Michael W. Toffel

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Faculty Fellow, Harvard Environmental Economics Program
Faculty Affiliate, Harvard University Center for the Environment
Faculty Affiliate, Kennedy School of Government Center for Business and Government Regulatory Policy Program

Mike Toffel's research focuses on operational discipline by examining companies' environmental, occupational safety, and quality programs and performance. His work seeks to identify which types of programs distinguish participating companies as having superior environmental, safety, or quality management or performance, and which of these programs help companies improve their performance in these domains. His work ranges from academic articles based on econometric analyses of large datasets to case studies of individual companies. His work on quality management systems and environmental management systems has been profiled by LRQA Business Assurance and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. His research on occupational health and safety has been profiled by the head of U.S. OSHA and featured in the national press including US News & World Report, BusinessWeek, and Scientific American.   His work has been published in scholarly journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Organization Science, in practitioners journals including Sloan Management Review and California Management Review, and in mainstream outlets including The Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek/DailyBeast, and Grist.

Prof. Toffel serves on the Editorial Boards of the Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science. He serves as a founding board member of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS), which organizes a leading annual conference to foster high-quality research on corporate sustainability and to build collaboration among scholars engaged in these topics. 

His co-authors include Julia Adler-MilsteinRonnie Chatterji, Magali Delmas, Anil Doshi, Glen Dowell, Kira Fabrizio, Andrea Hugill, Chonnikarn (Fern) Jira, Matthew Johnson, Andrew King, David Levine, Julian Marshall, Chris Marquis, Melissa Ouellet, Lamar Pierce, Erin ReidTim Simcoe, Sara SingerJodi Short, and David Vogel.

He recommends the HBS Business & Environment InitiativeEnvironmental Leader, Grist, Ethical Corporation, and SustainableBusiness.com to keep up on corporate environmental news.

Toffel has organized several conferences related to his research, includig conferences on corporate sustainability at HBS (2010), the role of information disclosure in corporate transparency and accountability at the National Press Club in Washington DC (2009), business and human rights in operations and supply chains at HBS (2008), and industry self-regulation at HBS (2007) .

Professor Toffel received a Ph.D. from the Haas School of Business' Business and Public Policy department at the University of California at Berkeley, an MBA from the Yale School of Management, a Master’s in Environmental Management (Industrial Environmental Management) from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a BA in Government from Lehigh University.  He has worked as the Director of Environment, Health and Safety at the Jebsen & Jessen (South East Asia) Group of Companies, based in Singapore. He has also worked as an environmental management consultant for Arthur Andersen, Arthur D. Little, and Xerox Corporation. He started his career as an operations management analyst at J.P. Morgan.

Prof. Toffel has served on the Advisory Panel of the Newsweek Green Rankings and on the School Site Council of the Edward Devotion School, a public school in Brookline, MA.

 

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Quality World
August 2012

Mike James

Related: Levine, David I., and Michael W. Toffel. "Quality Management and Job Quality: How the ISO 9001 Standard for Quality Management Systems Affects Employees and Employers." Management Science 56, no. 6 (June 2010): 978-996.

European CEO
July 26, 2012

Mike James, MD at Lloyds Register Quality Assurance and Professor Michael Toffel, of HBS, discuss third-party certification

Psychology Today
June 15, 2012

Ray B. Williams

Social Accountability International (SAI) newsletter
June 2012

Celia Sweet Guillard

Hazards Magazine
April-June 2012

Rory O’Neill

HBS Working Knowledge
June 11, 2012

Carmen Nobel

 

Focus on HR
June 7, 2012

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Focus on HR – Episode 11 – June 7, 2012

 

 

St. Louis Today
06/06/2012

Editorial

Risks e-bulletin
June 9, 2012

Trade Union Congress (UK)

Risks e-bulletin
May 26, 2012

Trade Union Congress (UK)

British Standards Institute (BSI)
March 21, 2012

John Bull

(Work in Progress) The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Labor
05/21/2012

David Michaels (U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for. Occupational Safety and Health)

“OSHA doesn’t kill jobs; it helps prevent jobs from killing workers.” I have been promoting that message since I became head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration almost three years ago. It is supported by empirical evidence—and now—it’s been confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in Science, one of the world’s top scientific journals. Not only that, the new study, conducted by professors at the University of California and Harvard Business School, shows that OSHA inspections save billions of dollars for employers through reduced workers compensation costs....

Washington Post
05/17/2012

Sam Hananel (AP)

While businesses bemoan the cost of regulations, a new study suggests that government enforcement of workplace health and safety rules can save lives without sapping a company’s bottom line. The findings come from a decade-long look at hundreds of California work sites subject to random safety inspections. Researchers found that inspected companies reduced their injury claims by 9.4 percent compared to those not inspected, with no negative impact on profits or sales.

U.S. News & World Report
05/17/2012

Steven Reinberg

Government's workplace safety inspections reduce on-the-job injuries and related costs without hurting company profits, a new U.S. study finds. To reach their conclusion, researchers looked at data on 409 California businesses randomly inspected by the state's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and 409 similar workplaces that weren't inspected.

Bloomberg Businessweek Online
05/17/2012

Sam Hananel (AP)

While businesses bemoan the cost of regulations, a new study suggests that government enforcement of workplace health and safety rules can save lives without sapping a company's bottom line.

Chicago Tribune
05/17/2012

Scott Malone (Reuters)

Random inspections of U.S. industrial workplaces lower the risk of workers being injured on the job and have no measurable negative effect on the companies inspected, according to a study in the journal Science. Companies chosen for random inspections by California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration recorded 9.4 percent fewer worker injuries than those that were not inspected, the study found. The study, to be published on Friday, also found that the companies inspected were no more likely to cut jobs, lose sales, have their credit ratings cut or go out of business than those that were not inspected.

Scientific American
05/17/2012

Katherine Harmon

Costly safety upgrades, nitpicky government inspection and resulting fines are often blamed as being bad for business. But a new study shows that when government job-safety inspectors make a surprise visit, they actually enable companies to save money—and jobs—for years to come.

Boston Business Journal
05/17/2012

Julie M. Donnelly

A Harvard study argues that workplace inspections designed to prevent injuries do not cost jobs due to higher costs for businesses. In fact, the researchers say, they save money. 

HBS Working Knowledge
May 21, 2012

Michael Blanding

 

Quality Digest
02/01/2012

Jonathan Chowdhury

BusinessAssurance.com, the world’s first online management systems community, which is sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Inc., brings to you an interview with Mike Toffel, a leading management systems expert and an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Toffel discusses some of the outputs of his research into corporate environmental sustainability and specifically discusses the importance and benefits of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and SA8000.

BusinessAssurance.com
01/20/2012

Philippa Weare

Professor Toffel conducts research on corporate environmental sustainability and examines companies’ environmental, safety, and quality programs. His work seeks to identify which voluntary programs and management standards actually distinguish participating companies as having superior environmental, safety, or quality management or performance, and which of these programs help companies improve their performance in these areas. His work ranges from academic articles based on econometric analyses of large datasets to case studies of individual companies.

Ethical Corporation
09/23/2011

Rory Sullivan and Paul Hohnen

New research suggests that government involvement in multilateral organisations is a core influence on corporate reporting. A recent Harvard Business School working paper by Christopher Marquis and Michael Toffel – The Globalisation of Corporate Environmental Disclosure: Accountability or Greenwashing? – seeks to identify the key country and organisational determinants of corporate environmental reporting and to examine how pressures from governments and civil society influence reporting.

Stanford Social Innovation Review
Summer 2011

Jessica Ruvinsky

Under the EPA’s Audit Policy, violators who voluntarily report themselves can get certain penalties reduced or waived if they commit to ongoing self-regulation. But is that promise any more than window dressing?


Quality Digest
08/08/2011

Mark Ames, Reg Blake, Michael J. Caruso, Phil Heinle

A 2008 detailed study published by the Harvard Business School provides real data, gathered by external means, which emphasize the value of management system standards and the accredited certification process. The study documents compelling evidence regarding standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) stating that “ISO adopters have higher rates of corporate survival, sales, employment growth, and wage increases than a matched group of non-adopters.

The Independent Association of Accredited Registrars (IAAR)
8/2011

Mark Ames (President, AQS Management Systems), Reg Blake (VP Corporate Development and Regulatory Affairs, BSI Group America), Michael J. Caruso (VP – Certification, UL DQS), Phil Heinle (Owner, Quality Consulting)

ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB)
8/2011
The Independent Association of Accredited Registrars (IAAR)
8/2011

Mark Ames (President, AQS Management Systems), Reg Blake (VP Corporate Development and Regulatory Affairs, BSI Group America), Michael J. Caruso (VP – Certification, UL DQS), Phil Heinle (Owner, Quality Consulting)

  

Quality Digest
08/10/2011

Mark Ames (President, AQS Management Systems), Reg Blake (VP Corporate Development and Regulatory Affairs, BSI Group America), Michael J. Caruso (VP – Certification, UL DQS), Phil Heinle (Owner, Quality Consulting)

 

 


British Standards Institute (BSI)
10/05/2010

 


HBS Working Knowledge
August 30, 2010

Julia Hanna

 

Study: Companies, Employees Benefit Directly From ISO 9001
Quality Progress
03/2010

Companies that adopt ISO 9001 are much more likely to stay in business and, in turn, experience faster sales growth than those that choose not to pursue certification to the quality management system standard, a new study finds. ISO 9001 adopters also seem to grow their employment bases, total payrolls and average annual earnings much faster than companies that do not adopt ISO 9001. In turn, employees experience indirect benefits when their companies take on ISO 9001.


CNN.com
12/14/2007

Peter Walker

Business schools are not only at the vanguard of teaching environmentally conscious business. As one innovative new project illustrates some of them are actually taking practical action to spread the message further. MapEcos, a new web site launched by students and faculty at three leading U.S. business schools, has a highly ambitious premise -- nothing less than trialing for a new way of sharing detailed information about a key environmental issue, and seeing how people respond.

MIT Technology Review
11/30/2007


HBS Working Knowledge
April 9, 2007

Martha Lagace

IEEE Spectrum
11/2004
Planet-friendly press
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
7/13/2004

Congratulations dearest readers. All you Deep Greens and Pale Greens and Greens as faintly vert as Prairie grass in August have just done your small bit to make the planet a less disturbed and disturbing place. What was your act of ecological kindness? You have taken to reading the Globe and Mail not in its inky and papery format but electronically via the Internet. I know you did this good deed because [Arpad Horvath and Michael Toffel] have just published an analysis of the environmental impact of receiving and reading a paper on-line in their case the New York Times versus buying/reading it as a physical product. Their conclusion: "Reading the NYT as a newspaper results in the release of 32-140 times more CO2, several orders of magnitude more NOx and SOx and the use of 26-185 times less water."...But, says Mr. Toffel, maybe the clearest way of looking at his findings is the calculation says is that even giving the printed page its greatest leeway it would take almost 15 people reading the newspaper on-line to have the same CO2 effect of one environmental miscreant reader turning inky, crinkling pages.



SafetyAtWorkBlog
June 14, 2012

Kevin Jones


ESPN
October 11, 2010
Economist
December 18, 2007
Financial Times
November 30, 2007
National Public Radio (NPR)
July 26, 2004

Karen Kelly