In a letter to students Wednesday afternoon, Interim Dean of Harvard College Donald Pfister announced the selection of a new dean, Professor Rakesh Khurana, currently Co-Master of Cabot House. Professor Khurana will start as dean on July 1.
The Harvard Gazette has an official announcement of the news with an extensive write-up of Khurana’s background. His work focuses on the intersection between business, management, sociology, and ethics. It’s fascinating: Khurana holds the business world accountable for the responsibility it has to the good of society, primarily through the professionalization of management.
He’s sometimes known for advocating a “Hippocratic Oath for Management,” or the idea that “business is too important an institution only to be run by self-interest.” Here it is in 30 seconds:
For a more substantive look at his scholarly interests, check out this speech to the Drucker Forum, two years ago. The most controversial stance comes towards the end of the speech, in which Khurana posits that management as a profession ought to consider other motivations besides self-interest:
It is indeed a dark day age for capitalism when words like responsibility, accountability, and the common good have become derogatory terms. I am not against profit. I often see myself as a private in the capitalist army. But profit is only useful if it serves as a means to an end that provides a sense of both how to produce it, and how to make good use of it. If profit becomes the only imperative, if it is produced without concern for how it was produced, the negative externalities it might have generated–its impact on things like child labor or the environment–[could] risk destroying the thing that produced it.
Image Credit: Harvard Gazette