02 Dec 2021

Harvard Business School Faculty Recognized in 2021 “Thinkers 50” List


BOSTON—The recently issued 2021 “Thinkers 50” listing of influential management thinkers includes six Harvard Business School faculty members in its list of honorees.

The HBS scholars who were recognized include:

Professor Amy Edmondson, a pioneer of psychological safety, was ranked #1 overall. This is her fourth time appearing on the list. She also won the Thinkers50 2019 Breakthrough Idea Award for her book The Fearless Organization, and was the Thinkers50 2017 Talent Award winner. Edmondson’s blueprint on creating a fear-free culture is essential, she argues, for organizations to be able to thrive in today’s knowledge economy in which new ideas and critical thought are essential to success. She has also explored the concept of teaming in dynamic work environments, and demonstrated how cross-organizational teaming can impact the building of smart cities.

Professor Frances Frei was recognized with Anne Morriss as co-authors of the 2020 book Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. The book theorizes that popular leadership advice glosses over the most important thing you do as a leader: Build others up. Leadership isn’t about you, say Frei and Morriss, it’s about how effective you are at empowering other people—and making sure that this impact endures even in your absence. In Unleashed, they argue that the origins of great leadership are found, paradoxically, not in worrying about your own status and advancement, but in the unrelenting focus on other people’s potential. Frei was also on the shortlist for the Thinkers50 2021 Leadership Award.

Professor Francesca Gino was recognized for the third time. She previously was the winner of the Thinkers50 2019 Talent Award for her book Rebel Talent. Her research focuses on judgment and decision-making, negotiation, ethics, motivation, productivity, and creativity. She has studied how irrelevant factors and hidden influences can have profound consequences on decision-making and behavior, often diverting us from our original plans and desires. And she has spent over a decade identifying and studying rebels in organizations worldwide, arguing that the cultivation of rebel talent plays a key role in how businesses evolve and prosper in the face of fierce competition, and turbulent times. She also asserts that rebellion has an added benefit beyond the workplace, leading to a more vital, engaged, and fulfilling life. Rebels, with their unconventional outlooks, are among those who change the world for the better. By defying the status quo, they are masters of innovation and reinvention.

Professor Linda Hill was recognized for the sixth time. She was the Thinkers50 2015 Innovation Award for her work on leading innovation, in her book Collective Genius, and won the Thinkers50 Leadership Award in 2013 and 2011. Hill’s focus is on leading change and innovation, developing innovation ecosystems, and the role of boards in governing innovation, talent development, and implementing global strategies. She studies collective genius—the way great leaders empower creativity—and examines the challenges of being in charge. To become a better boss, Hill advocates mastering three disciplines: managing yourself, managing networks, and managing teams.

Professor Hubert Joly is appearing in the listing for the first time. He is also this year's winner of the Thinkers50 2021 Leadership Award. Joly is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Best Buy Co., Inc., and the author of The Heart of Business – Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism, a Wall Street Journal bestseller published by Harvard Business Review Press. The book is based on the philosophy behind the resurgence he led of Best Buy: Pursue a noble purpose, put people at the center of the business, create an environment where every employee can blossom, and treat profit as an outcome, not the goal.

Professor Tsedal Neeley is appearing in the listing for the first time. She was also on the shortlist for the Thinkers50 2021 Talent Award, and previously listed in the Thinkers50 2018 Radar Class. Recognized as one of the 100 people transforming business who are innovating, sparking trends, and tackling global challenges by Business Insider, her work focuses on how leaders can scale their organizations by developing and implementing global and digital strategies. She regularly advises top leaders who are embarking on virtual work and large scale-change that involves global expansion, digital transformation, and becoming more agile. Her recently published book, Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere, provides remote workers and leaders with the best practices necessary to perform at the highest levels in their organizations.


Mark Cautela

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.