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David McClelland

David McClelland

David McClelland

David McClelland, Harvard professor of psychology, was recognized internationally for his expertise on human motivation and entrepreneurship. McClelland taught and researched for 57 years. He is remembered for his unconventional methods in studying human personality.

In 1963, he started McBer, a consulting company that aided managers in assessing and training employees. During the same year, the National Education Association received McClelland’s proposal to offer seventh-graders in good academic standing college scholarships to encourage individual motivation at an early age.

He published a persuasive article in The American Psychologist in which he stated that commonly used I.Q. and personality hiring tests were poor predictors of competency. He argued that companies should hire based on competency in relevant fields, and to do away with SAT scores. His once-radical ideas have grown to become standard instruments for many corporations.

He was a fellow of the American Academy of Sciences and the author of several books, including Personality, The Achievement Motive, and The Achieving Society.

—From The Harvard University Gazette

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