Scott A. Snook

MBA Class of 1958 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Scott Snook is currently the MBA Class of 1958 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

He graduated with honors from West Point earning the Royal Society of Arts Award for the most outstanding overall cadet in his class.  Following graduaiton, he was commissioned in the US Army Corps of Engineers where he served with distinction in various command and staff positions for over 22 years, earning the rank of Colonel before retiring in 2002. He has led soldiers in combat. Among his military decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Master Parachutist badge. He has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where he graduated with High Distinction as a Baker Scholar. Dr. Snook earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Organizational Behavior winning the Sage-Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Award from the Academy of Management for his study of the Friendly Fire Shootdown in Northern Iraq. Until July of 2002, Colonel Snook served as an Academy Professor in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department at the United States Military Academy. He also directed West Point's Center for Leadership and Organizations Research as well as its joint Master's Program in Leader Development. He is the primary author of West Point's Cadet Leader Development System - the Academy's philosophy on how to develop leaders of character for the Nation.  Professor Snook's book, Friendly Fire was selected by the Academy of Management to receive the 2002 Terry Award as the most influential book on managerial thinking published during the past two years. He has also co-authored a book that explores the role of "common sense" in leadership titled, Practical Intelligence in Everyday Life, available from Cambridge University Press (2000).  He most recently co-edited The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being available from SAGE Publications (2011). Professor Snook has shared his leadership insights in formal executive education programs at Harvard and with numerous corporate audiences around the world.

Professor Snook's research and consulting activities have been in the areas of leadership, leader development, change management, organizational systems and failure, and culture. He currently lives in Concord, Massachusetts with his wife Kathleen and their five children.

  1. My broad research interests include leadership, leader development, leading change, and organizational failures. However, my current focus for the past several years has been around LEADER DEVELOPMENT: How do leaders develop? How can we assist in the development of leaders? In the past, I've conducted longitudinal research around a multitude of potential leadership variables over time and explored a series of potential paths from tacit knowledge to transformational leadership theory. As part of my broader work to develop/refine a theory of leader development, I have recently focused my attention on specific developmental experiences that seem to facilitate the development of leaders. This is largely qualitative research. I'm also attempting to identify potential natural experiments within these stories that may control for some of the more fundamental variables in my theory.