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Jeroen Struben

Jeroen Struben
Assistant Professor, Strategy and Organization

PhD, Management, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
MSc, Physics, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Strategy and Organization

Bronfman Building, [Map], Room 487
1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montreal Quebec H3A 1G5

Tel: +1 514 398 4033

jeroen [dot] struben [at] mcgill [dot] ca


Why do technologically efficacious and economically feasible ideas fail? Answers to this question are important to firms and policy makers across industries. Jeroen Struben's research aims to understand factors and their interactions that contribute to the formation selfsustaining markets for complex product categories. Jeroen is particularly interested in phenomena that represent arenas for contested change efforts towards sustainable lifestyles and studies alternative energy and nutritional food markets. In researching alternative fuel vehicle market formation, for example, he considers the coevolution of consumer behavior, product category legitimacy, vehicle technology, infrastructure and institutions. He examines how relevant actors (from industries, governments, and other non-market sectors) coordinate to overcome market formation thresholds. Jeroen uses multiple methods including case studies of successful and failed diffusion, empirical parameter estimation, theory building, and dynamic modeling and other systems science-based based analyses.

Jeroen is Fellow of the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management (MDIIM), McGill University, as well as a key member of the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE). Jeroen is also a Research Affiliate at the MIT Sloan School of management where he leads, jointly with John Sterman and David Keith, the project on transitions to low carbon transportation.

Through his research Jeroen has worked with organizations across a variety of sectors ranging from automotive (Ford, GM, SAIC Shanghai), to energy (Shell, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, US DOE, Johnson Controls China), public health (PHAC), and to fisheries (NOAA, GCDC). Prior to academia Jeroen worked at Accenture, where he consulted to various industries, including semiconductors, energy, telecom, retail, and steel.


MGPO 460 Managing Innovation 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

MSUS 402 Sys Thinking & Sustainability 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

INSY 455 Tech&Innov for Sustainability 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Jeroen has developed the course systems thinking and sustainability (MSUS 402) as a hands-on course on systems thinking, with real world applications. Besides covering principles of systems thinking and system dynamics, the course will offer tools and approaches to recognize, understand and solve dynamically complex organizational problems. Applications will emphasize sustainability-related challenges.

In his teaching Jeroen aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills and to empower students to effectively identify, diagnose, and solve problems important to society. His classes balance theory with application. In addition Jeroen strives for integrating research and teaching in his classrooms. He is also committed to increasing undergraduate engagement in research through independent study projecs. Jeroen has developed and taught a variety of courses and workshops for undergraduate and graduate students, and for executives on innovation and systems science. Jeroen has also taught the core undergraduate courses International Business (MGCR 382) and Operations Management (MGCR 472), as well as Simulation for Management Systems (MGSC 578).

Jeroen was the recipient of the 2011 Desautels Faculty of Management Distinguished Teaching Award for graduate teaching.

Areas of Expertise: 
  • market formation
  • collective action
  • product category emergence
  • systems science; system dynamics; computational modeling
  • alternative fuel vehicle & low carbon transportation markets
  • nutritious food markets
  • path dependency; co-evolution
Curriculum Vitae: 
Graduate Supervision: 

Atefeh Ramezankhani (McGill University)

Derek Chan (McGill University)

Karin Strzeletz Ivertsen (Copenhagen Business School, March 2014)

David Keith (Massachusetts Insitute of Technology, August 2012) Now Assistant Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management

Selected Publications : 

Papers in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Struben, Jeroen, Laurette Dubé and Derek Chan (2014). “Policy Insights from the Nutritional Food Market Transformation Model: The Case of Obesity Prevention Dynamics”. New York Academy of Science Annals. (forthcoming). Early view

Dubé, Laurette, Srivardhini Jha, Aida Faber, Jeroen Struben, Archisman Mohapatra, Nick Drager, Chris Lannon, P.K. Joshi, and John McDermott (2014). “Convergent innovation for sustainable economic growth and affordable universal healthcare: Innovating the way we innovate”. New York Academy of Science Annals. (forthcoming)

Garland, Jennifer, Ruthanne Huising, and Jeroen Struben (2013), “What if Technology Worked in Harmony with Nature: Imagining Climate Change through Prius Advertisements” Organization 20(5): 679-704. abstract/paper

Struben, Jeroen and Sterman, John (2008). "Transition Challenges for Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Transportation Systems". Environment and Planning B.35(6) 1070-1097. abstract/paper

Otto, Peter and Jeroen Struben (2004). "Gloucester Fishery: Insights from a Group Modeling Intervention." System Dynamics Review20(4): 287-312. abstract/paper

Nazarov, Yuli and Jeroen Struben (1996). "Universal Excess Noise in Resonant Tunneling via Strongly Localized States." Physical Review53(23): 15466-15468 abstract/paper

Chapters in Books

Struben, Jeroen, John Sterman, and David Keith, (2014) “Parameter and Confidence Interval Estimation in Dynamic Models: Maximum Likelihood and Bootstrapping Methods” In: Oliva, R., N. Osgood, and H. Rahmandad (Eds) Dynamic Modeling Analytical Handbook, MIT Press, Cambridge MA (Forthcoming, Winter 2015) http://www.sdl.ise.vt.edu/analytical_methods_for_dynamic_modelers.html

Etzion, Dror and Jeroen Struben (2014) “Better Place: Shifting Paradigms in the Automotive Industry” in: Pirson, M., (Ed) Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship, The Oikos Collection V4, (Forthcoming, October 2014)

Awards, Honours, and Fellowships: 


2011: Desautels Faculty of Management Distinguished Teaching Award, graduate level

2011: First Prize oikos Global Case Writing Competition, Social Entrepreneurship Track

2008: Best Paper Award – Nominee, 25th DRUID Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

2006: Dana Meadows Student Prize - Honorable Mention, System Dynamics Society

2004: Dana Meadows Student Prize - Honorable Mention, System Dynamics Society


2013: Liber Ero Fellowship in Science Communication and Policy Engagement, McGill School of


2013-2015: Faculty Fellowship, Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management


2014-2018: Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC) Team grant. Role: Co-Applicant, Équipe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la gestion de l'interface santé-affaires. Title: Comportement du consommateur et dynamique de production, distribution et compétition en alimentation: Équilibrer la santé, le plaisir, et les affaires à court et long Terme

2014-2018: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant. Role: Co-Applicant, Paths of convergence for agriculture, health and wealth: Foundational work for a trans-disciplinary Whole-of-Society paradigm in food and nutrition context

2014-2017:  Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentaire du Québec, (MAPAQ), Innov’Action Agroalimentaire. Role: Co-PI, A management flight simulator tool to improve economic performance of nutrition-sensitive food innovation and enabling policy environment

2014-2017: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Team Grant. Role: Co-Applicant, A Convergent Innovation Coalition for Sustainable Prosperity: Development Work for Agri-Food Systems

2012-2015: Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FQRSC), Market Formation through Coevolution of Organizational Capabilities and the Social Context: Nutritious Food in Québec, 

2011-2012: McGill University, Internal Social Sciences and Humanities Development Grant, “Alternative Fuel Vehicle Market Emergence: Examining the Coordination of Heterogeneous Contributions

2010-2011: PHAC Grant, team-lead, Healthy Living Market Transformation: Industry Self- Regulation Dynamics of Low Nutrition High Motivational Food 

2008-2009: Ford Motor Company, Co-PI, research on alternative fuel vehicles transitions

2006-2010: Shell Hydrogen, Co-PI, research on alternative fuel vehicles transition dynamics

2001-2002: DuPont Presidential Fellow 


On challenges for and need for collaborative approaches towards nutritious food market formations (Globe and Mail, June 4 2014)

On achieving sustainable transportation - changing Canada’s largest emission sector (McGill at work / McGill au travail, Video in English/French, April 2013,)

On enabling market transitions for alternative fuel vehicles (MIT News Office, MIT Energy Initiative, Science daily, New Scientist, May/June 2007)

Jeroen develops interactive-web-based simulators (Management Flight Simulators, MFS) for teaching management and policy principles. MFS are designed to provide insights into dynamic behaviour real-world problems and long-term system-wide impact of strategies and policies. Such simulators allow for interactive, action-learning experiences, carried within the physical and temporal constraints of the classroom.
Published Management Flight Simulators

Struben, J. (October 2014) Behavioural Infectious Disease Simulator: The 2014 Ebola Outbreak.

Current Research: 

Jeroen has currently 3 major research projects:

1. Market Formation and Category Emergence

In a project on market formation and collective action (with Brandon Lee) we examine questions regarding theories of market formation. We seek to understand conditions for existence for collective action thresholds and how different forms of governance may resolve these market formation challenes. We develop theoretical and computational models to examine this (see for example this working paper).

In a related project on product category coeveolution I explore how differences in relatedness between existing and new product categories affect their coevolution and eventual market formation outcomes. This project highlights the important role of hybrid product categories in market transformation.

2. Transitions towards Low Carbon Transportation Markets (With John Sterman and David Keith)

To explain spatio-temporal patterns of product diffusion we examine the role of local and long distance social exposure, local fixed effects, policies and their interactions. For this analysis we have built a dataset comprising 10-year US zipcode-level hybrid electric and other vehicle adoption. Using the same data set I also explore questions regarding consumer decision models and over-time category formation and evolution from the consumer point of view.

We have also created, and further developed, several behavioural dynamic models to understand the challenges of and integrated strategies for contemporary alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) market formation, including competition and coeveolution between multiple alternatives (see this paper). Besides contributing to understanding of industry transitions, this work offers strategic guidance to decision makers in organizations and public sectors (see this example). This project also involves development of a real-time AFV management flight simulator that can be used in classrooms or in workshops with experts.

3. Transitions towards higher nutritional quality food markets (With Derek Chan and Laurette Dubé)

In this project we examine how over-time interactions between food value chains, demand, and government interventions affect the transformation of nutritious food portfolios in markets. We have developed a behavioural dynamic model, currently applied to Canadian context, that we use to explore questions of competitive and collaborative strategies and food innovation at the larger-scale market as well as at the community level.

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