Fred Fiedler is one of the leading experts on the study of leadership and organizational performance, and thus has had a profound impact on social, organizational, and industrial psychology. In 1976, he published A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness, which introduced his famous and groundbreaking Fiedler contingency model of leadership, which explored how the interplay between personality characteristics and situational circumstances leads to effective leadership or its absence.
A Professor Emeritus of Management and Organization at the University of Washington in Seattle, he has been awarded the Walter F. Ulmer, Jr. Applied Research Award, the American Psychological Society's James McKeen Cattell Award for intellectual contributions to applied research, the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Academy of Management. He is a past president of Division 1 (general psychology) in the American Psychological Association. He received his PhD. from the University of Chicago.
- Much thanks to Martin M. Chemers for acting as the co-ordinator of this effort to honor Fred Fiedler, and to Roya Ayman and Peter Scontrino and the following individuals for donating to the Foundation in his name. They all share their personal memories of Fred.
My strongest impression of Fred was his personal and professional integrity. As a mentor, colleague, and friend, he was unfailingly honest and ethical and expected you to be the same. This is a good thing to learn when you are young and will serve you well your whole life. Fred taught me that the key to having good luck was extensive preparation.He never stinted in his willingness to work himself very hard, and, unfortunately, his students as well. Few knew that Fred was a philosopher, but he taught me the secret of a happy life; 10% for easy living.
- Once upon a time (1964-1966), Professor Fred E. Fiedler gave a rare opportunity to a young student from a developing country to work closely with him in his laboratory and on a thesis research. The professor’s guest for knowledge and its implementations were internalized and became the work passion of his mentee. His lifelong academic support and continuous donations of most of his own library, have contributed greatly to the advancement of Social Psychology in Thailand at present (2010).
- Fred taught me the importance of listening to the data. Let the data trump any a priori theoretical notions we might have. Fred taught me the importance of rigorous testing of theory, no matter how elegant it might appear to be and how “pretzel shaped” the empirical picture might be.
- I took Fred's class when I was in my second year of the MBA program, on the heels of 4 tours in Viet Nam and a 6 month hospital stay. My first year was kind of a blur, but when I met Fred and he introduced me to some of the other active and ex military guys who were in his Lab, a whole new world opened up. He gave me direction and wonderful concepts to ponder. His Lab was an enriching experience to mature and develop. In the years that followed Fred and I spent many an enjoyable lunch reminiscing together and I am forever grateful for those valuable and enjoyable years.
- Fred taught me and others how important it is to know your data in the scientific enterprise. I will never forget going to the lab meetings where Fred would say that we should get out the "brick bats" to critique ourselves so that we would emerge with solid research designs, well thought out theory, and stronger people. While Fred would never claim to be a "warm fuzzy" it was always clear that he wanted us all to succeed and to strive to be the best scholars we could be.
- I was a graduate student studying with Fred in the early 90s. What makes Fred special is his desire to see you be the best you can. He hid a big heart under that gruff exterior and wanted you to succeed. He pushed me and stretched me and made me understand who I wanted to be as a scientist and a person. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for that.