The Sustainability Initiative builds on world-class teaching, research, and engagement across sectors by faculty across MIT. These scholars propel innovation in products and services, management practices, business models, market infrastructures and institutions, and public policy.

Research News Spotlights

Read about the cutting edge projects that are impacting management practice.

Matthew Amengual

Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER)

Professor Amengual’s research is motivated by a desire to understand how institutions can promote economic development that is both socially equitable and environmentally sustainable. To that end, he studies labor and environmental politics, regulatory institutions, and state-society relations in Latin America.

William Aulet

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Strategic Management (TIES)

William Aulet is a Senior Lecturer and Managing Director in the Martin J. Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
He conceived, developed, and teaches an MIT graduate-level class called “Energy Ventures,” which explores the new brand of entrepreneurship and innovation required to meet the energy challenge. He is also the chairman of the MIT Clean Energy Prize.

Barbara Dyer

Institute for Work and Employment Research

Barbara Dyer is Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management in the Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) and is president & CEO of The Hitachi Foundation. Ms. Dyer’s work has focused on the role of business in society with an emphasis at the intersection of people and profit.  In her role as president and CEO at The Hitachi Foundation, Ms. Dyer has urged greater emphasis on firm life-cycle impacts on people and social-value-creation and forged two major national collaborative philanthropic initiatives – Jobs to Careers with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the United States Department of Labor; and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions initially with the Ford, Annie E. Casey and Weinberg foundations.

Steven Eppinger

Operations Management

Steven Eppinger is the Co-Director of the System Design and Management Program at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research focuses on improving product design and development practices and the management of complex engineering projects such as development of automobiles, aircraft, capital equipment, software, mechatronics, and telecommunication systems. Eppinger is currently working on an analysis of DfE (or “green design”) methods for better product design.

Charles H. Fine

Operations Management

Charles Fine a Professor in both Management and Engineering Systems.  As co-director of the MIT-Tata Center for Technology and Design, he supports innovation that sustainably meets the needs of resource-constrained communities. His research focuses on supply chain strategy and value chain roadmapping, with a particular focus on fast-clockspeed manufacturing industries. Fine’s work has supported design and improvement of supply chain relationships for companies in electronics, automotive, aerospace, communications, and consumer products.

Stephen Graves

Operations Management

Graves develops and applies operations research models and methods to solve problems in manufacturing and distribution systems and in service operations. His current research is focused on supply chain optimization, strategic inventory positioning in a supply chain, and production and capacity planning for various contexts.

Leigh Hafrey

Managerial Communication

Since 1992, Hafrey has worked in professional ethics, with a focus on ethics and management, teaching courses at Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan and consulting with professional practitioners in the United States and abroad. For more than a decade now, Hafrey has moderated the Aspen Institute’s Seminar in Leadership, Values, and the Good Society, as well as other seminars sponsored by the Institute.  He runs the leadership curriculum for the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program.

Yasheng Huang

Global Economics and Management (GEM)

Yasheng Huang founded and runs the China Lab and the India Lab, which aim to help entrepreneurs in those countries improve their management skills. He is an expert source on international business, political economy, and international management. In collaboration with other scholars, Huang is conducting research on human capital formation in China and India, entrepreneurship, and ethnic and labor-intensive foreign direct investment (FDI).

Henry D. Jacoby

Applied Economics

Jacoby is a leader of MIT research and analysis of national climate policies and the structure of the international climate regime. He has been director of the Harvard Environmental Systems Program, director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, associate director of the MIT Energy Laboratory, and chair of the MIT Faculty.

Simon Johnson

Global Economics and Management (GEM)

Simon Johnson examines the challenge of systemic risk in the global financial system. He is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., a co-founder of BaselineScenario.com (a much cited website on the global economy), a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers, and a member of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee.

Valerie Karplus

Global Economics and Management

Valerie J. Karplus is an Assistant Professor in the Global Economics and Management Group at MIT Sloan and Director of the Tsinghua-MIT China Energy and Climate Project (CECP). Her research focuses on resource and environmental management in firms operating in diverse national and industry contexts, with an emphasis on emerging markets. Karplus is an expert on China’s energy system, including technology trends, energy system governance, and the sustainability impact of business decisions. 

David Keith

System Dynamics

David R. Keith is an Assistant Professor in the System Dynamics group at MIT Sloan. His research uses simulation modeling to examine the diffusion of new technologies in the automotive industry. He examines corporate strategy and public policy issues including spatial patterns of technology adoption, supply constraints in production, competition between existing platforms and emerging alternative fuel vehicles, and the impact of new technologies on energy consumption and environmental impacts. 

Chris Knittel

Applied Economics

Knittel is the Co-Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT. He has done extensive research on energy and environmental policy in the transportation sector. His research has appeared in The American Economic Review, The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Industrial Economics, and The Energy Journal. He also is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in the Productivity, Industrial Organization, and Energy and Environmental Economics groups.

Tom Kochan

Work and Organization Studies Group (WOS)

Tom Kochan focuses on the need to update America’s work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to catch up with a changing workforce and economy. His recent work calls attention to the challenges facing working families in meeting their responsibilities at work, at home, and in their communities.

Don Lessard

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Strategic Management (TIES); Global Economics and Management (GEM)

Don Lessard's research interests are on global strategic management, and project management, with an emphasis on managing in the face of uncertainty and risk and in the energy sector. He has published extensively on these topics in academic and professional journals, and is co-author of Strategic Management of Large Engineering Projects: Shaping Institutions, Risks, and Governance (MIT Press 2001 with Roger Miller). Don Lessard is also a co-chair of the MIT Energy Initiative’s Energy Education Task Force.

Shari Loessberg

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Strategic Management (TIES)

Shari Loessberg is an experienced entrepreneur in established and emerging markets. She has particular experience in emerging market venture capital fund formation, entrepreneurship in emerging economies, and the evolving issues and standards of corporate governance in the United States and abroad.

Thomas Malone

Information Technology

Tom Malone is the Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, where he oversees the Climate Colab project.  Malone teaches classes on leadership and information technology, and his research focuses on how new organizations can be designed to take advantage of the possibilities provided by information technology.

Robert McKersie

Work and Organization Studies Group (WOS)

McKersie is an expert source on industrial and labor relations with a focus on bargaining. He researches strategies being pursued by different industries to bring about more effective organizational changes.

Harvey Michaels

Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP)

Harvey Michaels teaches energy efficiency with focus on strategy innovation, and directs the MIT Energy Efficiency Strategy Project, which includes business/policy studies of utility, community, and smart grid–enabled efficiency deployment models. He is affiliated with the MIT Programs in Environmental Policy and Planning, as well as Housing, Communities, and Economic Development. Harvey also participates in the MIT Energy Initiative and the Campus Energy Task Force.

Fiona Murray

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, & Strategic Management (TIES)

Fiona Murray’s research interests focus on science commercialization, the organization of scientific research, and the role of science in national competitiveness. Her recent engagements have focused on innovation processes that span the public and private sectors. She is particularly interested in emerging organizational arrangements for effective commercialization of science, including public-private partnerships, not-for profits, venture philanthropy, and university-initiated seed funding.

Wanda J. Orlikowski

Information Technology

Orlikowski actively investigates the dynamic relationship between information technologies and organizations, with particular emphasis on structures, cultures, work practices, and change. She has examined the use of groupware technologies in organizations, as well as the social and technological aspects of working virtually. She co-teaches the Leading Sustainable Systems (L-Lab) class.

John Parsons

Center for Energy and Environmental Policy / Finance

John Parsons is a financial economist working in the area of financial risk management, corporate finance and valuation. He has applied these tools to a wide array of different industries, and has extensive experience in the energy industry and on environmental problems. Parsons is the Executive Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research and the Faculty Director of the Finance Track for the MBA program.

Nelson Repenning

Operations Management/System Dynamics

Nelson's work focuses on understanding the factors that contribute to the successful implementation, execution, and improvement of business processes. Repenning has received several awards for his work, including best paper recognition from both the California Management Review and the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Roberto Rigobon

Applied Economics

Rigobon’s areas of research are international economics, monetary economics, and development economics. In international economics, he focuses on the causes of balance-of-payments crises, financial crises, and the propagation of them across countries—the phenomenon that has been identified in the literature as “contagion.” He has developed econometric techniques to determine the existence of contagion and the extent of it.  He teaches courses on the macroeconomics of sustainability and entrepreneurship.

Anjali Sastry

Operations Management/System Dynamics

Sastry investigates organizational and managerial effectiveness in practical domains where the challenges are complex and the needs pressing. Her expertise lies in three areas: system dynamics—particularly applied to organizational change and evolution, global health, and action learning.

Otto Scharmer

Work and Organization Studies Group (WOS)

Scharmer is the founding chair of ELIAS (Emerging Leaders for Innovation Across Sectors), IDEAS Indonesia, and IDEAS China, initiatives focused on developing profound system innovations for a more sustainable world. He is also the founding chair of the Presencing Institute, a research initiative on developing and advancing social technologies for leading innovation and change.

Peter Senge

Work and Organization Studies Group (WOS)/System Dynamics

Peter Senge studies decentralizing the role of leadership in organizations so as to enhance the ability of employees to work productively toward common goals, and the managerial and institutional changes needed to build more sustainable enterprises—those businesses that foster social and natural as well as economic well-being.

Jeffrey Shames

Finance

Jeff Shames teaches classes in Finance and Leadership. Shames is a member of the board of trustees of the X Prize Foundation; of City Year, a national service organization; and of Wesleyan University; and is the chairman of the board of the Berklee College of Music.

Susan Silbey

Sociology and Anthropology

Susan Silbey is the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Sociology and Head of the Anthropology Department as well as an Affiliated Faculty member of MIT Sloan. Her research focuses on the management of environmental, health and safety hazards in workplaces, with special emphasis on the ways in which organizations achieve, or fail to achieve, compliance with legal regulations. She co–teaches the interdisciplinary undergraduate course, Energy Decisions, Markets and Policy: The Social Science of Energy, as well as the graduate courses in research methods and fieldwork.

John Sterman

Operations Management/System Dynamics

John Sterman's research includes systems thinking and organizational learning, computer simulation of corporate strategy and public policy issues, and environmental sustainability.  He has projects underway on communicating about climate change to policy makers and the public, and on creating markets for alternative fuel vehicles.

Zeynep Ton

Operations Management

Ton is currently examining how organizations can design and manage their operations in a way that creates value for employees, customers, and investors simultaneously. Her earlier research focused on the critical role of store operations in retail supply chains.

Karen Zheng

Operations Management

Zheng’s research focuses on studying behavioral and information aspects of supply chains. She is also interested in sustainability issues within operations management, specifically how consumers’ and other external stakeholders’ increasing concerns over health and the environment can affect supply chain strategies.