Robert Kaplan biography and books

Robert Kaplan - Toolshero

Robert Kaplan (1940) is a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) and one of the creators of the Balance Scorecard (BSC). With colleague David NortonRobert S. Kaplan did much research into the area of strategy development, activity-based costing (ABC) and management accounting. This article covers his biography, quotes and publications.

Robert Kaplan biography

Robert Kaplan obtained a BSc. and MSc. Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He carried out research into the area of Operations Research and he obtained his doctorate from the University of Cornell.

Kaplan has also received three honorary doctorates  from the Universities of Stuttgart (1994), Lodz (2006) and Waterloo (2008).

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He has done much research from linking costs and performance management to strategy implementation. This research focused on measuring and managing organizational risk. He developed concepts with colleagues David Norton and Michael Porter such as activity-based costing (a cost allocation system) and Balance Scorecard (BSC).

He also received several awards:

  • 2008. Lifetime Contribution Award for distinguished contributions to advancing Management Accounting.
  • 2001. Distinguished Service Award from Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) for his contributions to practice and academic community.
  • 1994. CIMA Award, from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (United Kingdom).
  • 1988. Outstanding Accounting Educator Award from the AAA.

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Famous quotes

  • “A company’s ability to innovate, improve, and learn ties directly to the company’s value.”
  • “Customer-based measures are important, but they must be translated into measures of what the company must do internally to meet its customers expectations.”
  • “Companies should decide what processes and competencies they must excel at and specify measures for each.”
  • “A good balanced scorecard should tell the story of your strategy.”
  • “A firm’s ability to weather storms depends on how seriously executives take risk management when the sun is shining and no clouds are on the horizon.”
  • “Without strong visionary leadership, no strategy will be executed effectively.”
  • “To improve your skills, you need to be receptive to constructive criticism and open to feeling uncomfortable.”
  • “It bears repeating: you don’t have to be good at everything.”
  • “In reality, you often need to act like a leader before people will take the risk of putting you in a broader leadership role.”

Books and Publications by Robert Kaplan et al.

  • 2011. Management Accounting: Information for Decision-Making and Strategy Execution. Pearson.
  • 2008. The execution premium: linking strategy to operations for competitive advantage. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2008. Mastering the management system. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 62
  • 2008. Conceptual Foundations of the Balanced Scorecard. Journal: Handbooks of Management Accounting Research, vol. 3, pp. 1253-1269.
  • 2007. Balanced scorecard (pp. 137-148). Gabler.
  • 2006. Alignment: Using the balanced scorecard to create corporate synergies. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2006. How to implement a new strategy without disrupting your organization. Harvard Business Review, 84(3), 100.
  • 2006. The Competitive Advantage of Management Accounting. Journal: Journal of Management Accounting Research – J Manag Account Res , vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 127-135.
  • 2004. The strategy map: guide to aligning intangible assets. Journal: Strategy & Leadership , vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 10-17.
  • 2004. Keeping score on community investment. Journal: Leader To Leader , vol. 2004, no. 33, pp. 13-19.
  • 2001. Transforming the Balanced Scorecard from Performance Measurement to Strategic Management: Part I. Journal: Accounting Horizons – ACCOUNT HORIZ , vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 87-104.
  • 2004. Strategy maps: Converting intangible assets into tangible outcomes. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2004. Measuring the strategic readiness of intangible assets. Harvard business review, 82(2), 52-63.
  • 2004. Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing: A Simpler and More Powerful Path to Higher Profits. Harvard Business Review Press.
  • 2001. The strategy-focused organization: How balanced scorecard companies thrive in the new business environment. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2001. Strategic performance measurement and management in nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit management and Leadership, 11(3), 353-370.
  • 2001. Transforming the balanced scorecard from performance measurement to strategic management: Part II. Accounting Horizons, 15(2), 147-160.
  • 2000. Having trouble with your strategy?: Then map it. Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
  • 1999. The design of cost management systems: text and cases. Prentice Hall.
  • 1998. Advanced management accounting (Vol. 3). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • 1998. Cost & effect: Using integrated cost systems to drive profitability and performance. Harvard Business Press.
  • 1998. Innovation action research: creating new management theory and practice. Journal of management accounting research, (10), 89-118.
  • 1996. The balanced scorecard: translating strategy into action. Harvard Business Press.
  • 1996. Using the balanced scorecard as a strategic management system. Harvard business review, 74(1), 75-85.
  • 1996. The balanced scorecard (Vol. 6). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  • 1996. Linking the balanced scorecard to strategy. California management review, 39(1).
  • 1992. The balanced scorecard measures that drive performance.
  • 1992. Measuring manufacturing performance: a new challenge for managerial accounting research (pp. 284-306). Springer US.
  • 1992. Activity-based systems: Measuring the costs of resource usage. Accounting Horizons, 6(3), 1-13.
  • 1992. The evolution of management accounting (pp. 586-621). Springer US.
  • 1991. Profit priorities from activity-based costing. Harvard Business Review, 69(3), 130-135.
  • 1990. Measures for manufacturing excellence. Harvard Business Press.
  • 1988. One Cost System Isn’t Enough.
  • 1988. Measure costs right: make the right decisions. Harvard business review, 66(5), 96-103.
  • 1987. How cost accounting systematically distorts product costs. Accounting and management: Field study perspectives, 204-228.
  • 1987. Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting. Harvard Business School Press.
  • 1987. Accounting and Management: A Field Study Perspective. Harvard Business Publishing.
  • 1986. Must CIM be justified by faith alone? (pp. 87-95). Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University.
  • 1986. The role for empirical research in management accounting. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 11(4), 429-452.
  • 1979. Statistical models of bond ratings: A methodological inquiry. Journal of Business, 231-261.
  • 1972. Investor Evaluation of Accounting Information: Some Empirical Evidence. Journal: Journal of Business – J BUS , vol. 45, no. 2.

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Original publication date: 11/10/2010 | Last update: 05/16/2023

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Vincent van Vliet
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Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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