Article: The Corner Office Bookcase: Dave Ulrich


The Corner Office Bookcase: Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich is a Professor at Ross Scool of Business, University of Michigan and partner at the RBL group
The Corner Office Bookcase: Dave Ulrich

I tend to not read books, but authors. An author may write a series of books that capture unique insights into organisation and leadership


People Matters asked thought leader Dave Ulrich to recommend must-reads for anyone who manages people.

Dave Ulrich is a Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a partner at the RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. He was ranked No. 1 management educator and guru by Businessweek. He has consulted and done research with over half of the Fortune 200 companies

I tend to not read books, but authors. An author may write a series of books that capture unique insights into organization and leadership. It is nearly impossible to select only three authors, but let me pick three of my top groups, in no order.
Ed Lawler has written over 40 books. While no one book stands out, Ed’s career has been instrumental in defining how people and organizations function. He has had a knack of writing about relevant issues and capturing complex phenomenon with simple elegance. He has written about governance and control and how decisions are made in organizations, about executive compensation and rewards and how incentives shape behavior, about talent and how to identify and find top talent, human resources and the roles and purposes of HR in organizations, and adaptability and change in organizations. I consider Ed an icon, mentor, and gift to the profession of management. He has such a talent for capturing the essence, doing relevant research, and demonstrating incredible integrity in all that he does.

Lynda Gratton is one of the most deserved and esteemed thought leaders in understanding people and organizations and her work has shaped the disciplines of leadership, talent, human resources, teamwork, and organization behavior. The content of her work shows her breadth and intellectual acumen. Her early work Strategic Human Resource Management cleverly draws on a consortium of companies to redefine how human resource systems can go beyond administrative processes to strategic value. Her strategic work captured in Living Strategy transforms how organizations position themselves in changing business conditions. In The Democratic Enterprise, she redefines the nature of organizations. She helps reframe organizations less by their shape and morphology and more by their ability to capture and empower their people. She showed her intellectual breadth with Hot Spots, where she studied how teams work in organizations. This work blends and advances the fields of teamwork, innovation, and workplace culture. It offers unique insights into how innovative teams operate in a collaborative way. In Glow, she captures how organizations build cultures of energy & innovation. Her current work on redefining the future of work continues her evolving & clear intellect.

C. K.Prahalad and co-author Gary Hamelhave redefined how organizations position themselves. They have created a vocabulary that captures organization performance. Their work on core competencies redefines organizations less as hierarchies and more as bundles of competencies or capabilities. Their work on strategic intent shows how organizations can position themselves for future growth. The work on power at the bottom of the pyramid shows that global organizations differ and can be sources of unique value over time. Their work on co-creation illustrates how to work across boundaries to be competitive. And, their work on innovation defines new ways of looking at products, services, and administrative processes. They have collectively shaped the field of strategy. 

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