Abraham Zaleznik

Biography of Abraham Zaleznik

Abraham Zaleznik (January 30, 1924 - November 28, 2011) was a leading scholar and teacher in the field of organizational psychodynamics and the psychodynamics of leadership. At the time of his death he was a Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Business School where he taught for four decades. He was a practicing psychoanalyst and the author of 16 books.

Zaleznik taught at the Harvard Business School for four decades. He authored 16 books and over forty articles. Beginning in the 1960s he studied at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. In 1971 he was certified as a clinical psychoanalyst, a rare achievement at a time when most psychoanalytic institutes trained physicians only. He saw patients in a psychoanalytic private practice for 20 years. In 1981 he met Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, on a trip to Japan. The latter established a chair in leadership at the Harvard Business School, which Zaleznik occupied until his retirement. Zaleznik served on corporate boards, consulted to many businesses, and was an early contributor to the formation of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations. He died at the age of 87. At the time of his death he had two grown children and five grandchildren. His wife, Elizabeth, of 66 years died two years earlier in 2009.

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