Robert Simons

Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration

Bob Simons is the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Over the last 30 years, Simons has taught accounting, management control, and strategy implementation courses in both the Harvard MBA and Executive Education Programs. During 2014/2015 he is teaching a second-year MBA course, "Designing Competitive Organizations," a module in the Owner/President Management Program, and "Driving Corporate Performance," a program for financial executives and general managers.  A book based on this work, Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution, was published in 2010 by Harvard Business Press.

Simons' previous book, Levers of Organization Design, was published by Harvard Business School Press in 2005. In addition, he has written two other books. The first, Levers of Control (HBS Press, 1995), describes how effective top managers balance innovation and control. This book won the Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature award. Simons' other book, Performance Measurement & Control Systems for Implementing Strategy (Prentice-Hall, 2000), provides an integrated set of accounting-based techniques for implementing strategy.

In addition to his books, Simons' ongoing research into the relationship between business strategy, organization design, and management control systems has been published in journals and books such as Capitalism and Society, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Contemporary Accounting Research, Accounting and Management: Field Study Perspectives, and Journal of Accounting Literature. His articles in Harvard Business Review include "Choosing the Right Customer" (March 2014), “Stress-Test Your Strategy” (November 2010), "Managing Risk in the New World" (October 2009), "Designing High-Performance Jobs" (July 2005), "How Risky is Your Company?" (April 1999), "How High is Your Return on Management?"(January 1998), and "Control in an Age of Empowerment" (March/April 1995).

A Canadian Chartered Accountant, Simons earned his Ph.D. from McGill University. Simons has served as a consultant to a number of corporations on strategy implementation, organization design, performance measurement, and strategic control. He has testified as an expert witness in U.S. Federal Court and before State Public Utility Commissions.

  1. Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature Award: Winner of the 2000 Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association for Levers of Control: How Managers Use Innovative Control Systems to Drive Strategic Renewal (Harvard Business School Press, 1995).