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Joseph L. Bower Biography

JOSEPH L. BOWER, Baker Foundation Professor of Business Administration, has been a leader in general management at Harvard Business School for 45 years. The faculty chair of “The Corporate Leader,” until 2006 he served as the founding faculty chair of “The General Management Program,” both in Executive Education. An expert on corporate strategy, organization, and leadership, he has devoted much of his teaching and research to challenges confronting corporate leaders in today’s rapidly changing hyper-competitive conditions. Professor Bower has been active in the development of institutions and programs. Between 1968 and 73 he helped establish the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria. In 1978, he founded the Program for Senior Managers in Government at Harvard’s JFK School of Government; and in 1995 he founded the General Manager Program at Harvard Business School. Currently he is helping to build the new joint MBA-MPP degree program offered by the Business School and the Kennedy School of Government.

Presently, he is continuing his work on the management of CEO succession and leadership development while co-leading a project on The Future of Market Capitalism. The result of the project is a new book co-authored with Dutch Leonard and Lynn Paine, titled Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business, published October 2011 by Harvard Business Press. Based on three years of work and interviews around the world, the book draws on discussions with business leaders to identify ten potential disruptors of the global market system. Presenting examples of companies already making a difference, the authors explain how business must serve both as innovator and activist--developing corporate strategies that effect change at the community, national, and international levels.

His latest article is “Global Capitalism at Risk: What Are You Doing About It?" HBR Sept 2011. Others include "The Teaching of Strategy: From General Manager to Analyst and Back Again?," Journal of Management Inquiry Dec. 2008; "Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders," HBR Nov 2007; "How Managers' Everyday Decisions Create - or Destroy - Your Company's Strategy," (with Clark Gilbert) HBR Feb 2007; “Not All M&As Are Alike—and That Matters,” “Lead from the Center: How to Manage Divisions Dynamically,” and the award winning “Disruptive Change: When Trying Harder Is Part of the Problem,” all published in the Harvard Business Review.

Bower is also the author or coauthor of more than a dozen books: The CEO Within: Why Inside-Outsiders Are The Key To Succession Planning was published in November 2007 by HBS Press; From Resource Allocation to Strategy (with C. Gilbert) was published in 2005 by Oxford University Press, and won the Best Book in 2006 award from "Strategy and Management." The book on CEO Succession is the outcome of a decade's work on corporate value added. Previous work dealt with the strategic problems posed by the restructuring of industry throughout the world. A 1986 book entitled When Markets Quake: The Management Challenge of Restructuring Industry reports the first phases of that study. Other publications include Business Policy: Text and Cases (Irwin, 1982,1986, and 1991), Business Policy: Managing Strategic Processes (Irwin, 1995), and Managing the Resource Allocation Process (Division of Research, Harvard Business School, 1970) which won the McKinsey Foundation book award in 1971. As well, The Two Faces of Management: An American Approach to Leadership in Business and Government was published by Houghton-Mifflin in 1983. The January-February 1995 Harvard Business Review article he co-authored, 'Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave,' won the McKinsey best article award.

Professor Bower has also consulted widely on problems of strategy and organization with companies here and abroad. He is a director of Anika Therapeutics, Inc., Loews Corporation, New America High Income Fund, and Sonesta International Hotels Corporation. He is a life trustee of the New England Conservatory of Music and trustee of the DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park.

Professor Bower is a graduate of Harvard University AB '59 magna cum laude, MBA '61 a Baker Scholar with high distinction, DBA '63. Married to Elizabeth Potter, he lives in Cambridge, has two children and five grandchildren.

All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Joseph L. Bower for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Joseph L. Bower speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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