Eric Abrahamson

Eric Abrahamson

Updated at: June 6, 2008, 5:31 p.m.

Eric Abrahamson is a tenured full professor of management at Columbia Business School. He holds degrees from New York University (Ph.D. and M.Ph.). After teaching at New York University, professor Abrahamson joined the Columbia Business School faculty in 1989. He was a visiting Professor at INSEAD, France in 1999.

Professor Abrahamson is internationally recognized for his research on innovation diffusion generally, and fashions in management techniques, more particularly. His work has won two of the most prestigious awards in the management area, the Award for the Best Article published in the Academy of Management Journal (1995) and two Best Paper Awards of the Academy of Management Organization and Management Theory Division (1990; 1997). He is a past consulting editor for the Academy of Management Review, and the Chair of the Organizational and Management Theory division of the Academy of Management. He is or has been on the editorial boards of the Administrative Science Quarterly, the Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, and Strategic Organization. He as published numerous articles and book chapters that have appeared in such journals as the Academy of Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, the Administrative Science Quarterly, the Journal of Computational and Mathematical Organizational Theory, the Harvard Business Review, Human Relations, the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, the Journal of Management Studies, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Organization Science. Professor Abrahamson's work has also been featured in managerially oriented publications, most recently in the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.

Professor Abrahamson is an active consultant and instructor in corporate executive education programs around the world. His clients include Agrevo, Avon, BOC, Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ConEd, CGNU, Deloitte Touch & Tomatsu, Ericsson, Financial Times, GKN plc, HMR, Novartis, Roche Pharmaceutical, Philip Morris, SONY, Sun Microsystems, Thompson Publishing, and the US Custom Services. He has developed five distance-learning courses for Unext.Com. At Columbia business school, he teaches courses on leadership, managing organizations, and on the use of power and influence in organizations to achieve wide scale, successful, and lasting organizational change.

Professor Abrahamson studies the creation, spread, use and rejection of innovative techniques for managing organizations and their employees. He is best known for his work on fads and fashions in management techniques. He is also an expert on the management of organizational change. He has explored the topic of change management in Change Without Pain: How Managers Can Overcome Initiative Overload, Organizational Chaos, and Employee Burnout, which won a Best Book of the Year award from Strategy and Business.

More recently, Abrahamson has been studying the dynamics of moderately messy system — offices, organizations and even industrial districts — that would function less well were they any less messy or any more orderly. A summary of his scholarly work was published in Research in Organizational Behavior under the title "Disorganizational Theory and Disorganizational Behavior: Towards and Etiology of Messes" (2002). Most recently, Abrahamson has coauthored, with David Freedman, a book that popularizes these ideas about the benefits of moderately messy system: A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, How cluttered closets, jumbled offices, and on-the-fly planning make the world a better place.


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