James M. Patell

Professor Emeritus, Operations, Information & Technology
+1 (650) 723-2765

James M. Patell

The Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus

Research Statement

James Patell’s research and teaching interests center on business process and product design, operations management, manufacturing, and cost accounting. A popular and demanding teacher, Patell has authored numerous articles in the field of accounting. During his tenure as associate dean for academic affairs at Stanford Graduate School of Business, he redesigned and revitalized the Public Management Program, which focuses on government, nonprofit organizations, and public service. Patell is a founding faculty member of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, also known as the d.School, where he teaches courses on Design for Extreme Affordability and Design for Service Innovation. Patell also is a faculty director of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, also known as Stanford Seed.


Patell is The Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Patell earned bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PhD in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught at Stanford since 1975, and he was a Ford Foundation Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Chicago from 1981 to 1982.

Patell served as Stanford GSB’s associate dean for academic affairs from 1985 through 1991, and was director of the Stanford MBA Program from 1986 through 1988. He was the founding director of the Stanford-ITESM Strategic Executive Program in Mexico, and served as codirector of the Product Realization Network at Stanford, a cooperative research and educational program involving the business school and the engineering school, together with industrial partners. Before entering the dean’s office, Patell’s research centered on empirical investigations of the effects of corporate disclosures on the stock and option markets. More recently, he has conducted research and taught courses on product and service design, manufacturing, technology, and operations management, including new courses on Computer Modeling, Total Quality Management, Manufacturing Performance Measurement, and Business Process Design. In 1998 he received the MBA Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2007 he was awarded both the Robert T. Davis Faculty Award for Lifetime Achievement at Stanford GSB and the Miriam Aaron Roland Award for Volunteer Service at Stanford University.

Patell is one of the seven founding core faculty of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. Within the d.School, Patell coteaches Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability with David Beach. In this course, student teams collaboratively design product prototypes, distribution systems, and business plans for entrepreneurial ventures that address poverty in developing countries. In 2011, Patell and his colleague Stefanos Zenios launched a new project-based course on the Design of Medical Services.

Patell also is a founding faculty director of Stanford Seed, which launched its first Innovation Center in West Africa in 2013.

Patell is a director of D-Rev, a non-profit technology incubator whose mission is to improve the health and incomes of people living on less than four dollars per day. He has served as a director of Reliant Building Products, Inc., Grove Worldwide, and the Center for the Quality of Management-West; and as an advisor to the Corporate Design Foundation and to Vykor, Inc. He was a founding director of Ignite Innovations and the Management Institute for Environment and Business.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1977
  • MS in Engineering, MIT, 1974
  • BS in Engineering, MIT, 1972

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1975
  • Director, Stanford MBA Program, 1986–88
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Stanford GSB, 1985–91
  • Ford Foundation Visiting Associate Professor, University of Chicago, 1981–82
  • Instructor, Carnegie Mellon University, 1974–75
  • Instructor, MIT, 1969–72

Professional Experience

  • Research Staff, Advanced Marine Technology Division, Litton Industries, 1968–69

Awards and Honors

  • Katherine and David deWilde Faculty Fellow for 2014–15
  • Katherine and David deWilde Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2013–14
  • Robert K. Jaedicke Silver Apple Award, Stanford Business School Alumni Association, 2012
  • Robert T. Davis Faculty Award for Lifetime Achievement, Stanford GSB, 2007
  • Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize, Stanford University, 2007
  • MBA Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanford GSB, 1998


Journal Articles

Robert Hamada, James M. Patell, Richard Staelin, William E. Wecker
Journal of Business and Economic Statistics
1988 Vol. 6 Issue 2 Pages 261-272
James M. Patell
Accounting and Management: Field Study Perspectives
1987 Pages 229-267
James M. Patell
Accounting Review
1987 Vol. 62 Issue 4 Pages 808-839
Joel S. Demski, James M. Patell, Mark A. Wolfson
Accounting Review
1984 Vol. 59 Issue 1 Pages 16-34
M. Laurentius Marais, James M. Patell, Mark A. Wolfson
Journal of Accounting Research
1984 Vol. 22 Pages 87-114
James M. Patell, Mark A. Wolfson
Journal of Financial Economics
1984 Vol. 13 Issue 2 Pages 223--252
James M. Patell, Roman L. Weil, Mark A. Wolfson
Journal of Legal Studies
1982 Vol. 11 Issue 2 Pages 341-364
James M. Patell, Mark A. Wolfson
Accounting Review
1982 Vol. 57 Issue 3 Pages 509-527
James M. Patell, Mark A. Wolfson
Journal of Accounting Research
1981 Vol. 19 Issue 2 Pages 434-458
James M. Patell, Mark A. Wolfson
Journal of Accounting and Economics
1979 Vol. 1 Issue 2 Pages 117-140
James M. Patell
Journal of Accounting Research
1979 Vol. 17 Issue 2 Pages 528-549
James M. Patell
Journal of Accounting Research
1976 Vol. 14 Issue 2 Pages 246-276

Book Chapters

J. Michael Harrison, Charles A. Holloway, James M. Patell
Measures for Manufacturing Excellence
March 1990 Pages 309-352


Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

Learn how to grow and scale your company in this 10-month program ​for CEOs and founders of established businesses in Africa, Indonesia, and South Asia.

Stanford Case Studies

J. Michael Harrison, James Patell
J. Michael Harrison, James Patell

Stanford GSB Affiliations

Service to the Profession

Board of Directors

  • Corporate Design Foundation, 1990–present
  • Management Institute for Environment and Business, 1990–96
  • MBA Enterprise Corps, 1990–92

Editorial Board

  • Journal of Accounting Research, 1979–2001
  • Journal of Management Accounting Research, 1995–2002
  • Journal of Accounting and Economics, 1980–87
  • Accounting Review 1979–81, 1992–97

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

March 19, 2019
Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld’s journey from online retail to academia to a healthcare nonprofit has paid off in ways that can’t be measured.
October 02, 2017
How a singular focus on one basic thing — floors — is transforming lives in Africa.
July 24, 2012
Stanford GSB students explore simple, low-cost modifications to existing processes that reduce costs while improving outcomes

School News

May 24, 2017
Next generation of social innovators honored with Stanford Impact Leader Fellowship.
March 22, 2012
Katherine August-deWilde, MBA ’75, and David deWilde, Sloan ’84, endowed a chair to support a faculty member working on entrepreneurship in developing economies.
March 01, 2007
James Patell is the 2007 recipient of the Robert T. Davis award, presented by the school’s faculty to recognize an individual for a lifetime of service and achievement.