Nelson P. Repenning

Professor of Management Science and Organization Studies




100 Main Street

Cambridge MA02142

Phone: 617-258-6889

Fax:     617-452-3172

Email: nelson at mit dot edu


Nelson P. Repenning is a Professor of Management Science and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His work focuses on understanding the factors that contribute to the successful implementation, execution, and design of business processes, particularly those in new product development. Professor Repenning has received several awards for his work, including best paper recognition from both the California Management Review and the Journal of Product Innovation Management. In 2003 he received the International System Dynamics Society Jay Wright Forrester award, which recognizes the best work in the field in the previous five years. His current work focuses on developing new methods for managing resources in multi-project development environments and the creation of management flight simulators as tools for improving organizational performance.


Supporting Models and Documentation for Recent Publications

Organization and Management


[1]    Black, L., P. Carlile and N. Repenning (2004). Formalizing Theoretical Insights from Ethnographic Evidence: Revisiting Barley's Study of CT-Scanning Implementations. Forthcoming in Administrative Science Quarterly.

[2]    Repenning, N. and J. Sterman (2002). Capability Traps and Self-Confirming Attribution Errors in the Dynamics of Process Improvement. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47: 265 - 295.

[3]    Perlow, L., G. Okhuysen, and N. Repenning (2002). THE SPEED TRAP: Exploring the Relationship Between Decision Making and Temporal Context. Academy of Management Journal, 5: 931 - 955.

[4]    Rudolph, J. and N. Repenning (2002). Disaster Dynamics: Understanding the Role of Stress and Interruptions in Organizational Collapse, Administrative Science Quarterly, 47: 1-30.

[5]    Repenning, N. (2002). A Simulation-Based Approach to Understanding the Dynamics of Innovation Implementation. Organization Science, 13, 2: 109-127.

[6]    Repenning, N. (2001). Understanding Fire Fighting in New Product Development, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 18, 5: 285-300.

[7]    Repenning, N. (2000). Drive Out Fear (Unless You Can Drive It In): The Role of Agency and Job Security in Process Improvement Efforts, Management Science, 46, 11: 1385-1396.

[8]    Sterman, J., N. Repenning, and F. Kofman (1997). Unanticipated Side Effects of Successful Quality Programs: Exploring a Paradox of Organizational Improvement, Management Science, 43, 4: 503-521.


System Dynamics

[9]     Repenning, N. (2003). Selling System Dynamics to (other) Social Scientists. System Dynamics Review, 19, 4: 303-327.

[10]  Black, L. and N. Repenning (2001). Why Firefighting Is Never Enough: Preserving High Quality in Product Development, System Dynamics Review, 17, 1: 33-62.

[11]  Repenning, N. (2000). A Dynamic Model of Resource Allocation in Multi-Project Research and Development Systems, System Dynamics Review, 16, 3: 173-212.



[12]  Repenning, N., P. Goncalves, and L. Black (2001). Past the Tipping Point: The Persistence of Fire Fighting in Product Development, California Management Review, 43, 4: 44-63.

[13]  Repenning, N. and J. Sterman (2001). Nobody Ever Gets Credit for Fixing Defects that Didn't Happen: Creating and Sustaining Process Improvement, California Management Review, 43, 4: 64-88.

[14]  Keating, E., R. Oliva, N. Repenning, S. Rockart and J. Sterman (1999). Overcoming the Improvement Paradox, European Management Journal, 17, 12: 120-134.


Book Chapters


[15]  Repenning, N. and J. Sterman (2000). Getting Quality the Old Fashion: Self-Confirming Attributions in the Dynamics of Process Improvement, Cole, R.B. and R. Scott (Eds.) Improving Theory and Research on Quality Enhancement in Organizations, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Working Papers


[16]  Repenning, N. (2001). Meanings, Measurements, Maps and Models: Understanding the Mechanisms of Continuous Change. Working Paper.

[17]  Bell, D., S. Newman, and N. Repenning (2002). Process, Practice, and Politics: Understanding the Relationship Between Documentation, Deployment and Daily Work. Working Paper.


On-line Models and Technical Documentation:

A Dynamic Model of Resource Allocation in Multi-Project Research and Development Systems: The Model

Unanticipated Side Effects of Successful Quality Programs: Technical Documentation