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Cary Cooper and Edward Lawler join HR Most Influential Hall of Fame

The additions to the list were unveiled at a prestigious event at Claridge's hotel in London

Two leading HR academics have been inducted into HR magazine's HR Most Influential Hall of Fame.

Edward Lawler, distinguished professor of business at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and Cary Cooper, 50th anniversary professor of organizational psychology and health at the University of Manchester's business school, received the lifetime achievement awards at an event at Claridge's last night.

Every year HR magazine compiles the HR Most Influential rankings: the definitive lists of directors and thinkers who have the greatest influence in the field of people strategy. The Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to HR over the course of their career.

Cooper has featured in the rankings many times for his contributions to workplace wellbeing research. He is president of the CIPD, chair of the Academy of Social Sciences, president of Relate, a clinical advisor to Anxiety UK, president of the Institute of Welfare and immediate past president of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He is also a director of wellbeing specialists and business psychologists at Robertson Cooper, which he set up in 1999 with Ivan Robertson.

He regularly discusses wellbeing issues in the media, helping to highlight the importance of his work to an even wider audience.

Angela O'Connor, CEO of the HR Lounge and one of the HR Most Influential judging panel, said of Cooper: “His work changes lives for the better. He is a consummate professional, a brilliant communicator, and a global spokesperson for the benefits of stress reduction for business success. We are lucky to count him as one of us in our profession.”

Lawler is a major contributor to theory, research, and practice in the fields of human resources management, organisational effectiveness, compensation and organisational development.

He has written more than 45 books, including Corporate Stewardship: Achieving Sustainable Effectiveness and The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance.

Although he was not able to pick up the award in person, in a pre-recorded video interview Lawler said: "Since I started working in the area of HR 50 years ago I have tried to do research that has a clear implication for practice and that will change the way organisations are managed with respect to people."

He added: "The world of work has changed dramatically. Our old rules about HR, our old facts, knowledge, commitments, simply don’t fit any more. It’s time to move on and develop new practices and principles that will help us better manage our complex organisations.

"This requires more than an HR function that is a bureaucratic operations centre for the organisation. It requires strategic HR that shapes the way organisations do business in order to accomplish a triple bottom line agenda and in order to be effective in this complex rapidly-changing world. This requires agility, as well as optimal utilisation of talent and human capability."

HR Most Influential is sponsored by HR and payroll company SD Worx, and the Open University Business School.