Stewart Friedman

Stewart Friedman
  • Practice Professor of Management, Emeritus
  • Director, Wharton Work/Life Integration Project

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3031 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: leadership development, work/life integration, dynamics of change

Links: CV, Twitter @StewFriedman, Total Leadership, HBR Digital Articles, Work/Life Integration Project, MOOC: Leading the Life You Want, Work and Life Podcast, LinkedIn


Stew Friedman is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been on the faculty since 1984.  He worked for five years in the mental health field before earning his PhD from the University of Michigan.  As founding director of The Wharton Leadership Program, in 1991 he initiated the required MBA and Undergraduate leadership courses.  He also founded Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project in 1991.  Friedman has been recognized by the biennial Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers every cycle since 2011 and was honored with its 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award as the world’s foremost expert in the field of talent. He was listed among HR Magazine’s most influential thought leaders, chosen by Working Mother as one of America’s most influential men who have made life better for working parents, and presented with the Families and Work Institute’s Work Life Legacy Award.

While on leave from Wharton for two-and-a-half years, Friedman ran a 50-person department as the senior executive for leadership development at Ford Motor Company. In partnership with the CEO, he launched a corporate-wide portfolio of initiatives designed to transform Ford’s culture; 2500+ managers per year participated.  Near the end of his tenure at Ford, an independent research group (ICEDR) said the LDC was a “global benchmark” for leadership development programs.  At Ford, he created Total Leadership, which has been a popular Wharton course since 2001 and is used by individuals and companies worldwide, including as a primary intervention in a multi-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health on improving the careers and lives of women in medicine and by 135,000+ students in Friedman’s first MOOC on Coursera.  Participants in this program complete an intensive series of challenging exercises that increase their leadership capacity, performance, and well-being in all parts of life, while working in high-involvement peer-to-peer coaching relationships.

His research is widely cited, including among Harvard Business Review‘s “Ideas that Shaped Management,” and he has written two bestselling books, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life (2008) and Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life (2014), now being taught as a MOOC on Coursera. In 2013, Wharton School Press published his landmark study of two generations of Wharton students, Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family.  Work and Family – Allies or Enemies? (2000) was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the field’s best books.  In Integrating Work and Life: The Wharton Resource Guide (1998) Stew edited the first collection of learning tools for building leadership skills for integrating work and life. His latest book is Parents Who Lead:  The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life (2020).

Winner of many teaching awards, he appears regularly in business media (The New York Times cited the “rock star adoration” he inspires in his students).  Friedman serves on a number of boards and is an in-demand speaker, consultant, coach, workshop leader, public policy advisor (to the U.S. Departments of Labor and State, the United Nations, and two White House administrations), and advocate for family-supportive policies in the private sector. Follow on Twitter @StewFriedman and LinkedIn, read his 50+ digital articles, and tune in to his Work and Life show on SiriusXM 132, Business Radio Powered by Wharton (selected episodes now available as free podcasts.)

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Past Courses


    This course is an introduction to maker education and project-based learning, and will prepare K-8 teachers to enact classroom practices that support students in authentic, collaborative, iterative learning through the use of a variety of creative and technological mediums. Classes will consist of a combination of lecture, discussion, and maker lab. This course is about learning to create and teach others how to make. Students will explore a variety of techniques including basic circuitry, coding, architecture, and design while seeking a balance between free exploration and discovery within parameters. Prerequisite: Admission to the UTAP program or permission of instructor required.

  • LAW 999 - ISP


    Management 238 is an organizational behavior course, examining individual, interpersonal, and group effectiveness at work. Topics range from decision- making, motivation, and personality to networks, influence, helping, leadership, teamwork, and organizational culture. The learning method is heavily experiential, with a focus on applying key principles to the human side of management in role-play exercises, simulations, a mini-TED talk, and group projects in local organizations. Other Information: This course is open to juniors and seniors across Penn. This course also has a first-day mandatory attendance policy.


    This course seeks to address a gap at the core of contemporary entrepreneurship: despite a growing desire to pursue prosocial goals and affect positive change in the world, most founders have little understanding of how to measure, manage, and scale their impact. This creates the risk that financial goals will play an outsized role in decision-making, particularly as the venture scales, leading founders to drift away from social impact aims - or to pursue goals that fail to deliver on their intended impacts. MGMT 401 fulfils the Wharton capstone requirement with a hands-on approach to addressing these issues. Students will work hand-in-hand with the founding teams of pre-selected startups from the Wharton venture community to develop a strategy for measuring social impact, and ensuring fidelity to social goals as the venture goes to market and begins to scale. Projects will be group-based, and will ask students to integrate learnings on social enterprise, impact measurement, and impact investing, with prior coursework on entrepreneurship, social impact, business ethics, leadership, team dynamics, and venture finance. Students will leave the class with a deeper appreciation of the potential for business to be a force for good in the world, and the difficulties that this can pose during the founding and growth stages of a new business. The class will be of value to students who are interested in creating socially impactful businesses, as well as to those who want to work in the ecosystem that supports such ventures (e.g., consulting, or impact investing).


    MGMT 610 is the first core course in the MBA Program and it cannot be waived. The first week of the fall term (in August) is dedicated to this formative and foundational experience. This course focuses on developing students' knowledge and skill set for teamwork and leadership. It is meant to be an intense immersion experience that draws strongly on the pedagogy of the Wharton Teamwork and Leadership Simulation, a team-based, highly interactive simulation that was custom-designed specifically to allow students to experience the core concepts they learn in this class. The three goals of this course are for students to learn: 1. Leadership behaviors: how to enact the skills that contribute to a team's effective performance. 2. Team dynamics: how to be an effective team member, as well as how to best design work teams; 3. Organizational awareness: understanding organizational culture. Format: A custom-designed Wharton-only simulation is paired with course sessions to deliver a unique learning experience. Classes will include experiental learning combined with debriefings, lectures, readings, class discussion and personal and group performance feedback. This course reflects the realities that informal leadership occurs in teams on an ongoing basis, that being a good team player is a part of leadership, and that many of one's early experiences with leadership will occur while working on teams. Because of the team-based nature of this course, and time intensive nature of this experience, attendance is mandatory for ALL five sessions of this class. NOTE: Credit-bearing, core coursework begins with the MGMT610: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership course.


    Leaders mobilize resources toward valued goals. In this course, the focus is ongrowing the student's capacity as a leader in all parts of life. The purpose is to learn practical and customized lessons about how to improve performance and results at work, at home, in the community, and in the private self (mind, body, spirit) by finding mutual value among these four domains. The core idea is that leadership is about making a difference in all aspects of one's life. This course offers students the opportunity to practice the skills needed to do so, now and in the future. Students learn and apply key leadership principles and actively explore what it means for them to be real (to act with authenticity by clarifying what's important), to be whole (to act with integrity by respecting the whole person), and to be innovative (to act with creativity by experimenting with how things get done). This course is only available to WEMBA students.


    "If you want to test a (person's) character, give (him/her) power." These famous words articulate one of the many tensions of exercising power. Regardless of whether you have an appetite for power or disdain it, power and politics are likely to play an important role in your career. The purpose of this course is to introduce you to concepts that are useful for understanding, analyzing, and developing your political skill. But beyond discovering ways to extend your own power in organizations, we will also uncover lessons about ways in which power and politics can blind you, and how to navigate situations in which you are up against powerful people. Using a range of scholarly articles, cases, exercises, assessments and simulations, we will extract a variety of lessons relevant to your role in organizations. Topics include diagnosing power in organizations, building coalitions, change management, understanding networks, coping with intolerable bosses and incivility, and downsizing. Students will be expected to engage in field research for their coursework and final paper, and the course requires that students submit assignments for almost every class session. Thematically, this course highlights how your relationships with organizational stakeholders and an understanding of the organizational context are crucial to successfully navigating the political terrain of oganizations. Organizations are inherently political arenas that require social astuteness, and an understanding of the "rules of the game." This course is designed for students aiming to develop their leadership, general management and career skills through a better understanding of power and politics, and relates to other courses on these topics in the Management department.



    Business success is increasingly driven by a firm's ability to create and capture value through innovation. Thus, the processes used by firms to develop innovations, the choices they make regarding how to commercialize their innovations, the changes they make to their business models to adapt to the dynamic environment, and the strategies they use to position and build a dominate competitive position are important issues facing firms. In MGMT. 892, you will learn to address these issues through an action learning approach. MGMT. 892 is a 1.0-credit course conducted in the spirit of an independent study. By working on consulting projects for leading global companies, you will develop and then apply your knowledge about innovation management and help these firms better understand the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies and markets.


    Please be in touch with the department for further details


    WH 101 is the first step of the Leadership Journey at Wharton. The course is designed to fuel students' unique interests in academic, research, and professional pursuits; to raise awareness of the complexity of business; and to increase understanding of the interrelatedness of business disciplines. Students will also acquire greater awareness of their strengths and leadership potential as members of the Wharton community and as future professionals. Students will come to appreciate that leadership is an act and best developed through study, feedback from trusted colleagues and peers, and stretch experiences that stimulate growth and development. Students will also begin to hone skills essential to the pursuit of personal, academic, and professional goals: thinking creatively, analyzing problems, applying what you have learned, and reflecting on learnings. A case-analysis project will engage students with the community through helping local agencies examine business challenges that they face. This course is for Wharton students only.

Awards and Honors

In the News

Knowledge @ Wharton

Wharton Stories


In the News

Become Happier in Work and Life: The Four-way View

In this Nano Tool for Leaders® from Wharton Executive Education, Wharton’s Stewart D. Friedman shows that by looking closely at the different domains of your life — work, home, community, and self — you can clarify what’s important to you and see your life from a fresh perspective.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 5/20/2021
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Wharton Stories

A woman talks and gestures to a group, all in business casual. She wears a bright red shirt.Race and Work 2020: Why Companies Should Look Beyond Traditional Diversity Training to Establish Lasting DEI Initiatives

Despite the growing awareness towards the necessity and benefits of diverse workplaces, many companies continue to provide the traditional option of one-and-done diversity training initiatives. However, these training programs are short-term solutions to a long-term problem. Quinetta Connally Roberson is the John A. Hannah distinguished professor of management and psychology…

Wharton Stories - 11/20/2020
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