Robert S. Kaplan

Senior Fellow, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus

Robert S. Kaplan is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School. He joined the HBS faculty in 1984 after spending 16 years on the faculty of the business school at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he served as Dean from 1977 to 1983. Kaplan received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University. He has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Stuttgart (1994), Lodz (2006), and Waterloo (2008).

Kaplan’s research, Executive Education teaching, and consulting focus on linking cost and performance management systems to strategy implementation. His current research focuses on two topics: measuring and managing organizational risk and, in a joint project with Michael Porter, measuring the cost of delivering health care and linking patient costs to outcomes.

Kaplan was co-developer of both activity-based costing and the Balanced Scorecard. He has authored or co-authored 14 books and more than 150 papers including 23 in Harvard Business Review. Recent books include The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage, the fifth Balanced Scorecard book co-authored with David Norton, and Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing with Steve Anderson. His previous books with Norton include Alignment, Strategy Maps, named as one of the top ten business books of 2004 by Strategy & Business and amazon.com, The Strategy-Focused Organization, named by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young as the best international business book for year 2000, and The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action, which has been translated into 24 languages and won the 2001 Wildman Medal from the American Accounting Association for its impact on practice. He also co-authored Cost and Effect, Implementing Activity-Based Cost Management, and Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, which received the American Accounting Association Seminal Contributions to Literature Award in 2007.

Elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2006, Kaplan received the Lifetime Contribution Award for Distinguished Contributions to Advancing the Management Accounting Profession from the Institute of Management Accountants in 2008, and the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA) in 2006.  He received the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award in 1988 from the AAA, the 1994 CIMA Award from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK) for "Outstanding Contributions to the Accountancy Profession," and the 2001 Distinguished Service Award from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) for contributions to the practice and academic community. Kaplan speaks globally on performance and cost management systems.

  1. University of Waterloo. Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa: Awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Waterloo in 2008.

  2. Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award: Received the 2008 Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award (with David P. Norton) from the American Society for Training and Development.

  3. Financial Times/ Booz-Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award: Nominated as the 1996 Finalist for the Financial Times/Booz-Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award for The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action (with David P. Norton, Harvard Business School Press, 1996).

  4. Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature Award: Winner of the 1993 Notable Contributions to Management Accounting Literature Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association for Implementing Activity-Based Cost Management: Moving from Analysis to Action (with Robin Cooper, Larry Maisel, Eileen Morrissey, and Ronald M. Oehm, Institute of Management Accountants, 1992).

  5. Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature Award: Winner of the 1998 Notable Contributions to Management Accounting Literature Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association for The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action (with David P. Norton, Harvard Business School Press, 1996).

  6. Institute of Management Accountants. Lybrand Certificate of Merit: Winner of the 1999 Lybrand Certificate of Merit Award presented by the Institute of Management Accountants for "Transfer Pricing with ABC" (with Dan Weiss and Eyal Desheh, Management Accounting, May 1997).