Michael Pratt

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Michael G. Pratt earned his BA in psychology (Summa Cum Laude, Honors Program) from the University of Dayton, and both his MA and PhD in organizational psychology at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the Department of Management and Organization at Boston College in 2008, he was a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Illinois. He currently enjoys a courtesy appointment with the Department of Psychology.

His research is problem-centered and process-oriented, and consequently he tends to engage in cross-level research. His interests include how individuals connect with the work that they do, as well as to the organizations, professions, occupations, and other collectives in which they find themselves. Theoretically, his research draws heavily from theories of identity and identification, meaning, emotion, intuition, and culture (e.g., artifacts). Methodologically, while he has published work that utilizes lab research and surveys, much of his work is ethnographic or otherwise qualitative in nature. Questions posed by his current research include the following: “When group conflicts about interests (what groups want) change to conflicts about identity (who we are), how are such seemingly intractable conflicts resolved?” “How do organizations, that are beholden multiple stakeholders, not only create multiple identities in service of these stakeholders, but also integrate these identities into a dynamic whole?” “How can individuals and groups who experience ambivalence, transform that ambivalence into commitment, trust, creativity and wisdom?” And “how do individuals approach their work (e.g., as a vehicle for attaining money, gaining achievement, creating community, serving others, and/or honing a craft), and what difference does this make in terms of how they perform their jobs?”