Lawrence (Larry) Phillips

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Lawrence (Larry) Phillips
Emeritus Professor of Decision Science
Facilitations Ltd

Dr Lawrence Phillips is a Visiting Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics and a Director of Facilitations Limited and Catalyze Limited.

After completing an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at Cornell University, he served for three years in the US Navy where he became interested in the interaction between people and machines. To pursue this, he took up post-graduate study in engineering psychology, human learning and decision making at the University of Michigan, where he studied under Professor Ward Edwards, the founder of the field of behavioural decision making. Post-doctoral research on how people in other countries take risks brought him to England, and led to an appointment at Brunel University in the newly created School of Social Sciences. There he taught Bayesian statistics, social and personality psychology, decision theory and behaviour in organisations (with Elliott Jaques). He trained in observation and group processes at the Tavistock Clinic and Institute of Human Relations and is a qualified practitioner of the Team Management Systems.

His early research focused on how individuals deal with risk and uncertainty. One of his discoveries, with Ward Edwards, was that people fail to become as certain as they could when faced with objective data. In the mid-1970s, he discovered, with George Wright, substantial East/West differences in the way people deal with uncertainty. Research then shifted to how groups of people form preferences, consider uncertainty, make judgements and take decisions, with particular emphasis on how a group can outperform even its best member.

Larry created the Decision Analysis Unit at Brunel in 1974 as a self-funding research unit, which moved to the London School of Economics in 1982. At the DAU he developed decision conferencing, a process for helping groups of key players to find solutions to complex issues of concern to their organisation. At the LSE, he teaches behavioural decision theory and decision analysis to undergraduates and post-graduates.

He has authored more than 80 publications spanning organisation theory, behavioural decision theory, decision and risk analysis, Bayesian statistics, group processes and cultural differences in dealing with uncertainty. He has served on the editorial boards of Acta Psychologica and the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, and is currently an editor of the Journal of Forecasting and the new Journal of Decision Analysis.

Degrees and certifications

  • B.S. - Electrical Engineering - Cornell University, New York, United States
  • Ph.D. - Psychology - University of Michigan, Michigan, United States

Contact Info

Major organizations and consulting firms that provide Requisite Organization-based services

A global association of academics, managers, and consultants that focuses on spreading RO implementation practices and encouraging their use
Dr. Gerry Kraines, the firms principal, combines Harry Levinson's leadership frameworks with Elliott Jaques's Requisite Organization. He worked closely with Jaques over many years, has trained more managers in these methods than anyone else in the field, and has developed a comprehensive RO-based software for client firms.
Founded as an assessment consultancy using Jaques's CIP methods, the US-based firm expanded to talent pool design and management, and managerial leadership practice-based work processes
Former RO-experienced CEO, Ron Harding, provides coaching to CEOs of start-ups and small and medium-size companies that are exploring their own use of RO concepts.  His role is limited, temporary and coordinated with the RO-based consultant working with the organization
Ron Capelle is unique in his multiple professional certifications, his implementation of RO concepts through well designed organization development methods, and his research documenting the effectiveness of his firm's interventions
A Toronto requisite organization-based consultancy with a wide range of executive coaching, training, organization design and development services.
A Sweden-based consultancy, Enhancer practices time-span based analysis, executive assessment, and provides due diligence diagnosis to investors on acquisitions.
Founded by Gillian Stamp, one of Jaques's colleagues at Brunel, the firm modified Jaques;s work-levels, developed the Career Path Appreciation method, and has grown to several hundred certified assessors in aligned consulting firms world-wide recently expanding to include organization design
Requisite Organization International Institute distributes Elliott Jaques's books, papers, and videos and provides RO-based training to client organizations