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  • Location: United States

One-Line Bio

I am professor at Harvard University with three children and a wonderful partner.


A brief introduction, in the form of a Q&A:

Q: Who are you?

A: I'm a professor of organizational behavior at Harvard Business School. My 'official' title is the "Marvin Bower Professor Leadership Development". I received my degrees in organizational behavior from Harvard's Ph.D. program in 1998, my A.M (Sociology) from Harvard in 1997, and my bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1990. I worked for three years as a founding team member of Cambridge Technology Partners before starting graduate school in 1994. After finishing my doctorate, I taught at MIT's Sloan School of Management. In 2000, I accepted an appointment at the Harvard Business School. My research focuses on managerial labor markets, elites, and business education.

I have written two books (and working on a third), edited one book, and regularly write articles on executive labor markets, MBA education, and leadership as an academic discipline. I am probably best known for two streams of research. One based on my book, Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs and related academic and managerial articles on the pitfalls of charismatic leadership. My work in this area is regularly featured by the general media such as: Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, CNBC, The Economist, Globe and Mail, The New Yorker and Corporate Board Member magazine. I also published opinion-editorials in some of these outlets.

The second work was my work on the institutional development of American business education in "From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Education and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession" (another mouthful of a title, sorry).

Q: What do you know?

A: I can claim some expertise in the area of economic sociology, especially in the dynamics of high-end labor markets, sociological interpretations of economic phenomenon, organizational theory, the institutional development and challenges confronting business education, and the Simpsons. As my family reminds me, this specialized training does not prevent me from commenting on most things, including politics, food, movies, books, and speculating about people's childhoods.

Q: What are your politics?

A: I’m an independent type with a strong view that social institutions are important civilizing forces. I believe in the open-society and that we should be skeptical of those who argue that the war of all-against-all is the natural state of mankind and that nature beats nurture. I try to understand both sides of an issue by reading alot and trying to undercut my own arguments.

Q: Why do you do keep a blog?

A: I love being an academic researcher and teacher (I really feel its my calling), but I think it is too easy to become overly-narrow and specialized in one's field. Personally, I find that my best ideas are stimulated by considering different disciplinary views on similar phenomena and thinking critically about institutions, especially those that are not debated. At the same time, I often hesitate putting out views that I have not at least given some thought to and reflected upon.

Q: Do you tell people about this site?

A: Not really. I have a link to the site on my official HBS biography, but you have to really want to know about me to find it because it is at the bottom of a lengthy description.

Q: Can I hold you accountable for what you write on this site?

A: No. I engage in lots of thought experiments and my comments might be suppositions rather than assertions.


Reading, jogging, playing with my three children, and trying to do everything right.