MIT Leadership Center

MIT Thought Leadership Timeline

MIT Leadership Center

  • 1914

    MIT launches Course XV, Engineering Administration. At that time, the concept of providing business training in the academic environment was gaining popularity, thus MIT created a program “specially designed to train men to be competent managers of businesses that have much to do with engineering problems.

  • 1938

    The program received full funding by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and was formally named the MIT Sloan Fellowship Program for Executive Development at MIT.

  • 1952

    The MIT Sloan School opened its doors as a Sloan Foundation grant providing funds exclusively for research and exploration in the field of Industrial Management.

  • 1956

    Edgar Schein joins the faculty. Schein has made a notable mark on the field of organizational development in many areas, including career development, group process consultation, and organizational culture. He coined the term “corporate culture“

  • 1956

    Jay Wright Forrester, B.S., 1939; M.S., 1945 accepted a professorship in the newly formed MIT Sloan School of Management. His initial goal was to determine how his background in science and engineering could be brought to bear, in some useful way, on the core issues that determine the success or failure of corporations. Forrester’s insights into the common foundations that underlie engineering, which led to the creation of system dynamics, were triggered, to a large degree, by his involvement with managers at GE.

  • 1960

    Douglas McGregor’s book, The Human Side of Enterprise identified an approach of creating an environment within which employees are motivated via authoritative, direction and control or integration and self-control, which he called Theory X and Theory Y. Douglas McGregor taught at MIT Sloan from 1937-1948 and 1954-1964.

  • 1961

    Warren Bennis, Sc.D. ’55 wrote, ‘Revisionist Theory of Leadership’, HBR. Bennis was a pioneer in leadership studies and taught at MIT Sloan from 1959 to 1967

  • 1964

    Amar Bose, Sc.D. ’56, founded Bose Corporation. Bose was an MIT electrical engineering professor for 45 years.

  • 1967

    Jay Wright Forrester, (B.S., 1939; M.S., 1945 wrote the book, Industrial dynamics Forrester is a pioneer American computer engineer, systems scientist and professor at MIT Sloan School of Management from 1956- present (Emeritus). Forrester is known as the founder of System Dynamics, which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems.

  • 1969

    Richard Beckhard’s classic work, Organization Development: Strategies and Models, was published. Beckhard was an American organizational theorist, lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management from 1963-1984, and pioneer in the field of organization development.

  • 1972

    Donald Schon was appointed Ford Professor of Urban Studies and Education. Schon was an influential thinker in developing the theory and practice of reflective professional learning in the twentieth century.

  • 1980

    Kenneth Morse, BS ‘68, co-founded 3Com (later joined the MIT Sloan faculty)

  • 1984

    Birger Wernerfelt, Professor of Marketing and leading expert on organizational studies, wrote, “A Resource-based View of the Firm”, which is one of the most cited papers in the social sciences.   Werenfelt has done foundational and often iconoclastic work in economics, management strategy, and marketing.

  • 1985

    Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, publishes the first edition of, Organizational Culture and Leadership, which is regarded as one of the most influential management books of all time

  • 1986

    Eric von Hippel introduces the term, “lead user” in order to describe the phenomenon of user innovation – the notion that end-users, rather than manufacturers, are responsible for a large amount of innovation. Von Hippel is an economist and a professor at MIT Sloan, specializing in the nature and economics of distributed and open innovation. His work has applications in business strategy and free/open source software (FOSS) and von Hippel is one of the most highly cited social scientists writing on FOSS.

  • 1989

    Warren Bennis wrote On Becoming a Leader; Bennis was a pioneer in leadership studies and taught at MIT Sloan from 1959 to 1967

  • 1990

    Peter Senge , S.M ’72 (MIT), PhD ’78 (MIT Sloan) publishes his widely acclaimed book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Senge is a systems scientist who is a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan and founder of the Society for Organizational Learning. He has lectured extensively throughout the world, translating the abstract ideas of systems theory into tools for better understanding of economic and organizational change.

  • 1993

    Warren Bennis wrote An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change. Bennis was a pioneer in leadership studies and taught at MIT Sloan from 1959 to 1967

  • 1993

    Michael Martin Hammer, BS ‘68, MS ’70, PhD ’73 (MIT, EECS) wrote Reengineering the Corporation: A manifesto for Business Revolution. Hammer was an American engineer, management author, and a former professor of computer science at MIT, known as one of the founders of the management theory of Business process reengineering (BPR).

  • 1993

    Edgar Schein publishes the first edition of Career Anchors: Discovering your Real Values

  • 1999

    MIT Center for Digital Business founded by Erik Brynjolfsson MIT Sloan PhD ’91

  • 2000

    John Sterman, PhD ’82 authored “Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World“. Sterman is considered the leading expert on Systems Dynamics. He is the current director of the MIT System Dynamics Group at MIT Sloan. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and research and for his innovative use of interactive simulations in management education and policymaking.

  • 2004

    Thomas Malone wrote his groundbreaking book, “The Future of Work”

  • 2004

    Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer publish, "Presence"

  • 2005

    MIT Leadership Center launched – Passion to Action Summit – October 2005

  • 2006

    Thomas W. Malone, founded the Center for Collective Intelligence in to conduct research on how new communications technologies are changing the way people work together and to understand collective intelligence at a deep level so we can create and take advantage of the new possibilities it enables.

  • 2006

    Jack Welch, former CEO, General Electric – taught at MIT Sloan from 2006 – 2009.

  • 2007

    Otto Scharmer introduced the concept of “presencing” —learning from the emerging future— in his bestselling books Theory U (2007). He is an American economist, Senior Lecturer at MIT and the founding chair of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program and helps groups of diverse stakeholders from business, government, and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system.

  • 2007

    Deborah Ancona publishes her book, X-teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate and Succeed (2007)

  • 2008

    Dan Ariely wrote Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. In this book he challenges readers’ assumptions about making decisions based on rational thought. He taught at MIT between 1998 and 2008 where he was the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT. Although he is a professor of marketing  with no formal training in economics, he is considered one of the leading behavioral economists.

  • 2011

    Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Andrew publish Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy.   (October 2011)

  • 2014

    Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Andrew publish The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. (January, 2014)

  • 2015

    Hal Gregersen’s book, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovator’s (2011), gets published in its 15th language – Russian

  • 2015

    Ed Schein was the recipient of the 2015 Beckhard Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Organization Development (OD).  This annual award is given by the International Organization Development Association (IODA), and given Ed’s “many years of distinguished, continuous contribution,” this year’s Beckhard Award “will recognize and celebrate [Ed’s] lifetime achievement.”