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Adrian Furnham is a British organizational and applied psychologist, management expert and Professor of Psychology at University College, London. He is famous for his in-depth contributions in a number of diverse psychological fields. In addition to his academic roles, he is a consultant on organizational behaviour and management, writer and broadcaster, known for his ability to communicate complex psychological concepts to a wide audience. Furnham is a prolific writer for both the popular and academic press and one of the most quoted contemporary experts in his field.
Early life and education
Furnham was born in Port Shepstone on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on 3rd February, 1953 of British parents. In 1959 the family moved to the capital, Pietermaritzburg, where he was to receive his primary, secondary and initial tertiary education. He attended Scottsville Primary School and then went on to Alexanrda High School. His early interests included chess, debating and acting. Academically he was brilliant at mathematics, achieving first class passes in most years. This doubtless was to stand him in good stead for his future in research. Additionally he was a strong swimmer, and represented his school at the local gala. Furnham loved learning, and never missed a day of school. He developed a love of fine things, and built up an impressive collection of crystal glasses.
Emergence as an academic
In 1970, Furnham was accepted as a student at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg campus). He describes his achievements in the first few years at university as “pretty average”. Nonetheless, he graduated in 1972 with a B.A. degree, and the following year with B. A. honours, obtaining a distinction in psychology. In 1975 he was accepted as a masters student at London University and completed his Master of Science in 1976, obtaining a distinction in Economics. He completed another M. Sc. Degree at Strathclyde University and was then accepted as a doctoral student at Oxford University. He completed his D. Phil. degree there in 1981. During his studies at Oxford, he met Allison Green, also an eminent psychologist, famous for her work on memory. They married during 1990, and in 1997, she bore him a son, Benedict, on 22nd July. By then, Furnham had completed another two doctoral degrees, a D. Sc. at London University in 1991 and a D. Litt. at University of Natal in 1995.
Recognition by business and professional bodies
In 1985, Furnham founded a management consultancy called Applied Behavioural Research Associates, and became its first director. This specialised in research on corporate evaluation and design, performance appraisal, personnel and corporate assessment and selection, and literature reviews. Clients have included the Foreign Office, BT, TWA, Lloyds Bank, Cathay Pacific Airways, Channel Four, Abbey Life, Boots], Hambros Bank, Ritz Hotel, British Rail, Air New Zealand, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Marks and Spencer, Careers Research Forum and Barclays Bank.
In addition to his further academic work, Furnham was recognized as a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Chartered Health Psychologist, by the British Psychological Society, of which he became a Fellow in 1988. He is also one of only 75 psychologists to belong to the well-known American Psychological Association (APA). In 2004 he was recognised as one of the most highly cited psychologist by the American Psychological Society. Additionally, he was cited as most productive European Psychologist in the 1990's and second most productive psychologist in the world for the period, 1985-1995.
Association with academic organisations
Oxford University, 1979-1990
In 1979, Furnham was appointed as a Lecturer in Psychology at Pembroke College, Oxford University, and served in this capacity until 1982. He was also made a part-time tutor in psychology in the Department of External Studies, teaching management science and psychology to groups of middle and senior managers and administrators.
University College, London 1979-1990
From 1979, Furnham became a postgraduate study supervisor at University College, London. In 1981, he was made a lecturer (1981-1987) and reader in 1988 (1988-1992). On 1st October, 1992, he was appointed Professor in Psychology (ad hominem), and holding this position, he continues to teach applied / occupational psychology, as well as personality and social psychology to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Furnham was a vising professor to the Hong Kong University business School, (1995-1997) and a visiting professor to the Henley Management College (1999-2001).
Publications (1985 to the present)
Furnham’s most popular works date from 1985. To the present (2006), he is the author of 50 books including: Culture Shock, The Economic Mind, The Protestant Work Ethic, Personality al Work, Consumer Profiles, Corporate Assessment, Business Watching, Complementary Medicine, The Psychology of Behaviour at Work, Psychology of Money, Psychology of Managerial Incompetence Personality and Social Behaviour and various popular pieces in newspapers (Financial Times, Guardian Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times Higher Educational Supplement, Sunday Times). He has also contributed to several magazines (Spectator, Personnel Management, New Scientist, Across the Board, Spotlight) in both Europe and North America. He has been a columnist in various management magazines (Mastering Management, Human Resources). Additionally he is the author of 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers in international scientific journals and 400 newspaper and magazine articles.
Furnham has many interests. He has written widely on the Protestant work ethic from a psychological perspective happily admitting his own workaholism. He has written books and papers about ]]mental health and migration]] examining why some groups adapt better than others when migrating. A migrant himself, it may again be an attempt at self-understanding. He has written books and papers about Complementary and Alternative Medicine, most of which are concerned with why, despite the lack of empirical evidence, people choose and pay for particular "unscientific" treatments. He has written two books on the psychology of money emphasising the psycho-logical rather than logical beliefs and behaviours of individuals with respect to money. His popular books are about Management incompetence. They are antidotes to the magic bullet school of business books and try to understand why there is so much patent nonsense in the management literature. Additionally, he has written serious and weighty psychology and management textbooks that have been translated into many languages.