John Sterman

Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management / Professor of System Dynamics and Engineering Systems / Director, MIT System Dynamics Group


John D. Sterman’s research centers on improving managerial decision making in complex systems. He has pioneered the development of “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems. These flight simulators are now used by corporations and universities around the world. His recent research ranges from the dynamics of organizational change and the implementation of sustainable improvement programs to experimental studies assessing the public’s understanding of global climate change. Sterman‘s research includes systems thinking and organizational learning, computer simulation of corporate strategy, and the theory of nonlinear dynamics.

He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles on the challenges and opportunities facing organizations today, including the book, Modeling for Learning Organizations, and the award-winning textbook, Business Dynamics. His articles on the innovative use of interactive simulations in management education and corporate problem solving have appeared in Fortune, the Financial Times, BusinessWeek, as well as other newspapers and journals. He has been featured on Public Television’s News Hour, National Public Radio’s Marketplace, and CBS television.

Sterman twice has been awarded the Jay W. Forrester Prize for the “Best Published Work in System Dynamics.” He also has won a 2005 IBM Faculty Award as well as the 2001 Accenture Award for the “Best Paper of the Year” published in the California Management Review (with Nelson Repenning). Five times, he has won awards for “Teaching Excellence” from the students of MIT Sloan, and was named one of MIT Sloan’s “Outstanding Faculty” by the 2001 BusinessWeek Guide to the Best Business Schools.

Faculty Media

  • Brain science fires up the neurons of managers

    Featuring John Sterman

  • VIDEO-World Climate: Negotiating a Global Climate Change Agreement

    World Climate, a climate policy simulation model developed by Climate Interactive in conjunction with the System Dynamics Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management (including John Sterman),...

  • Action Learning Using Management Flight Simulations

    MIT Sloan has long been a pioneer among business schools when it comes to action learning: creating real-world applications of classroom knowledge. Management flight simulations are the latest such...

  • Mapping risk with the Beer Game

    As MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman told MIT Technology Review, theres no actual beer in the Beer Game. Instead, its an exercise for MIT Sloan students that simulates the supply chain of the beer...

  • John Sterman on the Power of Simulations

    At a recent MIT conference, Climate Interactive member Professor John Sterman provided an inspiring analysis of the relationship between big data, climate models and climate change action.

  • What the Future May Bring

    In his latest book, sustainable development expert Jorgen Randers offers an analysis of what the world will be like in the year 2052. Its not a pretty picture.

  • The Beer Game

    "There is no actual beer in the Beer Game," says John Sterman, the Sloan professor who is overseeing the proceedings for the 25th consecutive year. Rather, the Beer Game is a table game, developed...

  • Schools Turn to Videogames to Teach Entrepreneurs

    To teach entrepreneurs the skills they need, business schools across the country are turning to a new tool: videogames. These simulations let students make tough choices about how to build and...

  • Feel climate change to act on it

    In a paper that came out in Science in 2008, John Sterman, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technologys (MIT) Sloan School of Management, wrote about asking 212 MIT graduates to give a...

  • John Sterman Wins the System Dynamics Applications Award from the System Dynamics Society

    John Sterman and his team at Climate Interactive have won the System Dynamics Applications Award. The award is presented by the Society every other year for the best real-world application of...


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