Frank Barrett

Department of Organizational Behavior
Weatherhead School of Management
Faculty Director
MPOD - MS Program in Positive Organization Development & Change
Weatherhead School of Management

Frank J. Barrett, PhD is a professor of organizational behavior and the faculty director of the Master of Science in Positive Organization Development program at the Weatherhead School of Management. He was previously a professor of management in the graduate school defense management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. From 2008-2010 he was a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School and also the Harvard Program on Negotiations. He also is a faculty member in human and organizational development at Fielding Graduate University. He held the Boer and Croon Chair of Change Management at Tilburg University (Netherlands) and has served on the faculties of Katholieke University of Leuven in Belgium, Penn State University Behrend College, Case Western Reserve University, Fielding Graduate University and Benedictine University.   

He received his BA in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame, his MA in English from the University of Notre Dame, and his PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University.  

Frank consulted to various organizations including Harvard University, Boeing, U.S. Navy, Ford Motor Manufacturing Division, Ford Motor Information Strategy Group, Bell South, Granite Construction, GlaxxoWelcom, General Electric, British Petroleum, Nokia, Johnson and Johnson, Price Waterhouse Coopers, BBC, The Council of Great Lakes Governors, Omni Hotels, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and University Hospitals of Cleveland.   

Frank has written and lectured on social constructionism, appreciative inquiry, organizational change, jazz improvisation and organizational learning. He is the author of Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012). Yes to the Mess has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, and Danish and recently won the Best Leadership Book of the Year from the Business Leaders of France. He is co-author, with Ron Fry, of Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity (translated into Spanish, Portugese, Chinese, Korean, Dutch). He has published articles on metaphor, masculinity, improvisation, organizational change and organizational development in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science; Human Relations; Organization Science, and Organizational Dynamics as well as numerous book chapters. He wrote Generative Metaphor Intervention: A New Approach to Intergroup Conflict (with David Cooperrider) which won the award for best paper from the Organizational Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management in 1988. He won the best paper award again in 2003 for Planning on Spontaneity: Lessons from Jazz for a Democratic Theory of Change, a paper he co-authored with Mary Jo Hatch. He is co-editor of Appreciative Inquiry and Organizational Transformation (Vermont: Greenwood Books, 2001).  

He is also an active jazz pianist. In addition to leading his own trios and quartets, he has traveled extensively in the United States, England, and Mexico with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.  


Bachelor of Arts
Government and International Relations
University of Notre Dame
Master of Arts
University of Notre Dame
Organizational Behavior
Case Western Reserve University