Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer
Professor, Organizational Behavior
Contact Info
Academic Area: 
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 effects of work environments on human health and well-being, power and leadership in organizations, evidence-based management, the knowing-doing gap, and how thinking of time like money affects people’s choices about spending time in ways that promote unhappiness.


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:

  • Dying for a Paycheck:  How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—And What We Can Do About It,
  • 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.

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 14 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, BNET, the Washington Post,, and is an Influencer on LinkedIn.

Pfeffer currently serves 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, Berlin Packaging and the San Francisco Playhouse, a non-profit theater. 

Pfeffer has presented seminars in 40 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 Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame and as one of the most influential HR 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


Journal Articles

Arthur S. Jago, Jeffrey Pfeffer. Journal of Business Ethics. November 2019, Vol. 160, Issue 1, Pages 71-87.
Peter Belmi, Jeffrey Pfeffer. Journal of Organizational Behavior. October 2018, Vol. 39, Issue 8, Pages 990-1007.
Jeffrey Pfeffer. Academy of Management Discoveries. 2018, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Pages 94-96.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, David J. Hardisty. Management Science. February 2017, Vol. 63, Issue 2, Pages 519-527.
Jeffrey Pfeffer. People & Strategy. October 2016, Vol. 39, Issue 4, Pages 32-35.
Peter Belmi, Jeffrey Pfeffer. Journal of Applied Psychology. May 2016, Vol. 101, Issue 5, Pages 702-720.
Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stefanos Zenios. Management Science. March 13, 2016, Vol. 62, Issue 2, Pages 608-628.
Jeffrey Pfeffer. Journal of Management Studies. January 25, 2016, Vol. 53, Issue 4, Pages 663-669.
Jeffrey Pfeffer. The Academy of Management Perspectives. November 1, 2013.
Sanford E. DeVoe, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Byron Y. Lee. ILRREVIEW. 2013, Vol. 66, Issue 5.
Sanford E. DeVoe, Jeffrey Pfeffer. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. April 2010, Vol. 36, Issue 4, Pages 470–483.
Sanford E. DeVoe, Jeffrey Pfeffer. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. September 2007, Vol. 104, Issue 1, Pages 1–13.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Christina T. Fong, Robert B Cialdini. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. November 2006, Vol. 32, Issue 10, Pages 362-74.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton. Harvard Business Review. January 2006.
Jeffrey Pfeffer. Human Resource Management. May 20, 2005, Vol. 44, Issue 2, Pages 123–128.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton. Harvard Business Review. May 1999, Pages 135-142.


Jeffrey Pfeffer Harper Business, March 20, 2018.
Jeffrey Pfeffer New York: Harper Business, 2010.
Jeffrey Pfeffer Harvard Business School Press, 2007.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
Charles A. O’Reilly, Jeffrey Pfeffer Boston: Harvard Business School Press, August 1, 2000.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton Boston: Harvard Business School Press, December 3, 1999.
Jeffrey Pfeffer Harvard Business Review Press, 1998.
Jeffrey Pfeffer New York: Oxford University Press, June 5, 1997.
Jeffrey Pfeffer Boston: Harvard Business School Press, March 1996.
Jeffrey Pfeffer Harvard Business Review Press, 1993.
Jeffrey Pfeffer Marshfield, MA: Pitman, 1991.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Gerald Salancik Harper & Row, 1978.

Working Papers

Fair Market Ideology: Its Cognitive-Motivational Underpinnings | PDF
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Sally Blount, Gyorgy Hunyady, John Jost2003


Degree Courses


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...


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

Stanford Case Studies

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
Update on Zia Yusuf | OB82
Jeffrey Pfeffer2013
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
Note on Power and Social Interaction | OB41
Jeffrey Pfeffer2008
Nuria Chinchilla: The Power to Change Workplaces | OB67
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Megan Anderson2008
Three Common CEO Missteps (A Perspective From The Boardroom) | E201
Harold Grousbeck, Joel Peterson, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Alex Tauber2006
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
Southwest Airlines (A) | HR1A
Charles O'Reilly III, Jeffrey Pfeffer1995

Stanford University Affiliations

Greater Stanford University

  • Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1998-1999

Service to the Profession

  • Fellow, Academy of Management
  • Member, Industrial Relations Research Association

Editorial Board

  • Administrative Science Quarterly

In the Media

Stanford eCorner: FRICTION with Bob Sutton, July 25, 2018
Bellingham Business Journal, March 29, 2016
Financial Times, December 6, 2015
Fortune, March 26, 2015
Workforce, March 23, 2015
The Huffington Post. Healthy Living, 2015
Big Think TV, September 25, 2013
In a video produced by, Stanford's Jeffrey Pfeffer explores the many sources of power in corporate life.
Bloomberg, February 8, 2013
Jeffrey Pfeffer says VCs and entrepreneurs too often "blindly chase the latest fads."
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.
Bloomberg, December 27, 2012
Jeffrey Pfeffer discusses HP, acquisition strategy, and the success of outside hires.
The Futile War for Talent
Financial Times, January 2008
Globe and Mail, April 16, 2005
Business 2.0 , August 1, 2003
Stanford Study Questions Value of an MBA Degree
Business 2.0, July 27, 2000

Insights by Stanford Business

February 3, 2020
People believe corporations are less ethical than people, even when the crimes are the same.
December 3, 2018
From tips for career satisfaction to an economist’s stint as an Uber driver, here are the stories that caught our readers’ attention.
November 7, 2018
When money is on the line, a new study finds, people give less weight to social warmth.
April 19, 2018
Stanford GSB professors recommend their favorite books and articles related to the concept.
March 15, 2018
A new book examines the massive health care toll today’s work culture exacts on employees.
March 8, 2018
Why a Stanford-trained entrepreneur sees gold in all that red tape.
December 5, 2017
15 Stanford business professors recommend books for those long winter nights.
August 21, 2017
Stanford GSB professors suggest a reading list of articles and books related to the concept.
June 1, 2017
Whether it’s now or later, people opt for guaranteed gains or losses when ambiguity reigns.
April 18, 2017
A new study reveals spikes in stress when employees are told to think of time as money.
December 12, 2016
Long commute? Spend the time listening to these 10 Stanford Business stories.
August 30, 2016
Stanford GSB professors suggest articles and books related to the concept of “equity.”
July 11, 2016
Confronted by their mortality, men, more than women, seek power to ease their anxiety.
June 6, 2016
Our inclination to rationalize low acts by high-status people has deep psychological roots.
February 25, 2016
Researchers analyze workplace health to find inequalities.
December 19, 2015
Explore Stanford Business stories from 2015, including pieces on technology, finance, and work-life balance.
September 29, 2015
Power skills and behaviors matter for career success.
September 9, 2015
Advice given to leaders is too often based on the ideal world, not reality.
April 30, 2015
Those in the know share where to go to learn more about reward and related topics.
March 19, 2015
A professor of organizational behavior describes how you can increase your influence at work.
February 23, 2015
Stanford scholars identify 10 work stressors that are destroying your health.
February 20, 2015
Repaying favors is the norm in our personal lives, but not in the workplace.
December 11, 2014
Explore 10 Stanford Business stories from 2014, including pieces on happiness and networking.
May 21, 2014
How to connect to the people who matter.
March 24, 2014
A professor of organizational behavior says office power dynamics are part of our DNA.
January 6, 2014
New research by Stanford GSB Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer shows that the more money we earn, the more money we want.
June 7, 2013
A professor of organizational behavior argues that “human sustainability” may pay off too.
April 1, 2009
A professor of organizational behavior says companies spend too much time on polar bears and not enough on people.
September 1, 2007
Research shows bonuses and incentives are nice gestures of recognition, but aren't effective to drive behavior.
August 1, 2006
Studies show that those who are paid hourly think of time as a commodity.
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.
April 1, 2006
The Southwest Airlines chairman and former CEO explains the business philosophy that has his company thriving in the brutal airline industry.
June 1, 2005
A professor of organizational behavior says senior leaders need to understand how their mental models of business affect organizational performance.
September 15, 2003
Even some well-established practices may be counterproductive
November 1, 1999
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton explore how companies can turn talk into action, and why promoting internal competition may not help.
September 1, 1997
A study reveals the tendency of leaders to inflate the worth of work produced with their direct oversight.

School News

March 27, 2019
These Stanford GSB women are changing their industries and their communities.
October 6, 2017
What do an adman and an investigative reporter have to teach us about corporations and society? Visiting experts challenge assumptions.
September 28, 2017
Gentry Magazine learns how Stanford Professor Jennifer Aaker and Lecturer Naomi Bagdonas, MBA ’15 are bringing humor to the classroom and business world.
April 7, 2016
Since 1968, Stanford GSB has recognized lifelong achievement in management, leadership, and community service with the Ernest C. Arbuckle Award.
February 22, 2016
One recent participant in a Stanford Executive Education program discovered that changing the world begins with educating himself.
April 1, 2008
The first official GSB library didn’t formally open until 1933; it was tightly wedged into a portion of Jordan Hall that doubled as a classroom.
June 1, 2006
Major changes in the content and delivery of management education through its MBA Program will be implemented in fall of 2007.