Dave Ulrich biography and books

Dave Ulrich - Toolshero

Dave Ulrich (1953) is the Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the Ross School, University of Michigan and a partner at the RBL Group. Dave Ulrich is also the founder of the Four-Role model, a HR Transformation model.

The biography of Dave Ulrich

Ulrich has published over 200 articles and book chapters and over 30 books. He edited Human Resource Management 1990-1999, served on editorial board of 4 Journals, on the Board of Directors for Herman Miller (16 years) and Board of Trustees at Southern Virginia University, has spoken to large audiences in 90 countries; performed workshops for over half of the Fortune 200; coached successful business leaders, and is a Fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources.

He is known for continually learning, turning complex ideas into simple solutions, and creating real value to those he works with in three fields.

Free Toolshero ebook


With co-authors, Ulrich has influenced thinking about organizations (Reinventing the Organization) by empirically showing how organization delivers 4 times business results over talent (Victory Through Organization), defined organizations as bundles of capabilities (Organization Capability) and worked to delineate capabilities of talent management (Why of Work; Talent Accelerator), culture change (GE Workout), learning (Learning Organization Capability), and collaboration (Boundaryless Organization).


With colleagues, Dave Ulrich has also articulated the basics of effective leadership (Leadership Code and Results Based Leadership), connected leadership with customers (Leadership Brand), shown how leadership delivers market value (Why the Bottom Line Isn’t), shaped investor expectations and ability to measure leadership (Leadership Capital Index), and synthesized ways to ensure that leadership aspirations turn into actions (Leadership Sustainability).

His contribution to Human Resources (HR)

Ulrich and his colleagues have shaped the HR profession and he has been called the “father of modern HR” and “HR thought leader of the decade” by focusing on HR outcomes, governance, competencies, and practices (HR Champions; HR Value Added; HR Transformation; HR Competencies; HR Outside In). Dave Ulrich spearheaded a “gift” book on the future of HR (The Rise of HR) distributed to over 1,500,000 HR professionals), in which 70 thought leaders freely share their insights.

Join the Toolshero community

Famous quotes

  1. “When desperate people seek easy solutions without doing the hard work of fundamental learning and change, resilience is undermined and real growth and learning fade.”
  2. “HR professionals play three roles: Storyteller, Strategy interpreter and Strategic facilitator.”
  3. “Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”
  4. “Improving the skills of HR colleagues. The best learners are also teachers. Investing in building the skills of HR colleagues requires individuals to be clear and disciplined about a topical area, tool, or technology.”
  5. “As the pace of change increases in every aspect of our lives, HR professionals have become change champions in many companies around the world, and this has generally been much to their employers’ advantage.”
  6. “domain in which HR tends to be the weakest is in understanding and applying technology to build HR.”
  7. “Competencies can be communicated—and therefore can be taught and learned.”
  8. “Connecting people though technology, Aligning strategy, culture, practices, and behavior and Sustaining change”
  9. “look backward for answers to future problems may be left behind.”
  10. “culture is not only norms, behaviors, and values, but the norms, behaviors, and values that will induce targeted customers to have a more intense relationship with the firm.”

Books and articles by Dave Ulrich et al.

  • 2019. Agility: The new response to dynamic change. Strategic HR Review.
  • 2019. Reinventing the organization: How companies can deliver radically greater value in fast-changing markets. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2018. Building a world class HR department. Strategic HR Review.
  • 2017. Competencies for HR professionals who deliver outcomes.
  • 2017. Rise of HR—New mandates for IO. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 10(1), 3-25.
  • 2017. Leaders as paradox navigators. Leader to Leader, 2017(86), 53-59.
  • 2015. The boundaryless organization: Breaking the chains of organizational structure. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  • 2015. Are we there yet? What’s next for HR?. Human Resource Management Review, 25(2), 188-204.
  • 2015. Learning from practice: how HR analytics avoids being a management fad. Organizational Dynamics, 44(3), 236-242.
  • 2013. The state of the HR profession. Human Resource Management, 52(3), 457-471.
  • 2012. What is leadership. Advances in global leadership, 7(1), 9-36.
  • 2012. HR talent and the new HR competencies. Strategic HR Review.
  • 2012. What is talent?. Leader to leader, 2012(63), 55-61.
  • 2012. Best practices in leadership development and organization change: how the best companies ensure meaningful change and sustainable leadership (Vol. 18). John Wiley & Sons.
  • 2010. The why of work. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
  • 2009. The role of strategy architect in the strategic HR organization. People & Strategy, 32(1), 24-32.
  • 2009. HR transformation: Building human resources from the outside in. New York.
  • 2009. The leadership code: five rules to lead by. Harvard Business Press.
  • 2008. The twenty‐first‐century HR organization. Human Resource Management, 47(4), 829-850.
  • 2007. The future of human resource management: 64 thought leaders explore the critical HR issues of today and tomorrow. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 2007. Human resource competencies: Responding to increased expectations.
  • 2007. Building a leadership brand. Harvard Business Review, 85(7/8), 92.
  • 2005. HR’s new ROI: Return on intangibles. Human Resource Management: Published in Cooperation with the School of Business Administration, The University of Michigan and in alliance with the Society of Human Resources Management, 44(2), 137-142.
  • 2004. Human resources business process outsourcing: Transforming how HR gets its work done. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 2004. Capitalizing on capabilities. Harvard business review, 119-128.
  • 2003. Why the bottom line isn’t!: How to build value through people and organization. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 2002. How to implement GEs revolutionary method for busing bureaucracy and attacking organizational problems fast. Two Penn Plaza, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  • 2002. The boundaryless organization. Facilities.
  • 2001. From partners to players: Extending the HR playing field. Human Resource Management: Published in Cooperation with the School of Business Administration, The University of Michigan and in alliance with the Society of Human Resources Management, 40(4), 293-307.
  • 2001. The HR Scorecard: Linking People. Strategy and Performance, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 353.
  • 2000. Leveraging leadership competencies to produce leadership brand: Creating distinctiveness by focusing on strategy and results. Human Resource Planning, 23(3), 12-23.
  • 2000. From eBusiness to eHR. People and Strategy, 23(2), 12.
  • 2000. The new leadership development. Training & Development, 54(3), 22-22.
  • 1998. Intellectual capital= competence x commitment. MIT Sloan Management Review, 39(2), 15.
  • 1998. A new mandate for human resources. Harvard business review, 76, 124-135.
  • 1997. Human Resource Champions: The next agenda for adding value and delivery results. Harvard Business School Press. Retrieved July, 23, 2007.
  • 1997. Measuring human resources: an overview of practice and a prescription for results. Human Resource Management: Published in Cooperation with the School of Business Administration, The University of Michigan and in alliance with the Society of Human Resources Management, 36(3), 303-320.
  • 1997. HR of the future: Conclusions and observations.
  • 1996. Human resource roles: Creating value, not rhetoric. People and Strategy, 19(3), 38.
  • 1995. Human resource competencies: An empirical assessment. Human resource management, 34(4), 473-495.
  • 1995. Shared services: From vogue to value. People and Strategy, 18(3), 12.
  • 1993. Profiling organizational competitiveness: Cultivating capabilities. People and Strategy, 16(3), 1.
  • 1991. Organizational capability: Creating competitive advantage. Academy of Management Perspectives, 5(1), 77-92.
  • 1991. Employee and customer attachment: synergies for competitive. People and Strategy, 14(2), 89.
  • 1991. Using human resources for competitive advantage. Making organizations competitive, 129-155.
  • 1990. General organizational classification: An empirical test using the United States and Japanese electronics industries. Organization Science, 1(1), 99-118.
  • 1990. Organizational capability: Competing from the inside out. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 1989. Tie the corporate knot: Gaining complete customer commitment. MIT Sloan Management Review, 30(4), 19.
  • 1989. Assessing human resource effectiveness: Stakeholder, utility, and relationship approaches. People and Strategy, 12(4), 301.
  • 1989. Beyond belief: A benchmark for human resources. Human Resource Management, 28(3), 311-335.
  • 1987). Strategic human resource planning: why and how?. People and Strategy, 10(1), 37.
  • 1987. Organizational capability as a competitive advantage: Human. People and Strategy, 10(4), 169.
  • 1984. Design strategy from the population perspective. Journal of Management, 10(1), 67-86.

How to cite this article:
Van Vliet, V. (2020). Dave Ulrich. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/toolsheroes/dave-ulrich/

Original publication date: 12/14/2020 | Last update: 05/16/2023

Add a link to this page on your website:
<a href=”https://www.toolshero.com/toolsheroes/dave-ulrich/”>Toolshero: Dave Ulrich</a>

Did you find this article interesting?

Your rating is more than welcome or share this article via Social media!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


Leave a Reply