Paul R. Lawrence

Paul R. Lawrence (1922–2011) was the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Organizational Behavior Emeritus at the Harvard Business School. During his forty-four years on the HBS faculty, he taught in all the School’s programs and served as chairman of the Organizational Behavior Area and of both the MBA and Advanced Management programs. He did his undergraduate work in sociology and economics at Albion College and earned his MBA and DBA degrees at Harvard.

Lawrence’s research, published in 26 books and numerous articles and cases, dealt with the human aspects of management. In particular, he studied organizational change, organization design, and the relationship between the structural characteristics of complex organizations and the technical, market and other conditions of their environments. His book, Organization and Environment: Managing Differentiation and Integration (written with Jay W. Lorsch), added “contingency theory” to the vocabulary of students of organizational behavior. His last work, published in the books Driven (co-authored with Nitin Nohria) and Driven to Lead, proposed a four-drive theory of human motivation based on the biology of the brain.

Lawrence was also a lifelong supporter of the case method who used cases in his teaching and authored dozens of cases over the course of his career. He was named a Distinguished Contributor by NACRA in 1998.