Thomas Malone

Patrick J. McGovern (1959) Professor of Management
Professor of Information Technology
Director, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence


Thomas Malone Tom Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. He was also the founder and director of the MIT Center for Coordination Science and one of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century". Professor Malone teaches classes on organizational design and leadership, and his research focuses on how new organizations can be designed to take advantage of the possibilities provided by information technology.

For example, Professor Malone predicted, in an article published in 1987, many of the major developments in electronic business over the last decade: electronic buying and selling, electronic markets for many kinds of products, "outsourcing" of non-core functions in a firm, and the use of intelligent agents for commerce. The past two decades of Professor Malone’s groundbreaking research are summarized in his critically acclaimed book, The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). This book has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian.

Professor Malone has also published over 75 articles, research papers, and book chapters; he is an inventor with 11 patents; and he is the co-editor of three books: Coordination Theory and Collaboration Technology (Erlbaum, 2001), Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2003), and Organizing Business Knowledge: The MIT Process Handbook (MIT Press, 2003).

Tom Malone has been a cofounder of three software companies and has consulted and served as a board member for a number of other organizations. He speaks frequently for business audiences around the world and has been quoted in numerous publications such as Fortune, New York Times, and Wired. Before joining the MIT faculty in 1983, Malone was a research scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where his research involved designing educational software and office information systems. His background includes a Ph.D. and two master’s degrees from Stanford University, a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Rice University, and degrees in applied mathematics, engineering-economic systems, and psychology.

Faculty Media

  • Watch: Building Better Organizations with Collective Intelligence

    How can your organization be more productive, effective, and intelligent? By harnessing organizational approaches made possible by the latest communications technologies. In this webinar, MIT Sloan...

  • Innovation@Work Blog: Social Perception in the Workplace Makes Organizations Smarter

    Social perceptiveness is a kind of social intelligence; it’s the ability to discern what someone is thinking through some means of human observation. Find out how this skill can greatly influence...

  • Social Perception in the Workplace Makes Organizations Smarter

    In his research, Malone examined what makes a group smart. At the highest level Malone found three commonalities to highly intelligent teams: 1) The proportion of females in the group; 2) The...

  • The Gig Economy Can Actually be Great for Women

    If you’re an American worker, chances are your job either doesn’t grant you much flexibility or else requires far too much of it.

  • If You Ditch Bosses, Does the Workplace Still Work?

    Holacracy, it’s called, and it makes all previous moves toward “employee empowerment” look like the mild concessions of an 18th-century monarch.

  • Are Bosses Necessary?

    A radical experiment at Zappos may herald the emergence of a new, more democratic kind of organization.

  • Entrepreneurship is (or Should Be) Gender Neutral

    I hate the term “female entrepreneurship.” We don’t call entrepreneurial endeavors led by men, “male entrepreneurship.” We just call it entrepreneurship.

  • 4 Skills Every Leader Needs Now

    There is no shortage of advice on the topic of how to be a successful leader--from top 10 lists to actual formulas to entire books. But after four years of research, one MIT professor says what you...

  • Let Me Tell You About the Birds and the Bees: Swarm Theory and Military Decision-making

    “No single person knows everything that's needed to deal with problems we face as a society, such as health care or climate change, but collectively we know far more than we've been able to tap so...

  • Wikiclimate: Crowdsourcing’s Place in a Paris Deal

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Climate CoLab has launched a contest giving people the chance to flex their grey matter on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the likes of U.S., India...


Contact Information

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In Building Better Organizations with Collective Intelligence, MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone illustrates how collective intelligence works and what it can do for your organization.