Lawrence G Hrebiniak

Lawrence G Hrebiniak
  • Emeritus Associate Professor of Management

Research Interests: organizational adaptation, organizational structure and design, strategy formulation, strategy implementation

Links: CV


Professor Larry Hrebiniak passed away January 18. 2022.

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Lawrence G. Hrebiniak, a beloved father, brother and a great friend to many, passed away suddenly at home on January 18, 2022. He was 78. Hrebiniak is survived by his son, Justin Hrebiniak, a brother, Greg Hrebiniak, and two nephews, Adam Hrebiniak and Joshua Hrebiniak, and close friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Donna Hrebiniak, who passed away in 1994 and to whom his book “Making Strategy Work” is dedicated.

Hrebiniak was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell University in 1964. He went on to earn an MBA in strategic management and a PhD in management, both from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and he taught at Pennsylvania State University before joining the faculty at Wharton.

Hrebiniak was a longtime faculty member who joined the Management Department in 1976 and was tenured in 1980. He was an expert in management strategy and instrumental in developing courses on the subject for the MBA and Executive Education programs at Wharton. He earned numerous awards for teaching excellence, including one in 2008 for his Competitive Strategy course. Hrebiniak was also a prolific author who published several books during his career, most notably Implementing Strategy with co-author William F. Joyce, which was released in 1984, and Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change, which was first released in 2005 with a second edition in 2013. Hrebiniak’s expertise and affable nature made him a favorite with business media. He was often quoted in news and magazine articles and was a commentator for “The Wharton Report,” a nationally syndicated show on the Financial News Network.

Prior to his academic career, Hrebiniak worked for several years in various positions at Ford Motor Company, including as a district field manager. He served as a consultant throughout his career, working with companies such as AT&T, Isuzu, DuPont, Microsoft, Bristol Meyers-Squibb, and Chase Manhattan Bank. Hrebiniak was an avid sportsman who loved the outdoors, fly fishing, and golf. He was drafted out of high school to play professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, but he chose college instead. He played football and baseball while at SUNY-Buffalo and Cornell.

Continue Reading


  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change (2nd Edition) (:, 2013)

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, Making Strategy Work (:, 2008)

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, The Mismanagement of America, Inc (:, 2008)

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak (2006), Obstacles to Effective Strategy Implementation, Organizational Dynamics, Vol 35.

    Abstract: Formulating strategy is one thing. Implementing it throughout the organization ... well, that's the really challenging part. Unfortunately, most managers plan effectively, but fall short when identifying, confronting, and eliminating the major obstacles to strategy execution. This article identifies the major obstacles to execution success. It presents data from managers actively involved in strategy implementation in their companies, thus providing information from individuals with experience in the execution process. The article then develops a model of implementation and an approach to managing change that, together, can help managers make strategy work more effectively.

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change (:, 2005)

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, Implementing Strategy: An Appraisal and Agenda for Future Research (:, 2001)

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, The We-Force in Management: How to Build and Sustain Cooperation (:, 1994)

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak (1990), Implementing Strategy: Making the Plan Work, Chief Executive, Vol 55.

    Abstract: Formulating strategy is very difficult, but the more problematic task confronting the chief executive officer (CEO) is the successful implementation of strategy. To implement strategy successfully, attention must be paid to a number of issues or problems. These include: 1. the strategy itself, 2. structure, 3. coordination requirements, 4. incentives, 5. controls, and 6. culture and politics. Corporate, business, and functional strategies must be consistent. Agreement among key decision makers is easier to reach when strategies and their underlying cause-effect relationships are clear. The CEO must be concerned with a number of areas that are important for strategy implementation, such as: 1. encouraging sound planning, 2. carefully considering the role of structure, 3. knowing what incentives support, 4. encouraging market surveillance, and 5. exercising leadership. Communication is crucial. The CEO should stay close to important stakeholders whose support of the strategic management process is vital.

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak (1985), Organization Adaptation: Strategic Choice and Environmental Determinism, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 30.

    Abstract: The prevailing assumption in recent literature is that strategic choice and environmental determinism represent mutually exclusive, competing explanations of organizational adaptation. The present paper, in contrast, argues that choice and determinism are independent variables that can be positioned on two separate continua to develop a typology of organizational adaptation. The interactions of these variables result in four main types: (1) natural selection, with minimum choice and adaptation or selection out, (2) differentiation, with high choice and high environmental determinism and adaptation within constraints, (3) strategic choice, with maximum choice and adaptation by design, and (4) undifferentiated choice, with incremental choice and adaptation by chance. These types influence the number and forms of strategic options of organizations, the decisional emphasis on means or ends, political behavior and conflict, and the search activities of the organization in its environment.

  • Lawrence G Hrebiniak, Implementing Strategy (:, 1984)

Awards and Honors

  • Recipient of the Core Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Wharton MBA Program, 2008
  • Recipient of the Miller-Sherred Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1994-1996
  • Nominated for Anvil Award for Teaching, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1994-1996
  • “Who’s Who in Finance & Industry” Beta Gamma Sigma, Red Key, Sphinxhead, 1988-2010
  • Nominated for Anvil Award for Teaching, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1988-1989
  • Nominated for Anvil Award for Teaching, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1985
  • Nominated for Anvil Award for Teaching, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1981
  • Nominated for Anvil Award for Teaching, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1979