Robert I Sutton

Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy)
Professor of Management Science and Engineering, School of Engineering

Codirector of the Customer-Focused Innovation Executive Program

Phone: (650) 723-0480

Email: bobsut@stanford.edu

Personal Homepage: http://www.bobsutton.net

Robert Sutton focuses on evidence-based management, the links (and gaps) between managerial knowledge and organizational action, innovation, and organizational performance. His research style emphasizes the development of theory and recommendations for practice on the basis of direct observation of organizational life and interviews with executives, managers, engineers, and other organization members.

Bio

Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School, where he is Codirector of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization, an active researcher and cofounder in the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and a cofounder and active member of the new “d.school,” a multi-disciplinary program that teaches and spreads “design thinking.” He is also an IDEO Fellow and a Professor of Organizational Behavior, by courtesy, at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Sutton received his PhD in Organizational Psychology from The University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983. He also taught at the Haas Business School and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during the 1986-87, 1994-95, and 2002-03 academic years. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous scholarly publications, and as an editor for the Administrative Science Quarterly and Research in Organizational Behavior. His honors include the award for the best paper published in the Academy of Management Journal in 1989, the best paper published in the Academy of Management Review in 2005, induction into the Academy of Management Journal's Hall of Fame, the Eugene L. Grant Award for Excellence in Teaching, the McGraw-Hill Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award, the McCullough Faculty Scholar Chair from Stanford, and selection by Business 2.0 as a leading “management guru” in 2002.

Sutton studies the links between managerial knowledge and organizational action, evidence-based management, and innovation, and organizational performance. He has published over 100 articles and chapters in scholarly and applied publications. He has also published 8 books and edited volumes. He (and Jeffrey Pfeffer) wrote The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Firms Turn Knowledge Into Action (Harvard Business School Press, 2000), which was selected as Best Management Book of 2000 by Management General. His most recent book is Weird Ideas That Work: 11 ½ Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation (The Free Press, 2002), which was selected by the Harvard Business Review as one of the 10 best business books of the year and as a breakthrough business idea. He (and Jeffrey Pfeffer) just published Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management (Harvard Business School Press, 2006). His next book will be The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, to be published by Warner in early 2007.

Sutton’s research and opinions are often described in the press, including the New York Times, The Times (of London) , BusinessWeek, Financial Times, Fortune, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Wired, Strategy & Leadership, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury. He has also been columnist for CIO Insight and a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including Bloomberg, BBC, PBS, NPR, Tech Nation, and CNN. Sutton’s blog is Work Matters and can be found at www.bobsutton.net. He and Jeffrey Pfeffer maintain a website that provides information and a place for people to exchange ideas about evidence-based management at www.evidence-basedmanagement.com.

Academic Degrees

BA, Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1977; MA, Univ. of Michigan, 1981, PhD, 1984.

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 1983

Research Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program.; Codirector, Center for Work, Technology, and Organizations, 1996-. Associate Director of the Stanford Center for Organizations Research, 1988-91. Prof. of Organizational Behavior, Haas School of Business, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, July 1997-June 1998. Asst. Prof., Stanford Univ., 1983–89, Assoc. Prof., 1989–92, Prof., 1992—. McGraw-Hill Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award, 1998. McCullough Faculty Scholar Chair, 1992; Eugene L. Grant Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1990; Award for the best paper published in the Academy of Management Journal. Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1986–87 and 1994–95.

Selected Publications

  • Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management: Harvard Business School Press, 2005
  • Evidence-Based Management: Harvard Business Review, 2005
  • Weird Ideas That Work: 11 and 1/2 Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation: The Free Press, 2002
  • The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action: Harvard Business School Press, 1999
  • The Smart Talk Trap: Harvard Business Review; 135-142, May-June, 1999
  • Brainstorming Groups in Context: Effectiveness in a Product Design Firm: Administrative Science Quarterly, 41: 685-718, 1996
  • Creativity Doesn't Require Isolation: Why Product Designers Bring Visitors: California Management Review, 40: 75-91, 1997
  • Technology Brokering and Innovation in a Product Design Firm: Administrative Science Quarterly, 42: 716-749, 1997
  • Organizational Performance as a Dependent Variable: Organization Science, 8: 697-706, 1997
  • The Virtues of Closet Qualitative Research: Organization Science, 8: 97-106, 1997
  • Consequences of Public Scrutiny for Leaders and Their Organizations: Research in Organizational Behavior, JAI Press, vol. 18: 201-250, 1996
  • What Theory is Not: Administrative Science Quarterly, 40: 371-384, 1995
  • Organizational Behavior: Linking Individuals and Groups to Organizational Contexts: Annual Review of Psychology, 44: 195-229, 1993
  • Macro Organizational Psychology: Social Psychology in Organizations: Advances in Theory and Research, 350-384, Prentice Hall, 1992
  • Feelings about a Disneyland Visit: Photography and the Reconstruction of Bygone Emotions: Journal of Management Inquiry, 1: 278-287, 1992
  • Acquiring Organizational Legitimacy through Illegitimate Actions: A Marriage of Institutional and Impression Management Theory: Academy of Management Journal, 35: 699-738, 1992
  • Emotional Contrast Strategies as Means of Social Influence: Lessons from Bill Collectors and Interrogators: Academy of Management Journal, 34: 749-775, 1991
  • Maintaining Norms about Expressed Emotions: The Case of Bill Collectors: Administrative Science Quarterly, 36: 245-268, 1991
  • The Expression of Emotion in Organizational Life: Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 11: 1-42, JAI Press, 1989
  • Untangling the Relationship between Displayed Emotions and Organizational Sales: The Case of Convenience Stores: Academy of Management Journal, 31: 461-487, -254, 1988
  • Prediction, Understanding, and Control as Antidotes to Organizational Stress: Handbook of Organizational Behavior, 272-285, Prentice Hall, 1987
  • Organizational Decline Processes: A Social Psychological Perspective: Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 12: 205-253, JAI Press, 1990
  • Decreasing Orgainzational Size: Untangling the Effects of Money and People: Academy of Management Review, 14: 194-212, 1989
  • The Process of Organizational Death: Disbanding and Reconnecting: Administrative Science Quarterly, 32: 542-569, 1987
  • The Stigma of Bankruptcy: Spoiled Organizational Image and Its Management: Academy of Management Journal, 30: 405-436, 1987
  • Managing Organizational Decline: Lessons from Atari: Organizational Dynamics, 14: 17-29, 1986

Working Papers

  • 1173: Organizational Images as Negotiated Accounts: A Dynamic Conception of Impression Management
  • 1612: Technologies of Status Negotiation: Status Dynamics in Email Discussion Groups

Selected Cases

  • L15: Wyeth Pharmaceuticals: Changing the Mindsets and Behaviors of 17,000 People... One Person at a Time
  • HR35: Mozilla: Scaling Through a Community of Volunteers
  • L17: JetBlue Airways: A New Beginning

Affiliations

In The Media