HR Most Influential 2012 shortlist International Thinkers

Below is the shortlist for the 2012 ranking of International Thinkers. This is now at voting stage. To register your vote please click HR Most Influential: Your Vote Counts

All too often, chief executives moan that HR fails to make a significant contribution to the business, while HR directors bleat that their CEOs do not take them seriously enough to enable them to make that difference.

We disagree. When fully aligned with the business, HR has a significant impact - and that impact is growing as the nature of employment changes. For that reason, HR magazine runs its annual HR Most Influential ranking, recognising the global thinkers challenging assumptions and practice in the field.

This year, for the first time, we announce the names of those shortlisted and invite you, our readers, to help compile the ranking by taking a few minutes to fill in the survey. We want to know who you regard as influential and why. Please note, this is a peer-based ranking and only one vote per organisation will be counted.

This is the seventh year of our HR Most Influential list and it has grown to become the most credible ranking in the sector. We know not everyone will agree with the names below, so our methodology allows you to nominate other names you believe we should consider.

However, HR magazine has invested considerable time and money over the past seven years in trying to understand the nature of influence in HR. In 2008, we asked Henley Business School to prepare and validate a set of criteria against which the most influential people in HR could be measured and identified. Henley examined current ideas of leadership of and in the HR field through a literature review, including HR's role both within the business and leading outside the HR function; investigated concepts and measurements of influence both externally and internally; and looked at other popular magazine-published rankings of admiration, influence and leadership. From this, Henley developed draft criteria, which were examined and critiqued by a focus group from the school's leadership, change and HR faculty. Our list was measured against the final criteria.

In 2010, we partnered with Ashridge Business School to build on this work. We grew the sample size for ranking by adding executives responsible for HR at board level from Ashridge's database. We also added in qualitative interviews with CEOs, City analysts and media commentators, to establish an external view of HR's influence.

For 2012, we decided it was time to review the criteria of influence and brought together a panel at Ashridge Business School to discuss this and to sense-check all 120 names that had been nominated or previously appeared on the HR Most Influential list. We settled on criteria, including personal impact, both internally and externally - and particularly with the CEO and board, in the case of HR practitioners; applicability and effectiveness of ideas and practice; and commercial impact. 

There are two main changes to the shortlist this year. Firstly, we measured everyone against a 2011-2012 timeframe. Therefore, a number of significant global thinkers do not appear on the list, as their influence has not been as wide during this period. For example, they may have been holed up writing a book or researching a paper.

Secondly, we decided to narrow the definition of thinkers to people whose work was grounded in academia and who had a cumulative body of work in the field. This removed a number of important management thinkers and writers, in both the UK and international lists. We still believe they are influential, particularly in terms of accessibility and real-world relevance to HR practitioners. However, we are emphasising academic research because of the impact that has on change, development and innovation in the field.

The Most Influential international thinker list gained broader consensus and comprises both stalwarts who have changed the face of HR generally but whose thinking remains current and new entrants driving thinking forward in more specific areas, such as organisational development and wellbeing.

So the panel has spoken. Now it is up to the HR industry - ie you - to decide who is the most influential of all.

We want to know who has an impact on you, who you look to when you want inspiration and who is moving HR forward. So please help us to reflect the views of our community and register your vote now.

HR Most Influential 2012 shortlist International Thinkers
Name, title and organisation
Chris Argyris, emeritus professsor of education and organisational behaviour, Harvard Business School
Bruce Avolio, Donald O and Shirley Clifton chair in leadership, University Nebraska-Lincoln
Richard Boyatzis, professor of organizational behavior, Case Western Reserve University
Peter Cappelli, George W Taylor professor of management and director, Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, distinguished professor of psychology and management, founding co-director, Quality of Life Research Center, Claremont Graduate University
Patrick Flood, professor of organizational behaviour and head of HRM and organizational psychology group, Dublin University
Manfred Kets de Vries, clinical professor of leadership development, INSEAD
Edward Lawler, distinguished professor of business, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
Jim Kouzes, professor of leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
Henry Mintzberg, Cleghorn professor of management studies, McGill University
Rosbeth Moss Kanter, professor of business administration, Harvard Business School
Jaap Paauwe, professor of human resource studies, Tilburg University
William Pasmore, visiting professor of social-organizational psychology, Columbia University
Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organisational behaviour, graduate school of business, Stanford University
Barry Posner, professor of leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
Denise Rousseau, HJ Heinz II University professor of organizational behavior and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University
Peter Salovey, Chris Argyris professor of psychology and professor of management, Yale University
Martin Seligman, Zellerbach Family professor of psychology and director Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania
Dave Ulrich, professor of business administration, Ross Business School, University of Michigan
Adrian Wilkinson, professor and director Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing, Griffith University
Pat Wright, William J Conaty GE professor of strategic human resources, Cornell University