Jeffrey Pfeffer

Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior

Phone: (650) 723-2915


Personal Homepage:

CV: PfefferCV

Academic Areas: Organizational Behavior

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.


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 thirteen books including The Human Equation:  Building Profits by Putting People First, Managing with Power:  Politics and Influence in Organizations, The Knowing-Doing Gap:  How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action, Hidden Value:  How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense:  Profiting from Evidence-Based Management, and What Were They Thinking?  Unconventional Wisdom About Management, a collection of 27 essays about management topics, as well as more than 150 articles and book chapters.  Pfeffer’s latest book, entitled Power:  Why Some People Have It—And Others Don’t was published in September, 2010 by Harper Business. 


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, and a frequent visitor at IESE in Barcelona


From 2003-2007, Pfeffer wrote a monthly column, “The Human Factor,” for the 600,000-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 written blogs for the Corner Office section of BNET (CBS Interactive), the Harvard Business Review website, Politico, Bloomberg/Business Week, Inc., and for the “On Leadership” section of The Washington Post.  Pfeffer has appeared in segments on CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, and CNBC as well as television programs in Korea, and has been quoted and featured in news articles from countries around the globe.


Pfeffer currently serves on the board of directors of 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, and SonoSite, a company designing and manufacturing portable ultrasound machines, as well as on the board of the San Francisco Playhouse.  Pfeffer has presented seminars in 37 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 received an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, has won the Richard I. Irwin Award presented by the Academy of Management for scholarly contributions to management, and numerous awards for articles and books. 

Academic Degrees

PhD, Stanford Univ., 1972; BS, MS, Carnegie Mellon Univ., 1968.

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 1979. Visiting Professor, IESE Business School, Spring 2006; Tommie Goh Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship, Singapore Management University, Winter 2006; Advanced Institute of Management Visiting Professor, London Business School, Fall, 2005; Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1998-1999; Richard D. Irwin Scholarly Contributions to Management Award, 1989; Academy of Management Book Award, 1984; Thomas Henry Carroll-Ford Foundation Visiting Prof. of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, 1981-82; Asst.- Assoc. Prof., Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1973-79; Fellow, Asst. Prof., Univ. of Illinois, 1971-73.

Selected Publications

  • The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action: Harvard Business School Press, 1999
  • Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management: Harvard Business School Press, 2005
  • The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First: Harvard Business School Press, 1998
  • Managing with Power: Politics and Influence in organiztions: Harvard Business School Press, 1992
  • The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective: Harper & Row, 1978

Working Papers

  • 2066: Time Is Tight: How Higher Economic Value of Time Increases Feelings of Time Pressure
  • 2051: Evidence-Based Management for Entrepreneurial Environments: Faster and Better Decisions with Less Risk
  • 2024: When Is Happiness About How Much You Earn? The Effect of Hourly Payment on the Money-Happiness Connection
  • 2016: Leadership Development in Business Schools: An Agenda For Change
  • 2017R: Building Sustainable Organizations: The Human Factor
  • 2035: The Stingy Hour: How Accounting for Time Affects Volunteering
  • 503: Management as Symbolic Action: The Creation and Maintenance of Organizational Paradigms
  • 504: Some Consequences of Organizational Demography: Potential Impacts of an Aging Work Force on Formal Organizations
  • 597: Organizations and Organization Theory
  • 794: A Resource Dependence Perspective on Intercorporate Relations
  • 803: Organizational Demography: Implications for Management
  • 804: Bringing the Environment Back In: The Social Context of Business Strategy
  • 926: Taking the Workers Back Out: Recent Trends in the Structuring of Employment
  • 994: A Political Perspective on Careers: Interests, Networks, and Environments
  • 1052: Wage Effects of Externalized Work: The Case of Temporary and Part-time Employees
  • 1378: Understanding Organizations: Concepts and Controversies
  • 1432: Faith in Supervision and the Self-Enhancement Bias: Two Psychological Reason Why Managers Don't Empower Workers
  • 1592: Labor Market Flexibility Do Companies Really Know Best?
  • 1687: Fighting the War for Talent is Hazardous to Your Organization's Health
  • 1697: Why Organizations Don’t “Know What They Know”: Cognitive and Motivational Factors Affecting the Transfer of Expertise
  • 1713: Business and the Spirit: Management Practices that Sustain Values
  • 1816: Fair Market Ideology: Its Cognitive-Motivational Underpinnings
  • 1849: Economics Language and Assumptions: How Theories Can Become Self-Fulfilling
  • 1855: The Business School "Business": Some Lessons From The U.S. Experience
  • 1906: Working Alone: What Ever Happened To The Idea Of Organizations As Communities
  • 1996: Economic Evaluation: The Effect of Money and Economics on Attitudes About Volunteering

Selected Cases

  • OB44: Keith Ferrazzi
  • OB45: Gary Loveman and Harrah's Entertainment
  • HR6A: SAS Institute (A): A Different Approach to Incentives and People Management Practices in the Software Industry
  • OB34A: Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: The Fall From Grace
  • HR16: Holy Cross Hospital: The Road to a New Culture
  • OB42A: Dr. Laura Esserman (A)
  • OB42B: Dr. Laura Esserman (B)
  • OB34B: Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: The Road to Redemption
  • HR6B: SAS Institute: The Decision to Go Public
  • HR1A: Southwest Airlines
  • HR5: The Men's Wearhouse: Success in a Declining Industry
  • OB41: Note on Power and Social Interaction
  • OB66: A Note on Social Networks and Network Structure
  • OB56V-07: Rudy Crew: Approaching Conflict
  • OB73: Zia Yusuf at SAP: Having Impact
  • OB75: Incentive Problems in a Software Company
  • OB79: Ross Walker's Path to Power
  • OB45V-09: Gary Loveman: Paths to Power
  • OB23: Karen Jones
  • HR3: Human Resources at the AES Corporation: The Case of the Missing Department
  • HR7: The Fresh Choice Company: Acquiring and Transferring Knowledge
  • HR9: Willamette Industries
  • OB25: Standard Financial Services
  • HR12: PSS World Medical: The Challenges of Growth and the Financial Markets
  • HR26B: Wells Fargo and Norwest: "Merger of Equals" (B)
  • HR26A: Wells Fargo and Norwest: "Merger of Equals" (A)
  • OB42V5: Laura Esserman - Being an Effective Leader
  • OB55V: Jack Valenti - Lessons Learned
  • OB42V4: Laura Esserman - Driving Change
  • E201: Three Common CEO Missteps (A Perspective From The Boardroom)
  • OB56V-05: Rudy Crew - What Guides a Leader
  • OB44V: Keith Ferrazzi - People and Relationships
  • OB45V: Gary Loveman - Succeeding as an Outsider
  • OB73V: Zia Yusuf: Paths to Power
  • OB54: Kent Thiry and DaVita: Leadership Challenges in Building and Growing a Great Company
  • OB64: Note on Power and Social Interaction
  • OB56V-04: Rudy Crew - Changing the Impossible
  • OB67: Nuria Chinchilla: The Power to Change Workplaces
  • OB72: Kimberly-Clark Andean Region: Creating a Winning Culture
  • OB78: A Note on Women and Power
  • OB70V: Heidi Roizen: Growing and Maintaining a Network

Courses Taught


  • Executive Program for Growing Companies
  • Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders
  • Executive Program in Leadership
  • Human Resources for Strategic Advantage
  • Stanford Executive Program


  • Board of Directors: Audible Magic, SonoSite, Inc.
  • Editorial Board: Administrative Science Quarterly, California Management Review, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Organizational Dyn
  • Fellow: Academy of Management
  • Member: Industrial Relations Research Association

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