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.

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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

  • Female protester holding a "planet over profit" sign

    Capitalism in crisis: U.S. billionaires worry about the survival of the system that made them rich (Washington Post)

    Capitalism’s future is increasingly in doubt for the first time in decades. Even America’s business elite worry that without some kind of intervention, the very system that made them rich may fail.

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  • Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

    More than 80 alumni and guests gathered on March 7 in Los Angeles for an HBS faculty-led discussion on business and climate change. Drawing on 10 years of research and her hugely successful MBA course, Professor Rebecca Henderson used her keynote talk, “Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire,” to lay out a practical roadmap for how business can help to turn our world around—and how HBS alumni can help.

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  • HBS Professor Explores the Impact Purpose Can Have on Your Organization

    How does purpose impact an organization’s performance? That’s the question Harvard Business School Professor Rebecca Henderson explored during a recent lecture streamed via Facebook Live.

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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.

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