Professor of Organization Studies
Teaching at MIT Sloan since: 1970
It's a classic observation in our field that MBA students tend not to take organizational studies quite as seriously as their economics and finance courses, but that five years after graduation, they come back and tell us they wish they'd paid more attention! It's perfectly natural: the immediate necessity of responding to things like problem sets drives out the time for more open reflection and “softer” concerns. That's one reason it's fun for me to teach MIT Sloan Fellows — because their experience in the workplace has already taught them that organizational dynamics make all the difference in the world.
Right now, I'm trying to work with organizations on how to redesign their work practices so people can have decent lives. That's a little off the beaten path academically, but practically speaking the question couldn't be more important.
In the time I've been at MIT Sloan, the change has been tremendous. When I joined the faculty in the early ’70s, there were no other women professors and not many women students. There was a very enterprising young woman in Admissions at the time who had graduated from MIT Sloan herself. She grabbed me by the sleeve and we went all over the place, encouraging women students to join us. Single-handedly, she started the drive to enroll more women at MIT Sloan.
It has made an enormous difference to have so many other wonderful women here, students and faculty. Years ago, we started having monthly dinners to bring the women faculty members together; now we have so many that it's hard to have the dinners! But it's very, very good for the School.