Johannes (Hans) Pennings, the Marie and Joseph Melone Professor Emeritus of Management at the Wharton School, died on October 29 after a difficult battle with cancer. He was 74 years old.
Dr. Pennings studied at the University of Utrecht and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands before earning his PhD at the University of Michigan in 1973. He held appointments at Carnegie Mellon University and Columbia University before joining the Wharton faculty as an associate professor in 1983. From 1985 to 1988, he served as the doctoral coordinator for organization and strategy. In 2002, he was appointed to the Marie and Joseph Melone Professorship (Almanac October 29, 2002).
Dr. Pennings was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and had recurring affiliations with Erasmus University, Tilburg University, the Stockholm School of Economics, Seoul National University and INSEAD. His early work with collaborators (faculty known as “the Aston group”) on strategic contingency theory, which systematically examined the relationship between the power of organizational subunits and the uncertainty of their environment, was groundbreaking. Subsequently, he engaged in a number of lines of research including the evolution of professional service firms and the trajectory of firms diversifying abroad. In recent years, he explored issues related to entrepreneurship, innovation and organizational learning.
Dr. Pennings served on the editorial boards for Organizational Science, IEEE Proceedings, Academy of Management Review and Journal of High-Technology Management Research, among others. He authored or co-authored eight books and more than 100 articles and book chapters. He retired from Penn in 2010.