「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2013年1月31日 星期四

J. Richard Hackman, 1940-2013

J. Richard Hackman, an Expert in Team Dynamics, Dies at 72

  • SAVE
  • E-MAIL
J. Richard Hackman, a Harvard psychology professor whose fieldwork sometimes took him to the cockpit of an airliner to observe the crew in a nearly five-decade quest to determine the dynamics of teamwork and effective leadership, died on Jan. 8 in Boston. He was 72.
Harvard University
J. Richard Hackman was a professor at Harvard and Yale.
The cause was lung cancer, his wife, Judith Dozier Hackman, said.
Dr. Hackman, the author or co-author of 10 books on group dynamics, was the Edgar Pierce professor of social and organizational psychology at Harvard.
In one of his best-known books, “Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances” (2002), he replaced the popular image of the powerful “I can do it all” team leader with that of someone who, as he wrote, had the subtle skills “to get a team established on a good trajectory, and then to make small adjustments along the way to help members succeed.”
The conditions for a successful team effort — among them “a compelling direction, an enabling team structure, a supportive organizational context and expert team coaching” — “are easy to remember,” Dr. Hackman wrote.
“The challenge,” he continued, “comes in developing an understanding of those conditions that is deep and nuanced enough to be useful in guiding action, and in devising strategies for creating them even in demanding or team-unfriendly organizational circumstances.”
Besides tracking the interplay of pilots, co-pilots and navigators aboard civilian and military planes, Dr. Hackman observed corporate boards, sports teams, orchestra players, telephone-line repair crews, hospital workers and restaurant kitchen staff members.
And in recent years, for his 2011 book, “Collaborative Intelligence,” he was allowed to observe interactions within the American intelligence, defense, law-enforcement and crisis-management communities.
“Although my main aspiration has been to provide guidance that will be useful to team leaders and members,” he wrote, “there are no ‘one-minute’ prescriptions here — creating, leading and serving on teams is not that simple.”
Anita Woolley, a professor of organizational behavior and theory at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said, “The key thing about Dr. Hackman’s work is that it stands in contrast to some of the more popular models of leadership that focused very much on style or how leaders behave, versus what they do.”
Rather than viewing pay as a prime motivator for good performance, she continued, “he focused on features of people’s jobs that made them more intrinsically satisfied: the freedom to determine how they conduct their work, having a variety of tasks, having knowledge of the ultimate outcomes of their work, knowing how their work affects or is received by other people.”
He also liked to overturn some of the received wisdom about teamwork. In a 2011 article for The Harvard Business Review, Dr. Hackman listed “Six Common Misperceptions About Teamwork.” Among them was this:
“Misperception No. 2: It’s good to mix it up. New members bring energy and fresh ideas to a team. Without them, members risk becoming complacent, inattentive to changes in the environment, and too forgiving of fellow members’ misbehavior.
“Actually: The longer members stay together as an intact group, the better they do. As unreasonable as this may seem, the research evidence is unambiguous. Whether it is a basketball team or a string quartet, teams that stay together longer play together better.”
John Richard Hackman was born in Joliet, Ill., on June 14, 1940, the only child of J. Edward and Helen Hackman. His father was an oil pipeline engineer, his mother a schoolteacher.
Dr. Hackman received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., in 1962, and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Illinois in 1966. He soon joined the psychology and administrative sciences department faculties at Yale, where he taught until 1986, when he moved to the psychology and business departments at Harvard.
Besides his wife, who is an associate dean at Yale, he is survived by two daughters, Julia Beth Proffitt and Laura Dianne Codeanne, and four grandchildren.
After Dr. Hackman died, The Harvard Crimson wrote that for years he had “devoted countless hours to improving one team in particular — the Harvard women’s basketball squad, for which he volunteered as an honorary coach.”

J. Richard Hackman is Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from MacMurray College and his doctorate in social psychology from the University of Illinois. He taught at Yale for twenty years and then moved to his present position at Harvard.
Hackman teaches and conducts research on a variety of topics in social and organizational psychology, including team performance, leadership effectiveness, and the design of self-managing teams and organizations. His most recent books are Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances, which in 2004 won the Academy of Management’s Terry Award for the most outstanding management book of the year, and Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make Them Great (with Ruth Wageman, Debra Nunes, and James Burruss).
He has received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association’s division on industrial and organizational psychology, and both the Distinguished Educator Award and the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Academy of Management. He serves on the Intelligence Science Board of the Director of National Intelligence and on the Board of Trustees of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

ABOUT THE PICTURE Members of the varsity basketball team of Virginia High School (Illinois) huddle with coach Harold Hillman during a 1958 tournament game. Crowded around Coach Hillman are (clockwise) Mikey Velton, Bobby Miller, Bob Turner, and Vern Herzberger. Standing slightly outside the huddle, a member of the group but not really in it, is the gangly player who went on to make a career studying teams.

Remembering Richard Hackman

I was scared when I entered my very first class in organizational behavior in the PhD program at the University of Michigan in September 1980. It wasn't only the class full of brilliant students who intimidated me but, much more so, it was the part-smiling part-snarling giant of a man who stood at the front of the room — six foot five or so, in his stocking feet (he often discarded his shoes in class). He asked us to pair off and introduce ourselves to each other and then all the pairs had to find another pair to whom we then introduced our first pair-mate. This simple procedure made us all feel connected; a part of something larger than ourselves.
I don't remember much of the details of what was said in that class that day, but what lingers clearly in memory is the rare and powerful sense of being inspired by a professor who believed passionately in what he studied and was committed to finding creative ways of sharing the knowledge he'd gained so that it would be of real, practical use to others.
Richard Hackman had arrived from Yale to spend that year launching a large-scale field study of work teams and many of my fellow graduate students at Michigan, along with a bunch from Yale, became his field researchers. He took his task very seriously and he showed us all how important it was to be both rigorous and practical in the pursuit of knowledge that could affect how well groups perform and how they can uplift people's lives.

His masterwork Leading Teams is the best exemplar in the general field of management of a great and useful theory described in clear, powerful prose through a voice both authoritative yet self-effacing — and hilariously funny. In it, he brings to bear the relevant literature to explain what a real team is and how it's possible create the foundations for a team's success with compelling direction, an enabling structure, a supportive organizational context, and expert coaching.
The examples he weaves in draw not only from research that he and others have done, they come from aspects of life that compelled his attention — music, flying, and the great outdoors. It was Richard's humanity and generosity that shaped his research ideas and his life as an educator, even if he was irascible on occasion. He cared so much about getting it right. If you missed the mark, he was unabashed about letting you know it, but always in a way that helped you understand things a bit more clearly.
Despite being an intimidating physical presence — I always thought of him as The Mountain Man — through his teaching and writing he has helped countless numbers of people to feel less afraid about their experience in groups because he demonstrated and explained how individual behavior was shaped by social forces. This knowledge is liberating. 
I have just finished teaching his book to a group of MBA students at Wharton. As one of them wrote to me, the day before I received the sad news of his passing, about how she was using what we'd learned in a group for which she was responsible, "I love Hackman!"
When I applied for my job teaching at Wharton, over 30 years ago, one of the questions I was asked by a faculty member was to identify my heroes. The two I chose were Bruce Springsteen and Richard Hackman. I'm not sure which one will ultimately have the greater impact.
With the passing of Richard Hackman we lose our greatest theoretician, researcher, and educator in the field of groups at work. As the scores of colleagues and former students who gathered in June 2011 for a celebration of Richard's life and work all said, in one way or another — thank you, Richard.
More blog posts by Stew Friedman
More on: Leading teams
Stew Friedman


Stewart D. Friedman is Practice Professor of Management at the Wharton School. The former head of Ford Motor's Leadership Development Center, he is the author of Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life. For more, visitwww.totalleadership.org.