Fritz Steele

BOSTON – We are beyond sad to announce the passing of Fritz Steele (1938-2020). We will laugh less without his sense of humor, but we can take comfort in how he charmed us and inspired thousands to care for each other and see the world in a better way. Fritz grew up in Topeka, Kansas, graduated from Yale in 1960 and then earned his PhD in Management at MIT in 1965. It was his love of architecture and watching people that resulted in him becoming the world-wide scholar of physical settings and behavior change. Fritz was also an internationally known consultant in organizational effectiveness, a pioneer in the fields of organizational development, change management, and organizational ecology (i.e., the design of our physical settings). He consulted to many Fortune 500 companies. Fritz inspired graduate students the world over with his co-authored first major textbook in organizational behavior called Interpersonal Dynamics in 1964 (with Warren Bennis, Edgar Schein, and David Berlew). He taught periodically at the Yale School of Management and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He also was an original member of the Portsmouth Consulting Group.His many articles and 12 books addressed physical settings, workplace design, organizational consulting, and leadership. Fritz championed concepts of how physical settings affect how people interact with each other. His classic 1981 book, Sense of Place, expanded his ideas to the design of neighborhoods and communities. His other books and articles sometimes with noted co-authors Stephen Jenks and Franklin Becker, resonated with themes of power, how to inspire change (or squelch it), and how to help people become better at being together. Fritz was also an artist. For over 30 years, he created collages. Although a casual observer might walk by one and think, “What is that?” You are soon drawn into feelings created by color, shape and context. You begin to see the world differently. Working with the York and Kittery Maine Art Associations, he was active in showing his work and sharing ideas and techniques with others. He is survived by his wife, Debbie Jones-Steele (Brookline, Mass.); daughter, Lauren Steele (Washington, D.C.) and son, Graham Steele and his partner, Moira Birss (Oakland, Calif.).In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to York Community Service Association 855 US Route 1PO Box 180York, ME 03909or,The York Art Society 394 York Street,York, ME, 03911or, Kittery Art AssociationPO Box 44Kittery Point, ME 03905

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