John Van Maanen


John Van Maanen


John Van Maanen is the Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management and a Professor of Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

He works within the fields of organization behavior and theory. Van Maanen is an ethnographer of organizations ranging in type from police organizations to educational institutions, as well as a variety of business firms. Cultural descriptions figure prominently in his studies of such diverse work worlds as beat patrolmen on city streets in the United States; police detectives and their guv’nors in London; fishermen in the North Atlantic; MBA students at MIT and Harvard Business School, and park operatives in the Sistine Chapel of Fakery, Disneyland (here and abroad).

In addition, he has worked with numerous public and private organizations in North America, Europe, and Asia, including BP, IBM, BMW, Siemens, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Lafarge, Mars, Warburg Dillon Read, Sabanci University, and the National University of Technology (Singapore). 

Van Maanen has taught at MIT Sloan since 1972. He has served as the faculty chair of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program at MIT and as the head of the Organization Studies Group within the Sloan School. He has been a Visiting Professor at Yale University, University of Surrey in the UK, INSEAD in France, and is an Honorary Fellow at Cambridge University. 

He is the author of numerous books and articles, most recently, Tales of the Field  (University of Chicago Press, 2011, 2nd edition). He and Edgar Schein recently coauthored Career Anchors (Wiley, 2013).  Van Maanen has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, including Administrative Science Quarterly, Human Organizations, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Human Relations, and Studies in Cultures, Organizations, and Societies.

He is a member of the American Sociological Association, the American Anthropological Association, and a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology. 

 Van Maanen holds a BA in political science and sociology from California State University at Long Beach, and an an MS and a PhD in social administration from the University of California, Irvine.



Van Maanen, John. In Case Theory in Business and Management: Reinventing Case Study Research, edited by Evert Gummesson, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing, 2017.

"Career Anchors and Job/Role Planning: Tools for Career and Talent Management."

Schein, Edgar H., and John Van Maanen. Organizational Dynamics Vol. 45, No. 3 (2016): 165-173.

"The Making of a Classic Ethnography: Notes on Alice Goffman's On the Run."

Bartunek, Jean M., and John Van Maanen, and Mark de Rond. Academy of Management Review Vol. 42, No. 2 (2016): 396-406.

"Making Culture Visible: Reflections on Corporate Ethnography."

Fayard, Anne-Laure, and John Van Maanen. Journal of Organizational Ethnography Vol. 4, No. 1 (2015): 4-27.

"Out of control: The French Police and the Rule of Law."

Van Maanen, John. Contemporary Sociology Vol. 44, No. 6 (2015): 770-772.

"The Present of Things Past: Ethnography and Career Studies."

Van Maanen, John. Human Relations Vol. 68, No. 1 (2015): 35-53.

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