Rosabeth Moss Kanter: Management guru

To mark 50 years of MT, here's the fourth in a series looking back at the best business brains since 1966.

by Andrew Saunders

Perhaps the first woman to achieve genuine management guru status, Rosabeth Moss Kanter hit the headlines back in 1977 for her seminal book Men and Women of the Corporation, an exposition of how organisational flaws and the inability of the powerless to take on the powerful were responsible for the underachievement of women at work, rather than any lack of talent or ambition on their part.

And although a good deal has changed since the late 70s when women at work were labelled, as Moss Kanter put it, either mother, seductress or mascot, her concept of empowerment as the way forward still resonates. In the 21st century, it applies equally well to those who suffer from being sidelined for their ethnic, sexual or gender identities and was the foundation stone of the diversity and inclusion industry.

Her interests range widely, from change management to self-confidence, corporate strategy and the demographic shift. Her penchant for thorough research has led to the admiring sobriquet 'The thinking woman's Michael Porter'.

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