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50 Prescott, Room 1316
Phone: +1-508-831-4831

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Joseph Sarkis

To examine our world and our lives, and then do something valuable to make our world better is important to our current and future generations.  Asking, “Why are things the way they are?” and “Can they be improved?” are central elements to critical thinking.  Teaching, for me, requires that students critically think.  Teaching and learning are not about just knowing facts and formulas.  Learning to learn is a goal I pursue with all my students.  Critical analysis is part of this process. To examine various angles and dimensions of a problem or situation and to be creative in identifying solutions using new and old knowledge is what critical analysis is all about.  WPI students, I believe, have this innate capability and need to truly understand themselves and their environment.  Many of the world’s solutions to complex problems, especially with topics such as business and the environment, sustainability, social equality, humanitarian efforts, and technological modernization, require critical thought from all generations, but especially our younger generations, our students. In my classrooms I encourage our students to consider these multiple perspectives, to find out what tools are available, and maybe to develop some of their own.  There are many opportunities to improve our world.  WPI students are exceptionally talented and privileged. I have high expectations that all WPI students will take advantage of these opportunities to improve our world.

My research on environmental sustainability focuses on concerns of the social and environmental footprints of industry and business.  I address these complex issues from the perspectives of individuals, groups, organizations, and supply chains.  I have completed research to find out what types of leadership and motivation can support pro-environmental behavior in work places.  Questions on what motivates organizations to “green” themselves and their supply chains, not only in Western society, but in China, Brazil, and Russia are investigated in my studies.  The role of ecological modernization and technology in a sustainable world underpins a significant portion of my research.  Developing tools, frameworks, and models to help managers and organizations make difficult and complex decisions on sustainability is an important aspect of my research work.

Research Interests

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Operations Management
  • Sustainability
  • Natural Environment
  • Multiple Criteria Decision Making


  • BS, SUNY at Buffalo, 1985
  • MBA, SUNY at Buffalo, 1986
  • Ph.D. Management Sciences, SUNY at Buffalo, 1992

Featured Publications

  • Sarkis, J. (2012). Models for compassionate operations. International Journal of Production Economics, 139(2), 359-365.
  • Geng, Y., Sarkis, J., Ulgiati, S., & Zhang, P. (2013). Measuring China's Circular Economy. Science, 339(6127), 1526-1527
  • Sarkis, J., & Cordeiro, J. J. (2012). Ecological modernization in the electrical utility industry: An application of a bads–goods DEA model of ecological and technical efficiency. European Journal of Operational Research, 219(2), 386-395.
  • Sarkis, J. (2012). A boundaries and flows perspective of green supply chain management. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 17(2), 202-216.
  • Sarkis, J., Zhu, Q., & Lai, K. H. (2011). An organizational theoretic review of green supply chain management literature. International Journal of Production Economics, 130(1), 1-15.
  • Sarkis, J., Gonzalez-Torre, P., & Adenso-Diaz, B. (2010). Stakeholder pressure and the adoption of environmental practices: The mediating effect of training. Journal of Operations Management, 28(2), 163-176.

Full list of publications

Professional Highlights

  • Industrial Ecology Fellow
  • Sea-Sky Scholar Dalian University of Technology
  • Editor – Management Research Review
  • Departmental Editor - IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
  • International Coordination Team - Greening of Industry Network
  • Springer Book Series Editor - Greening of Industry Networks Studies
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