Tribute to J. Richard Hackman – A Giant of Our Profession [1940 – 2013]

Pauline Willis, Lauriate Ltd & Ruth Wageman, Harvard Dept. of Psychology

This celebration of Richard’s life and legacy to the profession is led by Pauline Willis and co-presented with Ruth Wageman who will be joining us ‘virtually’ from her home in New Hampshire.

J.Richard Hackman, Harvard University Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology was an award winning scholar, teacher, and practitioner of Industrial/Organisational psychology who very sadly died on January 8th, 2013. Richard’s work is well-known and influential both within and beyond the boundaries of our profession.

His work has provided many theoretical insights and practical tools for harnessing human potential, inspiring and informing leaders, consultants and coaches in a wide range of organisations from musical ensembles to airline crews to health care teams and intelligence communities.

The key focus of his lifelong passion for psychology in organisations was understanding not only what it is that makes teams effective, but how they can best be supported to perform superbly and become settings that foster the growth and learning of individuals. Richard’s research and practice led him to explore how organisational structures and systems and team design features, rather than the personality or style of the leader, were fundamental to team effectiveness. Richard’s colleague and former student, Ruth Wageman, will share some key insights from Richard’s legacy, especially about the lessons of his life and work for doing research that makes a difference.

Those who knew Richard personally or know his work in depth will be invited to share their own memories and personal reflections of his impact.

To assist us in structuring your input for this session, please email, tweet or join us in person to share your responses to the following questions. All contributions are welcome, both virtual and in person.

1. What aspect of Richard Hackman–whether his work or your interactions with him–has had the most powerful and lasting impact on your own work and life?

2. What lessons have you learned about what it takes to do *useful research* (work that contributes both to social science theory and to informed action)?

NB: Inputs to this session, in whatever form you would like to make [tweets, emails, personal] will be captured and the core messages shared widely both within the BPS DOP as well as within the main memorial website in Richard Hackman’s honor that Ruth Wageman is now hosting in the spirit of his scholarly work and extraordinary teaching.