World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Theodore Levitt

Theodore Levitt (March 1, 1925, Vollmerz, Main-Kinzig-Kreis, Germany – June 28, 2006, Belmont, Massachusetts) was an American economist and professor at Harvard Business School. He was also editor of the Harvard Business Review and an editor who was especially noted for increasing the Review's circulation and for popularizing the term globalization. In 1983, he proposed a definition for corporate purpose: Rather than merely making money, it is to create and keep a customer.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Role in developing the term "globalization" 2
  • Honors and accolades 3
  • Death 4
  • 5 Books and articles
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Additional 8

Early life

Levitt was born in 1925 in Vollmerz. A decade later his family moved to Dayton, Ohio. He served in World War II, received his high school diploma through correspondence school and then earned a bachelor's at Antioch College and a Ph.D. in economics at Ohio State University. His first teaching job was at the University of North Dakota.[2]

In 1959 he joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School. Later that year, he became world-renowned after publishing Marketing Myopia in Harvard Business Review where he asks "What business are you in?", a phrase that demands one account for the significance of the job one does.[3]

Role in developing the term "globalization"

He is widely credited with coining the term globalization through an article entitled "Globalization of Markets", which appeared in the May–June 1983 issue of Harvard Business Review. However, as a NYTimes article notes, the term 'globalization' was in use well before (at least as early as 1944) and had been used by economists as early as 1981. However, Levitt popularized the term and brought it into the mainstream business audience. Between 1985 and 1989, he headed the Harvard Business Review as an editor.[3]

He was the author of The Marketing Imagination, and was a best-selling author whose works have been translated into eleven languages. He was also the author of numerous articles on economic, political, management, and marketing subjects.

Honors and accolades

He was a four-time winner of the McKinsey Awards competitions for best annual article in the Harvard Business Review; winner of Academy of Management Award for the outstanding business books of 1962 for Innovation in Marketing; winner of John Hancock Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 1969; recipient of the Charles Coolidge Parlin Award as "Marketing Man of the Year," 1970; recipient of the George Gallup Award for Marketing Excellence, 1976; recipient of the 1978 Paul D. Converse Award of the American Marketing Association for major contributions to marketing and recipient of the 1989 William M. McFeely Award of the International Management Council for major contributions to management.


Levitt died at home after a long illness. His memorial was held at his favorite tennis club. He was 81 and was survived by his wife of 58 years, and by four children.

Books and articles



  • Marketing for business growth, 1974, New York : McGraw-Hill, First ed. published in 1969 under the title: The marketing mode.
  • The marketing imagination, 1983, New York : The Free Press
  • The marketing imagination , 1986, New York : Free Press (New, expanded ed.)
  • Thinking about management, 1991, New York : Free Press
  • Levitt on marketing, 1991, Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School Press

See also


  1. ^ Levitt, T (1983) The Marketing Imagination, New York: Free Press.
  3. ^ a b Mullman, Jeremy (July 10, 2006). "An 'original mind' of marketing dies.". Advertising Age 77: 8. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^


  • Theodore Levitt Dead at 81 JUNE 29, 2006 Businessweek online
  • Theodore Levitt, 81, Who Coined the Term 'Globalization', Is Dead New York Times July 6, 2006
  • 'Globalisation' inventor dies at 81, Friday 7 July 2006,
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.