Corporate strategy sage C.K. Prahalad is the most influential management thinker in the world, according to the Thinkers 50, a biennial ranking of business gurus.
Prahalad, who serves as the Paul and Ruth McCracken distinguished university professor of strategy at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, tops the list for the second time running.
"C.K. Prahalad's influence on the business world is immense," said Des Dearlove, co-creator of the ranking, in a statement. "He coined the term 'core competencies' in the 1990s, which set the strategy agenda for a generation of managers. More recently, his work on The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid has shown the role business can play in tackling world poverty."
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To create the list, leadership consulting firm CrainerDearlove surveyed 3,500 people around the world to identify the 100 most important business thinkers, and then consulted a panel of experts to rank the top 50. This is the fifth edition of the biennial list.
While Prahalad maintained his No. 1 slot from the 2007 edition, economic turbulence has significantly changed the rest of the ranking.
Thirteen thinkers make their first appearance on the list in 2009, including Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and author of Banker to the Poor. The economist surges onto the list in sixth place.
Names that have slipped off the list include Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who ranked third in 2007. All together, only 19 members of the original 50 members of the list still make the cut.
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Stuart Crainer, co-creator of the list and partner at CrainerDearlove, says this year's ranking illustrates the slipping influence of business school academics--and the increasing influence of economists during the recession. Economists Paul Krugman (ranked third), Joseph Stiglitz (22nd) and Niall Ferguson (42nd) did not appear on the list in 2007.
"Managers are quite fickle," says Crainer. "They're looking for the next big idea all the time."