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 where 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).

Tushman was awarded the Academy of Management’s Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Management (2013) and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva (2008). Tushman received distinguished scholar awards in the Technology and Innovation Management (1999), Organization Management and Theory (2003), and Organization Development and Change (2016) Divisions of the Academy of Management. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Management (1996). Tushman received the distinguished scholar award at INFORMS’ Technology Management Section (2010) and was recognized as a Foundational Scholar in the Knowledge and Innovation Group of the Strategic Management Society (2014). He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society for Training and Development (2013). Tushman received The Sumantra Ghoshal Award for Rigour & Relevance in the Study of Management from London Business School (2011); HBS’s Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching (2013); and was named Lecturer of the Year at CHAMPS, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden, 2005).

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 host incremental as well as discontinuous innovation as well as leading those organizational changes associated with innovation streams. His work on ambidextrous organizational designs focuses on organizational and senior team characteristics that enable firms to exploit current capabilities as well explore into new spaces. He is working on the impact of distributed innovation on incumbent firms and the role of organizational identity in shaping a firm’s ability to handle paradoxical strategic requirements.

Tushman has published numerous articles and books including Lead and Disrupt: How to Solve the Innovator’s Dilemma (with C. O'Reilly), Stanford University Press, 2016; Winning Through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Renewal and Change (with C. O'Reilly), Harvard Business School Press, 1997; Leading Sustainable Change (with R. Henderson and R. Gulati), Oxford University Press, 2015; Navigating Change: How CEOs, Top Teams, and Boards Steer Transformation (with D. Hambrick and D. Nadler), Harvard Business School Press, 1998; 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. He and Mary Benner won the Academy of Management Review’s Best Paper Award (2004) and its Decade Award (2013). His papers with Charles O'Reilly won the Accenture Award from the California Management Review in 1997 and 2010.

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 its doctoral programs. 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 (PLD) and co-faculty chair of Leading Change and Organizational Renewal (LCOR). He has supervised many doctoral students, several who have won national awards for their dissertation research.

Professor Tushman has 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 served as chairperson of the Organization and Management Theory and the Technology and Innovation Management Divisions of the Academy of Management. Tushman is a 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.


  1. Program for Leadership Development

    by Michael L. Tushman

    Accelerating the Careers of High-Potential Leaders

    Successful businesses know that investing in the next generation of leaders is critical to sustaining competitive advantage and achieving corporate growth over the long term. The Program for Leadership Development (PLD) equips functional managers with the advanced decision-making and execution skills they need to excel as multifaceted leaders. You will emerge fully prepared to take on greater cross-functional responsibilities, facilitate change and innovation, and, ultimately, drive improved performance throughout your organization.
  2. Leading Change and Organizational Renewal

    by Michael L. Tushman

    Market-leading organizations habitually innovate, adjust quickly to new business conditions, and seize emerging opportunities before competitors do. They perform efficiently today while continuing to explore new sources of value for tomorrow. Such companies don't just happen; they're created by leaders who understand the importance of change. Leading Change and Organizational Renewal prepares you to lead a nimble organization—one that blends best practices, innovation, and evolutionary change.
  3. Organization and Management Theory

    by Michael L. Tushman

    This doctoral seminar explores fundamental aspects of organizations and organization theory. This seminar will cover various approaches to organizations and the institutional contexts within which they operate. We will pay particular attention to innovation and differential organizational outcomes, and the role (and limits) of agency within the firm and in institutional contexts. We will also discuss organization and management theory in the context of today’s society. In particular, we will explore the impact of sharply decreased communication and information processing costs on organizations and industries. This course is for students interested in understanding and, in turn, conducting research on macro-organizational topics. As research in organizations, institutions, and innovation areas are contested terrains, after moving through the basics we will focus on contentious and unresolved issues. 

  4. Leading Innovation and Change

    by Michael L. Tushman

    This portion of a doctoral seminar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education explores the relationship between innovation, organization design, and leadership in complex educational environments.  We pay particular attention to leading large system change.