Learn More About Rawi Abdelal
Recent trends like “The Great Resignation” and increasingly polarized political and social movements have presented organizations around the world with unique challenges. Leaders need a better understanding of what’s happening so they can respond in ways that bring about positive change for their business, employees and customers.
Having shifted his teachings from “examining the fragile state of the world” to “imagining the next global economy,” renowned Harvard Business School Professor Rawi Abdelal, former Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, is helping current and future business leaders understand the macro and micro forces driving these trends, how to make sense of the world we’re living in, and what they can do to help build a more sustainable, equitable future.
An award-winning professor of international management and one of the world’s foremost authorities on how globalization and geopolitics affect businesses, economies, supply chains and social structures, Abdelal says the next global economy will not resemble the last one in some fundamental ways.
“The frustrations people are feeling are not all about money. What people are craving is a sense of worth and dignity. They are looking for meaning and purpose in their work, to be treated equitably. They also want their employer to see their value and invest in them,” explains Abdelal, whose work focuses on empowering organizations to save capitalism from the ground up. “There are specific actions organizations can take – many of which require little or no financial investment – that can create a dramatic turnaround. We can’t wait for dysfunctional governments to fix these problems. It won’t work.”
In his executive education programs and MBA classes, Abdelal shares case studies demonstrating the success of programs that focus on building a culture of dignity and mentorship. His co-authored McKinsey article in April 2021, “The CFO’s Role in Capability-Building,” elaborates on this point, and offers actionable steps and critical insights. By connecting many pockets of frustration and helping participants “see things more clearly,” his facilitated conversations around topics such as dignity, equity and sustainability – which are by nature non-partisan since they touch on ideas most people support – have a unifying effect and lead to powerful transformations.
Abdelal is a widely published author and an eloquent and inspiring speaker, educator and storyteller. In his courses and lectures, he teaches about global financial systems, international politics, the influence of multinational firms on world politics, the transformation of energy markets, and policies affecting and emerging from Russia, China and India.
“We’ve been misdiagnosing why people are disenchanted with global and domestic capitalism. If business leaders want to attract and retain talent, they need to take a different approach. Teaching and mentoring is the most important thing leaders can do,” explains Abdelal. “People don’t want to work for companies that don’t seem to care about their talents or contributions. So, it’s a crisis of management and incumbent on management to create more interpersonal relationships. Mainly, to cultivate dignity.”
Rawi Abdelal is the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at Harvard Business School (HBS), faculty co-chair of the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative and faculty chair of the Harvard Business School/YPO Presidents’ Program. He has won the HBS Student Association’s Faculty Award for outstanding teaching several times, as well as the Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching.
During his 20 years on the HBS faculty, Professor Abdelal has served in a number of leadership roles, including as course head for the core course Business, Government and the International Economy, and as chair of the MBA required curriculum. In addition, he has chaired custom executive programs for firms around the world and has twice earned the Greenhill Award for service to Harvard Business School.
Professor Abdelal earned his doctorate in government from Cornell University, where he also received his master’s degree. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a President’s Scholar and graduated with highest honors.
Rawi Abdelal is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Leading in the Global Marketplace
What trends are influencing your business and how do you know if you are looking at the right signposts? In this powerful workshop, Harvard Business School Professor Rawi Abdelal – a leading expert on how political and economic trends shape contemporary business – offers participants a rare opportunity to ask and answer such questions, propose and explore alternate scenarios, discuss their current perceptions and share their future expectations. Acting as tour guide, coach and mentor, he works with participants on backcasting then forecasting possible futures so they can identify their challenges and goals. After going through Abdelal’s probing exercises, participants find their perspectives shifted by the surprising answers that come back, which not only translate to the way they conduct business going forward but to the perceptions they have of the world in which they operate.