Rosabeth M. Kanter
Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration
Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. She is also Chair and Director of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative, an innovation that helps successful leaders at the top of their professions apply their skills to national and global challenges in their next life stage. A collaboration across all of Harvard, the Advanced Leadership Initiative aims to build a new leadership force for the world.
Her strategic and practical insights guide leaders of large and small organizations worldwide, through her teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. The former chief Editor of Harvard Business Review, Professor Kanter has been repeatedly named to lists of the “50 most powerful women in the world” (Times of London), and the “50 most influential business thinkers in the world” (Thinkers 50). She has received 24 honorary doctoral degrees, as well as numerous leadership awards, lifetime achievement awards, and prizes. These include the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Career Award for scholarly contributions to management knowledge; the World Teleport Association's “Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year” award; the International Leadership Award from the Association of Leadership Professionals; and the Warren Bennis Award for Leadership Excellence. She is the author or co-author of 19 books. Her latest book, MOVE: Putting America's Infrastructure Back in the Lead, to be published in May 2015, is a sweeping look across industries at technologies shaping the future of mobility and the leadership required for transformation.
Her book The Change Masters was named one of the most influential business books of the 20th century (Financial Times). SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good, a manifesto for leadership of sustainable enterprises, was named one of the ten best business books of 2009 by Amazon.com. A related article, "How Great Companies Think Differently," received Harvard Business Review's 2011 McKinsey Award for the year's two best articles. Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End (a New York Times business bestseller and #1 Business Week bestseller), describes the culture of high-performance organizations compared with those in decline and shows how to lead turnarounds, whether in businesses, schools, sports teams, or countries. Men & Women of the Corporation, winner of the C. Wright Mills award for the best book on social issues and called a classic, offers insight into the individual and organizational factors that promote success or perpetuate disadvantage; a spin-off video, A Tale of ‘O’: On Being Different, is a widely-used tool for diversity training. A related book, Work & Family in the United States, set a policy agenda; later, a coalition of university centers created in her honor the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for the best research on work/family issues. Another award-winning book, When Giants Learn to Dance, showed how to master the new terms of competition at the dawn of the global information age. World Class: Thriving Locally in the Global Economy identified the rise of new business networks and dilemmas of globalization, a theme she continues to pursue in her new book MOVE and the Harvard Business School U.S. Competitiveness Project.
Through her consulting arm, Goodmeasure Inc., she advises numerous CEOs and has partnered with IBM on applying her leadership tools from business to other sectors as a Senior Advisor for IBM’s Global Citizenship portfolio. She has served on many business and non-profit boards, such as City Year, the urban “Peace Corps” addressing the school dropout crisis through national service, and on a variety of national or regional commissions including the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. She speaks widely, often sharing the platform with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and CEOs at national and international events, such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Before joining the Harvard Business School faculty, she held tenured professorships at Yale University and Brandeis University and was a Fellow at Harvard Law School, simultaneously holding a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan.
Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin & End
Is success simply a matter of money and talent? Or is there another reason why some people and organizations always land on their feet, while others, equally talented, stumble again and again? There's a fundamental principle at work -- confidence -- that makes the difference between winning and losing in any competition. Based on investigation of success and failure in companies such as Continental Airlines and Verizon and sports teams such as the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the arenas of education, health care, and politics, Kanter expores a new theory and practice of success and provides people in leadership postiions with a prescriptive program for maintaining a winning streak or turning around a downward spiral.
SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good
Supercorp is based on a 3-year study involving more than 350 interviews in 20 countries to identify the leadership practices and operating methods of major companies seeking profitable growth through innovation that benefits society. For example, when the tsunami and earthquake struck India in 2006, IBM did not just write a check. It used its core competence-expertise in technology-and its skilled people to accomplish what government and relief agencies could not: an information system and supply chain that tracked and managed the flow of relief supplies. Its efforts were crucial in avoiding the all-too-familiar problem in disaster relief-chaos and mobs of desperate people. IBM's actions, as well as many others reported on by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, capture the emerging zeitgeist of business: the vanguard company simultaneously pursuing-and creating synergy between-opportunity, growth, profit, humanistic values and social good. Vanguard companies have a sense of mission enabling them to deliver what their customers want in a way that is significantly better than the competition. As a formula for the future it brings together the necessity of financial success shareholders demand and the social conscience demanded from the new generation moving up the corporate ranks.
The Change Masters
The Change Masters looks behind the scenes at some of the most important companies in America, including Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Polaroid, General Motors, Wang Laboratories and Honeywell, to describe their organizational structures, their corporate cultures, and their specific strategies.
Big Think Videos
View a selection of Rosabeth Moss Kanter's videos on Big Think.
Advanced Leadership Initiative
At Harvard, Rosabeth Moss Kanter is chair and director of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, a University-wide faculty group aimed at deploying a leadership force of experienced leaders who can address challenging national and global problems in their next stage of life.
The goal of the Advanced Leadership Fellowship is to prepare experienced leaders to transition from their primary income-earning years to community and public service for their next years of life. The Fellowship is designed to enhance and leverage the skills of already accomplished leaders for maximum impact on significant social problems, including those that affect health and welfare, children and the environment.