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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 46.5.1

Paul R. Lawrence papers

The papers of Harvard Business School professor Paul R. Lawrence consist of correspondence, research, writing, teaching, administrative records, and materials pertaining to his outside activities.


  • 1941-2012

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.

Restricted material has been identified and separated. Note that box and folder lists of restricted material have been redacted.


30.75 linear feet (23 boxes, 14 cartons)

The Paul R. Lawrence papers contain correspondence, subject files, research and writings, teaching, administrative records, and material related to Lawrence's outside activities. The papers document the development of Lawrence's theories of organizational behavior, the evolution of the theory and practice of human resource management, HBS's relationship with external business communities, HBS's developing vision of its role in these business communities and in society at large, and observations of Soviet manufacturing during Perestroika. The papers also contain correspondence, subject files, research and writings from Lawrence's faculty emeritus period, particularly related to his research relating to human behavior.

Biographical Note:

Paul R. Lawrence, a noted sociologist and a key figure in Harvard Business School's intellectual history, conducted extensive scholarship in organizational behavior and is recognized as an influential leader in the field. Lawrence was born in Rochelle, Illinois in 1922. He attended Grand Rapids Jr. College in Michigan, where he received his AA. In 1943 he graduated with special honors and received his BA from Albion College, also in Michigan, where he studied sociology and economics. Lawrence then began attending the Harvard Business School. World War II broke out during his time at HBS and Lawrence disrupted his studies to serve in the Navy’s supply corps in the South Pacific. After returning from the South Pacific, Lawrence received his MBA in 1947 from Harvard.

Following graduation from HBS, Lawrence joined the Harvard Business School staff working as a research assistant and a doctoral candidate. In 1950 Lawrence received his Doctor of Commercial Science (DCS) in the area of Organizational Behavior. Lawrence became a full professor in 1960 and was appointed to the Donham Chair of Organizational Behavior in 1967, after the retirement of Fritz J. Roethlisberger. During his time at Harvard Business School, Lawrence also served as the chairman of the Organizational Behavior area for nine years and chairman of both the MBA and AMP programs.

Lawrence conducted extensive research while on the faculty at HBS and published his results in articles, working papers, case studies, and 26 books. His books include The Changing of Organizational Behavior Patterns (1951), Administering Changes (1952), Organizational Behavior and Administration (1961), Developing Organizations (1969), Matrix (1977), Managing Human Assets (1984), Organization and Environment (1987), Behind the Factory Walls (1990), Driven (2002), and Driven to Lead (2010). Over the course of his career, Lawrence researched the nature of industrial jobs, industrial adaptation to different environments, social organization in inner city communities, mid-sized city governments, the National Institutes of Health, matrix organizations and supply-chain alliances, and manufacturing in the Soviet Union during Perestroika. Lawrence retired from HBS in 1991 but as Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Organizational Behavior Emeritus he continued to remain active as a mentor to young professors and in research, writing, and publishing, focusing on his interest in understanding human behavior, including violence, based on the works of Charles Darwin.

Lawrence received Harvard Business School's Distinguished Service Award in 1997 in recognition of his service to HBS and the field of business education. In 1999, HBS endowed the Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professorship of Business Administration in his honor. Lawrence died November 1, 2011 in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series I. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1947-2011
  2. ___ Subseries I-A. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1947-1960
  3. ___ Subseries I-B. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1948-1990
  4. ___ Subseries I-C. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1955-2011
  5. Series II. Research and Writing, 1947-1989
  6. Series III. Teaching, 1941-1988
  7. Series IV. Administration and Programs, 1949-1991
  8. ___ Subseries IV-A, General, 1949-1991 [Restricted]
  9. ___ Subseries IV-B. OB Area Chairman Files, 1966-1982
  10. Series V. Outside Activities, 1949-1989
  11. ___ Subseries V-A. Outside Activities A-Z, 1949-1993
  12. ___ Subseries V-B. Audiotapes of Event, undated
  13. Series VI: Harvard Business School, Emeritus, 1990-2011
  14. Series VII: Series VII. Biographical Records, 1949-2012


The Paul R. Lawrence Papers were received by Baker Library Special Collections from Paul Lawrence in May 2001. Additions to the collections were received from Tad Lawrence in December 2011 (A-12-27) and transferred from the Senior Faculty Center in 2012, 20104, and 2015 (Accession #'s: A-12-43, A-12-53, A-14-037, and A-16-019).

Processing Information

Processed: August 2003. Revised: April 2016.

By: Lisa Moorhead. Additions processed April 2016 by Liam Sullivan.
Link to catalog
Lawrence, Paul R. Paul R. Lawrence Papers, 1941-2012: A Finding Aid
Baker Library

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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