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Arch GA 47.6

Leonard, Dorothy A., 1942 - . Dorothy A. Leonard Papers, 1971-2005: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Arch GA 47.6
Repository: Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: Leonard, Dorothy A.
Title: Dorothy A. Leonard papers
Date(s): 1971-2005
Quantity: 55 linear feet (110 boxes)
Quantity: 16 Megabytes (content from 117 disks)
Quantity: 1 website
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection includes papers of Harvard Business School professor Dorothy A. Leonard documenting her research, teaching, and professional activities.


The Dorothy A. Leonard Papers were received by Baker Library Special Collections as a gift from Dorothy A. Leonard in December 2003 and March 2004 (A-04-14, A-04-20, and A-04-21).

Processing Information:

Processed: December 2015
By: Liam Sullivan
Digital content on physical storage media has been reformatted when possible. Files were surveyed, screened for privacy and confidentiality concerns, and transferred to secure storage. Content open for research is described at the series and folder levels below.

Access Restrictions:

This collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification before using this collection.
Materials stored onsite. Please contact histcollref@hbs.edu for more information.
Restricted material has been identified and separated. Note that box and folder lists of restricted material have been redacted.
Digital use copies in this collection can only be accessed onsite in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room. To request access please contact histcollref@hbs.edu prior to visiting the library

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Dorothy A. Leonard Papers, 1971-2005. HBS Archives. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Biographical Note:

Dorothy André Leonard, also known as Dorothy Leonard-Barton, was born in 1942. Leonard earned a BA from Principia College in 1963, a MA from the University of Virginia in 1968, and a PhD from Stanford University in 1979.
Leonard's career as an educator began when she volunteered as a university teacher for the U.S. Peace Corps from 1965-1967. From 1971 to 1975, Leonard worked as a free-lance journalist in Thailand and Indonesia. She founded the Jakarta Business Bulletin in 1972 and managed it until 1975. At Stanford University, Leonard worked as a research and teaching assistant from 1975-1978 and a research associate from 1978-1979. From 1979-1980, Leonard worked as a policy analyst for SRI International . In 1981, Leonard joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management where she taught Research and Development Management, Managing the Diffusion of Innovations, and International Technology Transfer.
Harvard Business School hired Leonard as an Assistant Professor in 1983. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and full Professor with tenure in 1993. Leonard has served as the William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration since 1994. As a member of the Production and Operations Management (POM) Unit, later renamed the Technology and Operations Management (TOM) Unit, Leonard taught numerous courses for the MBA and Executive Education programs including Developing Strategic Technological Competencies, Developing and Managing Technology, Enhancing Corporate Creativity, The General Manager Program (TGMP), Knowledge Management, Leading Product Development, Leveraging Corporate Capabilities, Managing Global Opportunities, Managing Innovation, Managing International Collaboration, and Program for Management Development (PMD). Leonard worked with the HBS Doctoral Program as an advisor for theses and field studies. Leonard also taught customized courses for corporate clients such as 3M, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Johnson & Johnson, and as a visiting professor at universities including Stanford and the Athens Laboratory for Business Administration in Greece. Leonard served as faculty chair for multiple Executive Education programs: Leveraging Knowledge for the 21st Century, Leading Product Development, and Enhancing Corporate Creativity. She also served as Director of Research for HBS and Director of Research and Knowledge for the non-profit organization, HBS Interactive.
Leonard's record of consulting includes services offered to companies such as AT&T Bell Laboratories, Eastman Kodak, Exxon Corporation, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, MARKEM Corporation, Millipore, Monsanto, and U.S. West, as well as governments including Jamaica, Sweden and numerous state governments. Leonard has also served on corporate boards for several companies including the Board of Directors for American Management Systems from 1992 to 2004.
The main areas of research that Leonard explored throughout her career include Creating and Exploiting Knowledge-Based Assets, The Power of Tacit Knowledge, and Enhancing Group Creativity. Leonard is extensively published with numerous HBS case studies and working papers to her name as well as articles in academic journals. She served as Senior Editor for Organization Science from 1992 to 1994. Her book Wellsprings of Knowledge: Building and Sustaining the Sources of Innovation (1995) is considered the seminal work in the field of knowledge management. She also wrote two books with Walter C. Swap: When Sparks Fly: Igniting Group Creativity (1999) and Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom (2005).
Leonard retired in 2004, but continues to research and publish and serves as Chief Advisor for the Leonard Barton Group.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

This collection reflects the work of Dorothy A. Leonard as a teacher, researcher, corporate consultant, and administrative leader at Harvard Business School. A small number of materials also document Leonard's teaching and research while on faculty at MIT. Materials include letters received, copies of outgoing letters, teaching notes, classroom materials, overhead slides, case studies (some annotated by hand), collected literature on companies and industries, research surveys, datasets, interview transcripts, faculty memoranda, and student reports and evaluations.
The collection is divided into six series: I. Correspondence, II. Teaching Files, III. Research and Project Files, IV. Biographical, V. Harvard Business School Administration and Program Files, and VI. Harvard Business School Student Files.

Container List