Faculty & Research

Mary Rowe

  • Adjunct Professor of Management

Mary Rowe has been an Adjunct Professor of Negotiation and Conflict Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 1985. From 1973 to 2014, she also was an MIT ombudsperson reporting directly to the President of MIT.  As a conflict resolution specialist and an expert in interpersonal negotiations, Rowe heard from hundreds of people a year about serious conflicts and concerns. 

She named the concept of "micro-inequities,” experienced by people who are nontraditional in any context.  Rowe’s work led to MIT’s having one of the nation’s first harassment policies. In the 70’s and 80’s, she discussed “micro-affirmations," mentoring, and affinity networks as ways to promote diversity and inclusion.  She described the idea of "integrated conflict management systems.”  Rowe has written widely about organizational ombudsmen.

Her present interests include the uses of power in interpersonal negotiations, harassment, integrated conflict resolution system design, conflicts of interest and coping with difficult people.  Rowe is especially interested in the role of “bystanders” in helping to affirm professional and productive behavior within organizations and to constrain unacceptable behavior.  She consults widely to corporations, academic institutions, and government agencies.

Rowe holds a BA in history from Swarthmore College and a PhD in economics from Columbia University. 

  • "Dealing with—or Reporting—Unacceptable Behavior." Rowe, Mary, Linda Wilcox and Howard Gadlin. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association Vol. 2, No. 1 (2009): 52-64.
  • "Effectiveness of Organizational Ombudsmen." Simon, Mary and Mary Rowe. In The Ombudsman Association Handbook,, 401-422. Hillsborough, NJ: The Ombudsman Association, 2002.
  • "Comment: The Case of the Hidden Harassment." Rowe, Mary. Harvard Business Review, March 1992.
  • "New Issues in Testing the Work Force: Genetic Diseases." Russell-Einhorn, Malcolm L. and Jerome N. Weinstein. Labor Law Journal Vol. 38, No. 8 (1987): 518-524.
  • "The Ombudsman as an Ounce of Prevention." Rowe, Mary and John Reddy. Industry Vol. 51, No. 3 (1987): 42-44.
  • "Problems in Considering the Question, Should Mothers Mother or Should Mothers Work?" Rowe, Mary. In Child Care Reprints, Volume IV, Washington, DC: Day Care and Child Development Council of America, Inc., 1974.
  • "Economics of Child Care at Harvard-Radcliffe: Reports submitted to Child Care Council of Harvard-Radcliffe University, 1971 and 1972." Mary Rowe. Cambridge, MA: December 1972.
  • "‚ÄčEntrepreneurial Attitudes and National Integration: The Nigerian Case." Rowe, Mary and John R. Harris. In Nigeria: Modernization of the Politics of Communalism, 145-169. Chicago, IL: Chicago, IL, 1971.