FACULTY | Richard Locke
Richard Locke The Class of 1922 Professor of Political Science and Management is the Head of the MIT Political Science Department and the Deputy Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Locke’s current research is focused on improving labor and environmental conditions in global supply chains. Working with leading firms like Nike, Coca Cola, and HP, Locke and his students have been showing how corporate profitability and sustainable business practices can be reconciled. Locke has published 4 books — most recently The Promise & Limits of Private Power, Cambridge University Press (2013), based on his research on labor standards in global supply chains; Working in America with Paul Osterman, Thomas Kochan, and Michael Piore, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (2001;, Employment Relations in a Changing World Economy with Thomas Kochan, Michael Piore, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (1995); and Remaking the Italian Economy, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press (1995) as well as numerous articles on economic development, labor relations, and corporate responsibility..
Locke, along with MIT Sloan colleagues, spearheaded the development of the Laboratory for Sustainable Business (S-Lab), a course seeking to provide students with in-depth knowledge of the various sustainability issues society faces today. Locke also pioneered the popular Global Entrepreneurship Laboratory, a course that teaches students about entrepreneurship in developing countries by placing them in internships with startups in an array of companies in various emerging markets. As a result of this work, Locke was named a 2005 Faculty Pioneer in Academic Leadership by The Aspen Institute, awarded the MIT Class of 1960 Teaching Innovation Award in 2007 and the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching in June 2008.
Globalization and Labor Standards: Globalization, with its volatile mix of economic opportunity and social disruption, is redefining the experience of work and challenging national institutions that govern employment. The world of global supply chains links thousands of firms, large and small, extending across cultural and political boundaries. In this world, corporations, unions, NGOs, national governments, and even international labor, trade and financial organizations are all casting about, searching for new strategic directions and/or novel institutional arrangements for governing employment and work. But there is enormous uncertainty about their likely success – in particular, about their success in addressing three basic concerns about employment relations in the global economy: fair compensation, decent and healthy working conditions (including work hours), and rights of association. To get at these questions, I have been conducting a series of studies, all involving MIT graduate students, on labor conditions in different global supply chains.
Sustainability: This research seeks to understand the relationship between corporate environmental and social responsibility and profitability/competitiveness. Once viewed in competition, we are now beginning to understand the relationship between these two forces as complementary. Ultimately, businesses that neglect the welfare of the planet they share do so at the risk of eliminating their future customers and own organizational survival. In short, the sustainability of business and the ecological and human conditions of the society are unavoidably intertwined.
Can Global Brands Create Just Supply Chains? FORUM essay. Boston Review May–June, 2013.
Richard Locke, The Promise & Limits of Private Power Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 2013.
Co-author with Ben Rissing and Timea Pal, "Complements or Substitutes? Private Codes, State Regulation and the Enforcement of Labour Standards in Global Supply Chains," British Journal of Industrial Relations, doi: 10.1111/bjir.12003 (November 2012).
Co-author with Paul Osterman, Thomas Kochan, Michael Piore, Working in America, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 2001
Co-author with Monica Romis, "The Promise & Perils of Private Voluntary Regulation: Labor Standards and Work Organizations in Two Mexican Factories," Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 17, No. 1 (February 2010).
Co-author with Matthew Amengual and Akshay Mangla, "Virtue out of Necessity?: Compliance, Commitment and the Improvement of Labor Conditions in Global Supply Chains," Politics & Society, Vol. 37, No 3 (September 2009): 319-351
17.878 | Quantitative Research: Design and Methods
17.188J | Labor and politics
15.913 | Strategies for Sustainable Business Lab (S-Lab)
15.915 | Sustainable Business Lab (S-Lab)
15.389 | Global Health Delivery (G-lab)