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Maccoby, Michael 1933–

MACCOBY, Michael 1933–

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced Mack-oby; born March 5, 1933, in Mount Vernon, NY; son of Max (a rabbi) and Dora (Steinberg) Maccoby; married Sandylee Weille (a portrait painter), December 19, 1959; children: Anne Maccoby Berglöf, Izette Maccoby Folger, Nora Harriet, Max Francis. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1954, Ph.D. (social psychology and personality), 1960; Mexican Institute of Psychoanalysis, degree in psychoanalysis, 1964. Also attended New College, Oxford, 1954–55, and University of Chicago, 1955–56.

ADDRESSES: Home—4825 Linnaean Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008-2124. Office—The Maccoby Group PC, 1634 I St. NW, Ste. 704, Washington, DC 20006-4003.

CAREER: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, instructor in social science, 1955–56; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, secretary of committee on educational policy, 1956–60, teaching fellow, 1957–60; research fellow, U.S. Public Health Service, 1960–63; psychotherapist in private practice in Mexico City, Mexico, and Washington, DC, 1962–88; Mexican Institute of Psychoanalysis, professor of clinical psychology, 1964–66, faculty member, 1970–75; Washington School of Psychiatry, Washington, DC, faculty member, 1975–87; John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, director of Program on Technology, Public Policy and Human Development, 1978–90; The Maccoby Group, Washington, DC, president, 1989–. Visiting professor of social psychology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, 1960–61; visiting professor, Cornell University, 1966; lecturer in psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1967–68; fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA, 1968–69; visiting and resident fellow, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC, 1969–75; visiting scholar at Center for Science and International Affairs, 1990–93. Research associate for program on technology and society, Harvard University, 1970–73, and program on science, technology, and public policy, beginning 1974, director of Project on Technology, Work and Character, Washington, DC. Consultant to American Telephone and Telegraph, 1977–2000, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1977–81, U.S. Department of State, 1978–84, World Bank, 1978–80, 1988–89, 1995–99, Communications Workers of America, 1980–88, 1993–94, 2002, Swedish Council on Management and Work Life Issues, 1982–87, Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman and International Masonry Institute, 1984–2000, and the Library of Congress, 1988. Member of board, Centro Intercultural de Documentacion, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 1966–69, Our Little Brothers and Sisters, Inc., 1977–, International Group Plans, Inc., 1978–80, SMG North America, 1989–96, Tällberg Foundation, 1990–, and Washington School of Psychiatry, 1997–.

MEMBER: American Psychological Association (fellow), American Anthropological Association (fellow), Society for Applied Anthropology (fellow), National Academy of Public Administration (fellow), Global Business Network, Cosmos Club, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Woodrow Wilson fellowship, New College, Oxford, 1954–55; National Institute of Mental Health research and training fellowship, 1960–63; National Autonomous University of Mexico fellowship at Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1968–69.


(With Erich Fromm) Social Character in a Mexican Village, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1970, published with new introduction by Maccoby, Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick, NJ), 1996.

The Gamesman: The New Corporate Leaders, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1976.

The Leader: A New Face for American Management, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Anders Edstrom, Lennart Stromberg, and Jan Erik Rendahl) Leadership for Sweden, Liber (Lund, Sweden), 1985.

Why Work: Leading the New Generation, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988, second edition, 1995, published as Why Work: Motivating and Leading the New Generation, 1989.

(Editor) Sweden at the Edge: Lessons for American and Swedish Managers, University of Pennsylvania Press (University Park, PA), 1991.

(Editor, with Mauricio Cortina) A Prophetic Analyst: Erich Fromm's Contribution to Psychoanalysis, Jason Aronson (Northvale, NJ), 1996.

The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Also contributor to books, including The Liberal Papers, edited by J. Roosevelt, Doubleday, 1961; Peasant Society: A Reader, edited by J. M. Potter and others, Little, Brown, 1967; Studies in Cognitive Growth, edited by Jerome S. Bruner and others, Wiley, 1967; Television Today: The End of Communication and the Death of Community, edited by Ralph Stavins, Institute for Policy Studies, 1969; Crisis in American Institutions, edited by J. H. Skolnick and others, Little, Brown, 1970; The Drinking Man, edited by David C. McClelland and others, Free Press, 1972; Exploring Contradictions: Papers from the Congressional Staff Seminars on Political Economy, edited by Phillip Brenner, Robert Borosage, and Bethany Weidner, McKay, 1974; Humanizing the Workplace, edited by R. Fairfield, Prometheus Books, 1974; Village Viability in Contemporary Society, edited by B. Lenkerd and P. C. Reining, Westview Press, 1980; and Managing Innovation, edited by E. W. Colgazier, Jr., and S. B. Lundsteldt, Pergamon, 1982. Contributor of introductions to books, including Barbara O'Brien's Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic, Arlington Press, 1959; David C. H. Sheppard and Neal Q. Herrick's, Where Have All the Robots Gone?, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1972; and Neal Q. Herrick's, The Quality of Work and Its Outcomes, Academy for Contemporary Problems (Columbus, OH), 1975. Contributor to many psychiatry and social science journals in United States and Mexico.

SIDELIGHTS: Michael Maccoby is a psychoanalyst who, as a frequent business consultant, has developed an interest in the psychology of the workplace. He has written several books on this subject, including The Leader: A New Face for American Management, Why Work: Leading the New Generation, and The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership. These books analyze personality types in businesses, both management and regular employees, and comment on how the social dynamics have changed over the years and how smart businesspeople can take advantage of this.

Maccoby's first book to combine psychology and business advice, the 1976 study The Gamesman: The New Corporate Leaders, defines the executive of the 1970s as "cool, pragmatic, flexible, fascinated by challenges and above all eager to win, and willing to be manipulative for that purpose," according to Bernard A. Weisberger in a Washington Post review. The gamesman, continued Weisberger, "was a creation of the adventurous business climate of the '60s, and took his place alongside other managerial types—the craftsman, the jungle fighter, the company man—who emerged at earlier stages of economic development."

In the 1980s, with its different social and economic conditions, the gamesman has been replaced by the subjects of Maccoby's next book, The Leader. The leaders of business and industry in this decade, as Weisberger noted in his review, evolved from a social ethic "more individualistic and resistant to authority than it once was; what's more, the men and women of the workplace are less willing to commit themselves totally to their jobs…. To bring out the best in such people—which, for Maccoby, is the true function and art of leadership—tomorrow's managers will have to be flexible, humane, involved and caring; 'less charismatic and narcissistic than past leaders,'… and recognizing that it is 'logical and necessary … to share the functions of leadership.'"

Why Work is the result of seven years of research during which Maccoby analyzed three thousand survey responses and four hundred interviews of employees. From this, the psychologist developed several generalized personality types of workers in technoservice industries that have emerged by the late 1980s: "experts," whose specialized technical knowledge is helpful but who may not wish to share their expertise fairly; "helpers," who are people-oriented and like to help others, but who may not assert themselves in ways that can help their company; "defenders," who try to maintain the dignity of the employees but who may prove to be divisive factors in an organization; "self-developers," who are focused on trying to improve themselves by gaining new skills and experiences; and "innovators," who are the most creative but who are at risk of becoming egocentric.

Maccoby writes that the development of these types of workers is a direct result of changes in the business world because of the technological and informational revolution. Workers are consequently more involved on a personal level than ever before, and company management needs to recognize this in order to effectively run their businesses. As reviewer John Case put it in an Inc. review of Why Work, "Workers who once just loaded trucks or processed papers now are expected to make judgments, solve problems, develop productive relationships with customers and colleagues—in other words, to work like thinking human beings." Therefore, managers can no longer use the old reward systems that once worked; instead, they need to discover their employees' motivations for working and build on that relationship. While Joanna B. Ciula, writing in Psychology Today, found nothing profoundly original in Maccoby's declarations, she concluded that "the value of Why Work is in the question that it raises, not the answer that it gives." Case further commented that Maccoby's insights would be most useful to small companies, which are better able to get to know their employees on a personal level, since they have fewer of them. "In an economy in which success depends more and more on people pulling together—as human beings, not as donkeys—that's a powerful competitive edge," he concluded.

With 2003's The Productive Narcissist, Maccoby returned to the subject of the company leader who was the topic of his earlier book The Leader. About two decades passed between these two books, and with The Productive Narcissist the psychoanalyst sees a new type of corporate executive, one who has both bad and good traits. To Maccoby, a narcissist is not someone who is in love with him- or herself and who is totally self-involved; rather, the narcissist in business is someone who has a definite view of how things should be, has a desire to change things to conform to that image, and, on the downside, is often unwilling to listen to advice or, at times, even pay attention to the facts. In this category, he places such people as Microsoft's Bill Gates. Narcissists, furthermore, are categorized by the author as either "productive," such as Gates, or "nonproductive," such as those CEOs who become involved in corporate scandals. Despite such dangers, "Maccoby's argument is that we need these charismatic visionaries more than ever," reported Fast Company contributor Polly LaBarre. Reviewers appreciated the author's contribution to corporate psychology. For example, Benjamin Dattner said in a Directors & Boards assessment: "Despite some repetition and oversimplification of ideas, this is an interesting and thought-provoking book." And Skip Corsini, writing in Training, acknowledged that "Maccoby fills a gaping hole" in the study of business leadership in America.



Maccoby, Michael, Why Work: Leading the New Generation, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988.

Maccoby, Michael, The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2003.


American Banker, August 30, 1988, John Kingston, review of Why Work: Leading the New Generation, p. 27.

Barron's, March 17, 2003, Jim McTague, "Mind Games," p. 15.

Business Horizons, September-October, 1982, Michael Bisesi, review of The Leader: A New Face for American Management, p. 83.

Detroit News, December 20, 1981.

Directors & Boards, summer, 2003, Benjamin Dattner, review of The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership, p. 17.

Fast Company, April, 2003, Polly LaBarre, "Memo to CEOs: It Is All about You," p. 44.

Futurist, September-October, 2003, "Management," p. 62.

Inc., June, 1988, John Case, review of Why Work, p. 25.

Insight on the News, July 17, 2000, Diana Ray, "Crash Pad for the Unhappy Powerful," p. 22.

Library Journal, May 1, 1988, Lucy Heckman, review of Why Work, p. 75.

Newsweek, January 24, 2000, review of The Gamesman: The New Corporate Leaders, p. 70.

New York Times, January 30, 2000, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, "Traits Only a Boss Could Love; For Underlings, Tips on Coping," p. BU13.

Psychology Today, April, 1988, Joanne B. Ciulla, review of Why Work, p. 71.

Publishers Weekly, February 5, 1988, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Why Work, p. 79; February 24, 2003, review of The Productive Narcissist, p. 63.

Research-Technology Management, July-August, 1988, review of Why Work, p. 58; May-June, 2003, review of The Productive Narcissist, p. 62.

Training, October, 2003, Skip Corsini, review of The Productive Narcissist, p. 58.

Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2003, George Anders, "Don't Tell Them What to Do," p. D8.

Washington Post, December 28, 1981.


Maccoby Group, (December 1, 2003).

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