Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Henry Mintzberg

Henry Mintzberg was born in 1939 in Montreal, Canada. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in 1961, and a bachelor’s degree in general arts from Sir George Williams (now Concordia) University in 1962. After a brief but formative stint in operational research for Canadian National Railways, Mintzberg completed master of science and doctorate degrees at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He returned to McGill University and became a full professor in 1978, and was later appointed Cleghorn Chair of Management Studies in the Desautels Faculty of Management, a post he still holds. He has also served as a visiting scholar at INSEAD (France), Carnegie Mellon University, and the London Business School, among others.

Mintzberg’s research interests have been leaders or managers – he does not differentiate between the two roles, and his method is in part to observe actual people as well as the organizational structure upon which their actions are contingent. He considers the basis and understanding of managerial work in this context. He also looks at the forms of organization and how different parts of the group work together. These foci inform Mintzberg’s work on strategy, both its formation and its implementation; Mintzberg is a widely regarded expert on strategy, above all.

Mintzberg is a well-known critic of the traditional MBA concept that “management as a practical matter can be taught effectively or subsequently exercised when divorced from any intimate knowledge of a particular business” (Witzel). This conviction led him to give up teaching at the undergraduate level and focus on building up a multi-campus coalition (Canada, France, Japan, India, and the United Kingdom) to deliver global management studies for promising executives sponsored by large corporations. He also supervises doctoral work.

Mintzberg has authored or co-authored fifteen books, including The Nature of Managerial Work (1973), The Structuring of Organizations (1979), Mintzberg on Management (1989), The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning (1994), Strategy Safari (1998), Managers not MBAs (2004), and Managing (2009). His body of work also includes over 150 management articles, among which are two Harvard Business Review McKinsey prizewinners (1975, 1987). He received the Strategic Management Journal Best Paper Prize in 2005.

Mintzberg was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a first for a management academic, as well as of the Academy of Management, the International Academy of Management, and the World Academy of Productivity Sciences. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and l’Ordre national du Québec and holds fifteen honorary degrees from educational institutions around the globe.

Oral history is an excellent method for collecting and interpreting memories and fostering new knowledge. Dr. Phil Scarpino, past president of the National Council for Public History and Professor of History at IU, exhaustively researches each recipient prior to conducting his interviews and uses the highest standards prescribed by the American Oral History Association.

The Tobias Leadership Center focuses on research and programs related to the study of leadership across all sectors – including corporate, public service, education, religion, medicine, and non-profit organizations. Its focus on multiple sectors and on both the practice and theory of leadership distinguishes its agenda among leadership programs nationwide. Through ongoing research in a variety of sectors, it generates knowledge about leadership and disseminates this knowledge through a variety of programs.

Oral History with Henry Mintzberg
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