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Ruth Wageman

Dr. Wageman is Associate Faculty in Psychology at Harvard University. She specializes in the field of Organizational Behavior, studying and teaching the design and leadership of task performing teams—especially the particular challenges faced by leadership teams.

Focus of work
Professor Wageman researches the conditions under which people are able to accomplish great things, especially in collaboration with one another.  Her early work focused on how individuals’ intrinsic enjoyment of learning could be enhanced or undermined by how they were rewarded and led.  She has since turned her attention for the last fifteen years to understanding and creating the critical conditions that enable teams of people to accomplish collective purposes, and to grow in capability over time.  Her work with teams places a particular emphasis on self-governing teams, especially those with political and social change purposes.  Her current research focuses on creating and leading effective leadership teams, especially those at the tops of organizations; identifying the challenges faced by self-organizing volunteer groups; and the theory and practice of leadership development.

Areas of expertise
Wageman continues to conduct original research and teach about effective leadership.  She has published numerous journal articles on a range of subjects in organizational behavior, especially about the effective leadership of teams. 

Selected publications include: “Senior Leadership Teams: What it Takes to Make Them Great,” a 2008 book coauthored with Debra A. Nunes, James A. Burruss, and Richard Hackman; “Asking the Right Questions about Leadership,” American Psychologist; “As the twig is bent: The effects of shared values on emergent interdependence in teams” with Fred Gordon, Organization Science; “A theory of team coaching,” with Hackman, Academy of Management Review, “How Leaders Foster Team Self-management,” Organization Science; "Interdependence and Group Effectiveness,” Administrative Science Quarterly;  "Incentives and Cooperation: The Joint Effects of Tasks and Rewards on Group Effectiveness," with G. P. Baker, III, Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Qualifications and Affiliations
Wageman received her Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Joint Doctoral Program in Organizational Behavior in 1994.  She received her BA in Psychology from Columbia University in 1987, and returned there to join the faculty of the Graduate School of Business, making her the first female alum of Columbia College to join Columbia’s faculty.  She joined the faculty of the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 2000, and returned to Harvard in 2005 as Visiting Scholar in Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government.  She joined Hay Group as its Director of Research in 2006 and focuses her work there on research that combines features of leadership development, system design, and work and organizational structure to understand and predict organizational effectiveness.
 


Abstract

Three Essentials for Leadership Teams

Leadership teams regularly fail to live up to their considerable potential...but it doesn't have to be that way. Drawing on a multiyear study of 120 leadership teams from around the world, this presentation identifies three core challenges to the design of leadership teams and three essential design conditions that enable teams of leaders to engage their collective talents in a collaborative form of leadership that results in better alignment throughout the organization, and a more successful enterprise.

Learning Objectives:

1. List three of the major challenges facing senior leaders in designing and leading their leadership teams.

2. Develop practical strategies for composing a senior leadership team well and for articulating leadership team purposes.