People at ILR

Samuel Bacharach
people / faculty

Samuel Bacharach

McKelvey-Grant Professor
Director, Smithers Institute
Organizational Behavior


Samuel Bacharach is the McKelvey-Grant Professor of Labor Management and the Director of the Smithers Institute. He received his BS in economics from NYU. His MS and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Upon joining the Cornell faculty in 1974, he spent most of his time working on negotiation and organizational politics, publishing numerous articles and two volumes (Power and Politics in Organizations and Bargaining: Power, Tactics, and Outcome, both with Edward J. Lawler). In the 1980s he continued working on negotiation, but shifted emphasis to the study of complex organizations, with the empirical referent being schools. Besides his academic articles, he published a number of books on school management and leadership, such as Tangled Hierarchies (with Joseph Shedd) and Education Reform: Making Sense of It All.

Research Statement

For the last ten years, working in New York City, Professor Bacharach has focused on bridging theory and practice. Integrating his earlier work on politics, negotiation, and complex organizations into his studies of the workplace, he has re-examined the role of leadership. Working closely with practitioners from various corporations and non-profits and conducting workshops, training sessions, and open discussions, he has developed his own leadership perspective, emphasizing the skills of execution. This work culminated with the publication of Get Them on Your Side: Win Support, Convert Skeptics, and Get Results (2005), Keep Them on Your Side: Leading and Managing for Momentum (2006), and The Agenda Mover: When Your Good Idea is Not Enough (2016). His newest book on the topic of the clunky organization will be published in 2018. He has created leadership workshops and developed a series of online courses based on this material. He is a regular columnist at and has been a keynote speaker at many national meetings and conferences, including Cornell-sponsored events.

In the late 1980s, Professor Bacharach took over the directorship of the Smithers Institute. In this role, he launched a number of empirical studies such as: blue-collar workers in New York City, a study of New York City firefighters after 9/11, a study of transport workers in New York City, and a ten-year longitudinal study of retired workers. Currently he is principal investigator on a NIH-funded study that is examining changes in drinking behavior of graduating seniors into their first few years in the full-time workforce. With his colleagues Peter Bamberger and William Sonnenstuhl he has published numerous articles on blue-collar workers, with emphasis on substance abuse in the workplace. His collaboration with Bamberger and Sonnenstuhl resulted in two books: Member Assistance Programs: Labor's Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse (1994) and Mutual Aid and Union Renewal: Cycles of Logics of Action (2001). He is coauthor with Bamberger of the volume, Retirement Hidden Epidemic: The Complex Link Between Aging, Work Disengagement and Substance Misuse—and What To Do About It (2014). His publications with his Smithers colleagues have appeared in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, and Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.


Journal Articles


  • Peter Bamberger, Samuel Bacharach, . 2014. Retirement and the Hidden Epidemic: The Complex Link between Aging , Work Disengagement, and Substance Misuse--and What To Do About It. New York, NY, United States: Oxford University Press, 2014. (Accepted)
  • Samuel Bacharach, Peter A Bamberger, William Sonnenstuhl. 2001. Mutual Aid in Union Renewal: Cycles of Logics of Action. Ithaca, NY, United States: Cornell University Press, 2001. (200)
  • Samuel Bacharach, Peter A Bamberger, William Sonnenstuhl. 1994. Member Assistance Programs: Labor's Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse. Ithaca, NY, United States: Cornell University Press, 1994.
  • Samuel Bacharach, Pamela Tolbert. 1992. Research in the Sociology of Organizations: Organizational Demography and Current Research Issues. Greenwich CT, United States: JAI Press, 1992.
  • Samuel Bacharach, Joseph Shedd. 1991. Tangled: Hierarchies: Teachers as Professionals and the Management of Schools. San Francisco, CA, United States: Jossey-Bass, 1991.
  • Samuel Bacharach, Edward Lawler. 1981. Bargaining Power, Tactics and Outcomes. San Francisco, CA, United States: Jossey-Bass, 1981. (215)
  • Samuel Bacharach, Edward Lawler. 1980. Power and Politics in Organizations. San Francisco, CA, United States: Jossey-Bass, 1980. (249)

Book Chapters

  • Edward Lawler, Samuel Bacharach. 1998. Political alignments in organizations: contextualization, mobilization and coordination. Thousand Oaks CA, United States: Sage Publications, 1998. Roderick Kramer, Margaret Neale.