Morten Hansen biography and books

Morten Hansen - Toolshero

Morten Hansen (Morten T. Hansen; born in 1963) is a management professor at the University of California. Morten Hansen is an American management professor with a Norwegian background who is also active as a motivational speaker, and author.

He is internationally known for the contributions to the field of management and for the books he authored, such as Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More.

Early life of Morten Hansen

Morten Hansen’s educational process went fluently because of his academic results. From 1982 until 1985, Morten Hansen attended the University of Oslo, Norway’s largest university, where he studied a bachelor’s degree in political science.

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Morten Hansen continued his academic career after he obtained his bachelor from the University of Oslo. In 1986 Hansen decided to move abroad study a master’s in Public Administration at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, which is a private American graduate school.

He obtained his degree one year later. Instead of beginning to build his professional, Morten Hansen additionally decided to study a Master of Science in Accounting and Finance for another year at the London School of Economics and Political Science, a public research university in London.

By this time, in 1988, Hansen started his professional career by working as a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. In his job, he built an international career because of his international corporate clients. It was at the same time, an excellent opportunity for Morten Hanse to travel around the globe and gain more international working experience for about three years.

From 1992 until 1996, Morten Hansen next obtained a Ph.D. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He received his Ph.D. together with the Robert K. Jaedicke Faculty Award, an award that is given annually to a member of the Graduate School of Business faculty for service to the school’s alumni.

At the same time, after obtaining his Ph.D. in Business in 1996, Hansen started to work as a professor at Harvard University for about seven years.

From 2000, Morten Hansen worked simultaneously as a manager at The Boston Consulting Group. He was active at the company’s locations in London, Stockholm, and San Francisco. This position did not last long because he quit his job in 2002.

In 2003, he worked again as a professor, but this time at INSEAD, one of the best international graduate business schools in the world. Morten Hansen remained working as a professor but additionally started to work as a management professor at the University of California, Berkely.

He executed extensive research and won various awards for his findings. As a result, Morten Hansen was awarded the Fulbright scholar, which is considered to be one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world.

His research has been published by multiple internationally known journals, including Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Sloan Management Review. He is additionally recognized as one of the most influential management thinkers at the moment by Thinkers50.


The research of Morten Hansen focusses on collaboration, innovation, and transformations to build successful organizations. His articles are recognized as best-read articles in the previously described journals. Morten Hansen’s book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results, has been recognized as one of the best IT-Business books of 2009 by CIO Insight Magazine.

Morten Hansen also executed research about what causes motivations that lead to the higher working performance of people. The study was completed in collaboration with more than 5.000 managers and employees globally for a five-year period. His findings are described in his other book: Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More.

Morten Hansen is today married to Helene Hansen. The couple lives currently in San Francisco and together have two children. In his spare time, Morten likes to do sports, such as running and hiking. He is also interested in different cultures, and for this reason, Morten Hansen loves to travel and taste good food.

Morten Hansen still provides lectures, write several books, and is a public speaker and advisor, to Fortune500 companies around the world. Next to these activities, he now also serves on the faculty of apple university for approximately seven years.

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Famous quotes

  1. “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
  2. “We labeled our high-performing study cases with the moniker “10X” because they didn’t merely get by or just become successful. They truly thrived. Every 10X case beat its industry index by at least 10 times.”
  3. “10xers (pronounced “ten EX-ers”) is our term for people who built the 10X companies”
  4. “Social psychology research indicates that at times of uncertainty, most people look to other people-authority figures, peers, group norms-for their primary look to what other people do, or to what pundits and experts say they should do. They look primarily to empirical evidence.”
  5. “The 20 Mile March is more than a philosophy. It’s about having concrete, clear, intelligent, and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keep you on track. The 20 Mile March creates two types of self-imposed discomfort: (1) the discomfort of unwavering commitment to high performance in difficult conditions, and (2) the discomfort of holding back in good conditions.”
  6. “The great task, rarely achieved, is to blend creative intensity with relentless discipline so as to amplify the creativity rather than destroy it. When you marry operating excellence with innovation, you multiply the value of your creativity.”
  7. “Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs: A bullet is an empirical test aimed at learning what works and that meets three criteria: a bullet must be low cost, low risk, and low distraction.10Xers use bullets to empirically validate what will actually work. Based on those empirical validation, they then concentrate their resources to fire a cannonball, enabling large returns from concentrated bets.”
  8. “10Xers remain productively paranoid in good times, recognizing that it’s what you do before the storm comes that matters most. Since it’s impossible to consistently predict specific disruptive events, they systematically build buffers and shock absorbers for dealing with unexpected events. They put in place their extra oxygen canisters long before they’re hit with a storm.”
  9. “We’ve found in all our research studies that the signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change; the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”

Publications and Books by Morten Hansen et al.

  • 2017. Leading the implementation of ICT innovations. Public Administration Review, 77(6), 851-860.
  • 2012. Faking it or muddling through? Understanding decoupling in response to stakeholder pressures. Academy of Management Journal, 55(6), 1429-1448.
  • 2011. Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck-Why some thrive despite them all. Random House.
  • 2011. Are you a collaborative leader. Harvard business review, 89(7/8), 68-74.
  • 2010. The world is not small for everyone: Inequity in searching for knowledge in organizations. Management Science, 56(9), 1415-1438.
  • 2010. The best-performing CEOs in the world. Harvard Business Review, 88(1).
  • 2009. Collaboration: How leaders avoid the traps, build common ground, and reap big results. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2007. The innovation value chain. Harvard business review, 85(6), 121.
  • 2007. Different knowledge, different benefits: Toward a productivity perspective on knowledge sharing in organizations. Strategic Management Journal, 28(11), 1133-1153.
  • 2005. When using knowledge can hurt performance: The value of organizational capabilities in a management consulting company. Strategic Management Journal, 26(1), 1-24.
  • 2005. What’s your strategy for managing knowledge. Knowledge management: critical perspectives on business and management, 77(2), 322.
  • 2005. Knowledge sharing in organizations: Multiple networks, multiple phases. Academy of Management journal, 48(5), 776-793.
  • 2004. How do multinational companies leverage technological competencies? Moving from single to interdependent explanations. Strategic Management Journal, 25(8‐9), 801-822.
  • 2002. Knowledge networks: Explaining effective knowledge sharing in multiunit companies. Organization science, 13(3), 232-248.
  • 2001. So many ties, so little time: A task contingency perspective on corporate social capital in organizations. In Social capital of organizations (pp. 21-57). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • 2001. Introducing T-shaped managers. Knowledge management’s next generation. Harvard business review, 79(3), 106-16.
  • 2001. Cutting costs while improving morale with B2E management. MIT Sloan Management Review, 43(1), 96.
  • 2001. Competing for attention in knowledge markets: Electronic document dissemination in a management consulting company. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46(1), 1-28.
  • 2000. Networked iwncubators. Harvard business review, 78(5), 74-84.
  • 1999. What’s your strategy for managing knowledge. The knowledge management yearbook 2000–2001, 77(2), 106-116.
  • 1999. The search-transfer problem: The role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organization subunits. Administrative science quarterly, 44(1), 82-111.
  • 1998. Combining network centrality and related knowledge: Explaining effective knowledge sharing in multiunit firms. Division of Research, Harvard Business School.
  • 1996. The red queen in organizational evolution. Strategic management journal, 17(S1), 139-157.

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Original publication date: 12/14/2019 | Last update: 08/06/2023

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Alexander Zeeman
Article by:

Alexander Zeeman

Alexander Zeeman is Content Manager at ToolsHero where he focuses on Content production, Content management and marketing. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business school. Currently, in his study, working on the development of various management competencies and improving operational business processes.


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