Business management theorist, Hammer, dies


Michael Hammer, the author of several seminal books on business management who applied his theories to the non-profit world, died Wednesday night. He was 60.

Hammer, an engineer by training who earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a primary proponent of the business concept of re-engineering – which he described first in his 1994 book “Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution” – essentially streamlining business processes. Too much time, he argued, was spent on passing responsibilities and order from one department to another. Instead, subdivisions within a company should be responsible for different tasks.

“There are many people who would say that his book appeared on the scene during a grave industrial weakness of America, during the beginning of the Rust Belt,” said Barry Shrage, the CEO of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. “His brand new way of thinking about how businesses can operate truly revolutionized business in America and led us toward renewal.”

Hammer was also heavily involved in the Jewish world and spoke extensively about how his theories could be applied to the non-profit world.

“Michael was deeply committed to the New Center for Arts and Culture and recently became its vice chair,” Shrage said in an e-mail . “He was one of the most insightful and clear-thinking board members I’ve ever worked with and had a transformational impact wherever he chose to use his talents.”

Hammer collapsed while bike riding with a friend two weeks ago, Shrage said.

A funeral will be held Friday in Brookline, Mass.

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