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A Biography of Richard J. Campbell

by Kim Johnson
University of South Florida
April 2016

Richard J. Campbell was born on April 23, 1932, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After a short stint as a chemistry major at Villanova University, he transferred to Temple University and studied psychology, receiving his B.A. in 1954. At this point he, was called up by the U.S. Army and sent first to Korea and then to Japan, where he served as a specialist, managing the office crew of an infantry division. Campbell later credited these years as building the foundation for the management style he refined in his later career.

Upon his return to the United States, Campbell did graduate work in experimental psychology and I-O Psychology at Ohio State University, earning his M.A. in 1958 and his Ph.D. in 1960.

Campbell then went to work for General Motors as an internal consultant, working on staffing and organizational issues. However, Campbell’s prevailing interests were in long-term development and assessment, and in 1962, he left General Motors for a career with AT&T as Personnel Supervisor of Research. He was eventually appointed Director of Management Development, Education, and Work Relationships at AT&T, and was responsible for developing and instigating policies regarding recruitment, selection, and assessment. He was also heavily involved in the implementation of outplacement programs, development programs, and career development. It was under Campbell’s leadership that AT&T became an industry leader in research, development, and application.

Richard Campbell took early retirement from AT&T and made the move into academia as a Professor of Psychology at New York University in 1987. In 1992, he went to work at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC, while still maintaining a part-time teaching schedule at N.Y.U as an Adjunct Professor, which speaks to his dedication to both academia and research.

At the Center for Creative Leadership, Campbell returned to the type of research he had begun at AT&T years before. He studied executive selection, developing a multimedia training simulation for managers, which trained them in improved executive selection. He was interested in the outcome of executive selection systems.

Richard Campbell served as President of SIOP in 1982-83. He also served on APA’s Commission on Organization, the committee that was formed to reorganize the APA, as well as numerous other boards and committees. In 1989, he received SIOP’s first Distinguished Service Award.

One of Campbell’s most well known publications was a book he co-authored with his colleagues Douglas Bray and Donald Grant in 1974, called Formative Years in Business. It was based on the longitudinal studies that were conducted while he was at AT&T, regarding the psychological development of young managers. He also authored many publications on selection, assessment, and the development of management potential.

Richard Campbell was married to Carol Rogers Campbell, and they had four daughters. In his personal time with his family, Campbell enjoyed tennis, cross-country skiing, and non-motorized boating.

On August 16, 1997, Richard J. Campbell died of cancer at his home in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey.


Katzell, R.A. (1997, October). Richard J. Campbell (1932-1997): A Love Story. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 35(2), 99-100.

Profile: Richard J. Campbell (1981, November).The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 19(1), 4-5.