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

"Five Rules for Leading in a Digital World."

Ancona, Deborah. MIT Sloan Management Review, January 2020.

"Walking the Line Between Creativity and Chaos."

Ancona, Deborah, and Kate Isaacs. Latin Trade,, October 20, 2019.

"How to Give Your Team the Right Amount of Autonomy."

Ancona, Deborah, and Kate Isaacs. Harvard Business Review, July 2019.

"The 3 Types of Leaders of Innovative Companies."

Ancona, Deborah, and Kate Isaacs. HBR Ideacast, July 2019.

"Nimble Leadership."

Ancona, Deborah, Elaine Backman, and Kate Isaacs. Harvard Business Review, July 2019.

"The Secret Ingredient for Great Leadership: Sensemaking."

Ancona, Deborah. Latin Trade, September 2018.

Load More

Recent Insights

Ideas Made to Matter

5 business tips from MIT Sloan Management Review

Today’s leaders must meet critical short-term business needs without neglecting long-term challenges for technology or organizational modernization.

Read Article
Ideas Made to Matter

8 new insights from MIT Sloan Management Review

Start the new year with new questions and new ideas from the magazine.

Read Article
Load More

Media Highlights