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Jeffrey Pfeffer: Stanford Business Professor, Management, Leadership & HR Expert, Keynote Speaker

Biography

Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior

Research Statement

Jeffrey Pfeffer has published extensively in the fields of organization theory and human resource management. His current research focuses on the relationship between time and money, power and leadership in organizations, economics language and assumptions and their effects on management practice, how social science theories become self-fulfilling, barriers to turning knowledge into action and how to overcome them, and evidence-based management and what it is, barriers to its use, and how to implement it.

Bio

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of 15 books including:

  • Leadership B.S.: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time;
  • The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First;
  • Power: Why Some People Have It—and Others Don’t;
  • The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action;
  • Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management
  • And more than 150 articles and book chapters.

In March, 2018, HarperCollins will publish Pfeffer’s latest book, Dying for a Paycheck:  How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—And What We Can Do About It.

Dr. Pfeffer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. from Stanford. He began his career at the business school at the University of Illinois and then taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Pfeffer has been a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University, London Business School, Copenhagen Business School, and for the past 12 years a visitor at IESE in Barcelona.

From 2003-2007, Pfeffer wrote a monthly column, “The Human Factor,” for the 650,000-person circulation business magazine, Business 2.0 and from 2007-2010, he wrote a monthly column providing career advice for Capital, a leading business and economics magazine in Turkey.  Pfeffer has also written for Fortune.com, BNET, the Washington Post, BloombergBusinessWeek.com, and is an Influencer on LinkedIn.

Pfeffer currently serves on the board of directors of Berlin Packaging, on the advisory board for Collective Health, and on the board of the nonprofit Quantum Leap Healthcare. In the past he has served on the boards of Resumix, Unicru, and Workstream, all human capital software companies, Audible Magic, an internet company, SonoSite, a NASDAQ company designing and manufacturing portable ultrasound machines, and the San Francisco Playhouse, a non-profit theater. 

Pfeffer has presented seminars in 39 countries throughout the world as well as doing consulting and providing executive education for numerous companies, associations, and universities in the United States.

Jeffrey Pfeffer has won the Richard D. Irwin Award presented by the Academy of Management for scholarly contributions to management and numerous awards for his articles and books. He is listed in the top 25 management thinkers by Thinkers 50 and as one of the Most Influential HR International Thinkers by HR Magazine. In November, 2011, he was presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Tilburg University in The Netherlands.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Business Administration, Organizational Behavior, Stanford University, 1972
  • MS in Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1968
  • BS in Administration and Management Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 1968

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1979
  • Tommie Goh Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship, Singapore Management University, Winter 2006
  • Visiting Professor, IESE Business School, Spring 2006
  • Advanced Institute of Management Visiting Professor, London Business School, Fall 2005
  • Thomas Henry Carroll-Ford Foundation Visiting Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, 1981-1982
  • Assistant-Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, 1973-1979
  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, 1971-73

Awards and Honors

  • Hank McKinnell-Pfizer Inc. Faculty Fellow for 2015-2016
  • Honorary Doctorate, Tilburg University, The Netherlands, 2011
  • Richard D. Irwin Scholarly Contributions to Management Award, Academy of Management, 1989
  • Terry Book Award, Academy of Management, 1984

Teaching

Degree Courses

2017-18

OB 377: The Paths to Power

Power and influence processes are ubiquitous and important in organizations, so leaders need to be able both to understand power and to act on that knowledge. This course has three objectives: 1) increasing students'' ability to diagnose and...

2016-17

OB 377: The Paths to Power

Power and influence processes are ubiquitous and important in organizations, so leaders need to be able both to understand power and to act on that knowledge. This course has three objectives: 1) increasing students'' ability to diagnose and...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

  • Advanced Leadership Program for Asian-American Executives Develop global leadership skills to advance your career as we focus on effective training for high-achieving Asian-American executives.
  • Customer-Focused Innovation Learn about cutting-edge social science frameworks and design thinking techniques in a unique partnership between Stanford GSB and d.school.
  • Executive Program in Leadership: The Effective Use of Power Develop a leadership style and an action plan tailored to your personal objectives that inspire innovation in your team, your company, and the world.
  • The Innovative Technology Leader Explore the intersection of innovation, technology, and business, and learn to drive strategic change across your organization.
  • Leading Change and Organizational Renewal Leverage diverse research, proven methodologies, and design thinking for change management in this collaboration between Stanford and Harvard.
  • People, Culture, and Performance: Strategies from Silicon Valley Gain a competitive advantage using Silicon Valley models and mindsets to recruit, retain, and inspire people for performance and growth.
  • Stanford LEAD: Corporate Innovation Certificate Learn innovation and how to apply organizational change through a global, social, and virtual learning model with renowned Stanford GSB professors.

Other Teaching

  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: LEAD Certificate: Corporate Innovation
  • Stanford GSB Execuitive Education: Leading Change and Organizational Renewal
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Executive Leadership Development: Analysis to Action
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Executive Program for Growing Companies
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: The Innovative Technology Leader
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Advancing Leadership Program for Asian-American Executives
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Executive Program in Strategy and Organization
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Managing Talent for Strategic Advantage
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Executive Program in Leadership: The Effective Use of Power
  • Stanford GSB Executive Education: Customer-Focused Innovation

In the Media

The Wisdom of Embracing Your Adversaries

Fortune, July 19, 2016

Why Neither Brexit Nor Trump Will Fix the World’s Job Problems

Fortune, July 5, 2016

Donald Trump: The Unproductive Narcissist

Fortune, June 20, 2016

Google tops LinkedIn's list of companies best at recruiting and keeping talent

The Mercury News, Business, June 20, 2016

Why Deception Is Probably the Single Most Important Leadership Skill

Fortune Online, June 2, 2016

Exclusive: Trump's 3,500 lawsuits unprecedented for a presidential nominee

Citizen-Times, June 2, 2016

To Fix High Drug Prices, Stop the Merger Madness

Fortune, May 17, 2016

Private Sector: Time To Get Specific About Leadership Ethics

HR Pulse, May 5, 2016

Negativity in the workplace can quickly become contagious, expert says

Journal Sentinel, April 22, 2016

Startup Culture Breeds Empowerment, Not Misery

Fortune, April 22, 2016

The gig economy is coming. You probably won’t like it.

Boston Globe, April 20, 2016

Why 'Modern' Work Culture Makes People So Miserable

Fortune, April 12, 2016

Stop taking lessons in leadership, start actually leading

Bellingham Business Journal, March 29, 2016

Have we created an unachievable myth of leadership?

Financial Times, December 6, 2015

Who are the world's best leaders

Fortune, March 26, 2015

Cold and calculating: Why companies decided to stop rewarding loyal workers

Quartz, March 25, 2015

The Dawn of the Great Workplace Era

Workforce, March 23, 2015

The Importance of Smelling the Roses

The Huffington Post. Healthy Living, 2015

The Reasons Why We Have Mean Co-workers

Human Resources, 2015

How to Use Anger to Your Advantage

Big Think TV, September 25, 2013

In a video produced by BigThink.com, Stanford's Jeffrey Pfeffer explores the many sources of power in corporate life.

A Deadly Silicon Valley Habit

Bloomberg Businessweek, February 8, 2013

Jeffrey Pfeffer says VCs and entrepreneurs too often "blindly chase the latest fads."

Learning the Hard Way

Bloomberg Businessweek, December 27, 2012

Jeffrey Pfeffer discusses HP, acquisition strategy, and the success of outside hires.

Emphasizing Our Human Resources

Forbes India, September 17, 2012

The Stanford GSB's Jeffrey Pfeffer argues that being a socially responsible company should include focusing on employees' physical and psychological well-being.

The Futile War for Talent

Financial Times, January 2008

Bosses in Love with Claptrap and Blinded by Ideologies

The Observer, April 11, 2006

Fear Factor a Pervasive Workplace Saboteur

Globe and Mail, April 16, 2005

Curbing the Urge to Merge

Business 2.0 , August 1, 2003

Stanford Study Questions Value of an MBA Degree

Business 2.0, July 27, 2000

Insights by Stanford Business

What to Read over the Holidays

December 5, 2017

15 Stanford business professors recommend books for those long winter nights.

What Does the Word “Intelligence” Really Mean?

August 21, 2017

Stanford GSB professors suggest a reading list of articles and books related to the concept.

Why Uncertainty Makes Us Less Likely to Take Risks

June 1, 2017

Whether it’s now or later, people opt for guaranteed gains or losses when ambiguity reigns.

How the Ticking Clock Kills

April 18, 2017

A new study reveals spikes in stress when employees are told to think of time as money.

Top Business Podcasts of 2016

December 12, 2016

Long commute? Spend the time listening to these 10 Stanford Business stories.

Equity: The Recommended List

August 30, 2016

Stanford GSB professors suggest articles and books related to the concept of “equity.”

Why Thoughts of Death Make Us Yearn for Power

July 11, 2016

Confronted by their mortality, men, more than women, seek power to ease their anxiety.

Why We Absolve Successful People — and Companies — of Bad Behavior](https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/why-we-absolve-successful-people-companies-bad-behavior)

June 6, 2016

Our inclination to rationalize low acts by high-status people has deep psychological roots.

How Work Stress Hits Minorities and Less Educated Workers the Hardest

February 25, 2016

Researchers analyze workplace health to find inequalities.

A Look Back at 2015

December 19, 2015

Explore Stanford Business stories from 2015, including pieces on technology, finance, and work-life balance.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: How to “Lean In” to Power

September 29, 2015

Power skills and behaviors matter for career success.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Why the Leadership Industry Has Failed

September 9, 2015

Advice given to leaders is too often based on the ideal world, not reality.

The Recommended List by Stanford GSB Professors

April 30, 2015

Those in the know share where to go to learn more about reward and related topics.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Power (and How to Get More of It)

March 19, 2015

A professor of organizational behavior describes how you can increase your influence at work.

Why Your Workplace Might Be Killing You

February 23, 2015

Stanford scholars identify 10 work stressors that are destroying your health.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Why Companies No Longer Reward Loyal Employees

February 20, 2015

Repaying favors is the norm in our personal lives, but not in the workplace.

A Look Back at 2014

December 11, 2014

Explore 10 Stanford Business stories from 2014, including pieces on happiness and networking.

Ten Tips for Building Stronger Networks in Work and Life

May 21, 2014

How to connect to the people who matter.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Do Workplace Hierarchies Still Matter?

March 24, 2014

A professor of organizational behavior says office power dynamics are part of our DNA.

Research: All Money is Not Created Equal

January 6, 2014

New research by Stanford GSB Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer shows that the more money we earn, the more money we want.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Companies Emphasize the Environment Over Employees

June 7, 2013

A professor of organizational behavior argues that “human sustainability” may pay off too.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Time to Detox the Work Environment

April 1, 2009

A professor of organizational behavior says companies spend too much time on polar bears and not enough on people.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: How Employee Financial Incentives Can Backfire

September 1, 2007

Research shows bonuses and incentives are nice gestures of recognition, but aren't effective to drive behavior.

Time is Money When You’re Paid by the Hour

August 1, 2006

Studies show that those who are paid hourly think of time as a commodity.

Why You Need an Agent to Sing Your Praises

August 1, 2006

Recent research shows having an agent or recruiter negotiate a deal for you makes you seem more likeable — and can get you a better deal.

Herb Kelleher: Manage in Good Times So You'll Do Well in the Bad Times](https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/herb-kelleher-manage-good-times-so-youll-do-well-bad-times)

April 1, 2006

The Southwest Airlines chairman and former CEO explains the business philosophy that has his company thriving in the brutal airline industry.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Untested Assumptions May Have a Big Effect

June 1, 2005

A professor of organizational behavior says senior leaders need to understand how their mental models of business affect organizational performance.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: Too Much Management Can Block Innovation

September 15, 2003

Even some well-established practices may be counterproductive

The Knowing-Doing Gap

November 1, 1999

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton explore how companies can turn talk into action, and why promoting internal competition may not help.

Why Some Managers Won't Let Go

September 1, 1997

A study reveals the tendency of leaders to inflate the worth of work produced with their direct oversight.

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Read about executive education

Cases

Update on Zia Yusuf | OB82 Jeffrey Pfeffer2016

Tristan Walker: The Extroverted Introvert | OB93 Jeffrey Pfeffer2016

DaVita: A Community First, A Company Second | OB89 Charles O'Reilly, Jeffrey Pfeffer, David Hoyt, Davina Drabkin2014

Women's Careers and Power, What You Need to Know | OB86 Jeffrey Pfeffer2012

Ross Walker's Path to Power | OB79 Jeffrey Pfeffer2011

A Note on Women and Power | OB78 Jeffrey Pfeffer2010

Incentive Problems in a Software Company | OB75 Jeffrey Pfeffer2009

Kimberly-Clark Andean Region: Creating a Winning Culture | OB72 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Megan Anderson2009

Zia Yusuf at SAP: Having Impact | OB73 Jeffrey Pfeffer2009

A Note on Social Networks and Network Structure | OB66 Jeffrey Pfeffer2008

Note on Power and Social Interaction | OB41 Jeffrey Pfeffer2008

Nuria Chinchilla: The Power to Change Workplaces | OB67 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Megan Anderson2008

Kent Thiry and DaVita: Leadership Challenges in Building and Growing a Great Company | OB54 Jeffrey Pfeffer2006

Three Common CEO Missteps (A Perspective From The Boardroom) | E201 Harold Grousbeck, Joel Peterson, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Alex Tauber2006

Human Resources at the AES Corporation: The Case of the Missing Department | HR3 Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Karen Jones | OB23 Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Standard Financial Services | OB25 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee, II2004

Wells Fargo and Norwest, \"Merger of Equals\" (A) | HR26A Victoria Chang, Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Wells Fargo and Norwest, \"Merger of Equals\" (B) | HR26B Victoria Chang, Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Dr. Laura Esserman (A) | OB42A Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2003

Dr. Laura Esserman (B) | OB42B Victoria Chang, Jeffrey Pfeffer2003

Gary Loveman and Harrah's Entertainment | OB45 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2003

Keith Ferrazzi | OB44 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2003

Holy Cross Hospital The Road to a New Culture | HR16 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2001

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: The Road to Redemption | OB34B Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang, Kimberly Elsbach2001

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: The Fall From Grace | OB34A Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang, Kimberly Elsbach2000

SAS Institute: The Decision to Go Public | HR6B Jeffrey Pfeffer2000

PSS World Medical, The Challenges of Growth and the Financial Markets | HR12 Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer1999

SAS Institute (A): A Different Approach to Incentives and People Management Practices in the Software Industry | HR6A Jeffrey Pfeffer1998

The Fresh Choice Company: Acquiring and Transferring Knowledge | HR7 Jeffrey Pfeffer1998

The Men's Wearhouse: Success in a Declining Industry | HR5 Jeffrey Pfeffer1997

Southwest Airlines (A) | HR1A Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer1995

Gary Loveman - Succeeding as an Outsider | OB45V

Laura Esserman - Being an Effective Leader | OB42V5

Laura Esserman - Driving Change | OB42V4

Update on Zia Yusuf | OB82 Jeffrey Pfeffer2016

Tristan Walker: The Extroverted Introvert | OB93 Jeffrey Pfeffer2016

DaVita: A Community First, A Company Second | OB89 Charles O'Reilly, Jeffrey Pfeffer, David Hoyt, Davina Drabkin2014

Women's Careers and Power, What You Need to Know | OB86 Jeffrey Pfeffer2012

Ross Walker's Path to Power | OB79 Jeffrey Pfeffer2011

A Note on Women and Power | OB78 Jeffrey Pfeffer2010

Incentive Problems in a Software Company | OB75 Jeffrey Pfeffer2009

Kimberly-Clark Andean Region: Creating a Winning Culture | OB72 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Megan Anderson2009

Zia Yusuf at SAP: Having Impact | OB73 Jeffrey Pfeffer2009

A Note on Social Networks and Network Structure | OB66 Jeffrey Pfeffer2008

Note on Power and Social Interaction | OB41 Jeffrey Pfeffer2008

Nuria Chinchilla: The Power to Change Workplaces | OB67 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Megan Anderson2008

Kent Thiry and DaVita: Leadership Challenges in Building and Growing a Great Company | OB54 Jeffrey Pfeffer2006

Three Common CEO Missteps (A Perspective From The Boardroom) | E201 Harold Grousbeck, Joel Peterson, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Alex Tauber2006

Human Resources at the AES Corporation: The Case of the Missing Department | HR3 Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Karen Jones | OB23 Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Standard Financial Services | OB25 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee, II2004

Wells Fargo and Norwest, \"Merger of Equals\" (A) | HR26A Victoria Chang, Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Wells Fargo and Norwest, \"Merger of Equals\" (B) | HR26B Victoria Chang, Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer2004

Dr. Laura Esserman (A) | OB42A Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2003

Dr. Laura Esserman (B) | OB42B Victoria Chang, Jeffrey Pfeffer2003

Gary Loveman and Harrah's Entertainment | OB45 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2003

Keith Ferrazzi | OB44 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2003

Holy Cross Hospital The Road to a New Culture | HR16 Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang2001

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: The Road to Redemption | OB34B Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang, Kimberly Elsbach2001

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: The Fall From Grace | OB34A Jeffrey Pfeffer, Victoria Chang, Kimberly Elsbach2000

SAS Institute: The Decision to Go Public | HR6B Jeffrey Pfeffer2000

PSS World Medical, The Challenges of Growth and the Financial Markets | HR12 Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer1999

SAS Institute (A): A Different Approach to Incentives and People Management Practices in the Software Industry | HR6A Jeffrey Pfeffer1998

The Fresh Choice Company: Acquiring and Transferring Knowledge | HR7 Jeffrey Pfeffer1998

The Men's Wearhouse: Success in a Declining Industry | HR5 Jeffrey Pfeffer1997

Southwest Airlines (A) | HR1A Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer1995

Gary Loveman - Succeeding as an Outsider | OB45V

Laura Esserman - Being an Effective Leader | OB42V5

Laura Esserman - Driving Change | OB42V4

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