Michael W. Toffel

Professor of Business Administration

Mike Toffel's research examines companies' environmental, occupational safety, and quality programs and performance. He seeks to identify which types of programs distinguish participating companies as having superior environmental, safety, or quality performance, and which of these programs help companies improve such performance. His work ranges from academic articles based on econometric analyses of large datasets to case studies of individual companies. 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 research has been published in many top scholarly journals including Science, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Organization Science, in practitioners journals including Sloan Management Review and California Management Review, and in mainstream outlets including The Atlantic Monthly and Newsweek/DailyBeast.

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, including 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.


  1. Overview

    by Michael W. Toffel

    Professor Toffel teaches the required first-year MBA course Technology and Operations Management (TOM).

    He also coordinates and teaches the Doctoral Seminar in Technology and Operations Management to help doctoral students develop research ideas, design studies, conduct robust analysis, and learn to clearly present their insights.

    Toffel has also taught the MBA elective Environmentally Sustainable Strategy & Operations, a course based on the award-winning Business and the Environment course he co-developed with Forest Reinhardt.

    He has also taught the Technology and Operations Management portion of the Business Education for Scholars and Teachers (BEST) course to all HBS doctoral students.

    Keywords: Environmental Sustainability; Operations; Supply Chain Management; Government Legislation; Non-Governmental Organizations; Multinational Firms and Management;