Alnoor Ebrahim

Alnoor Ebrahim

Cabot 406
160 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155
Research/Areas of Interest:

Leadership and Strategy; Social Enterprise and NGO/Nonprofit Management; Social Impact Measurement; International Organizations; Global Governance


  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • M.S., Stanford University
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Alnoor Ebrahim is a Professor of Management, with joint appointments at The Fletcher School at Tufts University and the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. His research addresses several core dilemmas of social change facing businesses, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies: How should they measure and improve their impacts on society? How should they handle competing demands for accountability from diverse stakeholders? How can they influence “system” problems such as global poverty that require collective action?

book cover of Measuring Social Change, Stanford University Press, 2019.
Measuring Social Change, Stanford University Press, 2019.

Many of these questions are addressed in Professor Ebrahim’s award-winning book, Measuring Social Change: Performance and Accountability in a Complex World (Stanford University Press). He is also author of NGOs and Organizational Change: Discourse, Reporting, and Learning and is co-editor of Global Accountabilities: Participation, Pluralism, and Public Ethics (both with Cambridge University Press). 

Alnoor serves on advisory boards to IRIS+ at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), and Imago Global Grassroots. He previously served on a working group established by the G7 to create global guidelines on social impact measurement, and on Acumen’s Lean Data advisory council. He has also worked with the NGO Leaders Forum, an annual gathering of CEOs of large humanitarian development organizations. His previous research on accountability mechanisms within the World Bank led to a Congressional Testimony on improving the Bank’s information disclosure policy.

Professor Ebrahim teaches courses on leadership and strategy, and also co-chairs an executive education program at the Harvard Kennedy School for the Schwab Foundation’s social entrepreneurs. Prior to joining the Fletcher faculty, he taught at Harvard Business School, where he chaired two executive programs for social sector leaders, and also at Virginia Tech. Professor Ebrahim received his doctorate and master’s degrees from Stanford University, and his bachelor of science from M.I.T.

Other Affiliations

  • Imago Global Grassroots, Board Member 
  • Impact Reporting Investment Standards (IRIS), Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Advisory Board
  • Impact Measurement Working Group, Social Impact Investment Task Force established by the G8 (2014-5)
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review, Academic Advisory Board
  • Editorial boards:  California Management Review, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society


Courses taught

Selected Publications and Presentations


Dichter, S., T. Adams, and A. Ebrahim. 2016 (winter). “The Power of Lean Data,” Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Ebrahim, A., J. Battilana and J. Mair. 2014. “The Governance of Social Enterprises: Mission drift and accountability challenges in hybrid organizations,” Research in Organizational Behavior, 34: 81-100.

Ebrahim, A. and V.K. Rangan. 2014. “What Impact? A Framework for Measuring the Scale & Scope of Social Performance,” California Management Review, 56(3): 118-141.

Brown, L.D., A. Ebrahim, and S. Batliwala. 2012. "Governing International Advocacy NGOs." World Development 40(6): 1098-1108.

Ebrahim, A and S. Herz. 2011. “c: The Role of Civil Society” in Jan Aart Scholte (ed.), Building Global Democracy? Civil Society and Accountable Global Governance, 58-77. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ebrahim, A. 2009. “Placing the Normative Logics of Accountability in ‘Thick’ Perspective,” American Behavioral Scientist, 52(6): 885-904.

Ebrahim, A. 2005. “Accountability Myopia: Losing Sight of Organizational Learning,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 34(1): 56-87.

Ebrahim, A. 2003. “Making Sense of Accountability: Conceptual Perspectives for Northern and Southern Nonprofits,” Nonprofit Management and Leadership 14(2): 191-212. (Recipient of Editor’s Prize for best paper).

Ebrahim, A. 2003. “Accountability in Practice: Mechanisms for NGOs,” World Development 31(5): 813-829.


"Measuring Social Change: Performance & Accountability in a Complex World," (2019 forthcoming, Stanford University Press).

Ebrahim, A. and Edward Weisband (eds). 2007. Global Accountabilities: Participation, Pluralism, and Public Ethics, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, U.K.

Ebrahim, A. 2003 (hardback) 2005 (paperback). NGOs and Organizational Change: Discourse, Reporting and Learning. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, U.K. (Recipient of Best Book Award from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action).


Ebrahim, A. 2016. “The Many Faces of Nonprofit Accountability, ” in D. Renz (ed), The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management (fourth edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 102-123.