In Sunday’s (1/20) New York Times, Dennis Hevesi writes, “J. Richard Hackman, a Harvard psychology professor whose fieldwork sometimes took him to the cockpit of an airliner to observe the crew in a nearly five-decade quest to determine the dynamics of teamwork and effective leadership, died on Jan. 8 in Boston. He was 72. … In one of his best-known books, ‘Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances’ (2002), he replaced the popular image of the powerful ‘I can do it all’ team leader with that of someone who, as he wrote, had the subtle skills ‘to get a team established on a good trajectory, and then to make small adjustments along the way to help members succeed.’ ” In a memorial posted Monday (1/21) on, Erin Lehman writes, “Shortly after I came to work for Richard at Harvard [in the 1980s], he decided to apply his theoretical perspective to a different industry than the ones he had been studying up to that time, and so initiated a new wave of research on orchestras. … Together, we presented our findings to ASOL (now the League of American Orchestras), ICSOM, ROPA, and at other conferences in order to try to facilitate change in the industry, and to dislodge the often intractable positions and views of vested interest groups. … Richard will be sorely missed by those of us who had the privilege to know him and work with him, but his legacy is available to all through his writings. I hope you’ll take the time to read some of his work.”

Posted January 24, 2013