Rebecca M. Henderson

John and Natty McArthur University Professor

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.

  1. 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. 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. 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. Named the 2001 Teacher of the Year at the MIT Sloan School of Management.