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The Psychology and Social Relations Department and the Business School are trying to lure a Yale social psychologist to a joint lifetime post, a step that could signal a long-term expansion of their one-year-old joint degree program.
Richard Hackman, a specialist in organizational behavior, would fill a tenured opening left by Professor of Social Relations Robert F. Bales, who has moved into semi-retirement because of poor health.
Money and Shrinks
Hackman would become the only professor in the department to specialize in the burgeoning interdisciplinary field, which examines the behavior of businesses from a sociological perspective.
Interest in the organizational behavior led the Psychology and Social Relations Department to begin a joint Ph.D.-M.B.A. program with the B-School one year ago, Hackman's appointment could signal the first of several appointments to expand the field, said department Chairman Sheldon H. White.
It is not known when the Yale professor, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, will respond to Harvard's offer.
The joint appointment is highly unusual because, although Hackman would be a voting member of both the P&SR Department and the B-School faculty, his salary would be paid entirely by the Business School, White said.
"He made it clear he wouldn't move unless he had some connection with the Psychology Department, and he was a good enough social psychologist that we'd do it," White said. "The B-School was generous enough to fund it, and we were smart enough not to look a gift horse in the mouth."
B-School officials could not be reached for comment.
The joint graduate program, begun one year ago, drew just one graduate student at its inception but lured six more this fall, White said.
White said the field's popularity has also risen among the roughly 270 undergraduate concentrators, and that Hackman would likely offer a lower-level course in organizational behavior to meet student demand.
The Hackman offer, extended last June, followed a year-long search
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