World’s Best B-School Professors: Jeffrey Pfeffer

by John A. Byrne on

Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer
Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Claim To Fame: Highly provocative and compelling, he’s the world’s foremost thinker on organizational power and politics

Education:

Carnegie Mellon University, B.S., Administration and Management Science
Carnegie Mellon University, M.S., Industrial Administration
Stanford University, PhD, Organizational Behavior

At Stanford GSB Since: 1979

Before Stanford: Initially taught at the business school at the University of Illinois and UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Fun Fact: Loves the theater and is on the board of directors of The San Francisco Playhouse

If I wasn’t teaching, my dream job would be: A plaintiff’s attorney, because it is another way of doing work that is intellectually interesting and that helps bring truth and justice to light.

Best part of the job: My amazing colleagues and the ability to investigate/research interesting topics which brings me into contact with intellectually interesting research and stimulating people.

Worst part of the job: The change in the student culture over time that manifests itself in diminished attention spans and not much interest in the substance/content of business and research on business as contrasted with building a network and obtaining a high-value, prestigious credential.

When Stanford’s Graduate School of Business opened its impressive new campus last year, it chose one professor to engage in a public debate as part of the school’s official opening ceremonies. It was Jeffrey Pfeffer, the highly provocative organizational behavior professor and one of the most influential management thinkers in the world. Pfeffer, who persuasively argued the merits of playing politics in organizations to get ahead, did not disappoint. To a packed auditorium, he deliver a stirring and challenging defense of the crucial role that power and politics play in organizational life.

For more than 33 years now, he has been teaching courses at Stanford on human resource management, organizational behavior, and power and politics. He is the author or co-author of thirteen books including The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action and Power: Why Some People Have It–and Others Don’t. A prolific writer, he is also the author of more than 120 articles and book chapters.

Our Interview With Jeffrey Pfeffer

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