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Undergraduate Studies:

Graduate Studies:


David Christesen


178 Pillsbury Dr SE
250D Burton Hall


Download Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Ph.D., University of Minnesota
M.Ed., University of Minnesota, human resource development
B.S., University of Minnesota, business/finance


Areas of Interest

Individual decision making and performance
Team decision making and performance
Organization decision making and performance


I am a practitioner turned academic. After more than 30 years in industry with 20 of those years as an executive at Travelers Insurance Company, I decided to bring my energy and curiosity to academics. My experience ranges from mathematician working on investment and staffing models for industry to vice president level positions leading multiple corporate functions and multi-billion dollar mergers. I have also worked in consulting across numerous industries as a project manager, change consultant and leadership coach.

The most significant part of my activity in OLPD is teaching and working with students at all levels (undergraduate, master’s and doctoral). My goal is to share my experiences in a way that tells a story about the topic I am teaching. As an executive I was asked to make decisions quickly with limited information and often little theoretical support. As a teacher and researcher I am excited to share the kinds of decisions that are made in organizations and to let people know there is theory and data to support that decision making—the decision details are different in across organizations, but they are not random and do have similar characteristics.

Courses Taught

  • Organization Development (OLPD 3640 &5607)
  • Training & Development (OLPD 5615)
  • Strategic HRD (OLPD 5605)
  • Consulting for Change (OLPD 5812)
  • Organization Learning (8601)

Research Activities

  • Describe the set of organizational interventions that lead to high performance and those interventions that limit performance. Highly effective organizations operate differently than low performing organizations and it is important to describe the operational and strategic activities of both types of organizations. This often leads to how organizations learn and convert that learning to processes that are available to their customers.
  • Human resource development in the high-tech field. I collaborate with the Technological Leadership Institute (part of the College of Science and Engineering) to understand the current and future needs of this large global field that is rarely looked at through the lens of human resource development needs.

Professional Affiliations and Certifications

  • Academy of Management (Member and Reviewer)
  • Academy of Human Resource Development (Member and Reviewer)
  • Certified Disaster Recovery Professional (2003)
  • Certified ITIL Professional (2002).
  • Certified Facilitator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument (1998)

Selected Publications

  1. Christesen, D. A. & Haga, B. (working paper, 2011). The impact of culture and globalization on leadership typologies.

  2. Christesen, D. A. (working paper, 2011). Comparing the use of mentoring in higher education and business: An Intervention to retain students and employees.

  3. Christesen, D. A. (working paper, 2011). Business ethics: The golden rule is a good start. 

  4. Christesen, D. A. & McLean, G. N. (working paper, 2011). The impact of balanced scorecard usage on the performance of Fortune 500 corporations. Human Resource Development Quarterly. Preparing revisions.

  5. Christesen, D. A. & McLean, G. N. (2009). The impact of balance scorecard usage on organization performance. Strategic Innovators, 2(1), 28.

  6. Christesen, D. A. (2008). The impact of balanced scorecard usage on organization performance, (Dissertation, University of Minnesota)

  7. Christesen, D. A. (2008). Balanced scorecard: A case study. European HRD conference paper, Lille, France. 2008.

  8. Bialek, T. K. & Christesen, D. A. (2008). Argyris’ influence on the discipline of organization development: A historical biography. 2008 WHRE Research Conference, St. Paul, MN.

  9. Christesen, D. A. (2006). C-suite team competencies: A model for organization-wide team competencies. Unpublished White Paper.

  10. Christesen, D. A. (2006). A history of organization metrics and the impact on skill requirements. Unpublished.

  11. Christesen, D. A. (1979). Personnel forecasting and monitoring in a decentralized property and casualty company. IASA Interpreter, May.

Selected Presentations

  1. Christesen, D. A.  (2004) Managing merger integration projects. Gartner Group Conference. Orlando, Florida.

  2. Christesen, D. A. (1998)  Re-engineering case study. International Microsoft Executive Conference. Redmond, Washington.

  3. Christesen, D. A. (1997) Object oriented systems design. LOMA Conference. Atlanta, Georgia.

  4. Revised August 2011