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I have been fascinated with risk management (or better yet, management in the face of risk and uncertainty) throughout my career, beginning with my work on the potential for risk-sharing across emerging economies in the early 1970s (including an ill-fated attempt to spark an Andean Regional Investment Union); alternatives to general obligation (debt) financing for developing countries in the early 1980s; exchange risk management for firms (including the development of the concept of economic exposure); the concept of total risk management and risk-management as a core competency of firms in the 1990s; and the management of risk and complexity in major projects from the late 1990s through the present. Since the early 2000s, I have centered my work on capabilities, which link uncertainty and strategy,  in the context of multinationals, projects, and energy.

My current research and teaching interests and publications lie in four related domains, centered on risk  and capabilities (for links to these papers, see my publications page):

Capabilities and global strategy

  • “The Dynamic Capabilities of Meta Multinationals” Global Strategy Journal (with David Teece and Sohvi Leih) 2016.
  • “Building Your Company’s Capabilities Through Global Expansion,” Sloan Management Review (with Rafel Lucea and Luis Vives) 2012

(Mega) Project shaping

  • “Megaprojects as Games of Innovation” in B. Flyvbjerg, ed. Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management (with Roger Miller and Vivek Sakhrani) 2017
  • “The House of Project Complexity- Understanding Complexity in Large Engineering Projects”, Engineering Project Organization Journal. (with Vivek Sakhrani and Roger Miller) 2014
  • Strategic Management of Large Engineering Projects: Shaping Institutions, Risks, and Governance, MIT Press (with Roger Miller) 2001

Global dimensions of risk and uncertainty

  • “Risk Management for Companies Operating in Emerging Markets”, forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Management in Emerging Markets
  • “Uncertainty and Risk in Global Supply Chains,” in Global Value Chains in a Changing World, eds. Deborah Elms and Patrick Low, World Trade Organization, jointly with Fung Global Institute and the Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiations. 2013

Energy strategy

  • Institutional enablers of energy system transition: Lessons from solar PV in eight African countries” MIT Sloan Working paper (with Valerie J. Karplus, Ninad Rajpurkar, and Arun Singh). 2017.
  • Strategic Partnering in Oil and Gas: A Capabilities Perspective”, Energy Strategy Reviews, (with Rodrigo Garcia and Aditya Singh) 2014


The Strategic Management of Large Engineering Projects: Shaping Institutions, Risks and Governance

by Donald R. Lessard and Roger Miller IMEC Research Group The MIT Press, 2001.

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"Legal practitioners in the project finance field will treasure this groundbreaking and comprehensive study..."
Jaime A. El Koury, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, New York

"...a 'must read' for anyone interested in large engineering projects..."
Chris Chapman, Professor of Management Science University of Southampton, United Kingdom

As the number, complexity, and scope of large engineering projects (LEPs) increase worldwide, the huge stakes involved may endanger the survival of corporations and threaten the stability of countries that approach these projects unprepared. According to the authors, the "front-end" engineering of institutional arrangements and strategic systems is a far greater determinant of an LEP's success than are the more tangible aspects of project engineering and management.

The book is based on an international research project that analyzed sixty LEPs, among them the Boston Harbor cleanup; the first phase of subway construction in Ankara, Turkey; a hydro dam on the Caroni River in Venezuela; and the construction of offshore oil platforms west of Flor, Norway. The authors use the research results to develop an experience-based theoretical framework that will allow managers to understand and respond to the complexity and uncertainty inherent in all LEPs. In addition to managers and scholars of large-scale projects, the book will be of interest to those studying the relationship between institutions and strategy, risk management, and corporate governance in general.

Contributors: Bjorn Andersen, Richard Brealey, Ian Cooper, Serghei Floricel, Michel Habib, Brian Hobbs, Donald R. Lessard, Pascale Michaud, Roger Miller, Xavier Olleros.

  • Donald Roy Lessard

    Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management, Emeritus

    Professor of Global Economics and Management, Emeritus |Professor of Engineering Systems, Emeritus

    MIT Sloan School of Management

    100 Main Street

    Cambridge, MA 02142

    Office Number E62-467
    Phone Number (617) 253-6688

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    Sumaiya Rahman Haddad

    (617) 253-6679
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