JoAnne Yates is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management and a Professor of Work and Organization Studies and Managerial Communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Yates developed MIT Sloan's Managerial Communication curriculum starting in 1980. From 2007-2012 she served as Deputy Dean for programs at MIT Sloan.
Her research examines communication and information as they shape and are shaped by technologies and policies over time, in both contemporary and historical organizations. In her work on contemporary organizations, she has collaborated with Wanda Orlikowski (of MIT Sloan’s Information Technology group) and various students and researchers to study how groups and organizations use communication and information technologies, and how that use shapes their work. Specific studies have looked at the use of technologies such as electronic mail, instant messaging, the BlackBerry, and corporate blogging.
Her best known historical book is Control through Communication: The Rise of System in American Management (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989). Her most recent single-authored historical book, Structuring the Information Age: Life Insurance and Technology in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), provides insight into the largely unexplored evolution of information processing in the commercial sector and the underrated influence of corporate users in shaping the history of modern technologies. She is currently collaborating with her husband, Craig N. Murphy, professor of political science at Wellesley College, on a study of the history of voluntary consensus standard setting. An initial short book has already emerged out of that project: Craig N. Murphy and JoAnne Yates, The International Organization for Standardization (IS0): Global Governance through Voluntary Consensus (London: Routledge Press, 2009). Another, longer book (tentatively entitled Standards Bearers: Engineers and the Industrial Standardization Movement 1900-Present) is in process.
She is currently working with a team of faculty from the Work and Organization Studies Group on a social-psychological intervention to improve academic performance of underrepresented minority students.
Yates holds a BA from Texas Christian University as well as an MA and a PhD from the University of North Carolina.