Deborah L. Ancona

Faculty

Deborah L. Ancona

About

Deborah Ancona is the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management, a Professor of Organization Studies, and the Founder of the MIT Leadership Center at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Her pioneering research into how successful teams operate has highlighted the critical importance of managing outside, as well as inside, the team’s boundary. This research directly led to the concept of X-Teams as a vehicle for driving innovation within large organizations. Ancona’s work also focuses on the concept of distributed leadership and on the development of research-based tools, practices, and teaching/coaching models that enable organizations to foster creative leadership at every level.

She is the author of the book, X-Teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate, and Succeed (Harvard Business School Press) and the related article, “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader” (Harvard Business Review). In addition to X-Teams, her studies of team performance have also been published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and the MIT Sloan Management Review.  Her previous book, Managing for the Future: Organizational Behavior and Processes (South-Western College Publishing), centers on the skills and processes needed in today’s diverse and changing organization. Ancona has served as a consultant on leadership and innovation to companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bose, Takeda, Li & Fung, OCP, Accenture, ASA, and has served on the Board of the Penn Graduate School of Education and the working group of the Canadian Council of Academies.

Ancona holds a BA and an MS in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in management from Columbia University.  

Honors

Ancona wins Jamieson Prize

Publications

"The Secret Ingredient for Great Leadership: Sensemaking."

Ancona, Deborah. Latin Trade, September 2018.

"The Power of Leaders Who Focus on Solving Problems."

Ancona, Deborah, and Hal Gregersen. Harvard Business Review, April 2018.

"How to Cultivate Leadership that is Honed to Solve Problems."

Ancona, Deborah, and Hal Gregersen. strategy + business, April 2018.

"What Kind of Leadership Works Best at Your Company?"

Ancona, Deborah, and Hal Gregersen. Harvard Business Review, March 2018.

"A Year for Leadership in America."

Ancona, Deborah. The Hill, January 10, 2018.

"MBAs can Front a Revolution in Collaborative Leadership."

Ancona, Deborah, and Hal Gregersen. Financial Times, December 2017.

Load More

Recent Insights

Ideas Made to Matter

The 11 calling cards of a problem-led leader

To start, they approach leadership roles with reluctance and skepticism.

Read Article
Ideas Made to Matter

Lessons in corporate culture from a New York City restaurant empire

MIT Sloan MBA student studies what hospitality means for work environments.

Read Article