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An interview with Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Talking leadership the rise of social enterprise and the future for capitalism not to mention cowboys and pretend bulldogs.

By Stuart Crainer 01 March 2003

Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s intellectual remit is ever widening. In an exclusive interview with Stuart Crainer she takes in Rudy Giuliani on leadership, the rise of social enterprise and the future for capitalism, not to mention Confucius, cowboys and made-up bulldogs.


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Rather mischievously one reviewer called Rosabeth Moss Kanter “the Eartha Kitt of change management”. The Harvard Business School professor, one of the 50 most powerful women in the world according to one magazine, is amused by the comparison to the husky songstress. “I suppose it is very flattering, perhaps a way of saying that I've been a sustained performer over the years rather than appearing in a flash and then disappearing.” Then Kanter reflects on the comparison. “But how many people now know who she is?”

Another take on her place in the intellectual firmament comes from an introduction she received at a management seminar: “If Peter Drucker is the left brain and Tom Peters the right brain; Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the whole brain”.

While this sounds a little like the introduction of an over-stimulated boxing MC, there is no doubt that Kanter is intellectually formidable. Her career includes spells at Yale and Harvard Law School. She edited the Harvard Business Review, advises the CEOs of major multinationals and is active politically in public service – among other things she was chief economic adviser to Democrat Michael Dukakis when he stood for US President and served on Republican Mitt Romney’s steering committee for his transition from head of the Olympics to Massachusetts Governor.

Kanter is also one of the founders of the consulting firm Goodmeasure and involved in a host of other social and business activities.

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