Ian Mitroff

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Ian I. Mitroff (born 1938) is an American organizational theorist, consultant and Professor Emeritus at the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.


Ian Mitroff studied at the University of California, Berkeley where he received a B.S. in Engineering Physics, a M.S. in Structural Mechanics (Structural Engineering), and a PhD in Engineering Science (Industrial Engineering). His minor for the PhD was the Philosophy of Social Systems Science under the direction of C. West Churchman.

Mitroff is Professor Emeritus from the University of Southern California, where he was the Harold Quinton Distinguished Professor of Business Policy at the Marshall School of Business. He also had a joint appointment in The Annenberg School of Communication at USC.

Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health at St. Louis University, and an Adjunct Professor in the College of Environmental Design and a Senior Investigator in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, University of California Berkeley. He is also the President of the consulting firm Mitroff Crisis Management. Mitroff has advised and influenced various academic, corporate, and government leaders in over twenty foreign countries.

Mitroff is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Management and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1992-1993, he was President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. In September 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor’s degree from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Stockholm. In September 2006, he was awarded a gold medal by the UK Systems Society for his lifelong contributions to systems thinking.

Mitroff is a member of editorial boards in several management and social science journals. He is also a frequent guest on national radio and TV talk shows including the “Window On Wall Street” (CNN Financial News), the “Dick Cavett Show” (CNBC, New York), “Late Night America” (PBS TV), “Marketplace” (National Public Radio), and “Business Unusual,” (CNN Financial News).


Mitroff's teaching and research interests are in the management of organizational crises, spirituality at work, and applied epistemology (complex problem solving).[1] He has published in the fields of business policy, Crisis management, Corporate culture, Contemporary media, Current events, Foreign affairs, Nuclear deterrence, Organizational change, Organizational psychology and psychiatry, Philosophy of science, Public policy, Sociology of science, Scientific method, Spirituality in the workplace and Strategic planning.


He has published over 300 articles and over 30 books. A selection:[2]

  • 1974. The Subjective Side of Science: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Psychology of the Apollo Moon Scientists. Elsevier, Amsterdam (reissued in 1984 by Intersystems Publishers, Seaside, California).
  • 1978. Methodological Approaches to Social Science: Integrating Divergent Concepts and Theories. With Ralph Kilmann. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • 1981. Challenging Strategic Planning Assumptions, Theory, Cases, and Techniques. With Richard O. Mason. John Wiley, New York.
  • 1982. Creating A Dialectical Social Science: Concepts, Methods, and Models. With Richard O. Mason and D. Reidel. John Wiley, New York.
  • 1983 The 1980 Census: Policymaking Amid Turbulence. With Richard O. Mason and V.P. Barabba. Lexington Books, Massachusetts.
  • 1983. Stakeholders of the Organizational Mind: Toward A New View of Policy Making. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • 1984. Corporate Tragedies, Product Tampering, Sabotage, and Other Catastrophes. With Ralph Kilmann. Praeger, New York.
  • 1987. Business Not As Usual, Rethinking Our Individual, Corporate, and Industrial Strategies for Global Competition. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • 1988. Break-Away Thinking, How To Challenge Your Business Assumptions. John Wiley, New York.
  • 1989. The Unreality Industry, The Deliberate Manufacturing of Falsehood and What It Is Doing to Our Lives. With Bennis, Warren. Birch Lane Press, New York.
  • 1990. We're So Big And Powerful Nothing Bad Can Happen To Us: An Investigation of America's Crisis-Prone Corporations. With Thierry Pauchant. Birch Lane Press, New York.
  • 1992. The Unbounded Mind: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking. With Harold A. Linstone. Oxford University Press.
  • 1992. Transforming the Crisis-Prone Organization. With Thierry Pauchant. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • 1993. Crisis Management: A Diagnostic Guide for Improving Your Organization's Crisis-Preparedness. With Christine M. Pearson. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • 1994. The Challenge of the 21st Century: Managing Technology and Ourselves in a Shrinking World. With Harold A. Linstone. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York.
  • 1994. Framebreak: The Radical Redesign of American Business. With Richard O. Mason, and Christine M. Pearson. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
  • 1996. The Essential Guide to Managing Corporate Crises.
  • 1998. Smart Thinking for Crazy Times: The Art of Solving the Right Problems. With Christine M. Pearson, and Katharine L. Harrington. Oxford University Press, New York. The Management of Crises and Paradoxes: Preventing the Destructive Effects of Organizations (in French). H.E.C., Montreal, Canada.
  • 1999. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America: A Hard Look at Spirituality, Religion, and Values in the Workplace. With Elizabeth A. Denton. Jossey-Bass Publishers Inc., San Francisco.
  • 2000. Managing Crises Before They Happen: What Every Executive Needs to Know About Crisis Management. With Gus Anagnos. AMACOM, New York.
  • 2003. Crisis Leadership: Planning for the Unthinkable. John Wiley, New York.
  • 2005. Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger And Better From a Crisis: Seven Essential Lessons For Surviving Disaster. AMACOM, New York.
  • Ian I. Mitroff and Abraham Silvers, Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely, Stanford Business Press (2009), hardcover, 210 pages, ISBN 978-0-8047-5996-0
  • 2011. "Swans, Swine, and Swindlers: Coping With The Growing Threat of Mega Crises and Mega Messes". With Can M. Alpaslan. Stanford Business Press.


  1. ^ Ian Mitroff, PhD Professor Marshall Goldsmith School of Management. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  2. ^ He has written articles in journals and newspapers such as the Journal of Industrial Crisis Quarterly, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Research in Corporate Responsibility, Executive Excellence, the Los Angeles Times, the Journal of Management Studies, the Chicago Sun Times, the International Herald Tribune, and others.

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