Mike Driver

A Tribute to Michael J. Driver

    We wish to remember our colleague, collaborator, friend and mentor, Michael J. Driver (1936- 2004). Mike was a cofounder of Decision Dynamics, along with his colleague of nearly thirty years, Kenneth Brousseau. For more than 35 years and until his death, Mike was professor of organization and management at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California. Prior to USC, he had joint faculty appointments in the departments of psychology and administrative science at Purdue University. While there he and colleague Siegfried Streufert collaborated on a number of research projects, including several concerning cognitive complexity, decision style, and tolerance for incongruity. Much of this research stemmed from their Princeton University graduate research with mentor Harold Schroeder. In 1967 the three men wrote Human Information Processing, a book delineating a number of principles underlying the decision style work Mike would continue the rest of his life.

    Mike Driver was a scholar, teacher and innovator. His seminal work on decision-style theory and research spanned forty years. However, he had tremendous impact in several fields of inquiry in addition to decision-making—most notably, cognitive complexity, careers and leadership, and management practice.

    Mike’s decision-style assessment work is available on this website as StyleView™ assessment. The StyleView assessments are unique in that they measure a person’s outward persona or decision-making self as presented to others, as well as that person’s inner thinking process, one that he/she may not be aware of. Organizations around the globe use StyleView for executive recruitment, executive coaching and development, team building, and conflict resolution.

    In the 1970s, Mike’s theory and research work branched into the area of Careers. His Career Concept model is the basis for the online Career assessment offered on this website as CareerView™. This assessment captures a person’s thoughts about the kind of career sought ideally and what he/she wants from a career in a motivational sense. Additionally, this tool is widely used for career insight and guidance to determine how well a particular organizational culture fits with an individual’s career motives.

Mike’s career-theory building and research and the role he played in founding and developing the Careers Division of the Academy of Management led to his being honored at a Memorial Session at the 2005 Academy of Management Conference. In addition, the impact he had on how we think about and research careers resulted in the awarding of the first annual Michael J. Driver Best Career Research paper at that conference.

    Mike’s interest in developing and researching assessment instruments went beyond that of decision style and career concepts, extending also to achievement, emotional reactions, and tolerance for incongruity.  His management consulting work, including the work done at Decision Dynamics, utilized these assessment instruments as well as the two “calling card” areas he was most associated with—decision styles and careers.

    Mike’s interests were many and varied. He was one of those rare individuals who had encyclopedic knowledge covering a huge range of topics, including history, biology, astronomy, anthropology, and music of all kinds. He had a deep appreciation for life and as a committed humanist, wanted to make the world a better place for people. For many people around the world, Mike’s work has helped turn on the light of self-awareness and self-insight.

    Mike Driver is sorely missed. But, the legacy Mike gave us is one we, at Decision Dynamics are most proud to continue building upon. Please read more about him in the linked article “Michael Driver: a career life to remember” by Dianne Sundby and C. Brooklyn Derr. This article was included in the 2007, Volume 12, Number 4 edition of the Career Development International Journal honoring Mike Driver