Rebecca Henderson

Professor, Author and Authority on Reimagining Capitalism

Can business save the world? Can you? Rebecca’s research and teaching explores what it’s going to take to build a just and sustainable capitalism.

Reimagining Capitalism

A wake-up call and an indispensable guide for saving capitalism from itself

Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Reimagining Capitalism is now available for pre-order! It not only outlines how capitalism needs to change if we are to build a just and sustainable world, but also draws on twenty years of research in organizational change, innovation and disruption, and political theory in combination with a series of in-depth case studies to outline a practical roadmap for how we can get there from here. Business can change the world. You can help.

Recent Blogs

For ideas and insights on sustainability, innovation and technology

  • Tools for Talking to Skeptics

    A new semester of teaching my MBA class “Reimagining Capitalism” began last week. My colleague George Serafeim and I have over 300 people taking the course in four classes – nearly a third of the second year class. By way of introduction I asked everyone in my classes to send me a paragraph about why they were taking the course – particularly given that they could be taking obviously useful courses like “Power and Influence” or “Real Estate and Private Equity” instead.

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  • Do you have a moral duty to maximize profits?

    In class this week we’ve been arguing about whether publicly traded firms have a moral duty to maximize profits. It’s a contentious idea, but my own belief is that firms only have such a duty when markets are genuinely free and fair: genuinely competitive, properly priced and open to all comers. When this is not the case, to focus on nothing but profit maximization is, I believe, to betray the very commitments to freedom and prosperity on which the legitimacy of capitalism depends.

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Recent Media

The latest coverage of work and ideas

  • Driving Solutions for Climate Ready Food Systems

    Rebecca is joined by a number of speakers to discuss ideas on how we can reimagine food systems to meet the climate change we are facing today.

    The New York Times Climate Hub
  • TED Talk “To save the climate, we have to reimagine capitalism”

    In this TED talk, Rebecca describes how unchecked capitalism destabilizes the environment and harms human health — and makes the case for companies to step up and help fix the climate crisis they’re causing. Hear what a reimagined capitalism, in which companies pay for the climate damage they cause, could look like.

    TED
  • Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

    The world is on fire. Inequality is skyrocketing while climate change threatens to destabilize the entire economy. What can be done? Rebecca speaks with Professor Nava Ashraf about her new book, Reimagining Capitalism: How Business Can Save the World.

    The Marshall Institute
HBS Online

Sustainable Business Strategy

Too many business leaders think issues like climate change, inequality and social justice are for governments or nonprofits to consider. Their only concern, so the dominant way of thinking goes, is to deliver profits for shareholders. But Rebecca’s extensive research has revealed that socially responsible companies actually perform just as well if not better than those driven only by profit. In this course, Henderson uses case studies such as Walmart and Unilever to demonstrate the merits of purpose-driven firms, and show future and present business leaders alike how to devise and implement a Sustainable Business Strategy.

View Course