Samuel Culbert

Professor of Management and Organizations

Phone: (310) 825-7784 (310) 825-0420

Fax: (310) 825-0218


Samuel Culbert has developed a blunt yet sensitive way of framing situations that allows for all parties to engage in open, non-judgmental discussions. Professor Culbert believes that only by laying bare ALL the forces that drive people’s opinions and actions -- including subjective, self-interested and political biases -- is it possible to have an explicit, honest, yet matter-of-fact conversation. He has spent a career perfecting the skills and style that elicit such straight-talk.

Widely recognized as a candid speaking expert and theoretician, he is author of the recently published Get Rid of the Performance Review: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing – and Focus on the Results That Really Matter – an entertaining and enlightening examination of how companies use the annual review to the detriment of bosses, subordinates and the companies themselves. The book, written with Larry Rout, builds on his media grabbing Wall Street Journal article of the same name, has been enthusiastically received by the legions of people who have long sought an alternative to the reviled and worthless reviews. This book provides that alternative – what Dr. Culbert calls the performance preview.

The performance review book in many ways was an outgrowth of Dr. Culbert’s previous book -- Beyond Bullsh*t -- which revealed how bullsh*t became the etiquette of choice in corporate communications, and showed how to develop the conditions required for straight-talk. SmartMoney Magazine named this book to its 2008 list of ten top reads and it was honored as a finalist for the National Best Book Awards. Dr. Culbert is winner of a McKinsey Award for an article published in the Harvard Business Review, is a frequent contributor to management journals and has authored numerous chapters in leading management-related books. More about this and some of the other books he has authored is available at the website. His other authored and co-authored books include The Organization Trap, The Invisible War: The Pursuit of Self-Interests at Work, Radical Management, Mind-Set Management and Don’t Kill the Bosses!.

Throughout his career Professor Culbert has creatively welded together three activities: consulting, teaching, and writing. Consulting is where he encounters work effectiveness problems in their contemporary forms, demystifies the basic elements, and formulates alternative modes of functioning. Teaching provides a forum for extrapolating from problems to issues requiring his investigation. Writing is where he packages his understanding for public consumption. His clients include a diverse representation of the private and public sectors: small companies and members of Fortune’s 500, international and U.S. governmental agencies, privately funded and not-for-profit organizations. In short, Culbert has been around and gets what’s happening. His unconventional views have received a good deal of press, both in the U.S. and overseas.


Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, 1966, UCLA
B.S. Systems Engineering, 1961, Northwestern University


Executive Relationships: Straight-Talk, Trust Building and Boss/Subordinate Teamwork; Leadership Thought Processes, Personal Development, Corporate Communications, Politics, Goal Setting and Strategizing for Enhanced Operating Effectiveness
  • Samuel A. Culbert. (2008). Beyond Bullsh*t: Straight-Talk at Work. Stanford University Press, [ Link ]
  • Samuel A. Culbert. (October, 2008). Get Rid of the Performance Review!. Wall Street Journal, [ Link ]

"Get Rid of the Performance Review!" Interview with the Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2008 (mp3).