Robert A Burgelman

Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management

Executive Director of the Stanford Executive Program

Phone: (650) 723-4488


Academic Areas: Organizational Behavior

Robert Burgelman carries out longitudinal field-based research on the role of strategy in firm evolution. He has examined how companies enter into new businesses (through corporate entrepreneurship and internal corporate venturing as well as through acquisition) and leave others (through strategic business exit), and how success may lead to co-evolutionary lock-in with the environment. His research has focused on organizations where strategic action is distributed among multiple levels of management. He has written some 100 case studies of companies in many different technology-based industries. He currently focuses on the challenges posed by nonlinear strategic dynamics.


Professor Burgelman is the Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management, the Executive Director of the Stanford Executive Program (SEP), and the 2012-13 BP Faculty Fellow in Global Management of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business where he has taught since 1981. He obtained a Licenciate degree in Applied Economics from Antwerp University (Belgium), and an MA in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Management of Organizations from Columbia University, where he studied with doctoral fellowships from the Ford Foundation (US) and ICM (Belgium). His research has focused on the role of strategy-making in firm evolution. In particular, he has studied the strategy-making processes involved in how companies enter into new businesses and exit from existing ones to secure continued adaptation.  In 2003 he received an honorary doctorate from the Copenhagen Business School for his contributions to the study of corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. Professor Burgelman has been on the faculty of Antwerp University, New York University, Harvard Business School (as a Marvin Bower Fellow), and Cambridge University (as a Visiting Professor of Marketing Strategy and Innovation at the Judge Business School). He has been elected a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Management. He has published many articles in leading academic and professional journals, as well as some 145 case studies of companies and organizations in many different industries. His books include Inside Corporate Innovation: Strategy, Structure, and Managerial Skills (Free Press, 1986), Research of Technological  Innovation, Management and Policy (JIA Press, Elsevier; Volume 4, 1989; Volume 5, 1993; Volume 6, 1997; and Volume 7, 2001), Strategy is Destiny: How Strategy-Making Shapes a Company’s Future (Free Press, 2002), Strategic Dynamics: Concepts and Cases (McGraw-Hill, 2006), and Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation (5th edition, McGraw-Hill-Irwin, 2009). Professor Burgelman has served as an Associate Editor of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal since 2007. He has taught executive programs and led senior and top management seminars for major companies worldwide. He has also served on boards of directors and boards of advisors of several private companies.

Academic Degrees

PhD Philosophy in Management of Organizations, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, 1980;
Master of Philosophy in Management of Organizations, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, 1978;
Master of Arts in Sociology Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, 1978;
Licenciate in Applied Economic Sciences, Antwerp University (UFSIA), 1969.

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 1981. Instructor–Asst. Prof., New York Univ.,1978–81; Visiting Lecturer, State Univ. of New York, 1976–77; Instructor, Antwerp Univ., 1970–73.

Selected Publications

  • Managing the Strategic Dynamics of Acquisition Integration: Lessons From HP and Compaq: California Management Review, 2006
  • Managing Internal Corporate Venturing Cycles: Sloan Management Review, 2005
  • Strategic Dynamics: Concepts and Cases: McGraw-Hill, 2005
  • Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, 4th edition: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2004
  • Strategy is Destiny: How Strategy-Making Shapes a Company’s Future: Free Press, 2002
  • Strategy as Vector and the Inertia of Coevolutionary Lock-in: Administrative Science Quarterly, 2002

Working Papers

  • 2040: Prigogine's Theory of the Dynamics of Far-From-Equilibrium Systems Informs the Role of Strategy-Making in Organizational Evolution
  • 1997: U.S. Dependence on Oil in 2008: Facts, Figures and Context
  • 2007: Strategic Consequences of Co-Evolutionary Lock-In: Insights From A Longitudinal Process Study
  • 2013R: The Drive Toward the Electric Mile - A Proposal for a Minimum Winning Game
  • 1122: Intraorganizational Ecology of Strategy-Making and Organizational Adaptation: Theory and Field Research I
  • 1233: Fading Memories: A Process Study of Strategic Business Exit in Dynamic Environments
  • 1327: A Process Model of Strategic Business Exit in an Established High Technology Firm
  • 1364: Strategic Dissonance
  • 1406: Strategic Business Exit and Corporate Transformation: Evolving Links of Technology Strategy and Substantive and Generic Corporate Strategies
  • 1745: Strategy as Vector and the Inertia of Co-evolutionary Lock-in
  • 1843: The "Strategy And Action In The Information Processing Industry Course" (S370) At Stanford Business School: Themes, Conceptual Frameworks, Related Tools
  • 1844: Strategy Making and Evolutionary Organization Theory: Insights from Longitudinal Process Research
  • 1907: Managing the Strategic Dynamics of Acquisition Integration: Lessons from HP and Compaq
  • 1908: Internal Corporate Venturing Cycles: A Nagging Strategic Leadership Challenge
  • 1954: Let Chaos Reign, Then Rein In Chaos - Repeatedly: Managing Strategic Dynamics For Corporate Longevity
  • 1958: Defining the Minimum Winning Game in High-Technology Ventures
  • 1978: Cross-Boundary Disruptors: Powerful Inter-Industry Entrepreneurial Change Agents
  • 1987: Cutting the Strategy Diamond in High-Technology Ventures
  • 2045R: Bridging History and Reductionism: A Key Role for Longitudinal Qualitative Research
  • 2048R: Toward Electric Cars and Clean Coal: A Comparative Analysis of Strategies and Strategy-Making in the U.S. and China
  • 2096: Strategic Dynamics: Three Key Themes
  • 635: A Model of the Interaction of Strategic Behavior, Corporate Context, and the Concept of Strategy
  • 636: A Process Model of Internal, Corporate Venturing in the Diversified Major Firm
  • 657: Corporate Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management: A Review and Conceptual Integration
  • 663: Managing the New Venture Division: Research Findings and Implications for Strategic Management
  • 666: Strategy Making of Internal Coporate Ventures: Findings on the Interplay of Content and Process
  • 673: Applying the Methodology of Grounded Theorizing in Strategic Management: A Summary of Recent Findings and Their Implications
  • 704: Managing the Internal Corporate Venturing Process: Some Recommendations for Practice
  • 721: Designs for Corporate Entrepreneurship in Established Firms
  • 755: Strategy-Making and Evolutionary Theory: Toward a Capabilities-Based Perspective
  • 848: Toward An Innovative Capabilities, Audit Framework
  • 876: An Evolutionary Perspective on Strategy-Making in Organizations: Theory, Comparative Analysis, Research Directions
  • 906: A Comparative Evolutionary Perspective on Strategy-Making: Advantages and Limitations of the Japanese Approach
  • 923: Strategy-Making as a Social Learning Process: The Case of Internal Corporate Venturing
  • 924: Organizational Ecology and Strategic Management: An Evolutionary Process Perspective

Selected Cases

  • SM151: Infosys Consulting in 2006: Leading the Next Generation of Business and Information Technology Consulting
  • SM153: SAP AG In 2006: Driving Corporate Transformation
  • SM112B: Digital Creation and Distribution of Music Revisited in 2005
  • SM24D: Electronic Arts in 2005: The Next Generation of Convergence
  • SM124B: MySQL Open Source Database in 2006 (B)
  • SM204: DKSH in 2011
  • SM129: Samsung Electronics in 2004: Conquering the Wireless Digital World
  • SM156: Intel Centrino in 2007: A New "Platform" Strategy for Growth
  • SM152: Nike's Global Women's Fitness Business: Driving Strategic Integration
  • SM162: Knowledge Management at Kaizenbach Partners
  • SM145: China Internet and Search Market
  • SM146A: The Interplay of Strategy and Finance at Intel (A): The Fab Location Decision
  • SM160: Mark Hurd at HP: Driving Strategic Execution
  • SM163A: The Kinetics and Michael J. Fox Foundations (A): Partnering with a Purpose
  • SM163B: The Kinetics and Michael J. Fox Foundations (B): New Directions
  • SM35C: The Charles Schwab Corporation in 2007: Fixing and Redefining the Core Business
  • SM161: CDNetworks, Inc
  • SM194: France Telecom-Orange in 2011: Stéphane Richard and “Conquests 2015”
  • SM167A: Corning Incorporated (A): Reinventing New Business Development
  • SM155: SAP Banking in 2006: Fostering Innovation in Banking Through The Business Process Platform
  • SM173: Convergence 2008 - Video Over The Internet
  • SM193: The Growth of the Electric Vehicle Industry: Facilitating and Impeding Forces
  • SM189: Nissan's Electric Vehicle Strategy in 2011: Leading the Way Toward Zero-Emission
  • SM195: Infosys Consulting in 2011
  • SM165: Intel in Wireless in 2006 (A): Tackling the Cellular Industry
  • SM148: GE Security: Seeking Growth in Video Solutions Amidst GE's Transformation
  • SM166: The Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2008: Exploiting the Potential of a Novel Organizational Form
  • SM172: Innovation at HP: The Role of the Innovation Program Office (IPO)
  • SM167B: Corning Incorporated (B): Bringing Rigor to Early-Stage Opportunity Identification
  • SM175: The Global Electric Car Industry in 2009: Developments in the U.S., China, and the Rest of the World
  • SM180: HP's ProCurve in 2009: Internal Entrepreneurship Navigates Evolving Corporate Strategy
  • SM176: Google's Android: Will It Shake Up The Wireless Industry In 2009 And Beyond?
  • SM177: Cellular Telecommunications: An Industry Driven by Intellectual Property and Technical Standards
  • SM183: Clean Coal in the U.S. and China: An Industry Note
  • SM182: Zuora Inc.: Venturing into Cloud Computing
  • SM186: France Telecom in 2010
  • SM185A: TTTech (A): Seeking Growth and Scale in New and Existing Markets
  • SM185B: TTTech (B): The Path Forward
  • SM179: Intel and WiMAX in 2010
  • SM190: First Solar, Inc. in 2010
  • SM197: LVMH in 2011: Sustaining Leadership in the Global Luxury Goods Industry
  • SM5A: The U.S. Telecommunications Industry (A): 1984-1996
  • SM5B: The U.S. Telecommunications Industry (B): 1996-1999
  • SM6: The Wireless Communications Industry: After ATT&T McCaw
  • SM24A: Electronic Arts in 1995
  • SM29A: Disney in a Digital World (A)
  • SM32: Microsoft: An Inside Look
  • SM33: Note on the Consumer On-Line Services Industry in 1996
  • SM36: Internet-Based Electronic Commerce in 1997: A Primer
  • SM42: Netscape Communications Corporation in 1997
  • SM50: Intel's Strategic Position in the Family Room--1998
  • SM51: The PC-Based Desktop Videoconferencing Systems Industry in 1998
  • SM65: Intel Corporation: The Evolution of an Adaptive Organization
  • SM67: Elio Engineering, Inc. (A)
  • SM68: The Photonics Industry in 1998
  • SM69: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line: Prospects in 1997
  • SM70: Intel Corporation in 1999
  • SM35A: Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. (A): In 1999
  • BP256A: Intel Corporation (A) The DRAM Decision
  • BP256B: Intel Corporation (B) Implementing the DRAM Decision
  • BP256C: Intel Corporation (C) Strategy for the 1990's
  • BP256E: Intel Corporation (E) New Directions for 1990's
  • SM41A: Wells Fargo Bank & Electronic Banking
  • SM62: AboveNet Communications, Inc. (A)
  • SM43: R.R. Donnelley & Sons and Digital Technology, 1995-1997
  • BP268: Note on the Desktop Operating System Industry in 1996
  • SM29B: Disney in a Digital World (B)
  • BP256D: Intel Corporation (D) Microprocessors at the Crossroads
  • SM76: Peer to Peer Computing: Back to the Future
  • SM75: AOL: The Emergence of an Internet Media Company
  • SM72: The New HP Way
  • SM49A: Intel Corp.: The Hood River Project (A)
  • SM49B: Intel Corp.: The Hood River Project (B)
  • EC23: E-Markets 2000
  • SM83: Evolution of the e-Tailer
  • SM82: Rambus, Inc.
  • SM87: The De-Globalization of Marks & Spencer in 2001: An Update
  • SM24B: Electronic Arts In 1999 (B)
  • SM85: The Open Source Software Challenge
  • SM95: Intel Corporation's Internal Ecology of Strategy Making
  • SM72C: HP, Compaq, and the Computer Industry in 2001 and Beyond
  • SM98: Slouching Toward Broadband
  • SM105: A Look At Three Regulatory Forces Influencing Content And Distribution In The Motion Picture And Television Industries
  • SM110: Intel Corporation: Facing The New Millennium
  • SM106: Intel Beyond 2003: Looking For Its Third Act
  • SM90C: USA Interactive
  • SM100: CIENA Corporation
  • SM24C: Electronic Arts in 2002
  • SM113: Nokia Beyond 2003: A Mobile Gatekeeper?
  • SM112: Universal Music Group in 2003
  • SM29D: Disney in a Digital World (D) A Digital Decade?: Disney in 2003 and Beyond
  • SM96: Vivendi Universal
  • SM90B: USA Networks in 2001
  • SM29C: Distributing the Mouse: Disney in 2001
  • SM35B: Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. (B): In 2003
  • SM118B: Pixim (B): October 2001
  • SM118C: Pixim (C): May 2002
  • SM117: BEA Systems, Inc. In 2003: Reaching For The Next Level
  • SM146B: Intel's Fab Location Decision in 2002 (B): What Happened
  • SM123: LVMH in 2004: The Challenges of Strategic Integration
  • SM118A: Pixim (A): August 2001
  • SM125B: The New New HP in 2004 (B): Winning in the Core Businesses
  • SM130: HP and Compaq Combined: In Search of Scale and Scope
  • SM127: Hanging Up The (Old) Phone: IP Communications in 2004
  • SM107: Finding The Balance: Intellectual Property In The Digital Age
  • SM124: MySQL Open Source Database in 2004
  • SM126A: Matrix Semiconductor Inc (A): Tackling Challenges of Strategic Dimensions
  • SM132A: StubHub (A): January 2004
  • SM132B: StubHub (B): Taking Hold of Product Strategy
  • SM125A: The New New HP in 2004 (A): Leading Strategic Integration
  • SM126B: Matrix Semiconductor Inc. (B): Transitioning From Innovation to Execution
  • SM144: Grove Scholars Program: Putting Rungs Back On The Ladder
  • SM136: Better Medicine Through Information Technology
  • SM137: Slouching Toward Broadband: Revisited in 2005

Awards and Honors

  • Dr. Merc. H. C, 2003, Copenhagen Business School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow, 1997
  • Marvin Bower Fellow, 1992, Harvard Business School
  • Outstanding Paper Award, Division of Business Policy and Planning, 1984, Academy of Management
  • Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Research in the Field of Strategic Management, 1980, Academy of Management and General Electric Company

Courses Taught

  • STRAMGT 371: Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation
  • STRAMGT 381: Leading Strategic Change in the Health Care Industry
  • STRAMGT 573: Strategic Thinking in Action - In Business and Beyond (I)
  • STRAMGT 574: Strategic Thinking in Action - In Business and Beyond (II)



  • Editorial Board: California Management Review
  • Director: Stanford Executive Program
  • Member: Academy of Management, Strategic Management Society
  • Board of Directors: Above Net Communications, Inc.

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