Faculty & Research

Deborah Ancona

  • Seley Distinguished Professor of Management
  • Professor of Organization Studies
  • Director, MIT Leadership Center
  • E62-434
  • (617) 253-0568
  • (617) 253-2660

Deborah Ancona is the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management, a Professor of Organization Studies, and the Director of the MIT Leadership Center at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Her pioneering research into how successful teams operate has highlighted the critical importance of managing outside, as well as inside, the team’s boundary.  This research directly led to the concept of X-Teams as a vehicle for driving innovation within large organizations.  Ancona’s work also focuses on the concept of distributed leadership and on the development of research-based tools, practices, and teaching/coaching models that enable organizations to foster creative leadership at every level. 

She is the author of the book, X-Teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate, and Succeed (Harvard Business School Press, June 2007) and the related article, “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader” (Harvard Business Review, Feb. 2007).  In addition to X-Teams, her studies of team performance also have been published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and the Sloan Management Review.  Her previous book, Managing for the Future: Organizational Behavior and Processes (South-Western College Publishing, 1999, 2005), centers on the skills and processes needed in today’s diverse and changing organization.  Ancona has served as a consultant on leadership and innovation to companies such as AT&T, BP, Credit Suisse First Boston, Hewlett-Packard, Merrill Lynch, News Corporation, and Vale.

Ancona holds a BA and an MS in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in management from Columbia University.