Organizational Development, Personality and Organizational Behavior

Research Interests

What causes employee attitudes and how should they be measured ? How do employee attitudes vary across cultures? What employee attitudes are most related to customer satisfaction and business performance? What motivates employees to perform? …to join an organization? …to leave an organization? How can job performance success or failure be predicted? How does personality relate to job performance? How does organization change impact employee attitudes and motivation? These are the types of research questions I have been interested in and have investigated over the years in a variety of organizations.


My research and practice span the range of industrial/organizational psychology topics, including employee selection, management assessment, leadership, performance appraisal, training, employee attitudes, motivation, and organization change. I have a Ph.D. in organizational/social psychology from the University of Washington. My doctoral dissertation investigated employee motivation in both laboratory and field studies.

I have worked in both academic and organizational settings, with most of my career in multi-national companies. I was director of Global Workforce Research at IBM, senior manager of People Research for the Boeing Company, and research scientist at Battelle Research Institute. These roles included studies at Battelle on safety issues, people research and management development at the Boeing Company, and worldwide responsibility for employee research, including all surveys globally, at IBM.

My research has involved a variety of countries and cultures. These include studies conducted in Japanese power plants, research at Battelle’s London and Geneva offices, studies on leadership in China for Boeing, and two years in Europe as part of my global role at IBM.

In addition to teaching at NYU, I teach in Singapore and Taipei for Baruch's International Executive Program. I have also taught at the University of Washington and Richmond International University in London. I serve on professional and editorial boards and have over 75 publications and presentations. Additionally, I serve as an Industrial/Organizational Psychology representative to the United Nations.

Professional Memberships

American Psychological Association, Fellow
Association for Psychological Science, Fellow
International Association of Applied Psychology
Society for Industrial/ Organizational Psychology, Fellow

Selected Publications, Presentations

Saari, L.M. (2013). Goal setting and organizational transformation. Chapter in E.A. Locke and G.P. Latham (Eds.), New Developments in Goal Setting and Task Performance. New York: Routledge.

Saari, L. M. & Scherbaum, C. (2011). Identified employee surveys: Potential promise, perils, and professional practice guidelines. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 4(4), 435-448.

Saari, L. M. (2011). The use of employee surveys to manage organizational culture. Annual Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology Conference.

Saari, L. M. (2008). Perspectives of industrial/organizational psychologists in global companies: Insights, issues and challenges. Annual Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists Conference.

Saari, L. M. (2007). Bridging the worlds. Academy of Management Journal, 50, 1043-1045.

Saari, L. M. (2007). Critical issues in industrial/organizational psychology research. Annual Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists Conference.

Saari, L. M. & Judge, T. A. (2004). Employee attitudes and job satisfaction. Human Resource Management, 43, 395-407.

Saari, L. M. (2001). Commentary on the reciprocal transfer of learning from journals to practice . Applied Psychology: An International Review,50, 241-245.

Saari, L.M. (2000). Employee surveys and attitudes across cultures: Are I-O psychology practices applicable across cultures? Annual Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists Conference.

Saari, L. M., Johnson, T., McLaughlin, S., and Zimmerle, D. (1989). Management training and education practices in US companies. Personnel Psychology, 41, 731-744.

Saari, L. M. & Latham, G.P. (1982). Employee reactions to continuous and variable ratio reinforcement schedules involving a monetary incentive. Journal of Applied Psychology, 67, 506-508.


Lise Saari, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
New York University
6 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003