Stewart Friedman

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

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


Stew Friedman is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been on the faculty since 1984 and since 2019 is emeritus.  He worked for five years in the mental health field before earning his PhD from the University of Michigan.  In 1991, as founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program (now called the McNulty Leadership Program), he initiated the School’s core leadership courses, including the Learning Teams.  A few years later, he launched the Leadership Fellows.  More recently, he cofounded Wharton’s P3: Purpose, Passion, Principles — a co-curricular experience run collaboratively by students, faculty, and administrators.  He also founded Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project in 1991.

Friedman has been recognized by the biennial Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers repeatedly since 2011.  He was honored with its 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award as the world’s #1 expert in talent management and was inducted in its Hall of Fame in 2023. 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 Leadership Development Center was a “global benchmark” for companies striving to accelerate the growth of their people.  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 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. His third Harvard Business Press book was Parents Who Lead:  The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life (2020). In 2024, Wharton School Press published a new edition of his landmark study of two generations of Wharton students, Baby Bust, 10th Anniversary Edition: 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.

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 podcast Work and Life with Stew Friedman (since 2014).

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All Courses

  • MGMT6710 - Executive Leadership

    Leaders mobilize resources toward valued goals. In this course, the focus is on growing 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.

  • MGMT8900 - Advanced Study-Ind

Awards and Honors

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Knowledge at Wharton

Wharton Stories


In the News

Why Are Millennials Not Having Kids?

Wharton’s Stew Friedman breaks down the declining birthrate and how views on work and family are shifting across generations.Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 3/12/2024
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Wharton Stories

Why this Neurosurgeon Came to Wharton’s EMBA Program

As a professor and neurosurgeon, Dr. Dan Sciubba, WG’21, came to Wharton’s EMBA program because “the future of medicine requires leaders in healthcare and business.” He explained, “I was working at a leading academic healthcare institution and wanted to combine my knowledge and experience with business skills to take my…

Wharton Stories - 01/17/2022
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