Alnoor Ebrahim

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Alnoor Ebrahim is an Associate Professor in the General Management Unit, and in the Social Enterprise Initiative, at the Harvard Business School. His research and teaching focus on the challenges of performance management, accountability, and governance facing social sector organizations. He is also affiliated with the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University.

Professor Ebrahim is author of the award-winning book, NGOs and Organizational Change: Discourse, Reporting, and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2003 and 2005), and is co-editor, with Edward Weisband, of Global Accountabilities: Participation, Pluralism, and Public Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2007), which compares accountability dilemmas in nonprofits, business, and government. He has been the recipient of awards for best article in the journals Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

He teaches the MBA required course, "FIELD 3" and an elective course "Managing Social Enterprise." He has previously taught  "Leadership and Organizational Behavior" (LEAD), and "Leading and Governing High-Performing Nonprofit Organizations." In the HBS executive education portfolio, Professor Ebrahim servers as faculty chair of "Governing for Nonprofit Excellence" and co-chair of  "Performance Measurement of Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations" while also teaching in "Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management."

Through his research and case writing, Ebrahim examines the challenges of performance measurement and accountability facing social sector organizations, impact investors, and their boards. He is currently involved in research with a range of social sector organizations, from new socioeconomic hybrids to well-established global NGOs and foundations. His professional work has included commissioned reports on civil society relations with the World Bank, on NGO accountability at the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as projects with a number of nongovernmental organizations over the past two decades, such as CIVICUS: The World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in western India.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Harvard Business School, Alnoor Ebrahim was the Wyss Visiting Scholar at HBS, and a Visiting Associate Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also taught at Virginia Tech for several years, where he was a founding codirector of the Institute for Governance and Accountabilities. He holds a BSc degree from MIT (1991) in civil and environmental engineering, and a PhD from Stanford University (1999), where he studied environmental planning and management.

  1. Carlo Masini Award: "Putting the Brakes on Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance" (with V. Kasturi Rangan) was runner-up for the 2010 Carlo Masini Award for Innovative Scholarship from the Public and Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management.

  2. Carolyn Dexter Award: Nominated for the 2010 Carolyn Dexter Award from the Academy of Management with V. Kasturi Rangan for “Putting the Brakes on Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance” (Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, August 2010).

  3. Editors' Prize for Best Scholarly Paper in Nonprofit Management and Leadership: Winner of the 2005 Editors' Prize for Best Scholarly Paper in Nonprofit Management and Leadership for "Making Sense of Accountability: Conceptual Perspectives for Northern and Southern Nonprofits" (winter 2003).

  4. Outstanding Article in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly: Winner of the 2003 Outstanding Article in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly Award for "Information Struggles: The Role of Information in the Reproduction of NGO-Funder Relationships" (March 2002).

  5. Outstanding Book in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research: Winner of the Outstanding Book Award in 2004 from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action for NGOs and Organizational Change: Discourse, Reporting and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2003).