the Photolithographic Industry." RAND Journal of Economics 24, no. 2 (summer 1993). View Details
  18. A Process Control Methodology Applied to Manufacturing GaAs MMICs

    Keywords: Production; Manufacturing Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Peter Moran, Scott Andrew Elliott, Neil Wylie, and Jesus del Alamo. "A Process Control Methodology Applied to Manufacturing GaAs MMICs." IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing 4, no. 4 (November 1991). View Details
  19. Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and The Failure of Established Firms

    Keywords: Design; Innovation and Invention; Product; Technology; Failure; Business Ventures;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Kim B. Clark. "Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and The Failure of Established Firms." Administrative Science Quarterly 35, no. 1 (March 1990): 9–30. (Reprinted in The Management of Innovation, edited by John Storey, London: Elgar, 2004; Managing Strategic Innovation and Change, edited by M.Tushman and P. Anderson, Oxford University Press, 2004; and in Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, edited by Robert Burgelman, Clayton Christensen and Steven Wheelwright. Oxford University Press, 2004. Translated into Chinese for inclusion in an ASQ sponsored collection of "best papers" in 2005.) View Details

Book Chapters

  1. What Do Managers Do? Exploring Persistent Performance Differences among Seemingly Similar Enterprises

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Robert Gibbons. "What Do Managers Do? Exploring Persistent Performance Differences among Seemingly Similar Enterprises." Chap. 17 in The Handbook of Organizational Economics, edited by R. Gibbons and J. Roberts, 680–731. Princeton University Press, 2013. View Details
  2. Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope: Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM

    We address a longstanding question about the causes of creative destruction. Dominant incumbent firms, long successful in an existing technology, are often much less successful in new technological eras. This is puzzling, since a cursory analysis would suggest that incumbent firms have the potential to take advantage of economies of scope across new and old lines of business and, if economies of scope are unavailable, to simply reproduce entrant behavior by creating a "firm within a firm." There are two broad streams of explanation for incumbent failure in these circumstances. One posits that incumbents fear cannibalization in the marketplace and so under-invest in the new technology. The second suggests that incumbent firms develop organizational capabilities and cognitive frames that make them slow to "see" new opportunities and that make it difficult to respond effectively once the new opportunity is identified. In this paper we draw on two of the most important historical episodes in the history of the computing industry, the introduction of the PC and of the browser, to develop a third hypothesis. Both IBM and Microsoft, having been extremely successful in an old technology, came to have grave difficulties competing in the new, despite some dramatic early success. We suggest that these difficulties do not arise from cannibalization concerns or from inherited cognitive frames. Instead they reflect diseconomies of scope rooted in assets that are necessarily shared across both businesses. We show that both Microsoft and IBM were initially very successful in creating freestanding business units that could compete with entrants on their own terms, but that as the new businesses grew, the need to share key firm-level assets imposed significant costs on both businesses and created severe organizational conflict. In IBM and Microsoft's case this conflict eventually led to control over the new business being given to the old and that in both cases effectively crippled the new business.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Opportunities; Competition; Information Technology; Innovation and Management; Organizations; Relationships; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Bresnahan, Timothy F., Shane Greenstein, and Rebecca M. Henderson. "Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope: Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM." In The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, edited by Josh Lerner and Scott Stern. University of Chicago Press, 2012. View Details
  3. Strategic Advantage and the Dynamics of Organizational Competence

    Keywords: Competitive Advantage; Competency and Skills; Organizational Design;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and S. Chowdhury. "Strategic Advantage and the Dynamics of Organizational Competence." Chap. 17 in Next Generation Business Handbook: New Strategies from Tomorrow's Thought Leaders, edited by Subir Chowdhury, 294–312. John Wiley & Sons, 2004. View Details
  4. Publicly Funded Science and the Productivity of the Pharmaceutical Industry

    U.S. taxpayers funded $14.8 billion of health related research last year, four times the amount that was spent in 1970 in real terms. In this paper we evaluate the impact of these huge expenditures on the technological performance of the pharmaceutical industry. While it is very difficult to be precise about the payoffs from publicly funded research, we conclude from a survey of a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative academic studies that the returns from this investment have been large, and may be growing even larger. Public sector science creates new knowledge and new tools, and produces large numbers of highly trained researchers, all of which are a direct and important input to private sector research. But this is not a one way street: the downstream industry is closely linked with upstream institutions, and knowledge, materials, and people flow in both directions. One important contribution of public science is that it sustains an environment in which for-profit firms can conduct their own basic research, which in turn contributes to the global pool of knowledge. Measured quite narrowly in terms of its effect on private sector R&D, the rate of return to public funding of biomedical sciences may be as high as 30% per year. Large as this figure is, these calculations are likely an underestimate, since they fail to fully capture the wider impact of pharmaceutical innovation on health and well-being. Indeed, the best may be yet to come: the revolution in molecular biology that began in publicly funded laboratories 25 years ago—and continues to be driven by the academic research—promises dramatic advances in the treatment of disease.

    Keywords: Public Sector; Science-Based Business; Research and Development; Sovereign Finance; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Ian Cockburn. "Publicly Funded Science and the Productivity of the Pharmaceutical Industry." In Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, edited by Adam B. Jaffe, Josh Lerner, and Scott Stern, 1–34. MIT Press, 2001. View Details
  5. Measuring Competence? Exploring firm Effects in Drug Discovery

    Keywords: Competency and Skills; Measurement and Metrics; Research and Development; Innovation and Invention; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Iain Cockburn. "Measuring Competence? Exploring firm Effects in Drug Discovery." Chap. 6 in The Nature and Dynamics or Organizational Capabilities, edited by Giovanni Dosi, Richard R. Nelson, and Sidney Winter. Oxford University Press, 2000. View Details
  6. The Economics of Drug Discovery

    Keywords: Economics; Innovation and Invention; Research and Development; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Iain Cockburn. "The Economics of Drug Discovery." Chap. 5 in Pharmaceutical Innovation, edited by Ralph Landau, Basil Achilladelis, and Alexander Scriabine, 308–331. Philadelphia: Chemical Heritage Press, 1999. View Details
  7. The Pharmaceutical Industry and the Revolution in Molecular Biology: Interactions Among Scientific, Institutional, and Organizational Change

    Keywords: Science-Based Business; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Transformation; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, Gary P. Pisano, and Luigi Orsenigo. "The Pharmaceutical Industry and the Revolution in Molecular Biology: Interactions Among Scientific, Institutional, and Organizational Change." In Sources of Industrial Leadership: Studies of Seven Industries, edited by David Mowery and Richard Nelson. Cambridge University Press, 1999. View Details
  8. On the Dynamics of Forecasting in Technologically Complex Environments: The Unexpectedly Long Old Age of Optical Lithography

    Keywords: History; Technology; Situation or Environment; Complexity; Forecasting and Prediction; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M. "On the Dynamics of Forecasting in Technologically Complex Environments: The Unexpectedly Long Old Age of Optical Lithography." In Technological Innovation: Oversights and Foresights, edited by Raghu Garud, Praveen Rattan Nayyar, and Zur Baruch Shapira. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. View Details
  9. Maintaining Leadership across Product Generations: The Case of Canon in Photolighographic Alignment Equipment

    Keywords: History; Leadership; Machinery and Machining; Product Development; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M. "Maintaining Leadership across Product Generations: The Case of Canon in Photolighographic Alignment Equipment." In Managing Product Development, edited by T. Nishiguchi. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. View Details
  10. Maintaining Leadership across Product Generations: The Case of Canon in Photolighographic Alignment Equipment

    Keywords: History; Product Development;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M. "Maintaining Leadership across Product Generations: The Case of Canon in Photolighographic Alignment Equipment." In Managing Product Development, edited by T. Nishiguchi. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. (Winner of Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research presented by Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.) View Details
  11. The Determinants of Research Productivity in Ethical Drug Discovery

    Keywords: Ethics; Health Testing and Trials; Research and Development; Performance Productivity; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ian Cockburn. "The Determinants of Research Productivity in Ethical Drug Discovery." In Competitive Strategies in the Pharmaceutical Industry, edited by Robert B. Helms. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 1996. View Details
  12. Trends in University Patenting 1965-1992

    Keywords: History; Patents; Higher Education; Trends; Non-Governmental Organizations; Education Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., Adam Jaffe, and Manuel Trajtenberg. "Trends in University Patenting 1965-1992." In University Goals, Institutional Mechanisms and the "Industrial Transferability" of Research. Stanford University Press, 1996. View Details
  13. Technological Change and The Management of Architectural Knowledge

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Knowledge Management;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M. "Technological Change and The Management of Architectural Knowledge." In Transforming Organizations, edited by Thomas Kochan and Michael Useem. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. (Reprinted in Organizational Learning, edited by Michael D. Cohen and Lee S. Sproull, Calif.: Sage Publications Inc., 1996.) View Details

Working Papers

  1. Management Practices, Relational Contracts and the Decline of General Motors

    General Motors was once regarded as one of the best managed and most successful firms in the world, but between 1980 and 2009 its share of the US market fell from 62.6 to 19.8 percent, and in 2009 the firm went bankrupt. In this paper we argue that the conventional explanation for this decline — namely high legacy labor and health care costs — is seriously incomplete, and that GM's share collapsed for many of the same reasons that many of the other highly successful American firms of the 50s, 60s and 70s were forced from the market, including a failure to understand the nature of the competition they faced and an inability to respond effectively once they did. We focus particularly on the problems GM encountered in developing the relational contracts essential to modern design and manufacturing. We discuss a number of possible causes for these difficulties: including GM's historical practice of treating both its suppliers and its blue collar workforce as homogeneous, interchangeable entities, and its view that expertise could be partitioned so that there was minimal overlap of knowledge amongst functions or levels in the organizational hierarchy and decisions could be made using well-defined financial criteria. We suggest that this dynamic may have important implications for our understanding of the role of management in the modern, knowledge based firm, and for the potential revival of manufacturing in the United States.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Management Practices and Processes; Organizational Structure; Decision Making; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Manufacturing Industry; Auto Industry;

    Citation:

    Helper, Susan, and Rebecca Henderson. "Management Practices, Relational Contracts and the Decline of General Motors." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-062, January 2014. (NBER Working Paper Series, No. 19867, January 2014.) View Details
  2. Managers and Market Capitalism

    In a capitalist system based on free markets, do managers have responsibilities to the system itself? If they do, should these responsibilities shape their behavior when they are engaging in the political process in an attempt to structure the institutions of capitalism? The prevailing view—perhaps most eloquently argued by Milton Friedman—is that the first duty of managers is to maximize shareholder value, and thus that they should take every opportunity (within the bounds of the law) to structure market institutions so as to increase profitability. We maintain here that this shareholder-return view of political engagement applies in cases where the political process is sufficiently 'thick,' in that diverse views are well-represented and sufficiently detailed information about the issues is widely available. However, we draw on a series of detailed examples in the context of the determination of corporate accounting standards to argue that when the political process of determining institutions of capitalism is 'thin,' in that managers find themselves with specialized technical knowledge unavailable to outsiders and with little political resistance from the general interest, then managers have a responsibility to market institutions themselves, even if this entails acting at the expense of corporate profits. We make this argument on grounds that this behavior is both in managers' long-run self-interest and, expanding on Friedman's core contention, that it is managers' moral duty. We provide a framework for future research to explore and develop these arguments.

    Keywords: Market Design; Economic Systems; Managerial Roles; Government and Politics;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Karthik Ramanna. "Managers and Market Capitalism." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-075, March 2013. (Revised November 2013.) View Details
  3. What Do Managers Do? Exploring Persistent Performance Differences among Seemingly Similar Enterprises

    Social networks and social groups have both been seen as important to discouraging malfeasance and supporting the global pro-social norms that underlie social order, but have typically been treated either as pure substitutes or as having completely independent effects. In this paper, I propose that interpersonal relationships between individuals with different social identities play a key role in linking local and global norms, and in supporting social order. Specifically, I show that social identity derived from group memberships moderates the effects of social relationships on pro-social norm observance. I test my predictions using a novel empirical setting consisting of a large online virtual environment. I show that the number of within-group relationships increases and the number of an individual's across-group relationships reduces the prevalence of anti-normative behavior. Furthermore, I show that network closure has a qualitatively different effect between within-group ties and across-group ties. The effects of within-group and across-group ties are moderated by both group characteristics and actor experience, providing boundary conditions on the mechanisms presented here. My findings illustrate the need for a more nuanced view of the complex interrelations between institutions, identity, and networks.

    Keywords: Social Norms; social networks; Triadic Closure; Social groups; Group Identity; Groups and Teams; Identity; Performance Consistency; Social and Collaborative Networks; Societal Protocols;

    Citation:

    Gibbons, Robert, and Rebecca Henderson. "What Do Managers Do? Exploring Persistent Performance Differences among Seemingly Similar Enterprises." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-020, August 2012. View Details
  4. Relational Contracts and Organizational Capabilities

    A large literature identifies unique organizational capabilities as a potent source of competitive advantage, yet our knowledge of why capabilities fail to diffuse more rapidly-particularly in situations in which competitors apparently have strong incentives to adopt them and a well developed understanding of how they work-remains incomplete. In this paper we suggest that competitively significant capabilities often rest on managerial practices that in turn rely on relational contracts (i.e., informal agreements sustained by the shadow of the future). We argue that one of the reasons these practices may be difficult to copy is that effective relational contracts must solve the twin problems of credibility and clarity, and that while credibility might in principle be instantly acquired, clarity may take time to develop and may interact with credibility in complex ways, so that relational contracts may often be difficult to build.

    Keywords: Competitive Advantage; Motivation and Incentives; Management Practices and Processes; Contracts; Competency and Skills; Relationships; Complexity;

    Citation:

    Gibbons, R., and R. Henderson. "Relational Contracts and Organizational Capabilities." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 12-061, January 2012. View Details
  5. Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope; Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM

    We address a longstanding question about the causes of creative destruction. Dominant incumbent firms, long successful in an existing technology, are often much less successful in new technological eras. This is puzzling, since a cursory analysis would suggest that incumbent firms have the potential to take advantage of economies of scope across new and old lines of business and, if economies of scope are unavailable, to simply reproduce entrant behavior by creating a "firm within a firm." There are two broad streams of explanation for incumbent failure in these circumstances. One posits that incumbents fear cannibalization in the marketplace, and so under-invest in the new technology. The second suggests that incumbent firms develop organizational capabilities and cognitive frames that make them slow to "see" new opportunities and that make it difficult to respond effectively once the new opportunity is identified. In this paper we draw on two of the most important historical episodes in the history of the computing industry, the introduction of the PC and of the browser, to develop a third hypothesis. Both IBM and Microsoft, having been extremely successful in an old technology, came to have grave difficulties competing in the new, despite some dramatic early success. We suggest that these difficulties do not arise from cannibalization concerns or from inherited cognitive frames. Instead they reflect diseconomies of scope rooted in assets that are necessarily shared across both businesses. We show that both Microsoft and IBM were initially very successful in creating freestanding business units that could compete with entrants on their own terms, but that as the new businesses grew, the need to share key firm-level assets imposed significant costs on both businesses and created severe organizational conflict. In IBM and Microsoft's case this conflict eventually led to control over the new business being given to the old and that in both cases effectively crippled the new business.

    Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Investment; Technological Innovation; Resource Allocation; Failure; Opportunities; Prejudice and Bias; Technology Adoption; Computer Industry; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Bresnahan, Timothy, Shane Greenstein, and Rebecca Henderson. "Schumpeterian Competition and Diseconomies of Scope; Illustrations from the Histories of Microsoft and IBM." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-077, January 2011. View Details
  6. Making the Numbers? 'Short Termism' and the Puzzle of Only Occasional Disaster

    Much recent work in strategy and popular discussion suggests that an excessive focus on "managing the numbers"—delivering quarterly earnings at the expense of longer-term investments—makes it difficult for firms to make the investments necessary to build competitive advantage. "Short termism" has been blamed for everything from the decline of the U.S. automobile industry to the low penetration of techniques such as TQM and continuous improvement. Yet a vigorous tradition in the accounting literature establishes that firms routinely sacrifice long-term investment to manage earnings and are rewarded for doing so. This paper presents a model that can reconcile these apparently contradictory perspectives. We show that if the source of long-term advantage is modeled as a stock of capability that accumulates gradually over time, a firm's proclivity to manage short-term earnings at the expense of long-term investment can have very different consequences depending on whether the firm's capability is close to a critical "tipping threshold." When the firm operates above this threshold, managing earnings smoothes revenue with few long-term consequences. Below it, managing earnings can tip the firm into a vicious cycle of accelerating decline. Our results have important implications for understanding managerial incentives and the internal processes that lead to sustained advantage.

    Keywords: Investment; Performance Improvement; Competitive Advantage; Earnings Management; Management Practices and Processes; Revenue; Quality; Competency and Skills; Motivation and Incentives; Auto Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Repenning, Nelson P., and Rebecca Henderson. "Making the Numbers? 'Short Termism' and the Puzzle of Only Occasional Disaster." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-033, September 2010. View Details
  7. Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors

    A combination of concerns about climate change and energy security has recently led to significant increases in public funding for energy R&D. Some commentators are suggesting that these increases need to be sustained, and are advocating for increases of as much as three or four hundred percent, suggesting that the US needs a "Manhattan project" for energy. Other observers have discussed supporting innovation through a range of additional policy interventions, including tax credits, loan guarantees, IP policy, regulatory mandates, codes and standards. It is critically important that these kinds of interventions be thoughtfully designed since it seems probable that without major advances in energy technology it is unlikely that the world will be able to reduce green house gas emissions rapidly enough to avoid a substantial increase in the risk of significant climate change. This book hopes to contribute to the public debate in this area by pulling together a group of distinguished economists who have studied the role of public support in generating innovation in other sectors of the economy. Over the last few years relatively few economists have studied energy innovation in any depth, but there has been a substantial investment in understanding the dynamics of innovation in a wide range of other industries, including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, IT and telecommunications, defense, chemicals and agriculture. We believe that there are valuable lessons in this research for the energy sector.

    Keywords: Innovation and Management; Technological Innovation; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Research and Development; Pollution and Pollutants; Weather and Climate Change; Energy Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Richard G. Newell. "Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 10-067, February 2010. (Revised February 2011.) View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. MONDRAGON: A Model for the World?

    MONDRAGON, the largest cooperative in the world, and the inspiration for several U.S. cooperatives, faces a challenge in 2013 after one of its largest cooperatives votes to leave the group and another goes bankrupt.

    Keywords: Cooperatives; Spain; United States; manufacturing; Cooperative Ownership; Manufacturing Industry; Spain; United States;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Michael Norris. "MONDRAGON: A Model for the World?" Harvard Business School Case 314-061, March 2014. View Details
  2. Henry Schein: Doing Well by Doing Good?

    Henry Schein Inc., a distributor of supplies to dentist, physician, and veterinary practices, had sales approaching $9 billion and employed nearly 16,000 people. The company had experienced impressive growth under the leadership of Stanley Bergman and his executive team, many of whom had been with Schein for decades. Besides organic growth, the company relied heavily on acquiring small family-owned businesses to grow, both inside the U.S., and abroad. Bergman and his team invested a great deal of their time on building and sustaining a culture based on care and respect and considered it pivotal to the company's success and a key competitive advantage.

    The case explores the principles behind Schein's culture and presents challenges to maintaining the culture as the company continues to expand internationally, including its goal to be the first national distributor of dental supplies in China. At the same time, Schein was evolving from being primarily a logistics company with a value-added services component to becoming a company with a primary focus on value-added services and the sale of specific products that the company might need to manufacture directly.

    As Schein moved into new market segments and new executives were brought in, a new challenge to the culture would be posed.

    Keywords: leadership; leadership development; strategy; strategy execution; performance management; corporate culture; social responsibility; Mergers & Acquisitions; joint ventures; partnerships; health care industry; Healthcare Logistics Industry; competitive advantage; Strategy; Leadership; Global Strategy; Selection and Staffing; Management Style; Organizational Culture; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; China; Europe; United States;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, Raffaella Sadun, Aldo Sesia, and Russell Eisenstat. "Henry Schein: Doing Well by Doing Good?" Harvard Business School Case 714-450, January 2014. (Revised January 2014.) View Details
  3. Relational Contracts and the Roots of Sustained Competitive Advantage

    This note focuses on organizational "competencies" or "capabilities" as a potential source of sustained competitive advantage. Research in this area hypothesizes that some firms outperform their competition because they can do things that their rivals cannot.

    Keywords: Competitive Advantage; Performance;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M. "Relational Contracts and the Roots of Sustained Competitive Advantage." Harvard Business School Technical Note 313-105, January 2013. (Revised April 2013.) View Details
  4. Royal DSM: Fighting Hidden Hunger

    In 2007 Royal DSM, a leading life science and materials company, entered a partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) to combat hidden hunger around the world by providing micronutrient solutions. The case investigates the unexpectedly large impact the partnership had on DSM and on the global nutrition discussion, and discusses the benefits and challenges of scaling up the Nutrition Improvement Program—a key component of DSM's human nutrition and health division—beyond the WFP partnership, despite the need to build significant additional capabilities and its somewhat lower margins.

    Keywords: Conflict of Interests; Human Needs; Partners and Partnerships; Global Range; Nutrition; Science-Based Business; Non-Governmental Organizations; Service Industry; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, Noah Fisher, and Mary Shelman. "Royal DSM: Fighting Hidden Hunger." Harvard Business School Case 313-085, January 2013. (Revised September 2013.) View Details
  5. Procter & Gamble: Marketing Capabilities

    P&G had become known and recognized as a marketing machine. It was the largest advertiser in the world, with 2010 spending of $8.68 billion. From the company's early exploitation of broadcast media (radio and television) for its soap products to more recent experiments in digital media for its men's hygiene brand Old Spice, P&G was a seasoned marketer with strong consumer research, a powerful innovation network, and the world's largest financial commitment to advertising.

    Keywords: Advertising; Change Management; Globalized Markets and Industries; Innovation Strategy; Brands and Branding; Marketing Communications; Expansion; Consumer Products Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ryan Johnson. "Procter & Gamble: Marketing Capabilities." Harvard Business School Case 311-117, June 2011. (Revised May 2012.) View Details
  6. Managers and Market Capitalism

    The last thirty years have seen the widespread embrace of market capitalism as not only a highly efficient form of economic organization but also as one that best meets the diversity of human preferences. In large, complex societies, an increasing body of theoretical and empirical research suggests, however, that the existence of competitive markets rests on strong institutional foundations. This note explores the appropriate role for the general manager, if any, in sustaining these conditions for market capitalism.

    Keywords: Economic Systems; Management;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Karthik Ramanna. "Managers and Market Capitalism." Harvard Business School Module Note 112-043, January 2012. (Revised March 2014.) View Details
  7. Sustainable Tea at Unilever

    Unilever's Lipton Tea had been successful with the first phase of its certification partnership with Rainforest Alliance. Now the company faced challenges in how to push forward with the transformation of more difficult parts of the supply chain and how to market sustainable tea in developing markets like India.

    Keywords: Environmental Sustainability; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Marketing; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Frederik Nellemann. "Sustainable Tea at Unilever." Harvard Business School Case 712-438, December 2011. (Revised November 2012.) View Details
  8. Reckitt Benckiser: Fast and Focused Innovation

    Since its 1999 merger Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a global consumer goods company, led by its CEO Bart Becht, RB developed a reputation for rapid product innovation and industry leading profit margins. RB's stated strategy was to focus on its Powerbrands and high growth categories and to nurture the Powerbrands with innovation and roll them out globally. The Powerbrands had steady double digit growth year over year, attracted a devoted customer base and typically grabbed high margins. This case examines the Powerbrands strategy, RB's devotion to fast and focused innovation and its execution of that strategy.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Global Strategy; Innovation Leadership; Leadership Style; Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Product Development; Performance Improvement; Commercialization; Consumer Products Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ryan Johnson. "Reckitt Benckiser: Fast and Focused Innovation." Harvard Business School Case 311-116, June 2011. (Revised May 2012.) View Details
  9. Nestlé SA: Nutrition, Health and Wellness Strategy

    In 1997 Nestlé committed to a strategic vision of becoming the leading nutrition, health and wellness (NHW) company in the world. Over the next 13 years, the NHW strategy guided strategic decisions and choices at Nestlé including merger and acquisition choices, strategies for improving products, and packaging innovations that helped Nestlé built credibility with the consumer in NHW, raised profit margins, continued strong growth and differentiated the firm.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Investment; Profit; Innovation Strategy; Growth and Development Strategy; Resource Allocation; Product; Research and Development; Value Creation; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ryan Johnson. "Nestlé SA: Nutrition, Health and Wellness Strategy." Harvard Business School Case 311-119, June 2011. (Revised May 2012.) View Details
  10. Colgate-Palmolive: Staying Ahead in Oral Care

    In 2011, Colgate-Palmolive (Colgate) was the global leader in oral care, with a dominant market share lead in toothpaste and a growing presence in toothbrushes and mouthwash. However, the firm faced stiff competition with perennial rivals P&G increasing their focus on the oral care and emerging markets where Colgate had traditionally been untouchable. To defend its lead Colgate attempted to cover all fronts, leveraging brand equity, fostering close relationships with dental professionals, innovating in underutilized markets, using its global network to quickly move products to market and reinvesting steadily in its brand.

    Keywords: Innovation Strategy; Brands and Branding; Product Positioning; Distribution Channels; Relationships; Competition; Competitive Advantage; Customization and Personalization; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ryan Johnson. "Colgate-Palmolive: Staying Ahead in Oral Care." Harvard Business School Case 311-120, June 2011. (Revised August 2011.) View Details
  11. L'Oréal: Global Brand, Local Knowledge

    Worldwide, and in the U.S. marketplace in particular, the French cachet of L'Oréal was one of its most powerful marketing tools. However, with the opening up of emerging markets, L'Oréal had to cater to a diverse customer base: an aging population in the West, ethnic groups, aspiring and younger customers in the East, emerging markets, and growing interest in health and beauty care among men all over the world. Employing both traditional and innovative marketing techniques, L'Oréal worked to double its customer base to two billion by 2020 and increase to half from a third its share of sales from emerging markets.

    Keywords: Globalization; Brands and Branding; Marketing Communications; Change Management; Sales; Emerging Markets; Segmentation; Innovation and Invention; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; France; United States;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca M., and Ryan Johnson. "L'Oréal: Global Brand, Local Knowledge." Harvard Business School Case 311-118, June 2011. (Revised May 2012.) View Details
  12. Shell Nigeria: The WikiLeaks Cables

    In November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing the first of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables that it had obtained. Among the thousands of cables published by early 2011, were several that shed light on Royal Dutch Shell's operations in Nigeria and its relationship with the Nigerian government.

    Keywords: Business and Government Relations; Energy Generation; Operations; Communication Technology; Crime and Corruption; Metals and Minerals; Ethics; Energy Industry; Nigeria;

    Citation:

    Sucher, Sandra J., Rebecca M. Henderson, and Matthew Preble. "Shell Nigeria: The WikiLeaks Cables." Harvard Business School Case 311-084, April 2011. View Details
  13. The Smart Grid

    The development of the smart grid—the integration of traditional elements of energy transmission and delivery with information technology—heralds a new era in the power industry. Many new business opportunities will be created as the smart grid gets developed. What strategies should Cisco employ to become a leader in this industry? What obstacles and challenges must Cisco overcome to compete successfully in this new industry?

    Keywords: Energy; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Problems and Challenges; Growth and Development; Information Technology; Strategy; Energy Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, Noel Maurer, and Catherine Ross. "The Smart Grid." Harvard Business School Case 310-072, May 2010. (Revised November 2012.) View Details
  14. Kodak and The Digital Revolution (A)

    The introduction of digital imaging in the late 1980s had a disruptive effect on Kodak's traditional business model. Examines Kodak's strategic efforts and challenges as the photography industry evolves. After discussing Kodak's history and its past strategic moves in the new landscape, the case questions how CEO Daniel Carp can use digital imaging to revitalize Kodak. A rewritten version of an earlier case.

    Keywords: History; Technology; Business Model; Leadership; Disruption; Industry Growth; Business Strategy; Consumer Products Industry;

    Citation:

    Gavetti, Giovanni M., Rebecca Henderson, and Simona Giorgi. "Kodak and The Digital Revolution (A)." Harvard Business School Case 705-448, November 2004. (Revised November 2005.) View Details
  15. Kodak (A)

    The introduction of digital imaging in the late 1980s had a disruptive effect on Kodak's traditional business model. Examines Kodak's strategic efforts and challenges as the photography industry evolves. After discussing Kodak's history and its past strategic moves in the new landscape, the case questions how CEO Daniel Carp can use digital imaging to revitalize Kodak.

    Keywords: History; Business Model; Leadership; Disruption; Industry Growth; Business Strategy; Consumer Products Industry;

    Citation:

    Gavetti, Giovanni M., Rebecca Henderson, and Simona Giorgi. "Kodak (A)." Harvard Business School Case 703-503, April 2003. (Revised February 2004.) View Details
  16. Nokia and MIT's Project Oxygen (Abridged)

    Looks at how Nokia should respond to a future vision of computing and communications that was developed at MIT's Project Oxygen.

    Keywords: Mobile Technology; Adaptation; Strategic Planning; Telecommunications Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Yoffie, David B., and Rebecca Henderson. "Nokia and MIT's Project Oxygen (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 704-474, January 2004. View Details
  17. Nokia and MIT's Project Oxygen

    Pending developments in wireless networking and in embedded computing present a long-range strategic challenge to Nokia, Inc. This case outlines the ways technology is likely to develop in the next 20 years, briefly describes Nokia's history and strategic positioning, and challenges the reader to develop a coherent strategy for Nokia going forward.

    Keywords: History; Strategic Planning; Forecasting and Prediction; Problems and Challenges; Wireless Technology; Growth and Development Strategy; Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Nancy Confrey. "Nokia and MIT's Project Oxygen." Harvard Business School Case 703-450, April 2003. (Revised November 2003.) View Details
  18. Mercury Computer Systems: The Evolution from Integrated Technology to Open Standard

    For 20 years, Mercury Computer Systems has thrived, providing products and services that support ultrafast processing of real time data. Now Jay Bertelli, the CEO, faces a critical question: How can the firm compete once the standards on which its products are based become publicly available?

    Keywords: Data and Data Sets; Open Source Distribution; Strategic Planning; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Information Technology; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Nancy Confrey. "Mercury Computer Systems: The Evolution from Integrated Technology to Open Standard." Harvard Business School Case 704-424, August 2003. View Details
  19. Ember Corporation: Developing the Next Ubiquitous Network Standard

    Ember is a venture capital-funded start-up that hopes to establish a standard for ubiquitous wireless networks. Its unique approach and proprietary technology promises to create enormous value in a wide variety of markets, particularly in local sensing and control. However, competition has emerged much faster than expected. What should Ember do next?

    Keywords: Business Startups; Wireless Technology; Value; Competitive Strategy; Standards; Technology Industry; Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca, and Nancy Confrey. "Ember Corporation: Developing the Next Ubiquitous Network Standard." Harvard Business School Case 703-448, February 2003. (Revised July 2003.) View Details
  20. Corning, Inc.: Technology Strategy in 2003

    Corning, Inc. has a 150-year history of building a strategy around innovation. Founded as a glass manufacturer in 1851, the company quickly established itself as a maker of specialty glass products and over the next 100 years diversified into light bulbs, television, cookware, silicones, medical products, and, finally, optical fiber. As the telecommunications industry boomed in the late 1990s, the optical fiber business boomed with it, and Corning's stock hit record highs. The firm made more than $9 billion worth of acquisitions in fiber and photonics (acquiring more than $6 billion worth of goodwill in the process) before the crash hit. Corning's stock collapsed, and in 2002 the company faced serious operating challenges. Designed to be used as an opening case in a course on technology strategy. Outlines the history of innovation at Corning, stressing the company's history of "patient money" and long-term commitment to technology. Briefly summarizes the firm's recent history and then the challenge that faces the firm's chief technology officer in seeking to justify spending on research and development.

    Keywords: Technology; Strategy; Innovation Strategy; Situation or Environment; Research and Development; Consumer Products Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Henderson, Rebecca. "Corning, Inc.: Technology Strategy in 2003." Harvard Business School Case 703-440, November 2002. (Revised June 2003.) View Details

    Research Summary

  1. Energy, IT, real estate, and sustainability

    Professor Henderson’s current research focuses on the energy, information technology, and real estate sectors and the challenges firms encounter as they attempt to act in more sustainable ways. This work is an outgrowth of her decade-long examination of the organizational and strategic issues that well-established companies face in responding to significant technological and competitive shifts across a wide variety of industries, including semiconductor capital equipment, aerospace, branded consumer goods, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information technology, and telecommunications. 

    Her latest work is motivated by the challenge of climate change. If, as current scientific research suggests, it would be prudent to remove 80 percent of the carbon from the economy by 2050, it is critical to find effective ways to support far-reaching change in both products and processes across the entire economy – and particularly in the energy, information technology, and real estate sectors. Increasing the use of carbon-free fuels is an undertaking of enormous magnitude to the energy industry; real estate is perhaps the largest single consumer of energy; and information technology is the most powerful enabler of change throughout the economy.

    In conducting this new research, Professor Henderson is attempting to leverage the insights she has gained in studying large firms that have been particularly successful in responding to major technological shifts. Her previous work highlighted the importance of simultaneously understanding the strategic barriers to change (“We won’t make any money.”) and the organizational barriers as well (“And we won’t be able to get it done anyway.”); of managing overload so that a firm does not become “stuck”; and of learning to communicate with courage and integrity in order to maintain and grow the “relational contracts” that are fundamental to success. Her current research, including work with two large oil companies interested in investing in alternative energy, suggests that these findings are highly relevant to building a low-carbon economy. 

    1. Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research: Winner of the 1996 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research for "Maintaining Leadership across Product Generations: The Case of Canon in Photolighographic Alignment Equipment" (Managing Product Development, 1996).

    2. Dan and Mary Lou Schendel Best Paper Prize: Won the 2010 Dan and Mary Lou Schendel Best Paper Award from the Strategic Management Society for her paper with Ian Cockburn, "Measuring Competence? Exploring Firm Effects in Pharmaceutical Research" (Strategic Management Journal, 1994). The award is for a paper published five or more years prior so that the paper's impact on teaching, research, and/or practice can be assessed.

    3. John and Natty McArthur University Professor: Appointed the John and Natty McArthur University Professor in 2011. The position, which was created in 1935 by the President and Fellows of Harvard University, seeks to recognize exemplary faculty members who have pushed the boundaries of their discipline. President Drew G. Faust called Henderson "a leading voice on the environmental challenges of our time."

    4. MIT Sloan Teacher of the Year Award: Named the 2001 Teacher of the Year at the MIT Sloan School of Management.