John Sterman

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


John Sterman 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

  • Can a Norwegian Company with 'Oil' in its Name Transform into a Wind Company?

    John Sterman says oil companies are acting like a grossly overweight person whose doctor has just told them they're risking their life.

  • Partnership with Exxon Puts MIT’s Climate Action Vow to the Test

    MIT calls for an end to climate obstruction, says ‘engaging’ and ‘advocating frankly’ with its industry partners is the best route to climate action.

  • Climate Pledges So Far Would Allow Extensive Global Warming by 2100

    Current national commitments to cut greenhouse gases would likely allow average global temperatures to rise by 3.5°C by 2100, suggest new modeling results released today. That is well above the 2°C...

  • Limited Progress Seen Even as More Nations Step Up on Climate

    The pledges countries have made “are a big step forward, but not sufficient — not even close,” said John D. Sterman, a professor of management at MIT.

  • Debating Divestment

    Teams discuss pros and cons of eliminating all MIT stock holdings in fossil fuels.

  • MIT Debates Halting Investments in Fossil Fuel Companies

    Last week at MIT, the university gathered experts to hold a debate on whether it should divest from fossil fuel companies, which moderator Tony Cortese of the Intentional Endowments Network called...

  • MIT Hosts Debate on Pros and Cons of Fossil-Fuel Divestment

    Participants discuss a proposed elimination of oil, gas, and coal companies from endowment portfolio.

  • System Dynamics, Sustainability, and Earth Day

    Earth Day--which will celebrate its 45th anniversary on April 22--has come a long way since its inaugural kick off back in 1970. Capitalizing on the energy of the sometimes turbulent 70s, today's...

  • Beyond Incremental: Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan Takes Innovation to Scale

    Once companies tackle the low-hanging fruit of operational improvement—carbon footprints, energy-efficiency retrofits and waste reduction—they are ready to address deeper sustainability challenges.

  • WBUR Radio: Backlog of Maintenance Creates Snowball Effect

    In this radio interview, professor and MBTA rider John Sterman suggests focusing on the underlying systemic forces that have caused a “backlog of deferred maintenance” on the T.


Contact Information

Office: E62-436
Phone: 617-253-1951
Fax: 617-258-7579
Support Staff
Name: Jocelyn Climent
Phone: 617-258-5583