Edgar Schein

2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Edgar Schein

A renowned researcher, writer, teacher, and consultant, Edgar Schein is best known for the paradigm of "corporate culture," a concept that shifted the way we think about organizations, particularly in terms of organizational change and the role of the leader in creating and transmitting an organization's culture through artifacts (observable displays), espoused values, and embedded basic assumptions. Schein's passion for a deep understanding of organizational dynamics is also evident in his equally provocative thinking around the social psychology of learning in organizations (which he believes is fundamentally coercive) and the dynamics of "helping" in a variety of environments.

Schein received his undergraduate education at the University of Chicago and his Master's at Stanford University. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard's Department of Social Relations where he majored in social psychology and was heavily influenced by clinical psychology, sociology, and anthropology. After serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army for four years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in David Rioch's Department of Neuropsychiatry, he moved to MIT's Sloan School where he is now Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus.

The author of numerous articles and books, he is also Founding Editor of Reflections, the Journal of the Society for Organizational Learning. He has provided consultation to major corporations around the world including Apple, Citibank, General Foods, Exxon, Motorola, Proctor & Gamble, and Saab Combitech among others. The recipient of many honors and awards, he is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Management.


Oral History

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