Rakesh Khurana

American business academic

Rakesh Khurana (born November 22, 1967, in India) is an American educator. He is Professor of Sociology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Leadership Development at the Harvard Business School, co-Master of Cabot House and Dean of Harvard College.

Rakesh Khurana, 2015.


  • In the face of the recent institutional breakdown of trust in business, managers are losing legitimacy. To regain public trust, management needs to become a true profession in much the way medicine and law have...
    • Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria. "It's time to make management a true profession." Harvard business review 86.10 (2008). p. 70. Introduction
  • [There will be] a time when societies around the world are crying out for more and better leadership, when our current leaders (especially in business, but also in government and other spheres of public life) have lost legitimacy, questions are being asked, sometimes angrily, of the institutions that school these leaders: What kinds of leaders are these institutions developing that have caused so much hardship for so many?... What is the vision or model of leadership that animates the curriculum and developmental models [of current leadership approaches taught in institutions]? If there is such a model, does it need to be revisited, reexamined, and revised in light of the widespread failures of leadership? Do we really understand what it takes to develop better leaders?
    • N. Nohria & Rakesh Khurana (2010). "Advancing leadership theory and practice." In N. Nohria & R. Khurana (Eds.), Handbook of leadership theory and practice. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. p. 3
  • The development, strengthening and multiplication of socially minded businessmen is the central problem of business. Moreover, it is one of the great problems of civilization. Our objective, therefore, should be the multiplication of men who will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.
    • Rakesh Khurana (2010). From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 27
  • Neoclassical economic theory forms the central discourse and behavioral model of contemporary management education. Drawing on research and insights from game theory and behavioral economics we have argued that many of the core assumptions underlying this model are flawed. While we cannot say that the widespread reliance on the Homo economicus model has caused the highly level of observed managerial malfeasance, it may well have, and it surely does not act as a healthy influence on managerial morality. Students have learned this flawed model and in their capacity as corporate managers, doubtless act daily in conformance with it. This, in turn, may have contributed to the weakening of socially functional values and norms like honesty, integrity, self-restraint, reciprocity and fairness, to the detriment of the health of the enterprise. Simultaneously, this perspective has legitimized, or at least not delegitimized, such behaviors as material greed and optimizing with guile. We noted that this model has become highly institutionalized in business education. Fortunately, we believe that the potential for moving away from this flawed model is significant and thus can end this chapter on a more optimistic note for the future of business education.

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