Death of Dr. Edward Bowman, Leading Management Scholar
Dr. Edward (Ned) H. Bowman, the renowned scholar of management who was the Reginald H. Jones Professor of Corporation Management at the Wharton School, died Wednesday at the age of 73, at Bryn Mawr Hospital of complications following surgery.
One of the world's leading scholars of management policy and corporate structure, Dr. Bowman was also professor of operations and information management at Wharton, and was co-director of the Reginald Jones Center for Management Policy, Strategy and Organization.
The Jones Professorship and Center were established by the General Electric Foundation in honor of their longtime chairman and CEO, a Penn alumnus and trustee who had also held numerous public service roles. Among the first goals of the Jones Center was to promote research and education on issues of concern to CEOs in their interactions with senior management directors, shareholders, and the public.
Ned Bowman, with his research interests in decision-making, real options theory, and corporate strategy, was brought to Penn from MIT's Sloan Center in 1983 as the first holder of the Jones chair and as founding director of the Center. Later Dr. Bruce Kogut, professor of management at Wharton, would join him as co-director of the Center and as co-author of an influential recent book, Redesigning the Firm (Oxford 1995).
Dr. Bowman became known early in his career for two books on production management (Analysis for Production Management, 1957, and Analysis of Industrial Operations, 1959, both with Rober B. Fetter). His later work has included historical perspectives on corporate strategy, corporate governance, corporate restructuring and management downsizing. One recent contribution is a chapter in Integral Strategy (Jai Press) that looks at "Strategy History: Through Different Mirrors" while papers in the California Management Review explore "The Effects of Organizational Downsizing on Product Innovation" and ask "Where Does Restructuring Improve Financial Performance?"
Dr. Bowman was a mentor to young faculty and "a special and wise colleague," said Dr. Howard Kunreuther, a former doctoral student of Dr. Bowman's who is now a full professor and co-authored several with him. A distinction in Ned Bowman's approach to models and theories in decision-making, Dr. Kunreuther recalls, for example, is that "if real-world behavior was different from what his model predicted, he would attempt to modify the theory rather than assume something was wrong with the people."
A 1946 alumnus of MIT, Ned Bowman took his MBA from the Wharton School in 1949. After working as a budget analyst for Corning Glass and for General Motors, and as executive job analyst for Nationwide Insurance, he resumed his academic studies at Ohio State University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1954. Meanwhile, in 1952 he had begun teaching at MIT's Sloan School, where he was to continue an affiliation of over three decades--but with periodic leaves that infused his teaching and research with the results of hands-on management in the public and private sector. During one leave from MIT, in 1963, he served as special assistant to the president of Honeywell's computer division. During another, while holding a senior research appointment at Yale University, he also served as the institution's comptroller from 1966-69.
By 1974, when he took a five-year appointment as dean of the College of Business at Ohio State, he had also chaired the executive and finance committees of Dictaphone (1969-71), and had been a lecturer in Europe for the EEOC. Eventually his work abroad was to include visiting appointments at the Sweden's Stockholm School of Economics, the University of Birmingham in the U.K.; The Netherlands Research Institute, the All India Management Association, the European Management Seminar in Italy, the University de los Andes in Colombia, CEI in Switzerland; CRC in France and the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management in Belgium.
"Wharton is deeply indebted to Ned for his outstanding leadership, his service, and commitment as a distinguished member of our faculty--as Deputy Dean, as Director of the Jones Center, and in more capacities than I can possibly list here," said Wharton's Dean Thomas P. Gerrity. "His great spirit, keen insight, wonderful personal warmth and friendship are the legacy of his many years with us at Wharton. We will all miss him deeply."
At Penn, Dr. Bowman was the Wharton School's Acting Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs in 1989-91, and he served on numerous school, Senate and University committees.
He is survived by his wife, Ann; a son, John; and a daughter, Susan.
A campus memorial service will be announced by the School, and in the meantime
the family suggest remembrances to the Salvation Army or to the American
Friends Service Committee.
On Tuesday, October 27, the School of Arts and Sciences and the Center
for Italian Studies invite members of the University to attend the Amici
Forum in memory of Jerre Mangione, the emeritus professor of English who
died on August 16 at the age of 89 (Almanac
September 8). The service will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Van
Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, on the 6th floor. For more information, contact
the Center for Italian Studies, 898-6040.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 7, October 13, 1998