Michael L. Tushman

Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professor of Business Administration
Chair, Program for Leadership Development

Michael Tushman holds degrees from Northeastern University (B.S.E.E.), Cornell University (M. S.), and the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. (Ph.D.). Tushman was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, from 1976 to 1998; he was the Phillip Hettleman Professor of Business from 1989 to 1998. He has also been a visiting professor at MIT (1982, 1996) and INSEAD (1995-1998, 2011). In 2008 Tushman was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva. In 2013 Tushman was awarded the Academy of Management’s Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Management. He also won the 2013 Academy of Management Review Decade Award for his paper with Mary J. Benner, “Exploitation, Exploration and Process Management: The Productivity Dilemma Revisited". Tushman was also the recipient of the 2013 Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching, and was the winner of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Professor Tushman is internationally recognized for his work on the relations between technological change, executive leadership and organization adaptation. His work centers on the role of senior teams in building organizations that can host both incremental as well as more discontinuous innovation as well as leading those organizational changes associated with these innovation streams. His work on ambidextrous organizational designs focuses on those organizational and senior team characteristics that enable firms to both exploit current capabilities as well explore into new spaces. He is working on the impact of distributed innovation on incumbent firms as well as the role of organizational identity on a firm’s ability to handle paradoxical strategic requirements. He has published numerous articles and books including Winning Through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Renewal and Change (with C. O'Reilly), Harvard Business School Press, 1997, 2002; Navigating Change: How CEOs, Top Teams, and Boards Steer Transformation (with D. Hambrick and D. Nadler,1998), Harvard Business School Press; Competing by Design: A Blueprint for Organizational Architectures (with D. Nadler), Oxford University Press, 1998; and Managing Strategic Innovation: A Collection of Readings (with P. Anderson), Oxford University Press, 1997, 2004.

Tushman teaches courses on leading innovation and organization effectiveness and on leading strategic innovation and change. At Columbia, he won the first W. H. Newman Award for excellence and innovation in the classroom. At Harvard, Tushman is involved in comprehensive and focused executive education programs, the MBA program, as well as the doctoral program. Tushman was the faculty chair of the Advanced Management Program as well as co-chair of the Management track of the DBA program. He is now faculty chair of the Program for Leadership Development and co-faculty chair of Leading Change and Organizational Renewal. He has supervised many doctoral students, several who have won national awards for their dissertation research.

Tushman is an active consultant and instructor in corporate executive education programs around the world. Tushman was senior advisor to the Delta Consulting Group and past trustee of IBM Credit Corporation. Tushman is a founding director of Change Logic.

Professor Tushman has also served on the boards of many scholarly journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Management Studies, Organizational Dynamics, and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. He has also served as chairperson of the Organization and Management Theory and the Technology and Innovation Management Divisions of the Academy of Management. Tushman was elected Fellow of the Academy of Management in 1996, and received the distinguished scholar awards in the Technology and Innovation Management (1999) and Organization Management and Theory (2003) Divisions of the Academy of Management as well as at INFORMS Technology Management Section (2010). His paper with Mary Benner won the Academy of Management Review’s best paper award in 2004. In 2010, his paper with Charles O'Reilly and Bruce Harreld won the Accenture Award from the California Management Review. In 2005, Tushman was named Lecturer of the Year at CHAMPS, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden). In 2011 he received The Sumantra Ghoshal Award for Rigour & Relevance in the Study of Management from London Business School. In 2014, Tushman was recognized as a Foundational Scholar in the Knowledge and Innovation Group of the Strategic Management Society.


  1. Senior Teams, Strategic Innovation ,and Large System Change

    by Michael L. Tushman

    Michael Tushman is investigating the relations between technological change, senior executive teams, and organizational evolution. With his doctoral students, Professor Tushman is exploring how innovation streams pose strategic challenges to organizations and their senior teams. Professor Tushman is exploring how different organizational architectures, particularly ambidextrous designs, affect a firm's ability to explore as well as exploit. He is also exploring the characteristics of senior teams that permit them to simultaneously explore as well as exploit.  Professor Tushman has also explored how dominant designs, or industry standards, affect organizational fates and industrial dynamics.
  2. Organizational Identity

    by Michael L. Tushman

    This research stream focuses on the role of organizational identity as a powerful tool to adjudicate the tensions between contrasting strategic requirements.
  3. Building Corporate Bridges: Social Networks, Strategic Interdependence and Interdependent Innovation

    by Michael L. Tushman

    A new project (Adam Kleinbaum's dissertation project) is underway to study the structure and consequences of social networks in organizations. This project takes social network analysis to an unprecedented scale, examining patterns of interaction among tens of thousands of people over a period of months. Our project is a joint effort between Adam, myself, and colleagues at IBM (the Office of the CIO and the Banking & Financial Markets sector of Sales & Distribution. Social networks are an important form of informal linkake across lines of business. Networks of interpersonal relationships promote trust, information sharing and coordination in organizations – all critical inputs to innovation. But most research on coordination between product divisions has focused on the role of formal structures: hierarchy and cross-divisional teams or task forces. Coordination research has not yet been smitten by social networking; no research to date has examined the roles of these formal structures in the context of informal networks of interpersonal communication. This study aims to fill that gap by studying the interaction patterns among tens of thousands of IBMers and examining their effect on inter-divisional coordination. In order to map the intraorganizational social network of IBMers, we’re taking the novel approach of relying on e-mail data. E-mail constitutes a ubiquitous form of communication, linking people in distant geographies and distant businesses with the exchange of information. Through the patterns of our e-mail use, we signal whom we communicate with, whom we rely on for information. We complement these e-mail data with HR data as well as calendar data.
  4. Towards Relevance and Rigor: Executive Education as a Lever in Shaping Managerial Practice and Faculty Research

    by Michael L. Tushman

    This project, in collaboration with Charles O'Reilly (Stanford), explores the impact of different executive education program designs on managerial learning and actions, organizational outcomes, as well as faculty research. We are exploring the extent to which action-learning executive education program design permits business schools to have accentuated impacts on managerial as well as organizational outcomes. We also explore the extent to which the collaborative relations central to action-learning workshop design facilitates enhanced faculty teaching and research. Finally, we are exploring boundary issues associated with action-learning executive education workshops.