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London Business School professor awarded memorial prize

20 Aug 2015

Julian Birkinshaw wins the Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize.

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Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School, has won the ‘Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize’ for an article entitled ‘Combining Purpose with Profits’.

The award, presented by MIT Sloan Management Review, recognises the most outstanding MIT Sloan Management Review article on planned change and organisational development, published between autumn 2013 and summer 2014. 

The prize was awarded to Professor Bikinshaw and two co-authors, Nicolai J. Foss, Professor of Strategy and Organisation at Copenhagen Business School and Siegwart Lindenberg, Professor of Cognitive Sociology at University of Groningen.

Professor Birkinshaw says: “It's really pleasing to win this prize. Our intention in writing this article was to shift the debate towards how businesses can deliver on their purpose without sacrificing profit, and it’s great that the judges liked this perspective.”

The winning article, ‘Combining Purpose with Profits’, examines a familiar and important question for managers: how can the tension between purpose and profits be best managed? The authors explore the types of structures companies need to put in place to provide clarity and direction for employees, while also motivating individuals and drawing people together in a common pursuit.

The judges thought the article was well aligned with the beliefs of the late Richard Beckhard, organisational theorist and former MIT Adjunct Professor, in whose honour the award is named. 

This year’s panel of judges included distinguished members of the MIT Sloan School faculty: Erik Brynjolfsson, Schussel Family Professor of Management Science and Chairman of the MIT Sloan Management Review managing board; Cyrus Gibson and Erwin H. Schell, retired senior lecturers; and John Van Maanen, Professor of Management.