The Society for the
Study of Social Issues


Featured member

Robert Kahn

Robert Kahn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, and is a founding father of the modern study of organizational theory and survey research. His books such as The Social Psychology of Organizations (1966), co-written with Daniel Katz, pioneered scientific attempts to understand leadership, role behavior and productivity using open systems theory. Few psychologists before him had considered how organization contributed to health and wellbeing of employees. In international and peace studies, Bob forged new paths of enquiry by applying his ideas about organizations to nation states. Throughout the 1990s he was part of the groundbreaking multi-disciplinary study supported by the MacArthur Foundation to examine aging, and in 1999 he co-authored the book, Successful Aging, which was received to widespread acclaim.

Bob started a long career with the Institute of Social Research in 1952 shortly after receiving his PhD from the University of Michigan. He has served from 1957-8 and 1965-9 on the SPSSI Council, once as Secretary-Treasurer and for three years as SPSSI Representative to the APA. In 1970 he served as SPSSI President.  In 1988 he was awarded the Kurt Lewin Award for his exceptional studies on the application of organizational research to international peace.

In order to continue his legacy, the ISR recently set up the Kahn Fellowship in the Scientific Study of Social Issues for research dealing with major social problems. As Bob says in his letter about the fellowship,

“The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research has honored me by raising funds for the Robert L. Kahn Fellowship in the Scientific Study of Social Issues.  My best hope for the Fellowship Program is that it will enable the most promising doctoral students to develop the kinds of careers that SPSSI membership represents."

Read the full letter

Successful Living, a biography of Robert Kahn

More information on the Kahn Fellowship or to donate

Watch these pages for profiles of other SPSSI members. We invite you to join us in our work!

Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin