John Sterman

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


John StermanJohn 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

  • 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.

  • Audio: MBTA's Issues Run Deeper Than the Snow

    On WBUR-FM radio, MIT Sloan's John Sterman discusses the financial issues at the core of the problems for the MBTA.

  • System Dynamics for a Complex World

    John Sterman is drawn to complex issues. As director of the System Dynamics Group (SDG) at MITs Sloan School of Management, Professor Sterman specializes in understanding the dynamics of complex...

  • 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.

  • 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...


Contact Information

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