Edward E. Lawler III

Director, Center for Effective Organizations and Distinguished Professor of Business


Dr. Edward Lawler is Distinguished Professor of Business at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, an honor awarded very selectively by the President to those whose accomplishments have brought special renown to USC. He has been honored as a major contributor to theory, research, and practice in the fields of human resources management, compensation, organizational development, and organizational effectiveness. He joined USC in 1978 and during 1979, founded and became director of the University’s Center for Effective Organizations (CEO). CEO has been recognized by Fortune and Business Week as one of the country’s leading management research organizations.

Research Partners & Clients

Dr. Lawler has worked with many of the Fortune 500 firms as well as a number of government and non-profit organizations. BusinessWeek has proclaimed Lawler as one of the top six gurus in the field of management, and Human Resource Executive has called him one of HR’s most influential people. Workforce magazine has identified him as one of the twenty-five visionaries who have shaped today’s workplace over the past century.

Professional Work

Ed is the recipient of the highest research awards given by the University of Southern California, The Human Resource Planning Society, the Society for Human Resource Management (including SHRM’s Michael R. Losey Award for which he was the first recipient), the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Academy of Management, the American Society for Training and Development, and WorldatWork.

National television appearances include The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC. He is also a frequent speaker to executive and managerial audiences around the globe.

Professor Lawler is the author and co-author of over 450 articles and 52 books. His books include Rewarding Excellence (Jossey-Bass, 2000), Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top (Jossey-Bass, 2001), Organizing for High Performance (Jossey-Bass, 2001), Treat People Right (Jossey-Bass, 2003), Human Resources Business Process Outsourcing (Jossey-Bass, 2004), Built to Change (Jossey-Bass, 2006), The New American Workplace (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006), America at Work (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006), Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage (Jossey-Bass, 2008), Useful Research: Advancing Theory and Practice (Berrett-Koehler, 2011), Management Reset: Organizing for Sustainable Effectiveness (Jossey-Bass, 2011), Effective Human Resource Management: A Global Analysis (Stanford University Press, 2012), The Agility Factor (2014), Global Trends in Human Resource Management: A Twenty-Year Analysis (Stanford University Press, 2015), Corporate Stewardship: Achieving Sustainable Effectiveness (Greenleaf Publishing, 2015), Reinventing Talent Management: Principles and Practices for the New World of Work (Berrett-Koehler, 2017), and Human Resource Excellence: An Assessment of Strategies and Trends (Stanford University Press, 2018).

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Online Columns

Lawler blogs regularly in his column for Forbes.com. His columns are also reprinted in the Huffington Post.

Audio and Video Interviews

See all books by Ed Lawler.


BA – Brown University

PhD – University of California, Berkeley

Contact Information


Recent Research

HR Leaders Must Accelerate Preparations for the Future Digital Organizations

New evidence from the Center for Effective Organizations’ Global HR Excellence survey suggests HR leaders must move faster to prepare for the fast-emerging digital organization.

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The Practitioner-Academic Gap: A View from the Middle

The practitioner-academic gap has been widely discussed for decades along with recommendations for increasing the practical application of management research. We review some of the

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New CEO-WorldatWork (WaW) Monograph on Cutting Edge Performance Management

Cutting-Edge Performance Management: 244 Organizations Report on Ongoing Feedback, Ratingless Reviews and Crowd-Sourced Feedback Published by WorldatWork, September 2016

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Mind the Gap: How Human Resources Can Become More Integral to the Corporate Boardroom Agenda

A chapter for the second edition of "The Handbook of Board Governance," authored by Jay A. Conger, Ph.D. and Edward E. Lawler III, Ph.D.

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The Elusive Linkage Between CEO Pay and Corporate Performance

Gerry Ledford and Ed Lawler comment on Aguinis, Martin, Gomez-Mejia, O’Boyle, and Joo, adding another perspective on CEO pay.

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