The Progress Principle

Teresa Amabile

Creativity, Productivity, and the Psychology of Everyday Work Life

Teresa Amabile

Teresa Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School. Originally educated as a chemist, Teresa received her doctorate in psychology from Stanford University. She studies how everyday life inside organizations can influence people and their performance. Teresa’s research encompasses creativity, productivity, innovation, and inner work life – the confluence of emotions, perceptions, and motivation that people experience as they react to events at work.

Teresa’s most recent discoveries appear in her book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work. The book, based on research into nearly 12,000 daily diary entries from over 200 professionals inside organizations, illuminates how everyday events at work can impact employee engagement and creative productivity. Published in August 2011 by Harvard Business Review Press, the book is co-authored with Teresa’s husband and collaborator, Steven Kramer, Ph.D. Her other books include Creativity in Context and Growing Up Creative. Teresa has published over 100 scholarly articles and chapters, in outlets including top journals in psychology (such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and American Psychologist) and in management (Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal). She is also the author of The Work Preference Inventory and KEYS to Creativity and Innovation. Teresa has used insights from her research in working with various groups in business, government, and education, including Procter & Gamble, Novartis International AG, Motorola, IDEO, and the Creative Education Foundation. She has presented her theories, research results, and practical implications in dozens of forums, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Young Presidents’ Organization annual university, and the Front End of Innovation annual conference.

As an educator, Teresa strives to teach leaders and aspiring leaders ways in which they can simultaneously achieve their most passionate career aspirations, further the success of their organizations and employees, and serve the higher aims of the societies in which they work. At Harvard Business School, Teresa has taught MBA and executive courses on managing for creativity, leadership, and ethics. Previously, at Brandeis University, she taught social psychology, organizational psychology, the psychology of creativity, and statistics. She served as the host-instructor of the 26-part series, Against All Odds: Inside Statistics, originally broadcast on PBS.

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