Not everyone would quickly recognize how having expertise in operations management helps when planning and cooking a “total chocolate” meal. But for Janice “Jan” A. Klein, Senior Lecturer in Management Science, there's a strong link.
Klein considers having success in scheduling, quality, and the other production aspects involved in pulling off an elaborate meal nearly as important as the artistic aspects of cooking.
“It was truly an integrated product and process development effort to create chocolate fettuccini alfredo,” she recalled. “It may sound strange, but turned out to be wonderful!”
Operations and organizational change
An expert in human resources management, operations management, and organizational change, Klein joined the MIT faculty in 1991. Her research focuses on the interface between operations and organizational change.
She is currently studying remote collaboration, including globally dispersed teams or so-called virtual teams. She has looked at the industry perspective of working on such teams and is now applying that to distance education in the System Design & Management program at MIT.
“We're working to improve the virtual experience both on and off campus,” she says.
“Most people focus on the collaborative technologies and on team building; both of those are essential, but they are not sufficient alone,” Klein reports. “With remote collaboration, it is also necessary to truly align the local and global priorities. We're learning that if you don't have a high priority at the local level for what you're trying to do on a remote basis, it just isn't going to work.”
From Iowa to MIT Sloan
A native of Iowa, Klein's academic credentials include a PhD in Industrial Relations from MIT Sloan, an MBA from Boston University, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University.
Prior to returning to MIT Sloan, she spent eight years at the Harvard Business School teaching Production and Operations Management. Her business experience includes working in both manufacturing and human resources at General Electric.
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