Wisconsin School of Business
Professor - Management & Human Resources. UW Foundation Chairman Orr Bascom Professor of Strategic Management

Russell Coff is the UW Foundation Chairman Orr Bascom Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research explores the role of human assets in innovation, creativity, and, ultimately in competitive advantage. For example, he studies management dilemmas associated with human capital including: 1) the management of strategic investments in knowledge-based assets under great uncertainty 2) appropriating value (rent) from competitive advantages, 3) creativity & innovation under conditions of asymmetric information and uncertainty, and 4) how buyers cope in mergers and acquisitions that involve human assets. Coff received his Ph.D. from UCLA and has previously been a faculty member at Emory and Washington Universities.

Russ has served the research community through his participation on a variety of editorial boards including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Strategic Organization (where he was a Co-Editor). He also chaired the Business Policy and Strategic Division of the Academy of Management and the Strategic Human Capital Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society. He is currently the President of the Strategic Management Society.

Selected Accepted Journal Articles

El-Zayaty, A. & Coff, R. (2017). Appropriation of Value from Competitive Advantages. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management

Selected Published Journal Articles

  • Bacon-Gerasymenko, V. & Coff, R. & Durand, R. (2016). Taking a Second Look in a Warped Crystal Ball: Explaining the accuracy of revised forecasts. Journal of Management Studies (53), 1292-1319.
  • Raffiee, J. & Coff, R. (2016). Micro-Foundations of Firm-Specific Human Capital: When Do Employees Perceive Their Skills to be Firm-Specific?. Academy of Management Journal (59), 766-790.
  • Coff, R. & Raffiee, J. (2015). Toward a Theory of Perceived Firm-Specific Human Capital. Academy of Management Perspectives (29), 326-341.
  • Wright, P. & Coff, R. & Moliterno, T. (2014). Strategic Human Capital: Crossing the Great Divide. Journal of Management (40)
  • Campbell, B. & Coff, R. & Kryscynski, D. (2012). Re-thinking Competitive Advantage from Human Capital. Academy of Management Review (37), 376-395.
  • Perry-Smith, J. & Coff, R. (2011). In the mood for entrepreneurial creativity? How optimal group affect differs for generating and selecting ideas for new ventures. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (5), 247-268.
  • Coff, R. & Kryscynski, D. (2011). Drilling for Micro-Foundations of Human Capital Based Competitive Advantages. Journal of Management (37), 1429-1433.
  • Coff, R. (2010). The Co-evolution of Rent Appropriation and Capability Development. Strategic Management Journal (31), 711-733.
  • Makadok, R. & Coff, R. (2009). Both Market and Hierarchy: An incentive-system theory of hybrid governance forms. Academy of Management Review (34), 297-319.
  • Coff, R. & Lee, P. (2007). Insider Trading as a Path to Competitive Advantage?. Strategic Organization (5), 1-5.
  • Coff, R. & Laverty, K. (2007). Real Options Meet Organizational Theory: Coping with path dependencies, agency costs, and organizational form. Advances in Strategic Management (24), 333–361.
  • Coff, R. & Coff, D. & Eastvold, R. (2006). The Knowledge Leveraging Paradox: How to scale up without making knowledge imitable. Academy of Management Review (31), 452-465.
  • Ahuja, G. & Coff, R. & Lee, P. (2005). Managerial Foresight and Attempted Rent Appropriation: Insider Trading on Knowledge of Imminent Breakthroughs. Strategic Management Journal (26), 791-808.
  • Blyler, M. & Coff, R. (2003). Dynamic Capabilities, Social Capital, & Rent Appropriation: Ties that Split Pies. Strategic Management Journal (24), 677-686.
  • Coff, R. (2003). The Emergent Knowledge-Based Theory of Competitive Advantage: An evolutionary approach to integrating economics and management. Managerial and Decision Economics (24), 245-251.
  • Coff, R. & Lee, P. (2003). Insider Trading as a Vehicle to Appropriate Rent from R&D. Strategic Management Journal (24), 183-190.
  • Coff, R. (2003). Bidding Wars Over R&D Intensive Firms: Knowledge, opportunism and the market for corporate control. Academy of Management Journal (46), 74-85.
  • Makadok, R. & Coff, R. (2002). The Theory of Value and the Value of Theory: Breaking new ground vs. reinventing the wheel. Academy of Management Review. Academy of Management Review (27), 10-12.
  • Coff, R. (2002). Human Capital, Shared Expertise, and the Likelihood of Impasse in Corporate Acquisitions. Journal of Management (28), 115-137.
  • Coff, R. & Kevin, L. (2001). Roadblocks to Competitive Advantage: How institutional constraints and decision biases hinder investments in strategic resources. Journal of High Technology Management Research (12), 1-24.
  • Coff, R. (1999). When Competitive Advantage Doesn’t Lead to Performance: Resource-based theory and stakeholder bargaining power. Organization Science (10), 119-133.
  • Coff, R. (1999). How Buyers Cope with Uncertainty When Acquiring Firms in Knowledge-Intensive Industries: Caveat emptor. Organization Science (10), 144-161.
  • Coff, R. (1999). How Control in Human-asset-intensive Firms Differs from Physical-asset-intensive Firms: A multi-level approach. Journal of Managerial Issues (11), 389-405.
  • Coff, R. (1997). Human Assets and Management Dilemmas: Coping with Hazards on the Road to Resource-based Theory. Academy of Management Review (22), 374-402.
  • Flamholtz, E. & Coff, R. (1994). Human Resource Valuation and Amortization in Corporate Acquisitions: A Case Study. Advances in Management Accounting (3), 55-83.

Working Papers

Coff, R. & Moliterno, T. (2016). Ice Rents in Strategic Management: A Longitudinal Exploration. UW Working Paper Series

Practitioner-Oriented Publications

  • Raffiee, J. & Coff, R. (2016). Video: When Do Employees Perceive Their Skills to be Firm-Specific?. Video Abstract of Academy of Management Journal
  • Coff, R. & Laverty, K. (2001). Real Options on Knowledge Assets: Panacea or Pandora's Box?. Business Horizons (November/December), 73-79.
  • Coff, R. (1999). Boundary decisions. Sloan Management Review (41), 7.
  • Coff, R. & Flamholtz, E. (1993). Corporate Investments in Human Capital: How Financial Accounting Standards Undermine Public Policy. Stanford Law and Policy Review (5), 30-40.
  • Flamholtz, E. & Gerald, S. & Coff, R. (1988). Developing Human Resource Accounting as a Decision Support System. Accounting Horizons (2), 1-9.


2016 Academy of Management Annual Meeting ( 2016 ) Perceived Firm-Specific Human Capital and Turnover: Stuck in their Heads?

Graduate Courses

PhD Orientation Pro-Seminar (BUS 965 Section 1), Fall 2014. Download Syllabus

PhD Seminar in Strategic Management (MHR 870 Section 1), Fall 2014. Download Syllabus

Strategic Management (PhD Seminar) (MHR 765 Section 6), Spring 2012. Download Syllabus

EMBA - Business Strategy (MHR 723 Section 031), Fall 2015. Download Syllabus

Business Strategy (Full time MBA) (MHR 723 Section 1), Fall 2012. Download Syllabus

Learning/Teaching Oriented Publications

  • Maggitti, P. & Coff, R. & Hatfield, D. & Ferrier, W. (2012). Dynamics of Rivalry. Journal of Industrial Organization Education (6), 1-10.
  • Coff, R. & Hatfield, D. (2003). Tinkering in Class: Using the Tinker Toy Exercise to Teach First Mover Advantages and the Resource-based View. Journal of Strategic Management Education (1), 289-303.

Professional Organizations

Strategic Management Society. President Elect

Academy of Management. Assistant Program Chair - Division Chair of the BPS division (2005-2009)

Strategic Management Society. Founding Chair of the Strategic Human Capital Interest Group

Strategic Management Society. Elected to the Board of Directors

Editorial and Reviewing Activities

Academy of Management Journal - Since August 2016 Editorial Board Member

Journal of Management (Co-editor of the Strategic Human Capital special issue) - July 2013 - August 2015 Special Issue Editor

Strategic Organization (Co-Editor) - November 2011 - January 2016 Editor

Strategic Management Journal - Since August 2007 Editorial Board Member

Organization Science - Since August 2002 Editorial Board Member

Journal of Strategic Management Education - Since August 2002 Editorial Board Member

Academy of Management Review - August 1998 - December 2002 Editorial Board Member

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