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Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and author of the Sept. 2010 book, POWER: Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t.

Archive: Jeffrey Pfeffer

You get what you pay for--even with state employees

Somehow we have come to believe that there is a trade-off between being fiscally sound and paying people well. But that trade-off is mostly a myth...

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 2, 2011; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (10)


Good themes, too long.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | January 25, 2011; 10:32 PM ET | Comments (4)

TSA's tone-deaf strategy

TSA and Homeland Security appear tone-deaf and unwilling to consider the logical next steps (proctological exam anyone?) of a security strategy that focuses on everyone and on intervention at the last possible moment...

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | November 22, 2010; 08:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Power: Face it, you need it

Leaders are preoccupied with power because power is an essential component of leadership. So noted the late John Gardner, founder of Common Cause and cabinet secretary in the Lyndon Johnson administration. Getting things done--particularly through and with others--requires influence skills. And, in order to lead both organizational change and effective execution, you need to cultivate the leadership capacity to get your way.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | September 23, 2010; 03:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Newmark fighting for free speech, upholding the law

In this instance, Craig Newmark and his colleagues are doing the right thing in trying to stick by their ideals. That's because from everything I've read, the law is quite clear: publishers of advertising content are not responsible for...

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | September 7, 2010; 08:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Blinded by the lights

The problem is that in a world in which so many people are playing to the crowd, substituting buzz for substance, the temptations are hard to ignore.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 24, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Why Tony Hayward should 'never complain, never explain'

Tony Hayward has done a terrible job for BP's shareholders and employees even as he has seemingly followed the conventional wisdom about dealing with disasters.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 15, 2010; 03:13 AM ET | Comments (75)

Listen to the crowd

Tim Geithner and everyone else in a leadership position must be concerned about their level of support. Without followers, they aren't leaders.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | April 15, 2010; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

A failure to communicate

It is ironic that Barack Obama has yet to truly find his voice, especially on important issues like health care and the economy.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | January 19, 2010; 05:46 AM ET | Comments (5)

Ken Lay's after-action review

Military leaders are much more willing than business leaders to publicly admit when things have gone wrong.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | November 3, 2009; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Losing Control of the Debate

By ceding the terms of the discussion to the opponents, the Obama administration risks losing not only this battle, but a broader war about what criteria the U.S. should employ in making decisions about human well-being.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | July 27, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (19)

Doomed to Repeat It

If violations of laws and fundamental rules go unsanctioned, a strong message is sent that such behavior will be tolerated in the future, so the future will be like the past.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | July 13, 2009; 02:09 PM ET | Comments (3)

Even Americans Are Forgiving

The idea that sexual indiscretions invariably cause the downfall of leaders is empirically incorrect. What Americans punish more than infidelity is being lied to.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 30, 2009; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (5)

On Being "Path Dependent"

Personal stories are more authentic -- and appear more authentic -- than stories about other people, such as the "welfare queens" demonized by Ronald Reagan.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | June 9, 2009; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

Not Yet Scared Enough

In the AIDS epidemic, public officials were too slow in shutting bath houses and protecting the blood supply. Hopefully, this panic over swine flu will lead to precautionary measures.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | April 27, 2009; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

Risky -- and Necessary

Organizational change almost invariably requires the turnover of senior leadership, even though it is disruptive and particularly so when outsiders come in.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | April 3, 2009; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Change Must Come From the Top

The problems at GM have been decades in the making, but Wagoner did nothing to alter the course of the company's decline.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 30, 2009; 01:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wean Us from Incentive Myths

The AIG crisis offers a teachable moment for President Obama: He can explain why smart organizations don't rely solely on financial incentives to win, keep and motivate their employees.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 22, 2009; 08:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

How AIG Went Blind

Optics--how things look--matter, and if leaders lose their ability to see the world through others' eyes, they ought to consider getting some counsel from those who can and do see the world differently.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 18, 2009; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (2)

Share the Pain

Research shows that a common fate and a set of shared experiences is the best way to build a cohesive unit -- and that's precisely what is required to meet the competitive challenge many companies now face.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 15, 2009; 09:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Only Strategy

President Obama can not, on his own, do very much about health care reform. Involving congressional decision-makers -- thereby coopting them and building support -- may be his best, and only, strategy in this case.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 2, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Downsizing Doesn't Work

As one executive said, "It took us two months to decide to do layoffs, two weeks to do it, and two years to recover."

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | February 9, 2009; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Arrogance of Power

The higher you go in an organization, the more those around you are going to tell you that you are right. But leaders really ought to get out and experience the world as others see it, and they need to talk less and listen more.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | February 2, 2009; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (3)

Why Stars Are Hard to Pick

Finding talent is harder than you think, in part because we pay too much attention to how people present themselves, rather than how they actually perform.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | January 25, 2009; 09:09 PM ET | Comments (1)

Optimism, Persistence and Loyalty

He had many failings, but he also demonstrated these three important leadership qualities.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | January 6, 2009; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

After nearly six decades of coaching, Paterno has produced outstanding football teams for longer than many other leaders have been alive.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | December 30, 2008; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

Santa for CEO

Santa is the leader we need: He's contagiously happy, he keeps it simple, and he knows that quality matters.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | December 22, 2008; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (1)

It's Already Too Late

These companies have been failing for years: Why should we think the future will be different?

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | December 8, 2008; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (2)

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