Russel L. Ackoff

Russell L. Ackoff (born 12 February 1919 - ) is leading American management expert in areas including systems theory. In 1957, his book, Introduction to Operations Research, co-authored with C. West Churchman and Leonard Arnoff, appeared as a pioneering text that helped define the field. Dr. Ackoff also has been referred to as the dean of the systems thinking community.

Dr. Ackoff received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1941. He then continued to study at the University of Pennsylvania where he subsequently received his Doctorate in Philosophy of Science in 1947. He next went on to receive his Doctorate of Science from the University of Lancaster in 1967. Throughout the years, Ackoff has held positons at various universities and institutions, as well as publishing numerous books and articles. His latest jobs are Chairman of Interact, the Institute for Interactive Management, and Professor Emeritus of the Wharton School.

Ackoff's work in research, consulting and education has involved more than 250 corporations and 50 governmental agencies in the U.S. and abroad. He has authored or co-authored 20 books and published over 150 articles in a variety of journals.

  • A Day with Dr. Russel L. Ackoff - Video   by Dr. Russel L. Ackoff,   Nov 2000  
    Highly Recommended - Video of presentation to the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
    "Among the topics Dr. Ackoff discussed during the workshop were: The history and application of systems thinking...

  • An Idealized Design of the U.S. Healthcare System   by Russell L. Ackoff et. al.,   Jan 1994   Adobe Acrobat Document
    'A consortium consisting of representative stakeholders in the National Healthcare (so-called) System has produced a "true" redesign of that system.'
  • Transformation and Redesign at the White House Communications Agency (WHCA)   by March Laree Jacques,   May 1999   Adobe Acrobat Document
    Ackoff consulted with WHCA on the transformation, originally published by the American Society for Quality in the Quality Management Journal, Volume 6, Issue 3, 1999.
  • A Brief Guide to Interactive Planning and Idealized Design   by Russell L. Ackoff,   May 2001   Adobe Acrobat Document
    "Interactive planning is directed at creating the future. It is based on the belief that an organization's future depends at least as much on what it does between now and then, as on what is done to it."
  • Design and Planning in Organizations   by Russell Ackoff,   Mar 1996  
    A great introduction to the Spring 1996 Center for Quality of Management Journal on this topic.
  • Structural Process Improvement at the Naval Inventory Control Point   by Gary Burchill,   Mar 1996  
    A detailed examination of a Navy effort to apply Ackoff's Idealized Design with Total Quality Management and Systems Dynamics. Recommended.
  • Management Gurus and Educators   by Russell Ackoff,   Sep 2001
  • Interview with Russell L. Ackoff   by Carole Novak,   Sep 2000  
    "So many people spend their lives doing things they don't want to do. . . . The best kind of life is one in which the difference between work and play is zero."
  • Russell L. Ackoff - Systemic Approach to Innovation   by Robert J. Allio,   Sep 2003   Adobe Acrobat Document
    Interview of Russell Ackoff. Managers "tend to look for simple, if not simple-minded, solutions to problems. For this reason managers are susceptible to management gurus pitching panaceas."
  • The Future of Operational Research is Past   by Russell L. Ackoff,   Jan 1979   Adobe Acrobat Document
    "I hold academic OR and the relevant professional societies primarily responsible for this decline-and since I had a hand in initiating both, I share this responsibility. By the mid 1960's most OR courses in American universities were given by academics..."
  • Resurrecting the Future of Operational Research   by Russell L. Ackoff,   Jan 1979   Adobe Acrobat Document
    "In a previous paper I tried to show that OR is in a mess. There is no one solution to a mess. What is needed are designs and inventions that will enable Operational Researchers to formulate their ideals explicitly, pursue them effectively..."
  • A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership   by Russell L. Ackoff,   Jul 1998   Adobe Acrobat Document
    "Therefore, a transformational leader is one who can produce, or encourage and facilitate the production of, a mobilizing vision of a transformed system. Equally important, the leader must be able to inspire and organize or have organized an effective..."
  • Transforming The Systems Movement   by Russell L. Ackoff,   May 2004   Adobe Acrobat Document
    "Systems thinking produces radical and potentially revolutionary visions of public institutions. Nothing short of such visions can transform the state of world affairs. I believe we have an obligation to the global society of which we are a part to make..."

Web Sites

This biography is an edited version of Ackoff from the Wikipedia site, edited by John Hunter Jan 2005.