David A. Garvin

C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration

David A. Garvin is the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He joined the Business School faculty in 1979 and has since then taught courses in leadership, general management, and operations in the MBA and Advanced Management programs, as well as serving as chair of the Elective Curriculum and faculty chair of the School's Teaching and Learning Center. He has also taught in executive education programs and consulted for over fifty organizations around the globe, including Amyris, Biogen Idec, Booz Allen Hamilton, Frito-Lay, Gillette, L. L. Bean, 3M, Mitsubishi, Morgan Stanley, Mueller, Novartis, PPG, Reed Elsevier, Seagate, Stryker, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Professor Garvin's research interests lie in the areas of general management and strategic change. He is especially interested in business and management processes, organizational learning, and the design and leadership of large, complex organizations. He is also deeply interested in case method teaching. He is the author or co-author of ten books, including Rethinking the MBA (selected by Strategy + Business as one of the Best Business Books of 2010), General Management: Processes and Action, Learning in Action, Education for Judgment, and Managing Quality; more than thirty-five articles, including "How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management," "Change Through Persuasion," "What Every CEO Should Know About Creating New Businesses," and "What You Don't Know About Making Decisions;" eight CD-ROMs and videotape series, including A Case Study Teacher in Action, Working Smarter, and Putting the Learning Organization to Work; and over sixty HBS case studies, multimedia exercises, and technical notes. He is a three-time winner of the McKinsey Award, given annually for the best article in Harvard Business Review; a winner of the Beckhard Prize, given annually for the best article on planned change and organizational development in Sloan Management Review; and a winner of the Smith-Weld Prize, given annually for the best article on the University in Harvard Magazine. He has been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Economist, Business Week, Fortune, and Fast Company.

Professor Garvin received an A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1974, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. in 1979, where he held a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship.

Prior to coming to the Business School, he worked as an economist for both the Federal Trade Commission, studying federal energy policies, and the Sloan Commission on Government and Higher Education, studying the impact of federal regulation on the academic and financial policies of colleges and universities. He has served on the Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Manufacturing Studies Board of the National Research Council, and the Board of Directors of Emerson Hospital.

In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, bicycling, and travel. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife, Lynn, and his daughters, Diana and Cynthia.

  1. Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads (Datar, Garvin, Cullen, Harvard Business Press, 2010) was selected by Strategy + Business as one of the Best Business Books of 2010.

  2. Robert F. Greenhill Award for service, Harvard Business School, 2005.

  3. Smith-Weld Prize for the best Harvard Magazine article about the University, 2003.

  4. Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for the best MIT Sloan Management Review article on planned change and organizational development, 1998.

  5. McKinsey Award, Second Place for the best article in Harvard Business Review, 1993.

  6. National University Continuing Education Association Frandson Award for Outstanding Publication in Higher Education, 1992.

  7. International Film and TV Festival of New York, Finalist, Film, Video, Slide and A/V Productions Competition, 1991.

  8. McKinsey Award, First Place for the best article in Harvard Business Review, 1982.

  9. McKinsey Award, First Place for the best article in Harvard Business Review, 1981.