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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 50.30.1

F. Warren McFarlan papers


This collection includes papers of Harvard Business School professor F. Warren McFarlan documenting his research, teaching, and professional activities.


  • 1965-2015


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.

Restricted material has been identified and separated. Note that box and folder lists of restricted material have been redacted.

Digital use copies in this collection can be accessed only onsite in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room. To request access please contact prior to visiting the library.


18 linear feet (44 boxes)
608 Megabytes (3,114 files from 1 hard drive)

The collection documents the career and research of F. Warren McFarlan, starting with the completion of his Doctorate of Business Administration in 1965 and joining the HBS faculty as a full professor in 1973. Included in the collection are biographical and publicity material on McFarlan; articles collected by McFarlan for research; articles, book chapters, and cases written by McFarlan; and subject files kept by McFarlan. Also included is digital content from one hard drive. The materials relate to McFarlan's research and teaching interests of information technology, information systems, non-profit governance, and technology in China. The collection also documents McFarlan's administrative duties at HBS, such as advancing Executive Education offerings, growing the School's presence in Asia, and organizing the HBS Centennial Business Summit in 2008. Administrative materials include Executive Education course development files, planning files for the HBS Centennial Business Summit, material relating to Tsinghua University in China, and HBS computing planning for students and faculty from the 1980s.

Materials in the collection include article drafts, article reprints and copies, cases, case development material, case drafts, correspondence, event packets, newspaper clippings, photographs, presentations, printed interviews, research material, and writings.

Biographical Note:

F. Warren McFarlan (AB 1959, MBA 1961, DBA 1965), Albert H. Gordon Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, and a Baker Foundation Professor, began teaching at Harvard Business School (HBS) after receiving his Doctorate of Business Administration from HBS in 1965. Throughout his career, he had a significant role in expanding the offerings in Executive Education and adding to course material on information technology and information systems across all levels of teaching at the School. In 1973, upon appointment to full professor, McFarlan and four other faculty members developed the School's International Senior Management Program. McFarlan was active in course development and teaching of several Executive Education Advanced Management Program courses, such as the International Senior Managers Program, the Delivering Information Services Program, and several Social Sector programs. He also introduced materials on Management Information Systems to all teaching programs of the School. McFarlan's research focused on information technology, information systems, non-profit governance, and technology in China.

McFarlan held multiple administrative roles at HBS. From 1975-1978 he was Chairman of the Advanced Management Program, from 1977-1980 he was Chairman of Executive Education Programs, from 1991-1995 he was Senior Associate Dean and Director of Research, from 1995-2000 he was Senior Associate Dean and Director of External Relations, and from 1999-2004 he was Senior Associate Dean and Director of Asia Pacific. In these roles, he helped to advance Executive Education offerings, grow the School's presence in Asia, organize the HBS Centennial Business Summit in 2008, and conduct strategic planning of computing needs at HBS for students and faculty in the 1980s.

In addition to his course development, teaching, and administrative roles at HBS, McFarlan was active on the boards of non-profits, especially in education and healthcare, throughout his career. McFarlan also held the appointment of Guest Professor and Co-Director of Case Development at the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

Physical Location



The F. Warren McFarlan Papers were received by Baker Library as a gift from F. Warren McFarlan in December 1993 and July 2009 (A-93-56, A-10-01, A-16-026).

Processing Information

Processed: February 2016

By: Keith Pendergrass. Additions processed by Benjamin Johnson,September 2021.

Digital content on physical storage media has been extracted. Files were surveyed, screened for privacy and confidentiality concerns, and transferred to secure storage. Content open for research is described at the series and folder levels below.

Baker Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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