- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

BELMONT, Mass. (AP) — Theodore Levitt, the former Harvard Business Review editor who coined the term “globalization,” has died. He was 81.

Mr. Levitt, who had prostate cancer, died at his home in Belmont June 28, according to his son, Peter.

Mr. Levitt first earned fame in 1960, after publishing “Marketing Myopia,” a Harvard Business Review article in which he called marketing a “stepchild” in most corporations that concentrate too much on creating and selling products. He said certain companies and industries were declining because management defined the scope of their businesses too narrowly.

Since its initial publication, more than 850,000 reprints of the article have been sold, making it one of the most popular review articles ever, according to the review.

Mr. Levitt first used the term “globalization” in a 1983 Harvard Business Review article about the emergence of standardized, low-priced consumer products. He defined that globalization as the changes in social behaviors and technology that allowed companies to sell the same products around the world.

Mr. Levitt was born in 1925 in Vollmerz, Germany. His family moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 1935 to escape the Nazis. After serving in Europe during World War II, he attended Antioch College before earning a doctoral degree in economics from Ohio State University in 1951. He taught at the University of North Dakota and worked as a consultant in the oil industry before joining the Harvard Business School in 1959.

He authored or co-authored eight books and shared the record with the late Peter Drucker for publishing the most Harvard Business Review papers. While serving as the magazine’s editor from 1985 to 1989, Mr. Levitt transformed the magazine from an academic publication to a reader-friendly magazine read by business leaders.

He leaves his wife of 58 years, four children and six grandchildren.

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