Robert Blake biography and books

Robert Blake and Jane Mouton - Toolshero

Robert Blake (1918 – 2004) was an American management theoretician. Together with Jane S. Mouton, Blake developed the Managerial Grid model in 1954, which was based on field research. This Managerial Grid model is still used in organizations across the globe in issues related to (strategic) leadership. This article covers Blake’s biography and publications.

Bio of Robert Blake

In 1940, Robert Rogers Blake obtained his Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in psychology and philosophy from Berea College in the United States. In 1941 Robert Blake obtained his Master’s degree (M.A.) in psychology from the University of Virginia in the United States.

Shortly after, he married and he served in the American army during the Second World War until 1945.

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After the war, Blake continued his academic career and he received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas in 1947.

From 1947 to 1964 Robert Blake was as a teaching professor in the area of management and psychology at the University of Texas. In addition, Blake lectured at Harvard University (United States), the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).

Robert Blake also supported a special study at the Tavistock Clinic in London. He participated in a number of ground breaking psychoanalytic studies in the area of group therapy. Then he got involved in a training institute called the National Training Laboratories (NTL), which was focused on group behaviour.

He intended it to be a once-only participation, but in the end he continued working there in several roles (for instance as a board member) for 10 years. He considered these years to be richest learning experiences of his entire career and a complement to his role at Tavistock Clinic.

During his NTL years he worked closely with Herbert Shepard, who was employed by Exxon at the time. Together they conducted a ten-year study of Exxon to develop and test various theories and methodologies.

Books and Publications

  • 1989. Change by design. Reading, Mass. Addison Wesley.
  • 1987. Spectacular teamwork: how to develop the leadership skills for team success. Sidgwick and Jackson.
  • 1984. The Productivity Battle: A Behavioral Science Analysis of Japan and the United State, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science , vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 49-56
  • 1983. Consultation: A Handbook for Individual and Organizational Development. Addison-Wesley.
  • 1982. Grid® Principles Versus Situationalism: A Final Note, Journal: Group & Organization Management – GROUP ORGAN MANAGE , vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 211-215
  • 1982. Theory and Research for Developing a Science of Leadership, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science , vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 275-291
  • 1982. Productivity: The Human Side. Amacom Books.
  • 1981. Management by Grid® Principles or Situationalism: Which? Journal: Group & Organization Management – GROUP ORGAN MANAGE , vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 439-455
  • 1980. Grid for Sales Excellence. McGraw-Hill Inc.
  • 1970. Attitude toward birth control and cognitive consistency: Theoretical and practical implications of survey data, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology – PSP , vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 228-237
  • 1970. The Fifth Achievement, Journal: The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science , vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 413-426
  • 1966. Some Effects of Managerial Grid Seminar Training on Union and Management Attitudes Toward Supervision, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science , vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 387-400
  • 1964. The managerial grid: The key to leadership excellence. Gulf Publishing Company.
  • 1965. The Union-Management Intergroup Laboratory: Strategy for Resolving Intergroup Conflict, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science , vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 25-57
  • 1961. Comprehension of own and of outgroup positions under intergroup competition, Journal of Conflict Resolution – J CONFLICT RESOLUT , vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 304-310
  • 1961. Reactions to Intergroup Competition Under Win-Lose Conditions, Journal: Management Science – MANAGE SCI , vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 420-435
  • 1959. Psychology and the crisis of statesmanship, Journal: American Psychologist – AMER PSYCHOL , vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 87-94
  • 1958. Task difficulty and conformity pressures, The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology , vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 120-122
  • 1956. The Relationship between Frequency of Yielding and the Disclosure of Personal Identity, Journal of Personality – J PERSONALITY , vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 339-347
  • 1955. Gift-Giving as a Function of Group Standards, Journal: Human Relations – HUM RELAT , vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 61-73
  • 1955. Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals, The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology , vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 704-706
  • 1954. Book Review: Group Dynamics: Research and Theory, Journal: Human Relations – HUM RELAT , vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 99-100
  • 1953. Some determinants of the perception of positive and negative feelings in others, The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 585-592

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Original publication date: 11/14/2013 | Last update: 07/08/2023

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Vincent van Vliet
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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.


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