Adam GrantI am the Class of 1965 Professor of Management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

I am an organizational psychologist who studies work motivation, job design, and prosocial and proactive behaviors. 

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My Approach to Ethical Systems: 

My research examines the forces that motivate employees to help others, and the implications of these behaviors for success and well-being. Although many employees do work that has a meaningful impact on others, all too often, they lack a vivid understanding of how their efforts make a difference. My studies demonstrate that employees work harder, smarter, longer, more generously, and more productively when they can see how their work affects others. Here are a few examples:

  • University fundraising callers: a five-minute meeting with a single scholarship recipient is sufficient to increase the average caller’s weekly effort by 142% and weekly revenue by more than 400%.
  • Lifeguards: reading four stories about other lifeguards saving drowning swimmers increased average monthly hours worked by 43% and helping behavior by 21%.
  • Doctors and nurses: a sign with a reminder that hand hygiene will keep patients from getting sick increased soap and gel usage by more than 45% and hand hygiene behaviors by more than 10%.

With all of these groups, information about the personal benefits of the work failed to produce significant changes in behavior. The spikes in motivation are driven uniquely by an enriched appreciation of how one’s work benefits others.

My Ethical Systems Research Page: Personality & Personnel


My Major Relevant Publications:

Books 

Press 

Academic Articles 

See a full list of my academic publications.