Mintzberg, Henry 1939-

views updated

MINTZBERG, Henry 1939-

PERSONAL: Born September 2, 1939, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; son of Myer (a manufacturer) and Irene (Wexler) Mintzberg; married Yvette Hoch (an educator and potter), May 12, 1963 (marriage ended); married Sasha Sadilova, December 30, 2000; children: (first marriage) Susan, Lisa. Education: McGill University, B.Eng., 1961; Sir George Williams University, B.A., 1962; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, S.M., 1965, Ph.D., 1968. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Canoeing, bicycling, short-story writing.

ADDRESSES: Office—Faculty of Management, McGill University, 1001 Sherbrooke West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5, Canada. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Writer, educator, engineer, researcher, public speaker, and management consultant. Canadian National Railways, member of operational research branch, 1961–63; McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, assistant professor, 1968–70, associate professor, 1970–75, professor of management, 1975–82, Bronfman Chair in Faculty of Management, 1982–96, Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies, 1996–. Visiting professor, Carnegie-Mellon University, spring, 1973, Universite d'Aix-Marseille, 1974–76, Universite de Montreal, 1977–78, London Business School, 1990–91, and INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France), 1991–99. Director, joint doctoral program in management of the four Montrealarea universities, 1977–; lecturer. Founder and instructor, International Masters in Practicing Management, Advanced Leadership Program, and International Masters for Health Leadership. Consultant to businesses and government agencies in Canada, United States, and Europe.

MEMBER: Academy of Management, Corporation of Engineers of Quebec, Strategic Management Society (president, 1988–91).

AWARDS, HONORS: Canada Council leave fellowship, 1974–75; McKinsey Award for best article in Harvard Business Review, 1975, for "The Manager's Job: Folklore and Fact"; Canadian Department of External Affairs travel grant, 1975–76; Royal Society of Canada fellow, 1980; gold medal, Canadian Operational Research Society, for best publication by a member in 1980; Grand Prix des M eilleurs Livres de Management, Harvard L'Expansion for Structure et dynamique des organizations, 1983; International Academy of Management fellow, 1985; honorary member of the Institute of Management Consultants of Quebec, 1986; Academy of Management fellow, 1987; Economist de l'année, Le Nouvel Economiste (Paris), 1993; Laureat du Merit Annuel pour le Réalizations Exceptionnelles dans le domaine des Resources Humaines, L'Association des Professionnelles en Resources Humaine du Quebec, 1991; AMOD Special Award for Contribution to the Field, Association for the Management of Organizational Design, 1993; George R. Terry Award for best book of the year, Academy of Management, for The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, 1995; Prix du Quebec (social science), 1996; Distinguished Scholar Award, Academy of Management, Organization, and Management Tehory Division, 1996; World Academy of Productivity Sciences fellow, 1997; Officer of the Order of Canada and the l'Ordre national du Quebec, 1998; Academy of Management, Distinguished Scholar selection, 2000; Lifetime Achievement Award in Workplace Learning and Performance, American Society for Training and Development, 2003; Batten Fellow, Darden School, University of Virginia, 2003; recipient of honorary degrees from University of Venice, University of Lund, Universite de Lausanne, Universite de Montreal, Universite de Geneva, Universite de Liege, Simon Fraser University, University of Ghent, Lancaster University, Universite Parix IX (Dauphine), Concordia University, Memorial University, and McMasters University.


The Nature of Managerial Work, Harper (New York, NY), 1973.

(With J.W. Lorsch, J.P. Baughman, and J. Reece) Understanding Management, Harper (New York, NY), 1978.

The Structuring of Organizations: A Synthesis of the Research, Prentice-Hall (Indianapolis, IN), 1979.

(Contributor) Schendel and Hofer, editors, Strategic Management, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1979.

Structure in Fives: Designing Effective Organizations, Prentice Hall (Indianapolis, IN), 1983.

Power in and around Organizations, Prentice Hall (Indianapolis, IN), 1983.

(Coauthor) Organizations: A Quantum View, Prentice Hall (Indianapolis, IN), 1984.

Mintzberg on Management: Inside our Strange World of Organizations, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1989.

The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning: Reconceiving Roles for Planning, Plans, Planners, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1994.

The Canadian Condition: Reflections of a "Pure Cotton," Stoddart, 1995.

(Coauthor) Readings in the Strategy Process, Prentice Hall (Indianapolis, IN), 1998.

(Coauthor) The Strategy Process, Prentice Hall, 1998, 4th edition, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2003.

(Coauthor) Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour through the Wilds of Strategic Management, Free Press, 1998.

Why I Hate Flying: Tales for the Tormented Traveler (humor), Texere (Detroit, MI), 2000.

(With Jacques Bourgault) Managing Publicly, Institute of Public Administration of Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development, Barrett-Koehler Publishers (San Francisco, CA), 2004.

Strategy Bites Back: It Is Far More, and Less, Than You Ever Imagined, Prentice Hall (Indianapolis, IN), 2005.

Also author of several monographs and of "Clues to Executive Time Control," AMACOM Cassette Program, 1978. Contributor to books, including Corporate Planning, edited by B.W. Denning, McGraw, 1971; Perspectives on Management and Organizations, edited by Ponthieu and others, Random House, 1975; Business Policy, edited by W.F. Glueck, McGraw, 1976; Readings in Managerial Psychology, edited by Leavitt, Pondy, and Boje, University of Chicago Press, 1979; Leadership: Beyond Establishment Views, edited by Hunt, Sekaran, and Schriesheim, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1982; Decision Making: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry, edited by Ungson and Braunstein, Kent Publishing, 1982. Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Harvard Business Review, Management Science, HR Magazine, Sloan Management Review, Training and Development, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Journal of Management Inquiry, Organizational Dynamics, Ivey Business Journal, Health Care Management Review, International Journal of Public Sector Management, California Management Review, Organization Science, Globe and Mail, Financial Times, Montreal Gazette, Le Monde, Bangkok Post, and Administrative Science Quarterly. Member of editorial advisory board, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of General Management, and La Revue Internationale de Gestion.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A political pamphlet entitled Getting Past Smith and Marx: Toward a Balanced Society; Managing; and Organizing Coherently: Structure in Sevens, a revision of Structure in Fives.

SIDELIGHTS: Henry Mintzberg is a management expert and professor of management at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a founder of and instructor in the International Masters in Practicing Management (IMPM), a program that seeks to offer practical, real-world education and development to managers who are currently at work in the field. The IMPM "offers an alternative approach to management education, teaching students in five modules, each held in a different country and focusing on a different aspect of managing, over the course of 18 months," reported an interviewer in the Economist. Mintzberg is consistently critical of the quality of traditional MBA education. Students "don't get trained in the capacity for managing in an MBA program," Mintzberg said in the interview for the Economist. "You think you do, but when you end up in a managerial position, you don't really have much to turn to from your education" that is applicable to the real world of management. The standard MBA education creates "confidence without competence," Mintzberg stated in an interview with Steve Coomber in New Zealand Management. "Which to me is equivalent to arrogance." Effective "managers need specialized knowledge, to be sure, but more importantly, they need wisdom, which is the ability to weave knowledge together and make use of it," Mintzberg remarked in an interview with Stephen Bernhut in the Ivey Business Journal.

Mintzberg's conviction that business people are not properly trained to be managers in existing MBA programs is presented in depth in his book, Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development. "As he suggests, although MBA programs may be very good at churning out talented business people, adept in the basic functional areas, they are far less effective in producing true managers and leaders—despite all their hype and self-promotion," commented Anthony F. Buono in Personnel Psychology. MBA programs may well teach their graduates thoroughly about functional areas such as finance, marketing, economics, and accounting, but they lack a practical element and a context for how management should be applied in the real world. "Mintzberg argues that truly successful and effective management involves a combination of experience (craft), insight (art), and analysis (science)," noted Buono. Though Mintzberg is sharply critical of the state of MBA education, he provides numerous thoughtful suggestions for improving it. "Mintzberg's argument is clearly researched and set forth in a progressively logical and even convincing way," stated a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Training reviewer Skip Corsini called Managers Not MBAs "easily the greatest work on the studies and practices of management and the development of managers ever written."

In an earlier work, The Nature of Managerial Work, Mintzberg ignited controversy with a thorough study of what managers actually do on the job, rather than what conventional wisdom assumes they do. "Mintzberg's important contribution was to observe what managers did on a daily basis as the first step towards developing theory about their roles," noted reviewer Paul G. Thomas in Canadian Public Administration. Thomas continued: "The managerial life that Mintzberg discovered was hectic, fragmented and diverse—consisting of scheduled and unscheduled meetings (forty-nine per cent), telephone calls (six per cent), tours (three per cent), informal contacts (six per cent) and desk-work (twenty-two per cent)." Thomas reported that Mintzberg also concluded that management jobs consisted of eight basic types: "contract manager (figure head and liaison); political manager (spokesman and negotiator); entrepreneur (initiator and negotiator); insider (resource allocator); real-time manager (disturbance handler); expert manager (monitor and spokesman); new manager (liaison and monitor); and team manager (leader role)." Mintzberg "has never skirted controversy," Thomas remarked, "and the fact that his ideas are probably more respected today than when he first presented them is a clear indication that he was asking some of the right questions."

Mintzberg once told CA: "My short term interests are to find out all I possibly can about how organizations function. My long term interests are to apply this knowledge to questions of effectiveness in organizations and government. I also have a parallel interest—kind of a hobby—in the contrast between analysis and intuition.



African Business, November, 2004, review of Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development, p. 63.

Australasian Business Intelligence, October 21, 2004, David James, profile of Henry Mintzberg.

Booklist, July, 2004, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 1806.

Canadian Public Administration, summer, 2004, Paul G. Thomas, review of The Nature of Managerial Work, p. 243.

Economist, November 2, 2001, "An Interview with Henry Mintzberg"; May 15, 2004, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 81.

Financial Times, September 16, 2003, Michael Skapinker, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 16.

HRMagazine, September, 2004, Leigh Rivenbar, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 180.

Ivey Business Journal, September, 2000, Stephen Bernhut, interview with Henry Mintzberg, p. 18.

New Zealand Management, July, 2005, Steve Coomber, interview with Henry Mintzberg, p. 42.

Nilewide Marketing Review, August 15, 2004, profile of Henry Mintzberg.

Northern Ontario Business, August, 2004, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 2.

Personnel Psychology, summer, 2005, Anthony F. Buono, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 543.

Publishers Weekly May 17, 2004, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 45.

Training, November, 2004, Skip Corsini, review of Managers Not MBAs, p. 42.


Henry Mintzberg Home Page, (September 5, 2005).

[Sketch reviewed by personal assistant, Santa Balanca-Rodrigues.]