RO in the United States

A Brief History of Requisite Organization (RO) in the United States

Elliott Jaques was a student at Johns Hopkins U. Medical School, 1938-1941 in Baltimore, graduated as M.D., 1941.

EJ was Rantoul fellow at Harvard, 1941-1942, and awarded Ph.D., 1951.

1951 EJ’s Changing Culture of a Factory book published in UK and US (Harvard dissertation).

1956 Jaques’ Measurement of Responsibility book published by Tavistock and Harvard. Endorsed by Chester Barnard. Major advertising campaign by HUP in HBR.

1956 Norman Martin fast-follower research replicated Jaques 1956 (Oct.). But no citation of Jaques.

1960 Thomas Mayer articulated the “scale of operations effect” in economics to explain the distribution of ability and earnings in the population. Cited Jaques 1956 as empirical
support for his theory. (Is this then an extension of Jaques’ theory?)

1960 Brown’s Exploration in Management book published in UK and US.

1961 Jaques’ Equitable Payment book published in UK and US. Part of equity theory. Immediate impact at Berkeley, HBS and SIU.

1962 Brown presented at conference at UCLA on “Executive Contraction” hosted by Harold Koontz. Brown faced down Herb Simon. Proceedings published as a book in 1964, Toward a Unified Theory of Management. Koontz became President of the Academy of Management for 1965. (Management Theory Jungle.) Col. Ulrich defended Brown.

1962 Brown and Jaques published articles in HBR and CMR. Homa Hunt book review of EP. Both were frequent guests in her house in Cambridge, MA.

1962 First US PhD - at Berkeley by Robert Blauner. Published in 1964 as a book, Alienation and Freedom, the factory worker and his industry. A major sociology book.

1963 Glacier theory adopted at Allen Industries, Herrin, IL. Small OEM manufacturer of fabrics for automobile seats (HQ in Detroit). (Find SEC 10Ks.)

1964 Business Week article on Glacier. (Reported a HBS case that never existed.)

1965 Glacier Project Papers by Brown and Jaques published in US and UK.

1965 First US conference on the theory held at SIU. Many SIU degrees at MS level earned in late 1960s. Ask Jerry Gray, Edna Homa Hunt, Jerry Hunt.

1966 Lord Brown received an honorary doctor of laws from SIU (June).

1962-1969 HBS mounted a concerted research effort to recapture the intellectual lead from the British. Culminated in development of contingency theory (1967).

1965-1976 Berkeley research effort under ERFW Crossman in IE sponsored by ONR. Produced two PhDs. This was connected to MS-level naval research on talent pool
development for admirals at Monterey under Wally Creighton (1972-1980).

1962-1982 San Diego State research effort under Belcher and Atchison. Many Naval personnel trained to MS-level. Series of MS theses on the theory. Not connected to
Monterey or Berkeley research efforts.

1966 David J. Hickson article in ASQ declared that OT academics had it wrong and Jaques had it right. Discretion and prescription were the key factors in work.

1966 Pearson Hunt HBR article on Glacier, “The Fallacy of the One Big Brain.” Many interpreted this as being on decentralization. (These two 1966 articles mark the high point of Jaques’ theory in the 1960s.)

1966 Harvard economics professor Harvey Leibenstein used Elliott’s concepts of capacity and discretion to develop a theory to explain why managers failed to adopt obvious breakthroughs in their businesses and failed to reach the production efficiency frontier: “X-efficiency.” Did not cite or credit Jaques. (Revealed in 1973.)

1967 Paul S. Goodman published an article based on his 1966 Cornell PhD claiming to have empirically disproved Jaques’ theory. Praised by Karl Weick. Never replicated. This claim was abandoned in 1973. (Actually, Goodman found .83 corr. between TSD:HierLvl.)

1967 book by Lawrence and Lorsch successfully re-established HBS as the intellectual center of business research for the next decade and a half (until the Excellence fad). The
HBS business model (based on Taylorism, then Mayoism) was successfully defended. HBS’s position as the premier B-school was secured.

1968 (c) Professor Fremont “Bud” Shull left SIU and moved to U. Ga. Several Masters students followed to earn PhDs at U. Ga. in the 1970s. Only one was done on Jaques theory, though. 

Late 1960s and early 1970s Kaiser Steel and Kaiser Aluminum in California were connected to the Berkeley and Monterey research efforts (through VP HR). Organization
was flattened. (See BW article in early 1970s.)

1969 Adams’ version of equity pay theory was discredited at Academy of Management annual meeting by Valenzy and Andrews (published 1971). Credibility of other equity
theories (including Jaques’) suffered serious collateral damage. Jaques was unaware of this presentation.

1960s PhDs: Ten (of 13) PhDs were produced on this theory in the US during the 1960s - at Berkeley (1962), Duke (1964), Harvard (1964, 1967), Washington (1965), Yale (1965), Cornell (1966), Pittsburg (1966), Michigan State (1968), and Minnesota (1969). ALL ten validated and supported the theory. (Goodman claimed his did not but the data shows it did.) Jaques appears to have been aware of only three: Goodman, Homa Hunt, and Richardson. (In the UK only two were done in the 1960s. Both were skeptical, arm-chair analyses.  One was done in NL.)  

1960s and 70s Cunningham Enterprises (SIU, Anna IL) consulting clients included Illinois State Baptists in 1973 (and which others?). (moved to Utah?)

1971 SIU published Richardson’s 1969 U. Minn. dissertation validating strong TSD:FFP correlation.

1973 Goodman very quietly abandoned his 1966 PhD findings and 1967 article claiming to have disproved Jaques’ theory. Done by omission, so missed by nearly everyone.
1974 Handbook of Leadership by Ralph Stogdill published (1st edition). Instantly became a classic reference book. Accepted Paul Goodman’s research as a refutation of
Jaques. Stogdill was unaware Goodman had abandoned his findings.

1974 Paul C. Nystrom article validated Jaques’ Growth Curves.

Early 1970s Walter Mahler read Wilfred Brown’s 1960 book and adopted the concepts into his consulting framework. Developed Career Crossroads to identify when managers
matured into the next stratum and would benefit from additional education in leadership at that level.

Mid-1970s Walter Mahler installed the Career Crossroads concepts at General Electric. Also sold them to Citibank under John Reed (in effect until merger with Travelers in early 2000s, then a real mess followed this abandonment).

1976 Jaques published magnum opus, A General Theory of Bureaucracy.

1978 R. Martin Richards’ PhD at Georgia validated Jaques definition of TSD as length rather than amount or type of responsibility and risk.

1978-1981 Jack Welch process of selection as Chairman and CEO of General Electric using Mahler’s version of Brown’s strata capability.  See 1987 book by Vancil and 1988 excerpt in Fortune.  

1978  U.S. Army asked Jaques to consult on restructuring. Edward “Shy” Meyer was US Army Chief of Staff. (Earlier Berkeley-ONR and Monterey research on the theory was reassuring.) EJ began research with ARI in Arlington, VA. and settled in Washington DC area.

1970s-1980s Edna Homa Hunt installed the theory at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston (a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School) over a 10-year long consulting
engagement. Used the 1970s National Health Service and hospital organization materials developed by BIOSS in UK.

1979 EJ met Kathryn Cason (?). Cason Hall Publishers founded, 1984 (?).

1980 Jaques moved to the US from London. Spent summer 1980 at Weslyan University in CT with Daniel Miller (formerly at Brunel) writing FEFE (published 1982). Jaques remained head of BIOSS in the UK until 1985 or so. The Social Analytic Learning Society (SALS) held their conferences in both the US and UK during the 1980s and into the 1990s. SALS seems to have declined and disappeared by the mid-1990s.

1984 EJ met Nancy Lee (?)

1980s Joseph Stiglitz and George Akerlof wrote a half-dozen papers on the “efficiency wage.” This idea had economic origins in Marshal (1920) and Knight (1924).  Unaware this also came from Jaques via Baldamus and Behrend 1957, 1961.
Awarded 2001 Nobel Prize in Economic Science for their work on this and on the impact of asymmetric information on market prices.

Late-1980s Career Crossroads adopted at Chase Bank, Anheuser-Busch.  In early 2000s adopted at JP Morgan in RSA.

1984 Welch reconceptualized the Crotonville management training center to infuse Mahler’s career bands and crossroads model of leadership development (from Brown)
across General Electric up to stratum V. (Crotonville was established in 1950s.)

1984-85 George Harding established the Concept VII consulting firm in NYC based on SST concepts. This firm lasted until 1990. Pharmaceutical and oil clients in NJ and
others in Toronto.

1986-88 Jaques and Rosemary Bova consulted at GE Plastics on levels, TSD and FFP. Bova consulted at GE Appliances (Jeff Immelt) and trained HR folks at Crotonville. GE
career banding program came out in 1988-89.

1986 Congress passed the Goldwater-Nichols Act. This opened the door for the spread of Jaques’ concepts of singular executive accountability for the JCS Chairman, joint
operations, cross-service assignments, and leadership training across all the US armed forces. Colin Powell was the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

1987 EJ and T. O. Jacobs began a writing collaboration on complexity and hierarchy applying RO to the US military structure and leadership (thru 1991).

1988 EJ met Jerry Harvey (?). Appointed to GWU research faculty, 1989.

1988 Gilliam Stamp – Report to US Army on CPA - ARI Tech Rep 819. Accepted.

1989 EJ published Requisite Organization, 1st edition. (Mostly on R.O. consulting assignments with US Army and RTZ/ Rio Tinto.)

1989 Commonwealth Aluminum adopted RO and appointed Mark Kaminski from CRA/RTZ in Australia as CEO. Louisville, KY. EJ consulted.

1990 EJ attended Four-Day seminar with W. Edwards Deming. Gave Deming the R.O. book. Deming responded: “This is a system.” (Each cribbed a few bits from the other but they never met again.)

1990 EJ completed his consulting with CRA/ RTZ in Australia and reduced his commitments there.

1990-1997 EJ consulted extensively in Toronto, ON, and in Buenos Aires, AR.

1991 Executive Leadership published, co-written with Stephen Clement.

1992 EJ’s 75th birthday. Recognition award from JCS Chairman Colin Powell.  Festchrift published.  

1994 Human Capability published, co-written with Kathryn Cason.

1994 (?) EJ and KC relocated from the DC area to Gloucester, MA.

1996 Requisite Organization, 2nd edition published.

Mid-1990s RO adopted at Avon Cosmetics, in UK, then in US. Also adopted at Haliburton - Dick Cheney, CEO.

Late 1990s RO/ Work Levels adopted by Unilever in USA as a pilot. Then adopted worldwide, but not at HQs in UK and The Netherlands: no unity of authority at the top.  Later, not adopted in USA. Oh well.

1999 Revised 2nd Edition of Requisite Organization published.

1999 R.O. conference held in Gloucester, MA (Fall).

2000 EJ given the Harry and Miriam Levinson Award for Exceptional Contributions to Consulting Organizational Psychology by Division 13 of the APA, The Consulting
Psychologists’ Division.

2001 George W. Bush became President of US. Dick Cheney became Vice President (Haliburton); Colin Powell became Secretary of State (Chairman, JCS); Donald H.
Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense (Defense); and Paul O’Neil became Secretary of the Treasury (Alcoa).

2002 Two books published by EJ. Social Power and the CEO. Life and Behavior of Living Organisms. EJ returned to the medical model for organizational diagnostics.

2003 EJ died on March 8.  


Major organizations and consulting firms that provide Requisite Organization-based services

A global association of academics, managers, and consultants that focuses on spreading RO implementation practices and encouraging their use
Dr. Gerry Kraines, the firms principal, combines Harry Levinson's leadership frameworks with Elliott Jaques's Requisite Organization. He worked closely with Jaques over many years, has trained more managers in these methods than anyone else in the field, and has developed a comprehensive RO-based software for client firms.
Ron Capelle is unique in his multiple professional certifications, his implementation of RO concepts through well designed organization development methods, and his research documenting the effectiveness of his firm's interventions
Former RO-experienced CEO, Ron Harding, provides coaching to CEOs of start-ups and small and medium-size companies that are exploring their own use of RO concepts.  His role is limited, temporary and coordinated with the RO-based consultant working with the organization
Founded by Gillian Stamp, one of Jaques's colleagues at Brunel, the firm modified Jaques;s work-levels, developed the Career Path Appreciation method, and has grown to several hundred certified assessors in aligned consulting firms world-wide recently expanding to include organization design
Requisite Organization International Institute distributes Elliott Jaques's books, papers, and videos and provides RO-based training to client organizations