Lynn S. Paine

John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development

Lynn Sharp Paine is John G. McLean Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Harvard Business School.  A member and former chair of the General Management unit, she co-founded the School's required course on Leadership and Corporate Accountability and currently co-chairs the Senior Executive Program for China.  Ms. Paine's research focuses on the leadership and governance of companies that meld high ethical standards with outstanding financial results.  Her publications, including more than 200 case studies, have appeared in a variety of books, periodicals, and scholarly journals.  She is most recently co-author of Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business with HBS colleagues Joe Bower and Dutch Leonard

Her other books include Value Shift: Why Companies Must Merge Social and Financial Imperatives to Achieve Superior Performance (McGraw‐Hill 2003) and Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Integrity (McGraw-Hill 1998). Her most recent articles include “A Global Leader’s Guide to Managing Business Conduct” (with Rohit Deshpandé and Joshua Margolis), “Global Capitalism at Risk:  What Are You Doing About It?” (with Joe Bower and Dutch Leonard), and  “The China Rules: A Practical Guide for CEOs Managing Multinational Corporations in the People’s Republic”—all published in the Harvard Business Review

A member of Phi Beta Kappa and a summa cum laude graduate of Smith College, Ms. Paine holds a doctorate in moral philosophy from Oxford University and a law degree from the Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts bar and practiced law with the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow early in her career.  In addition to providing executive education and consulting services to numerous firms and industry groups, she has served on a variety of advisory boards and panels.   She was a member of the Conference Board’s Blue‐Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise after Enron’s collapse and the Conference Board's Task Force on Executive Compensation after the financial crisis of 2008. Ms. Paine is currently a member of the academic council of the Hills Program on Governance at CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) and one of three public members of the Governing Board of the Center for Audit Quality based in Washington, D.C. She was a director of RiskMetrics Group (NYSE) until June 2010, when it became part of MSCI Inc., and currently serves on the board of Atos SE (NYSE Euronext Paris).

Before joining the Harvard faculty in 1990, Ms. Paine taught at Georgetown University Business School and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business as well as National Cheng Chi University in Taiwan, where she was a Luce Scholar in 1976-77.  Since 1987 she has been a permanent member of the Henry Luce Foundation's Luce Scholar Selection Panel.  She and her husband, Tom Paine, have three adult children and live in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

  1. Capitalism at Risk

    The spread of capitalism worldwide has made people wealthier than ever before and raised living standards to new heights. But capitalism’s future is far from assured. The global financial meltdown of 2008 came within a hair’s breadth of triggering another Great Depression. Despite stirrings of recovery, economies in Europe are still teetering. And powerful forces—income inequality, resource depletion, mass migrations from poor to rich countries, and religious fundamentalism, to name just a few—continue to pose a serious threat to the prosperity capitalism engendered.

    How can the future of capitalism be secured? And who should spearhead the effort? Many observers point to government. But in Capitalism at Risk, Harvard Business School professors Joseph L. Bower, Herman B. Leonard, and Lynn S. Paine argue otherwise. While the authors agree that governments must play a role in saving capitalism, they maintain that businesses should lead the way. Indeed, for enterprising companies—whether large multinationals, established regional players, or small start-ups—the current threats to market capitalism present vital opportunities.

    Drawing on discussions with business leaders around the world, the authors identify ten potential disruptors of the global market system and diagnose the causes behind existing institutions’ inability to combat them effectively. They argue that companies must stop seeing themselves as bystanders and instead develop innovative business strategies that address the disruptors, produce profitable growth, and strengthen institutions at the community, national, and international levels. The authors then present examples of companies that are already making a difference.

    Filled with rich insights, this provocative new book presents a compelling and constructive vision for the future of market capitalism.

  2. Value Shift

    Today, corporate accountability is as vital to the bottom line as an effective business model.  Value Shift makes a strong case for the merits of corporate responsibility and shows how a value-positive orientation contributes to superior performance through better risk management, improved organizational functioning, increased shareholder confidence, and enhanced public standing.  Lynn Sharp Paine offers strategies for implementing an enterprise-wide value system and provides the tools need to build companies that can prosper in the new era of corporate accountability.

    Value Shift articulates exactly why the superior performers of the future will be those companies that can satisfy both the social and financial expectations of their constituencies.  By explaining the larger forces driving the current focus on scandals and ethics, Value Shift points to a new era in the corporation’s development and shows what managers can do to align their companies’ performance with the higher standard expected today.

  3. A Global Leader's Guide to Managing Business Conduct

    An extensive global survey by three Harvard Business School professors finds that employees agree on core standards of corporate behavior; but meeting those standards will require new approaches to managing business conduct. The compliance and ethics programs of most companies today fall short of addressing multinationals' basic responsibilities, let alone such vexing issues as how to stay competitive in markets where rivals follow different rules. Companies must bring to the management of business conduct the same performance tools and concepts that they use to manage quality, innovation, and financial results.

  4. The China Rules

    To achieve growth and profitability in the world's third-largest economy, multinationals need strong leadership--but China is tough on top executives. Pulsating with opportunity, China attracts foreigners, yet HR professionals continue to rank it as one of the most challenging destinations for expatriates. Many executives sent to lead operations in China are ill equipped to tackle the country's unique challenges. And it's hard to overcome that handicap, because leading in China calls for skills that go beyond--and in some cases conflict with--standard business teaching and practice. Foreign executives must be adept at reworking management orthodoxies in real time to do well there. Success requires cultural understanding and adaptability, market knowledge, the ability to sense and respond to rapid change, and support from headquarters. Most importantly, effective leaders have the crucial ability to play roles that Westerners often view as contradictory: they are strategic yet hands-on; authoritative yet nurturing; and action-driven yet circumspect. Above all, they have the intellectual dexterity to develop new frameworks and capabilities to meet China's particular circumstances. This article illustrates how CEOs have modified accepted wisdom to tackle their biggest challenges in China. Though some of the lessons may seem like common sense to experienced China hands, they're anything but to a freshman expat.