Dr. George Crane, a consulting psychologist and syndicated columnist
of “The Worry Clinic,” made a strong impression on then high school
student Karl Weick – one which ignited a passion for psychology and
set the course for his lifetime pursuit.
“At Wittenberg I took a variety of psychology courses,” Weick said.
“At Ohio State, I took a whole bunch of different things and found that
I liked some more than others. We put together a composite of all those
that held my interest and composed a major.” It was a time in history that
placed him on the cutting edge of a new field, organizational behavior.
Today Weick, the Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor
of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the Stephen M. Ross
School of Business at the University of Michigan, continues to find
consuming interest and challenge in teaching and research.
His graduate-level teaching focuses on the craft of scholarship, social
psychology of organizing and micro foundations of organization
studies, while his executive education teaching focuses on the
management of uncertainty through sense-making and improvisation.
His research includes collective sense-making under pressure, medical
errors, hand-offs in extreme events, high-reliability performance,
improvisation and continuous change.
Married to Karen Eickhoff ’58 and named a Wittenberg Fellow in
2005, Weick has served as a consultant to NASA, the National Science
Foundation, the CIA, the Maritime Safety Committee, the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Forest Service.
“Research provides a concrete challenge to figure out what makes
people rebound from set backs – to get a handle on what they may
have done and to identify the anatomy of resilience. My entry point
is more to help organizations think through what is needed,” Weick
said, adding that organizations take the results and put into place those
elements they think would work best in their environment.
His book, The Social Psychology of Organizing, published in 1969
and revised in 1979, was designated by Inc Magazine (1996) as one of
the nine best business books ever written.
Weick’s latest book, Managing the Unexpected, co-authored with
Kathleen Sutcliffe, will be published in August.