It is hard to think of anyone better suited to talk about business than Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
Her long, distinguished career has landed her a professorship in the Ivy league of American universities and in well-regarded lists of the world's most powerful and influential people.
She is an expert on leadership for change, strategy and innovation and has received 24 honorary doctoral degrees that prove it.
Moss Kanter shot to notoriety with the release of her book, Men and Women of the Corporation, which in 1977 explored ‘tokenism’ - how being a minority in the workplace could affect a person's performance because of enhanced visibility.
However, the book also gained serious attention for its discussion on the notion of ‘empowerment’, which argues that an organisation is most productive when employees are empowered to make decisions and authority is assigned through all levels of an organisation.
Men and Women of the Corporation won an award for the best book of the year on social issues and the concept of empowerment became central to one of Moss Kanter’s most influential works, When Giants Learn to Dance.
These two works would help form a trilogy with The Change Masters: Corporate Entrepreneurs at Work, and are the pillars of Moss Kanter’s stellar career as an academic and consultant.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Moss Kanter has gone on to research and write numerous other books. Her latest, Move: How to Rebuild and Reinvent America's Infrastructure: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead, tackles the problem of America’s ailing infrastructure by investigating how nimble modern businesses are connecting with their cities.
Her thinking as a business academic is informed by a humanist approach to management and has roots in her work as a sociologist. She takes an integrative approach that empowers employees and favours holistic management structures. Her aim is to give people leadership skills, which make the world a better place. She outlines some of these skills in her TEDx talk, ‘Six Keys to Leading Positive Change’.
She has received a huge amount of critical acclaim. The Change Masters was named by the Financial Times as one of the most influential books of the 20th century. Accenture listed her as a top ‘Business Intellectual’ in a study of Top Thinkers and Writers on Management topics. And, Good Housekeeping magazine named her as one of the 125 women who changed the world in the past 125 years.
Moss Kanter holds the distinguished Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School and she has become known for her talks on the impact of our highly networked world on strategy and leadership and how to harness change in the current business climate. Her talks often include compelling stories from companies around the world that are innovating and driving profits, growth and social good.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter is scheduled to be taking the main stage on Wednesday, 31st May at 11am.