William R. King

December 24, 1938

Brief Biography

King Presidential Gallery Portrait

William R. King served as the thirty-sixth president of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) and founding president of Association for Information Systems (AIS). He was also the editor-in-chief of MISQuarterly from 1983 to 1985. King studied industrial engineering at Pennsylvania State University before receiving his graduate degrees from the Case Institute of Technology. At Case, he studied under Russell L. Ackoff who helped him refocus his professional goals from being a jet pilot to that of a professor and consultant. While on active duty in the United States Air Force, he taught at the Air Force Institute of Technology before joining the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh in 1967.

At the University of Pittsburgh, King redesigned the doctoral program and it grow significantly under his leadership. He played a major role in securing the university a multi-million dollar grant from IBM that led to the establishment of novel, dual MBA-MS degree in the management of information systems.

King has authored over three hundred papers and seventeen books. As a graduate student, he developed a technique for scoring relative desirability of geographic markets for market expansion, making it the first decision-support application of multivariate discriminant analysis. King's publications have touched upon strategic planning, systems analysis and project management, information systems in management, and the strategic use of information technology. His work has been applied to areas in finance and business.

King was an active member of TIMS leading up to his presidency. In the capacity of Vice President of Member activities, he concentrated on informing members of the many services provided by the organization. As president, King worked with Donald Gross and helped in initiating the process of merging TIMS with the Operations Research Society of America. This led to the eventual establishment of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in 1995. After his term, King secured the approval of an amendment to the By-Laws that gave the office of Past President more significant duties.

In 1992, he attended a meeting of senior information systems scholars that was organized by Claremont Graduate University professor and TIMS president, Paul Gray. Given his significant experience in leading and operating TIMS, King went on to attend several other such meetings and conferences to discuss the formation of a professional information systems organization. Working alongside and establishing cooperative relationships with a number of academic journals and practitioners, he established AIS, welcoming eighteen hundred charter members within the organization’s first six months. In addition to serving as the association’s first president, he was also its first executive director.  

King has received numerous accolades for his work and career contributions. In addition to being an inaugural Fellow of both INFORMS and AIS, he is a full member of the Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Decision Science Institute. His book,Systems Analysis and Project Management, co-authored with David Cleland, was recognized as a seminal contribution to management by the McKinsey Foundation.

Prior to a series of major surgeries in 2002-2003, King was active as a licensed private pilot, certified powerboat and sailboat captain, skier and scuba diver. 

Other Biographies

Association for Information Systems. Paul Gray AIS Presidential Gallery: William King. Accessed May 11, 2015. (link

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: William R. King. Accessed May 11, 2015. (link)

PICMET. Plenary Speakers: William R. King. Accessed May 11, 2015. (link


Pennsylvania State University, BSIE 1960

Case Institute of Technology, MS 1962

Case Institute of Technology, PhD 1964 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


King W. R. (2012) School Days: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century. Xlibris. 

King W. R. (2011) Back to School: Principal delivered a loud wake-up call worth remembering. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 9. (link

Awards and Honors

Association for Information Systems Fellow 1999

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

AIS Leo Award 2004

Professional Service

Association for Information Systems, President 1994-1995

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), President 1989-1990

Selected Publications

Fahey L. & King W. R. (1977) Environmental scanning for corporate planning. Business Horizons, 20(4): 61-71.

Cleland D. I. & King W. R. (1978) Strategic Planning and Policy. Van Nostrand Reinhold: Amsterdam.

King W. R. (1978) Strategic planning for management information systems. MIS Quarterly, 2(1): 27-37.

King W. R. & Rodriguez J. I. (1978) Evaluating management information systems. MIS Quarterly, 2(1): 43-51.

Cleland D. I. & King W. R. (1983) Systems Analysis and Project Management. McGraw Hill: New York.

Cleland D. I. & King W. R., eds. (1988) Project Management Handbook. John Wiley & Sons: New York.  

King W. R. & Prekumar G. (1992) An empirical assessment of information systems planning and the role of information systems in organizations. Journal of Management Information Systems, 9(2): 99-125

King W. R. & Premkumar G. (1994) Organizational characteristics and information systems planning: an empirical study. Information Systems Research, 5(2): 75-109.

King W. R. & Teo T. S. (1996) Key dimension of facilitators and inhibitors for the strategic use of information technology. Journal of Management Information Systems, 13(1):35-53.

King W. R. & Teo T. S. (1997) Integration between business planning and information systems planning: an evolutionary-contingency perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems, 14(1): 185-214.