Robert S. Kaplan

Senior Fellow, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus

Robert S. Kaplan, Senior Fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, is co-developer of both activity-based costing (ABC) and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). Kaplan 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's research, executive program teaching, and consulting focus on aligning cost and performance management systems to strategy execution. He current works with Michael Porter on the HBS Value Based Health Care initiative to introduce time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) and value-based bundled payments to health care. The goal is to motivate the health care sector to restructure around delivering superior patient outcomes at significantly lower total cost. Another current project applies his strategy execution framework to help corporations create new regional ecosystems for inclusive growth. The strategies are designed to generate strong financial returns while transforming the socio-economic conditions of residents in low-income communities around the world. With Anette Mikes, he continues research and writing on new frameworks for implementing enterprise risk management. 

Kaplan has authored or co-authored 14 books and more than 175 papers including 26 in Harvard Business Review. He has co-authored five books with David P. Norton: The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage, 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 (AAA) for its impact on practice. He also co-authored Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing with Steve Anderson, Cost and Effect and Implementing Activity-Based Cost Management with Robin Cooper, and Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting, with H. Thomas Johnson, which received the AAA Seminal Contributions to Literature Award in 2007.

Kaplan received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University, and honorary doctorates from several international universities. Elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame 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), and Lifetime Contribution Awards from the Management Accounting Section of the AAA (2006) and the Institute of Management Accountants (2008). He continues to be a leading global speaker on strategy execution, and cost and performance management.

  1. Inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame in 2013 with David Norton.

  2. Awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Waterloo in 2008.

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

  4. 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).

  5. 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. 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).

  7. 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).