University of Southern California

Leveraging "Tribes" for Leadership: Professor Teams with E-Tailer
Collaboration Marks the First Time a Major Business Title has Been Released as a Free Audio Download
November 8, 2008 • by News at Marshall

USC Marshall Professor Dave Logan and his co-authors John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, have teamed with e-tailer Zappos.com to make a free audio version of his groundbreaking 2008 business book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, available at Zappos.com.

Since its February 2008 release, the book, written by Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, has become a popular business book, garnering endorsements from business school faculty and corporate leadership, including Tony Hsieh, the CEO of leading online retailer Zappos.com. The goal of the free audio release for Hsieh, who felt the philosophy outlined in Tribal Leadership mirrored many of the steps Zappos intuitively took to build its own high-performance company culture, is to help others achieve the same success. Hsieh also contributed a special foreword with Logan, exclusive to the audio download version. The collaboration marks the first time a major business title has been released as a free audio download.

The concept for Tribal Leadership was developed at USC. Through a decade of research including a rigorous 10-year study of approximately 24,000 people in more than two dozen companies, Logan and his co-authors developed the concept of tribal leadership, which holds that the success of a company depends on its tribes - and that these key leverage points are more powerful than teams, companies or even CEOs.

According to the authors, every company has tribes, often several, consisting of 20 to 150 people who know each other and work together. But while everyone "tribes", the culture of each tribe is different, as is its effectiveness. Improving a tribe's culture—and its chances for greater success—requires a tribal leader who not only understands the tribe but can leverage its collective assets to build a greater team. Top tribal leaders also excel at getting their groups "unstuck" and moving forward by putting the tribe members (rather than themselves) first.

"It's a real USC story," said Logan, who has been teaching the tribal leadership model to EMBA  and full-time MBA  students for the past two years. "The tribal leadership model was developed at USC with much of the data coming from Executive Education participants, MBA.PM students and their firms, as well as other research activities conducted through Marshall and the School of Public Policy, Planning and Development. Many of the ideas came from my doctorial study at the Annenberg School at USC."

Logan, King and Fischer-Wright, who are management consultants, are also active in several aspects of USC. King is a frequent guest lecturer in the School of Public Policy, Planning and Development, and Fischer-Wright teaches in several USC programs and is a graduate of the Master of Medical Management program.

The print version of the book also includes a foreword from Management and Organization Professor Warren Bennis and an interview with USC President Steven Sample.

To receive the free audio book version of Tribal Leadership click here.


About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.