Richard Boyatzis

American business theorist

Richard Eleftherios Boyatzis (born October 1, 1946) is an American organizational theorist and professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University, and expert in the field of emotional intelligence, behavior change, and competence.


  • There are many leaders, not just one. Leadership is distributed. It resides not solely in the individual at the top, but in every person at every level who, in one way or another, acts as a leader to a group of followers - wherever in the organization that person is, whether shop steward, team head, or CEO.
    • Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee (2002) Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. p. xiii-xiv.
  • It’s that feeling when you make it home Friday night and pour yourself a drink or a glass of wine and feel like the blood has drained out of you... I actually think burnout is the wrong description of it. I think it’s ‘burn up. Physiologically, that is what you are doing because of the chronic stress being placed on your body.
    • Richard Boyatzis (2006) cited in: "BURNOUT: Though no one is immune, middle managers are most at risk in a weak economy in which staff cuts add pressure on remaining workers" in: The Plain Dealer, February 13, 2006.
  • It's depressing to realize how few of the teams in our lives use their human capital and opportunities well, when it comes to sustaining performance, innovating, or adapting. That's true whether we're talking about families, sports, projects, management, or research.

Competent manager (1982)

Richard Boyatzis (1982) Competent manager : a model for effective performance. New York, John Wiley & Sons.
  • The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance offers an empirical, total system approach that determines which characteristics of managers enable them to be effective in various management jobs.
    • Introduction text.
  • The models of management which individuals and organizations use come from a variety of sources. Sometimes the model comes from a theory. The theory may emerge from someone's thoughts about the desired characteristics of a manager, or about the characteristics of competent managers. Sometimes the model comes from a panel. A group of people, possibly in the job or at levels above the job within the organization, generates a model through discussion of what is needed to perform a management job competently.
    • p. 7.
  • Models of management sometimes come from task and function analyses of management jobs. Someone studies what managers do, or what duties and responsibilities they are expected to perform, and then develops a model or image of what competent management is (Mintzberg, 1973). Typically, task and function analyses result in detailed descriptions of what activities must be performed in the job. Often these are not arrayed in any order of importance or relevance to the particular job or to the desired output from someone performing the job. Such models have been tested, in that systematic research is conducted to determine if the dentified activities are part of the job. Unfortunately, models based on task or function analysis focus on the job and do not address the person in the job. In doing so, the models include many specific and detailed descriptions of activities, but no mention is made of the characteristics that enable or increase the likelihood of a person performing those activities. These models do not establish a casual link between characteristics of people and performance in a job.
    • p. 7-8.
  • Understanding the concept of competency is a prerequisite to understanding his integrated model of management.
    • p. 10.
  • A competency is an underlying characteristic of the person that leads to or causes effective or superior performance.
    • p. 21.
  • A job competency is an underlying characteristic of a person in that it may be a motive, trait, skill, aspect of one’s self-image or social role, or a body of knowledge which he/she uses. The existence and possession of these characteristics may or not be known to the person. In this sense, the characteristics may be unconscious aspects of the person. Because job competencies are underlying characteristics, they can be said to be generic. A generic characteristic may be apparent in many forms of behaviour, or a wide variety of different actions.
    • p. 21.
  • A threshold competency is a person's generic knowledge, motive, trait, self image, social role, or skill which is essential to performing a job, but is not causally related to superior job performance.
    • p. 23.
  • An underlying characteristic of a person in that it may be a motive, trait, skill, aspect of one’s self-image or social role, or a body of knowledge which he or she uses... a person’s competencies reflect his or her capability. They are describing what he or she can do, not necessarily what he or she does, nor does all the time regardless of the situation and setting.
    • p. 23.
  • Skill is a property of a person; it is a person's ability to demonstrate a system and sequence of behaviour that [is] functionally related to attaining a performance goal.
    • p. 33.
  • The result of a job element analysis is a weighted list of characteristics that managers perceive as important in distinguishing superior from average performers, and those characteristics required by anyone in the job.
    • p. 41.
  • The study resulted in a model of competence, not merely a laundry list of characteristics.
    • p. 43.
  • At the core of every manager’s job is the requirement to make things happen toward a goal or consistent with a plan. Managers need to set goals and initiate actions to achieve them.
    • p. 60.

Transforming qualitative information (1998)

R.E. Boyatzis (1998) Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development.
  • Thematic analysis is a process for encoding quantitative information. The encoding requires an explicit "code". This may be a list of themes; a complex model with themes, indicators, and qualifications that are causally related; or something in between these two forms. A theme is a pattern found in the information that at minimum describes and organizes the possible observations and at maximum interprets aspects of the phenomenon. A theme may be identified at the manifest level (directly observable in the information) or at the latent level (underlying the phenomenon). The themes may be initially generated inductively from the raw information or generated deductively from theory or prior research.
    • p. vi-vii.
  • The raw data or information collected for studies using thematic analysis is a person's own words or actions or observable aspects of his or her life in an organization or culture.
    • p. xii.
  • [A process for encoding qualitative information] used as part of many qualitative method, considers that is not a separate method but something to be used to assist the researcher in the search of insight.
    • p. as cited in: Graciela Tonon (2012) Young People's Quality of Life and Construction of Citizenship. p. 53.
  • [The process of paraphrasing or summarizing each piece of data enters information] into your unconscious, as well as consciously processing the information.
  • The unit of coding is the most basic segment, or element, of the raw data or information that can be assessed in a meaningful way regarding the phenomenon.
    • p. 63.
  • When the sample size is small or the study is of one organization, descriptive use of the thematic coding is desirable.
    • p. 129.

Quotes about Richard Boyatzis

  • Boyatzis’s pioneering study of The Competent Manager (1982) was undoubtedly a major influence on the enormous growth of management based competency models during the early 1990s. His work promised a new, more integrated and universal approach to management education, training and development.
    • Raymond Caldwell (2010) "Are HR Business Partner Competency Models Effective?" Applied H.R.M. Research, 2010, Volume 12, Number 1, pages 40-58.
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