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Deborah G. Ancona

Seley Distinguished Professor of Management, 1998 - present

Seley Distinguished Professor of Management, 1998 - present

Deborah G. Ancona
Seley Distinguished Professor of Management, 1998 - present
Faculty Director, MIT Leadership Center, 2003 - present

Deborah Ancona is the Seley Distinguished professor of management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and faculty director of the MIT Leadership Center. Her pioneering research into how successful teams operate has led directly to the concept of “X-Teams” as a vehicle for driving innovation within large organizations. Professor Ancona’s latest book, X-teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate, and Succeed, was published by Harvard Business School Press in June 2007. She received her BA and MS in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in management from Columbia University. Professor Ancona has served as a consultant to companies such as AT&T, BP, Credit Suisse First Boston, HP, and Merrill Lynch.  

Highlights of this interview include:

  • How a family upbringing of global travel inspired an interest in interactions among people.
  • Reflections on the 1976 integration of the UPenn College for Women with the university as a whole.
  • What an incident over “purple shoes” has to do with her career path in academia.
  • How an early interest in teamwork led to a career in organizational studies and leadership. 
  • Lessons learned from the recent financial crises about X-teams and distributed leadership.
  • Thoughts on MIT’s role as a global citizen over its next 150 years.

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