Robert I. Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School. He is co-founder of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization, which he co-directed from 1996 to 2006. Sutton is also co-founder of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and the new Hasso Planter Institute of Design, a multi-disciplinary program at Stanford that teaches and spreads “design thinking.” He is an IDEO Fellow, member of the Institute for the Future’s Board Trustees, and a Professor of Organizational Behavior, by courtesy, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Sutton received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from The University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983. He has 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. Sutton’s honors include the award for the best paper published in the Academy of Management Journal in 1989, induction into the Academy of Management Journals 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, selection by Business 2.0 as a leading “management guru” in 2002, the award for the best article published in the Academy of Management Review in 2005, and his book, The No Asshole Rule, won the Quill Award for the best business book of 2007. Sutton was also named as one of 10 “B-School All-Stars” by BusinessWeek in 2007, which they described as “professors who are influencing contemporary business thinking far beyond academia.”
Sutton studies the links between managerial knowledge and organizational action, innovation, and organizational performance. He has published over 125 articles and chapters in scholarly and applied publications. He has also published eight books and edited volumes. In particular, Sutton (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 next book, Weird Ideas That Work: 11 ½ Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation (The Free Press, 2002), was selected by the Harvard Business Review as one of the best ten business books of the year and as a breakthrough business idea. Sutton (and Jeffrey Pfeffer) then published Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management, (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), which was selected by Toronto’s Globe and Mail as the top management book of 2006. Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t (Business Plus, 2007), was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “meticulously researched” and “direct and punchy” and was listed as a bestseller by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com (as the #1 non-fiction book), was on the BusinessWeek bestseller list for six months. His next book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be Best… and Learn from the Worst, will be published by Business Plus in 2010. Sutton has consulted to companies including Clorox, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Consulting, Gap, HP, Brass Ring, IDEO, IBM, McDonald’s, People Magazine, Pepsi, Proctor & Gamble, SAP, Steelcase, and Xerox.
He has given keynote speeches in recent years to executives at the International Utility and Energy Conference in Boca Raton, “The Ruling Association” in Milan, The Conference Board in New York City, the Human Resource Development conference in London, the International Printed Circuit Board Association conference in Long Beach, McCann-Erickson in Berlin, the Innovative Thinking conference in Scottsdale, Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, the Master's Forum in Minneapolis, the Economist Magazine Innovation Awards in San Francisco, the Design Management Innovation Summit in Palo Alto, the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, The Center for Adaptive Management in Cincinnati, The European Conference on Customer Management in London, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi, the World Knowledge Forum in Korea, Brandworks in Madison, WI, Innotown in Alusend, Norway, the Bertelsmann CEO conference in Berlin, and the WJF Institute in Austin, Texas.
He has also spoken to groups from over 100 organizations in diverse industries, including events for Accenture, Adobe, Alcoa, Applied Materials, Cadence, Cerner, China Telecom,General Motors, the Concours Group, Dechert LLP, Del Monte Foods, EDS, Gardere Wynne Sewell, LLP, Hearst, HP, Huhtamaki, Intel, Lupus Alpha, McDonald’s, Merck, Motorola, Microsoft, National Public Radio, Novartis, New Dominion, Nokia, Oracle, Panera Bread, PeopleSoft, Phillips Electronics, Premier Healthcare, Phillips Petroleum, SAP, Siemens, Sun, Synopsis, SuccessFactors, Target, The Institute for the Future, and The City of San Jose. Sutton also is Academic Director of two executive programs at Stanford, Leading for Strategic Execution and Customer-Focused Innovation, and teaches hundreds of executives and other professionals each year who come to Stanford for professional education.
His research and opinions are often described in the press, including The New York Times, The Times (of London), Fast Company, BusinessWeek, U.S. News and World Report, Financial Times, Esquire, Fortune, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, National Post, The Observer, The Boston Globe, ComputerWorld, Business 2.0, Red Herring, Entrepreneur, Industry Standard, Investor’s Business Daily, Wired, Chief Executive, Strategy & Leadership, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury, and Time Magazine He has also been columnist for CIO Insight and a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, Fox, NBC Today Show, Connections, KGO, PBS, NPR, Marketwatch, Tech Nation, CN8, CNN. Sutton’s blog is Work Matters and can be found at 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 evidence-basedmanagement.com.