Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. His research and teaching interests center on the management issues related to the development and commercialization of technological and business model innovation. Specific areas of focus include developing organizational capabilities and finding new markets for new technologies.
Professor Christensen holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University (1975), and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics and the economics of less-developed countries from Oxford University (1977), where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1979, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. He was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992.
Prior to joining the HBS faculty, Professor Christensen served as chairman and president of Ceramics Process Systems Corporation (CPS), a firm he co-founded with several MIT professors in 1984. CPS is a leading developer of products and manufacturing processes using high-technology metals and ceramics such as silicon nitride and silicon carbide. From 1979 to 1984 he worked as a consultant and project manager with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he was instrumental in founding the firm's manufacturing strategy consulting practice. In 1982 Professor Christensen was named a White House Fellow, and served through 1983 (on a leave of absence from BCG) as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole.
Professor Christensen became a faculty member at the Harvard Business School in 1992. He taught courses in Technology and Operations Management, General Management, and Operations Strategy. He then developed a course called Managing Innovation. Professor Christensen currently teaches an elective course he designed called Building a Sustainably Successful Enterprise, which teaches managers how to build and manage an enduring, successful company or transform an existing organization.
Professor Christensen is the bestselling author of seven books, including his seminal work The Innovator's Dilemma (1997) which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, The Innovator’s Solution (2003), and Seeing What’s Next (2004). Recently, Christensen has focused the lens of disruptive innovation on social issues such as education and health care. Disrupting Class (2008) looks at the root causes of why schools struggle and offers solutions, while The Innovator's Prescription (2009) examines how to fix our healthcare system. He has recently released The Innovator’s DNA, and The Innovative University (2011).
Professor Christensen's writings have been featured in a variety of publications, and have won a number of awards, such as the Best Dissertation Award from The Institute of Management Sciences for his doctoral thesis on technology development in the disk drive industry; the Production and Operations Management Society's 1991 William Abernathy Award, presented to the author of the best paper in the management of technology; the Newcomen Society’s award for the best paper in business history in 1993; and the 1995 and 2001 and 2010 McKinsey Awards for articles published in the Harvard Business Review.
Professor Christensen was recently featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine. The feature article began: “Clayton Christensen beat a heart attack, advanced-stage cancer and a stroke in three years. Here's what he learned about life, death and fixing the health care system.”
Christensen served his mission in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973, and speaks fluent Korean. He served as an Area Authority Seventy in the North America Northeast area. He and his wife Christine are the parents of five children.