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David L. Bradford

David L. Bradford
Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Organizational Behavior
Contact Info
Eugene D. O'Kelly II Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Emeritus
Academic Area: 
Organizational Behavior

Research Statement

How can one develop both individual competencies and the appropriate social setting to permit more effective interpersonal interaction and learning.

Teaching Statement

Dr. Bradford's interests are in the areas of leadership, interpersonal influence, and executive teams. In all of these, he has focused on the question, "What does it take to achieve high performance?" The results have suggested that, especially in knowledge-based organizations, excellence is most likely when leaders build strong teams where the members' role is significantly expanded so that they share responsibility for the management of the unit (including making the core decisions jointly and holding each other accountable for performance). His recent work on influence has led to exploring the conditions for a "feedback rich organization" where team members, through a structured process, give each other face-to-face feedback to improve individual and team performance.


David Bradford is the Eugene O’Kelly II Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Leadership. He received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to Stanford in 1969.

His research interests have led to six  books, numerous articles, three training programs and a MOOC on leadership, team performance, and the influence process. He also has consulted and conducted executive programs to a variety of organizations in the for-profit and not-for-profit sector, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Cisco Systems, Levi Strauss & Co., Roche Pharmaceutical, Raychem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

In addition, Dr. Bradford has been involved with educational innovation at the college level. He was the founder of The Organizational Behavior Teaching Society and the first editor of their journal. He received the Exemplar of Excellence in Education award from The University of Phoenix. Dr. Bradford is on the editorial board of The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, The Journal of Management Education, and The Academy of Management Learning and Education.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, University of Michigan, 1966
  • BA, Oberlin College, 1960

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1969
  • Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, 1966-1969

Awards and Honors

  • Director of the Executive Program in Leadership: The Effective Use of Power 2013-2014
  • Director of the Interpersonal Dynamics for High-Performance Executives Program, 2013-2014



Allan R Cohen, David L. Bradford Wiley, June 26, 2012.
David L. Bradford Hoboken: Wiley, 2005.
David L. Bradford, W. Warner Burke San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2005.
David L. Bradford Wiley, 1984.

Book Chapters

David L. Bradford. The Portable MBA, 2nd edition. Wiley, 2002.

Courses Taught

Degree Courses


This experiential course will focus on how to make a business decision correctly. The theory will focus on common behavior biases and mistakes. Students will practice making business decisions by analyzing a business case each week.

This course asks the question: "What does it take to build high-performance?" The focus is on middle and upper-middle management in contemporary organizations that have complex tasks, exist in a rapidly changing environment, and have highly...


This course is open only to leaders of the Service Learning Trips or Global Study Trips. The course will meet nine times only on Tuesdays (because of the limited time and the fact that the course is experientially based, attendance at all classes...

This course asks the question: "What does it take to build high-performance?" The focus is on middle and upper-middle management in contemporary organizations that have complex tasks, exist in a rapidly changing environment, and have highly...

Stanford Case Studies

Dealing with a Toxic Boss | OB85
David Bradford2012
Dealing with a Toxic Boss (A) | OB85A
David Bradford2012
Dealing with a Toxic Boss (B) | OB85B
David Bradford2012
Dealing with a Toxic Boss (C) | OB85C
David Bradford2012
Tank in the Bog (A) | L1A
David Bradford, Doug Crandall2003
Tank in the Bog (B) | L1B
David Bradford, Doug Crandall2003

Conferences, Talks, and Speaking Engagements

Stanford University Affiliations

Service to the Profession

  • Editorial Board, The Journal of Management Education, Academy of Management Learning and Education
  • Member, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • Member, Academy of Management
  • Member, American Psychological Association
  • Member, National Training Laboratory: Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences (past member of the Board of Directors )

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

October 8, 2013
The co-author of Influencing Up describes how to build a more productive relationship with the boss.
February 15, 2010
Laura Sanchez, MBA ’94, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, is honored by the Hispanic Business Students Association

School News

January 31, 2011
Structured trips provide intellectual and emotional experiences with other cultures for Stanford MBA students learning to lead in a global economy.
December 1, 2005
Bradford honored for his teaching in seminal course, Interpersonal Dynamics, known as "Touchy Feely," and similar leadership workshops for alumni.