Alnoor Ebrahim

Alnoor Ebrahim is an Associate Professor in the General Management Unit, and in the Social Enterprise Initiative, at the Harvard Business School. His research and teaching focus on the challenges of performance management, accountability, and governance facing social sector organizations. He is also a principal of Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations.

Professor Ebrahim is author of the award-winning book, NGOs and Organizational Change: Discourse, Reporting, and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2003 and 2005), and is co-editor, with Edward Weisband, of Global Accountabilities: Participation, Pluralism, and Public Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2007), which compares accountability dilemmas in nonprofits, business, and government. He has been the recipient of awards for best article in the journals Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

He teaches the MBA required course on "Leadership and Organizational Behavior" (LEAD), and previously taught an elective course on "Leading and Governing High-Performing Nonprofit Organizations." In the HBS executive education portfolio, Professor Ebrahim servers as Chair of "Governing for Nonprofit Excellence" while also teaching in programs on "Performance Measurement of Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations" and "Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management."

Through his research and case writing, Ebrahim examines the challenges of performance measurement and accountability facing social sector organizations, impact investors, and their boards. He is currently involved in research with a range of social sector organizations, from new socioeconomic hybrids to well-established global NGOs and foundations. His professional work has included commissioned reports on civil society relations with the World Bank, on NGO accountability at the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as projects with a number of nongovernmental organizations over the past two decades, such as CIVICUS: The World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in western India.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Harvard Business School, Alnoor Ebrahim was the Wyss Visiting Scholar at HBS, and a Visiting Associate Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also taught at Virginia Tech for several years, where he was a founding codirector of the Institute for Governance and Accountabilities.

He holds a BSc degree from MIT (1991) in civil and environmental engineering, and a PhD from Stanford University (1999), where he studied environmental planning and management.

Posts by Alnoor Ebrahim

  • What Impact? Resist Taking Credit for Results You Can’t Achieve (07.22.14 )

    By Alnoor Ebrahim, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and V. Kasturi Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School Conventional wisdom in the social sector suggests that one should measure results as far down the results chain as possible, counting not only the goods and services produced by an organization […]

  • Let’s be realistic about measuring impact (12.05.13 )

    By Alnoor Ebrahim, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and Advisory Board Member, The Conference Board Initiative on Corporate Philanthropy “Measure impact” has become a mantra for creating social change. Claims about making a difference are no longer sufficient; evidence of how much difference you’re making is now required. We should applaud this […]

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