Frits K. Pil
Professor of Organizations and Entrepreneurship and Henry E. Haller, Jr. Faculty Fellowship for Distinguished Service


256 Mervis Hall/518 LRDC


Frits K. Pil is a professor and Director of Instructional Innovation and Faculty Development at the Katz Graduate School of Business and a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

His research focuses on organizational learning, and questions where knowledge originates, where it resides, and how it is transferred and leveraged within and across organizational boundaries. His most recent studies draw on longitudinal establishment level surveys and field interviews that he conducted in the world automobile industry, as well as time-series individual-level and organizational data that he collected in public-sector settings. In this research, he examines the interplay between human and social capital, innovation in relation to product, process, and organizational structure, and the broader dynamics of organizational learning and value creation. Pil received his PhD from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His research has been funded by the International Motor Vehicle Program, the Sloan Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Recent press cites to his work include The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Automotive News, Harvard Business Review, and The Economist.

Courses Recently Taught

PhD Courses

  • Social Capital
  • Work and Organizations
  • International Management
  • Wicked Problem Innovation

MBA Courses

  • Negotiations
  • Human Resources for Competitive Advantage
  • Creativity
  • Conflict

Undergraduate Courses

  • Human Resource Management

Awards and Honors

  • Excellence in Service Award, Katz Graduate School of Business, 2018/2019.
  • Professional MBA Student Choice Award, Katz Graduate School of Business, 2017/2018, 2018/2019.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Katz Graduate School of Business, 2003/2004, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010(undergrad & MBA), 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014. 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019.
  • Doris & Douglas Bernstein Award for Faculty Teaching Excellence, 2015/2016.
  • Chris Voss Best Paper Award, European Operations Management Association (EurOMA), 2014.
  • Outstanding Young Scholar Award, Industrial Relations Research Association (LERA), 2003.
  • Recognized as one of the top three College of Business Administration faculty in 2003-04 and 2005-06.
  • International Fellow, Advanced Institute of Management, Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC), United Kingdom, 2005.
  • Best Paper Award, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, 2006.
  • Best Book Award, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, 2007.

Professional Service and Activities

  • Member, Katz Executive Committee, 2018-
  • Member, Katz Planning and Budget Committee, 2018-
  • Member, Katz Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2018-
  • Member, University of Pittsburgh Personalized Education Committee, 2018-
  • Co-Chair, Katz Planning and Development Team (Strategic Plan), 2018-2019
  • Member, Katz Doctoral Committee, 2017-
  • Member, Katz Sustainability Committee, 2017-2019
  • Member, Social Sciences Research Initiative Review Committee, University of Pittsburgh, 2016-
  • Chair; Co-chair, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Pittsburgh Central Research Development Office Grant Competition, 2013-
  • Member, University of Pittsburgh Research Council, 2012-

Taught in Executive Programs at Cambridge University/MIT, as well as the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


  • PhD in Human Resources and Corporate Strategy, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (1996)
  • MA in Managerial Science and Applied Economics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (1992)
  • BA, Harvard University

Recent Publications

Holweg, Matthias, Ben Lawson, and Frits K. Pil (2019). ‘How Digital Fulfillment is Changing Manufacturing.’ Harvard Business Review

Lawson, B., Pil, F., and Holweg, M. (forthcoming). Multi-Modal Order Fulfillment: Concept and Application. Production and Operations Management

Caner, T., Cohen, S. K. and Pil, F. (2017), Firm heterogeneity in complex problem solving: A knowledge-based look at invention. Strategic Management Journal, 38: 1791–1811. doi:10.1002/smj.2615 

Holweg, M, and Pil, F. (2012). ‘Outsourcing complex business processes: Lessons from the Enterprise Partnership between BAE Systems and Xchanging.’ California Management Review 54(3): 98-115.

Cruz, K., and Pil, F. (2011), ‘Team Characteristics and Individual Stress.’ Human Relations 64(10): 1265-1289.

Kim, Jaewon, John Paul MacDuffie, and Frits K. Pil, (2010). ‘Employee voice and organizational performance’, Human Relations 63(3): 371-394.

Pil, Frits K. and Carrie Leana, (2009). ‘Applying organizational research to public school reform: The effects of teacher human and social capital on student performance’, Academy of Management Journal 52(6): 1101-1124.

Pinto, Jonathan, Carrie Leana, and Frits K. Pil. (2008). ‘Corrupt organizations or organizations of corrupt individuals? Two organizational-level corruption phenomena.’ Academy of Management Review 33(3): 685-709.

Matthias Holweg and Frits K. Pil. (2008). ‘Theoretical perspectives on the coordination of supply chains.’ Journal of Operations Management 26(3): 389-406.

Pil, Frits K. and Takahiro Fujimoto. (2007). ‘Lean and reflective production: The dynamic nature of production models.’ International Journal of Production Research, 45(16), 3741-3761.

Pil, Frits K. and Susan Cohen. (2006). “Modularity and complexity: implications for imitation, innovation, and sustained competitive advantage.” Academy of Management Review, 31(4): 995-1011.

Pil, Frits K., and Matthias Holweg. (2006). “From value chain to value grid.” MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer, 47(4): 72-80.

Leana, Carrie, and Frits K. Pil. (2006). “Social Capital and Organizational Performance,” Organization Science, 17(3): 353-366.

Holweg, Matthias, and Frits K. Pil. (2004; paperback 2005). The Second Century, MIT Press. Translated into Mandarin Chinese and Korean.

Pil, Frits K., and Matthias Holweg. (2004). “Mitigating product variety’s impact on the value chain,” Interfaces, 34(5): 394-403

Pil, Frits K. and Sandra Rothenberg. (2003). “Environmental performance as a driver of superior organizational performance.” Journal of Production and Operations Management, 12(3): 404-415.

Pil, Frits K., and Matthias Holweg. (2003). “Exploring Scale: The hidden advantages of thinking small.” Sloan Management Review, 44(2): 33-40.

Holweg, Matthias, and Frits K. Pil. (2001). “Successful Build-to-Order Strategies Start With the Customer.” Sloan Management Review, 43(1): 74-83.

Rothenberg, Sandra, Frits K. Pil, and Jim Maxwell. (2001). “Lean, Green, and the Quest for Superior Performance.” Journal of Production and Operations Management, 10(2): 228-243.

Academic Area

Organizations and Entrepreneurship

Personal Interests

Fluent in Dutch, French, German, and Portuguese.