John Kotter

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Dr. John Paul Kotter (born 1947) is an author and American professor. He is currently the Head of Research at Kotter International and teaches in the High Potentials Leadership Program at the Harvard Business School.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kotter graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer science. In 1970, he received his Master of Science in Management (MBA) from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Kotter then completed his Doctor of Business Administration in 1972 from Harvard Business School. Kotter is an alumnus of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.[2]


In 1972, the same year he completed his doctorate, Kotter joined the Harvard Business School as a faculty member. He received tenure and a full professorship in 1981. Kotter was later named the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus.[3]

Kotter retired from the Harvard Business School in 2001. Later, in 2008, he co-founded Kotter International, where he's currently the Head of Research.[4] The business consultancy firm applies Kotter's research on leadership practices and change management strategies. He was named a "leadership guru" in October 2001 by a Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine survey.[5] In 2011, he was named to the Thinkers 50, a list published every two years that "is the definitive ranking of the most influential management thinkers in the world."[6]

Outside of Kotter International, Kotter is considered a sought-after speaker[7] and continues to deliver seminars in Harvard Business School's Executive Education Program including Advanced Management Program and High Potentials Leadership Program.[8]


Kotter is the author of 18 books, 12 of which are bestsellers.[9] His international bestseller Leading Change (1996), "is considered by many to be the seminal work in the field of change management."[10] The book outlined a practical 8-step process for change management. In 2011, TIME magazine listed Leading Change as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Business Management Books"[11][12]

In 2006, Kotter co-wrote Our Iceberg is Melting[13] with Holger Rathgeber where those same 8 steps were expanded into an allegory about penguins. In the book, a group of penguins whose iceberg is melting must change in order to survive while their iceberg home melts. More recently, Kotter released Buy In [14] (2010) and A Sense of Urgency[15] (2008).

His educational articles in the Harvard Business Review magazine continue to be among the magazine's top sellers.[16] His Harvard Business Review article "Accelerate!",[17] where he outlines a new type of business structure, won the 2012 McKinsey Award, recognizing it as the most significant article published in the magazine that year.[18]

Kotter has created two executive education videos: Leadership (1981) and Corporate Culture (1993). He also created a CD-ROM (1998) based on his book, Leading Change. In 2007, he released Succeeding in a Changing World which was awarded a Telly Award.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Kotter lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ashland, New Hampshire, with his wife, Nancy Dearman, and two children.[20]


  • Kotter, John P. (1974). Mayors In Action. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 047150540-4. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1978, 1991). Self Assessment & Career Development. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0138031487. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1979). Power in Management. Amacom Books. ISBN 0814455077. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1979). Organization - Texts, Cases, and Readings on the Management of Organizational Design and Change. R. D. Irwin. ISBN 0256022267. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1986). The General Managers. Free Press. ISBN 0029182301. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1985, 2008). Power and Influence. Free Press. ISBN 1439146799. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1988). The Leadership Factor. Free Press. ISBN 0029183316. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1990). A Force for Change. Free Press. ISBN 0029184657. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1992, 2011). Corporate Culture and Performance. Free Press. ISBN 1451655320. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1995, 1997). The New Rules. Free Press. ISBN 0029175860. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 978-0-87584-747-4. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1997). Matsushita Leadership: Lessons from the 20th Century's Most Remarkable Entrepreneur. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 9780684834603. OCLC 35620432. 
  • Kotter, John P. (1999). John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do. 
  • Kotter, John P. (2002). The Heart of Change. 
  • Kotter, John P. (2006). Our Iceberg is Melting. 
  • Kotter, John P. (2008). A Sense of Urgency. United States: Harvard Business School Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4221-7971-0. 
  • Kotter, John P. (2008). Managing Your Boss. ISBN 9781422122884. 
  • Kotter, John P. (2010). Buy In. ISBN 9781422157299. 
  • Kotter, John P. (2014). Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World. p. 224. ISBN 978-1625271747. 


  1. ^ "Professor John P. Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Professor John P. Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
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  9. ^ "Kotter". Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Aiken, Carolyn; Keller, Scott (April 2009). "The Irrational Side of Change Management". The McKinsey Quarterly. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  11. ^ Top 25 Most Influential Business Management Books
  12. ^ Medintz, Scott (9 August 2011). "Top 25 Most Influential Business Management Books: Leading Change (1996), by John Kotter". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Our Iceberg is Melting
  14. ^ "Buy In"
  15. ^ "A Sense of Urgency"
  16. ^ Hasbe, Sudhir. "25 Best-Selling Harvard Business Review articles of all time". Management and Strategy. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Accelerate!"
  18. ^ "The 2012 McKinsey Award Winners". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "Winners". Telly Awards. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Professor John P. Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 

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