John Kotter

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John Paul Kotter
John Kotter.JPG
Born (1947-02-25) February 25, 1947 (age 73)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard Business School
Occupationauthor, educator, management consultant, scholar

John Paul Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School,[1] an author,[2] and the founder of Kotter International, a management consulting firm based in Seattle and Boston.[3] He is a thought leader in business, leadership, and change.[4]

Early life[edit]

Kotter graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1968 and a Master of Science in Management in 1970. Kotter then completed his Doctor of Business Administration in 1972 at Harvard Business School. Kotter is an alumnus of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.


In 1972, the same year he completed his doctorate, Kotter joined the Harvard Business School faculty. He received tenure and a full professorship in 1981. He was later named the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership. Kotter retired as a full-time faculty member from Harvard in 2001.

In 2008, he co-founded Kotter International with two others, where he currently serves as Chairman.[5] The business consultancy firm applies Kotter's research on leadership, strategy execution, transformation, and any form of large-scale change.

Since early in his career, Kotter has received numerous awards for his thought leadership in his field from Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg BusinessWeek,[6] Thinkers50,[4] Global Gurus[7] and others.

Written Work[edit]

Kotter is the author of 20 books, 12 of which have been business bestsellers and two of which are overall New York Times bestsellers.[2]

Leading Change[edit]

In 2011, TIME magazine listed Leading Change as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Business Management Books" of all time.[8][9]

Our Iceberg is Melting[edit]

In 2006, Kotter co-wrote Our Iceberg is Melting[10] 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. In 2018, Kotter and Rathgeber published a re-written 10th anniversary edition of this international best seller.


More recently, Kotter released Buy In [11] (2010), A Sense of Urgency[12] (2008) and Accelerate (2014).[13]

His educational articles in the Harvard Business Review magazine continue to be among the magazine's top sellers.[14] His Harvard Business Review article "Accelerate!",[15] 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.[16]

Managing Your Boss[edit]

In the book Managing Your Boss, published on January 8, 2008,[17] John Gabarro and Dr. John Kotter speak to the benefits of managing your boss–clarifying your own and your supervisor’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, work styles, and needs.

The Heart of Change[edit]

Kotter and Dan S. Cohen interviewed and researched over 100 organizations in the midst of large-scale change for The Heart of Change: Real-life Stories of how People Change Their Organizations, published in 2002[18]. With chapters organized by each of the eight stages of change, there is a focus on connecting with people’s emotions and what will spark the behavior change and actions that lead to success.

Personal life[edit]

Kotter lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ashland, New Hampshire, with his wife, Nancy Dearman. They have two children.[3]


  • Kotter, John P. (1974). Mayors In Action. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 047150540-4.
  • Kotter, John P. (1991) [1978]. 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. (2008) [1985]. 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. (2011) [1992]. Corporate Culture and Performance. Free Press. ISBN 1451655320.
  • Kotter, John P. (1995). 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.
  • Kotter, John P. (2016). That's Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise and Fall--and Can Rise Again. p. 176. ISBN 978-0399563942.


  1. ^ Kotter, John P. "John P. Kotter - Faculty - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Kotter". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Professor John P. Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Thinkers 50 | Scanning, ranking and sharing the best management ideas in the world". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Bios - John Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Rating the Management Gurus". Businessweek. 2001-10-14. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Management Guru's |". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Complete List - The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books - TIME". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  9. ^ Medintz, Scott (9 August 2011). "Top 25 Most Influential Business Management Books: Leading Change (1996), by John Kotter". Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Our Iceberg Is Melting | John Kotter | Macmillan". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Buy-In - Kotter International". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  12. ^ " A Sense of Urgency (9781422179710): John P. Kotter: Books". Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  13. ^ " Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World (9781625271747): John P. Kotter: Books". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  14. ^ Hasbe, Sudhir. "25 Best-Selling Harvard Business Review articles of all time". Management and Strategy. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Accelerate! - HBR". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  16. ^ "The 2012 McKinsey Award Winners". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  17. ^ Gabarro, John J.; Kotter, John P. (2008-01-08). Managing Your Boss. Harvard Business Review Press. ISBN 978-1-62527-676-6.
  18. ^ Kotter, John P.; Cohen, Dan S. (2002). The Heart of Change: Real-life Stories of how People Change Their Organizations. Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 978-1-57851-254-6.

External links[edit]