Representing Today's Visionaries with Tomorrow's Ideas

Zeynep Ton


Named one of the World’s Best 40 Business School Professors Under 40 by Poets and Quants.

Zeynep was featured as one of 8 young business school professors on the rise by CNN Money.

Zeynep discusses “The Good Jobs Strategy” in a recent interview with Fareed Zakharia.

praise for Zeynep Ton

“Ton brought one of the most radical, and yet one of the most sensible, ideas to Aspen this year…As we worry about where middle-class jobs are going to come from, Ton’s is a message that needs to be heard not just in Aspen but all across America.”- Joe Nocera in NY Times Op-Ed

“[Ton is] an improbably chic and energetic guide to the world of factory design, manufacturing schedules, supply chains, and process management.” – Philip Delves Broughton, Author of Ahead of the Curve

Zeynep Ton is an adjunct associate professor in Operations Management at MIT Sloan School of Management and cofounder of the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute (GJI). Before MIT Sloan, Zeynep spent seven years on the faculty at Harvard Business School.

Zeynep’s research explores how companies can design and manage their operations in a way that satisfies customers, employees, and investors simultaneously. In 2014, Zeynep published her findings in a book, The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits. The book draws on 15 years of research to show that the key to offering good jobs to employees, great service to customers, and superior returns to investors is combining investment in employees with specific operational choices that increase employees’ productivity, contribution, and motivation.

After her book was released, many retail leaders reached out to Zeynep to understand how to implement the Good Jobs Strategy in their organizations, or to describe how they were already  adopting the strategy. Zeynep founded GJI to help them transform. GJI offers assessments, workshops and longer term partnerships to support companies on their good jobs journeys.

Zeynep’s research has been published in managerial and scholarly journals, including Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Organization Science, and featured widely in the media, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, PBS, and NPR. At MIT, Zeynep teaches MBA and executive education courses in operations management, service operations, sustainability, and operations strategy.  She received several awards for excellence in teaching both at HBS and MIT Sloan.  She was also named one of the World’s 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants.

Zeynep lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. A native of Turkey, she first came to the US on a volleyball scholarship from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her BS in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering there and her DBA from the Harvard Business School.

  • Operations
  • Achieving Excellence
  • Social Sustainability
  • Employee Engagement

The Good Jobs Strategy

In many economies service sectors such as retail and restaurants account for a growing proportion of jobs that pay low wages, offer unpredictable schedules and few opportunities for success and growth.  To create a good jobs economy, we need to transform these “bad jobs” into “good jobs.”  In her talk, Zeynep Ton, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, will make the compelling case that improving those jobs will require companies to operate differently: from seeing people as interchange parts to designing a human-centered operations strategy.  Drawing on more than a decade of research, Ton will show that a human-centered operations strategy is not only possible, but highly profitable even in low-wage service settings.