Jim Lyttle was born in North Bay, Canada. He traveled across the country with his own showband for several years as a musician, vocalist, bandleader, and musical arranger before working in computer graphics at Electrohome Electronics. He is a life member of Mensa, founder of the MORNA organization, treasurer of the Clan Little Society of North America, and the editor of its publication, The Reiver. He holds a bachelor's degree with double majors in economics and philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University; an MBA, based exclusively on the Harvard case method, from the Ivey Business School at Western University; and a doctorate in organization studies from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He has also earned 54 credits in the psychology of religion at the University of Toronto and completed all the coursework for a masters degree in psychology at Long Island University.
Jim Lyttle has taught organizational behavior and related courses to nearly 6,000 adult learners since 1994. He has occasionally taught off-campus or online courses, and sometimes finds himself lecturing undergraduate classes, but his forté is teaching MBA students using the case method. He is a seasoned instructor, who uses skills witnessed at the Ivey School of Business and later honed through The Art and Craft of Discussion Leadership at Harvard University. He will complete the advanced level of that course this summer. Besides using humor liberally in his classes and relying on his entertainment experience to prepare a convincing performance, he is known for assigning written case analyses and term papers and marking them rigorously for format, logic, and effective persuasion. This dual emphasis on spoken self-defence and persuasive writing pushes students to develop a thoughtful and reflective approach to leadership. Since 2001, he has been a full-time member of the faculty at American universities such as Penn State and the University of Minnesota (AACSB schools).
Jim Lyttle is the author or co-author of many conference papers, proceedings, presentations, and journal articles on the effective and responsible use of humor for persuasion. It is his contention that humor in the workplace, far from being a low cost panacea for productivity and morale, is actually a delicate art that requires careful planning and execution. He develops models to help practitioners understand when humor will and will not "work," and when it might just offend, confuse, distract, or erode the credibility of its users. His work has been cited in academic journals as diverse as the Journal of Business Ethics, Communication Monographs, Human Relations, and the Journal of Economic Psychology along with international journals such as Acciones e Investigaciones Sociales, Psikhologicheskii Zhurnal, and Tidsskriftet Politik His work has also been used and cited in books, graduate theses, conference papers, and several other reports.