Herman B. Leonard

Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration

Herman B. ("Dutch") Leonard is Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Sector Management at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative. He teaches extensively in executive programs at the Business School and the Kennedy School and around the world in the areas of general organizational strategy, governance, performance management, crisis management and leadership, and corporate social responsibility. His work on leadership focuses on innovation, creativity, effective decision-making, and advocacy and persuasion. His current work in leadership and management is focused on the relationship between governance, accountability, and performance, and emphasizes the use of performance management as a tool for enhancing accountability. He has also worked and taught extensively in the area of crisis management and on issues related to corporate social responsibility. He is the co-author of Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business (2011), co-editor of Managing Crises (2009), the author of Checks Unbalanced: The Quiet Side of Public Spending (1984), of By Choice or By Chance: Tracking the Values in Massachusetts Public Spending (1992), and (annually from 1993 through 1999) of The Federal Budget and the States (an annual report on the geographic distribution of federal spending and taxation).

Professor Leonard is a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a 1,000,000-member Massachusetts HMO and a former director of the Hitachi Foundation and of the ACLU of Massachusetts. He was for a decade a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority and of CIVIC Investments, and was a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Performance Enhancement. He has been a financial advisor to the Connecticut Governor's Office of Policy and Management, to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and to the Central Artery-Third Harbor Tunnel Project. Professor Leonard was a member of the Governor's Council on Economic Policy for the State of Alaska, of the Governor's Advisory Council on Infrastructure in Massachusetts, and of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee's Private Sector Advisory Committee on Infrastructure. He served as chairman of the Massachusetts Governor's Task Force on Tuition Prepayment Plans, on the National Academy of Sciences Committees on National Urban Policy and on the Superconducting Supercollider, and on the New York City Comptroller's Debt Management Advisory Committee. In addition to his academic studies and teaching, he has been chief financial officer and chief executive officer of a human services agency and has served as a director of public, non-profit, and private sector organizations.

  1. Crisis Management

    by Herman B. Leonard

    This project examines the special challenges of leadership in crisis situations and the associated challenges of leadership in preparing in advance for the possibility of crises to come. It includes both physical life safety crises (natural disasters, industrial accidents, and terrorism) and reputational crises (scandals, embezzlement, stock fraud, and so on). What behaviors and organizational structures perform best when crises strike? And what can leaders do in advance to create the structures and conditions that make high performance more likely in the event of a future crisis? This project includes work on designing organizational structures that are most likely to be able to handle both the technical challenges of crisis action and the political challenges that are likely to arise as well.
  2. Governance, Accountability, and Performance for Social Enterprise

    by Herman B. Leonard

    This project examines the relationship between governance structures, accountability relationships, and performance outcomes for social enterprises. Most previous work in this area has examined these topics separately, or in pairs; the purpose of this project is to explore the appropriate linkages and relationships among the three. The working hypothesis is that more carefully designed integration of systems of governance, accountability, and performance will improve all three.
  3. Business Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility

    by Herman B. Leonard

    This project focuses on how business leaders can be most effective at creating better social outcomes and vibrant, successful businesses at the same time. What forms of leadership -- and in what venues (in the community, in the corporation, in politics, ...) -- turn out to be most effective at creating business value and social value simultaneously?