In Memory Of


In Memory Of… Marvin Dunnette

Honoring scientists who have made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.

Marvin Dunnette, PhD (1927-2007)
Professor, Emeritus
University of Minnesota

Marvin Dunnette, an icon in Industrial and Organizational (I-O) Psychology, was one of the pillars in what was known for many years as the Minnesota Tradition in applied psychology. He was instrumental in making the I-O group at the University of Minnesota a premier group of industrial and organizational psychologists in the latter half of the 20th century, a legacy that continues to this day. He was known for his focus on problems of practical significance, ability to synthesize the empirical literature, emphasis on individual differences, development of I-O psychologists, and thought leadership. He helped his students and colleagues think about issues in different and testable ways.

He started his career in industry, working for 3M. In his five years at 3M he published over 50 articles, chapters, and reviews, enabling him to be readily hired in 1961 as an associate professor with tenure by the Psychology Department of the University of Minnesota. Throughout the rest of his working life, he blended science and practice, mentorship and entrepreneurship, research and consulting, academia and industry, always publishing. He authored over 250 articles, books, reviews, and reports. He founded two organizations, one for-profit, Personnel Decisions International (PDI), and one non-profit, Personnel Decisions Research Institute (PDRI). Today PDI is the largest employer of I-O psychologists in the world and is known for its leading-edge and award-winning applications of science to the human capital assets of the world of work.

Dunnette authored some of the most significant publications in the field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in the 20th century. His 1966 book, Personnel Selection and Placement, was regarded by many as the “bible” in personnel selection for many years. Perhaps his most important publication was his 1976 Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the four-volume sequel in the 1990s. Two of his publications are citation classics.

Dunnette was most proud of his contributions to the lives of his students, 62 of whom received doctorates of psychology under his mentorship. Three of his students (John P. Campbell, Milt Hakel, and Leaetta Hough) were later presidents of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). His students have honored him with numerous tributes, perhaps most significant is their funding of the Marvin D. Dunnette Chair in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in the Psychology Department at the University of Minnesota.

Dunnette received many accolades and honors during his professional career, including president of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and recipient of its prestigious Distinguished Scientific Contributions award. He was revered for his creative thinking and research, clarity of writing, iconoclastic critiques (such as Fads, Fashions, and Folderol in Psychology and Mishmash, Mush, and Milestones), awesome mentorship, remarkable humanity, and sense of humor.



Individuals Honoring Marvin Dunnette: 

Anonymous (3)
Richard Arvey, National University of Singapore
Eugene Borgida, University of Minnesota
John P. Campbell, University of Minnesota
* Leaetta Hough, The Dunnette Group
Steven E. Mayer
Robert B. Most, Mind Garden, Inc.
Deniz S. Ones, University of Minnesota
J. Bruce Overmier, University of Minnesota
Rob Silzer

* The FABBS Foundation would like to thank Dr. Leaetta Hough for nominating Dr. Dunnette for this honor and for leading the effort to spread the word about his nomination.

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