William Barnett

Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations

Codirector of the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization

Affiliated Faculty, Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford

William Barnett studies competition among organizations and how organizations and industries evolve globally. He is conducting a large-scale project that seeks to explain why and how some firms grow rapidly in globalizing markets. His prior research includes studies of how strategic differences and strategic change among organizations affect their growth, performance, and survival. This research includes empirical studies of technical, regulatory, and ideological changes among organizations, and how these changes affect competitiveness over time and across markets. His studies span a range of industries and contexts, including organizations in computers, telecommunications, research and development, software, semiconductors, disk drives, newspaper publishing, beer brewing, banking, and concerning the environment. He is best known for his work on "Red Queen competition", where firms learn from competition and so become stronger competitors over time.  Follow Professor Barnett on Twitter @BarnettTalks.


William Barnett is the Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. After receiving his PhD in Business Adminstration from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988, Barnett was an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Business. In 1991, Barnett came to the Stanford Business School as an Assistant Professor. He became an Associate Professor in 1994 and received tenure in 1996, and has been a full professor since 2001. Barnett has also twice been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and is a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Barnett serves as associate editor or editorial board member for several academic journals.

Working Papers

  • "The Persistence of Lenient Market Categories" with Elizabeth G. Pontikes
  • "When to be a Nonconformist Entrepreneur: Organizational Responses to Vital Events" with Elizabeth G. Pontikes
  • "Organizational Knowledge and Technological Change" with Elizabeth G. Pontikes

Courses Taught