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Bill Barnett: Where Great Companies – and Leaders – Come From
Interview of William P. Barnett

Biography

Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations

Research Statement

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.

Bio

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 Administration 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 an affiliated faculty member of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Barnett serves as a senior or associate editor for several academic journals.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley, 1988
  • BA in Political Science and Economics, University of California, Berkeley, 1982

Academic Appointments

  • The Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations, Stanford GSB, 2004-present
  • Professor of Strategic Management and Organizational Behavior, Stanford GSB, 2001-2004
  • Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Organizational Behavior, Stanford GSB, 1996-2001
  • Associate Professor of Strategic Management, Stanford GSB, 1994-1996
  • Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, Stanford GSB, 1991-1994
  • Assistant Professor of Management, Graduate School of Business, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1988-1991

Teaching

Degree Courses

2018-19

STRAMGT 207: Strategic Leadership

This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization''s strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the...

2017-18

STRAMGT 207: Strategic Leadership

This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization''s strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the...

STRAMGT 359: Aligning Start-ups with their Market

Most everyone associated with technology start-ups would agree that the most important initial characteristic of a successful endeavor is a compelling vision. The journey from vision to escape velocity is highly dependent on management''s ability...

2016-17

OB 626: Strategy and Organizations

Why are some organizations more competitive than others? This is the defining questions of the interdisciplinary research field known as "strategic management." In this PhD seminar, we will survey the field of strategic management as seen from...

STRAMGT 207: Strategic Leadership

This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization''s strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the...

STRAMGT 359: Aligning Start-ups with their Market

Most everyone associated with technology start-ups would agree that the most important initial characteristic of a successful endeavor is a compelling vision. The journey from vision to escape velocity is highly dependent on management''s ability...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

  • The Corporate Entrepreneur: Driving Innovation and New Ventures Learn how to translate ideas into action using strategic frameworks and design thinking; then put theory into practice with real innovation projects.
  • The Emerging CFO: Strategic Financial Leadership Program Guide your organization through growth with innovative CFO training that blends financial expertise, strategic thinking, and leadership skills.
  • The Emerging COO: Driving Innovation and Operational Excellence Drive and sustain innovation and operational excellence. Strengthen collaboration with C-suite leaders to translate strategies into actionable plans.
  • Executive Program for Growing Companies Discover business growth strategies and build a stronger company designed to sustain progress, scale management, and facilitate market expansion.
  • Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship Take your social enterprise to the next level in this program designed to help entrepreneurs refine their innovations and leverage their impact.
  • Executive Program in Strategy and Organization Effectively diagnose and solve problems using proven frameworks for executing change in this multidisciplinary strategic management course.
  • Stanford Executive Program: Be a Leader Who Matters Learn to generate change, inspire innovation, and instill excellence at this six-week executive program.
  • Stanford LEAD: Corporate Innovation Certificate In this online program, learn innovation, intrapreneurship, and how to create organizational change.

Insights by Stanford Business

written10 Most-Read Stories of 2017

December 4, 2017

Readers keyed into humor’s workplace value, the secret to improving communication skills, and advice from Sheryl Sandberg and Marc Andreessen.

writtenThe Risk of an Unwavering Vision

March 28, 2017

A new study concludes that successful tech firms are often “discovered and not planned.”

writtenWhy You Don’t Understand Disruption

March 7, 2017

It’s not that big companies are bad at inventing; it’s that they’re bad at organizational shifts.

writtenSix Ways to Be a Better Manager

January 25, 2017

Kill consensus and beware the false negative, says one Stanford GSB professor.

writtenFinding the Next Billion-Dollar Company

April 21, 2016

Want to spot a unicorn? Look for the horse running against the herd.

writtenWilliam Barnett: The Value of Fuzzy Market Categories for Entrepreneurs

November 23, 2015

Sometimes it pays to define your product market more broadly.

writtenThe Recommended List by Stanford GSB Professors

April 30, 2015

Those in the know share where to go to learn more about reward and related topics.

writtenWilliam Barnett: Business Leaders Should Not Avoid Competition

November 21, 2014

Competition raises the bar for rivals to do better.

writtenWilliam Barnett: When Being a Nonconformist Entrepreneur Pays Off

October 2, 2014

A study finds that bucking the trend can lead to entrepreneurial success.

writtenResearch: Economics Lessons From Indian Textile Firms

December 1, 2010

New studies show that firms implementing systematic management practices improved their productivity by 10 percent reduced defects by 60 percent.

writtenThe Rise of the Mighty Microbrew

August 1, 2002

Researchers explain how industries dominated by large firms actually create an environment where smaller specialists can thrive.

writtenWhy Do Some Companies Thrive While Others Fail?

August 1, 2002

Researchers in the growing field of organizational ecology say it's vital to look at the entire life cycle of the business, including the failures.

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Read about executive education

Cases

Innovium 2018 | SM306 William Barnett, Christy Johnson, Morgan Salama2018

NetApp 2017 | SM289 William P. Barnett, Christy Johnson, Sahver Kaya2017

Innovium 2017 | SM277 William Barnett, Christy Johnson2017

The Rise of AmorePacific | SM274 William P Barnett, Mooweon Rhee, Dongyub Shin2017

The Rise of Apple | SM260 William P. Barnett, Debra Schifrin2016

Global Fisheries: The Emergence of a Sustainable Seafood Movement | SI141 William Barnett, Pamela Matson, Julia Novy-Hildesley, Julia G. Mason, Alana F. Springer2016

SM Entertainment | IB108 William P. Barnett, Mooweon Rhee, Sang-Hoon Kim2015

Mercado Libre | IB105 William Barnett, Gary Mekikian2013

Facebook 2012 | E468 William Barnett, Arar Han2012

Taobao vs. Ebay China | IB88 William Barnett, Mi Feng, Xiaoqu Luo2010

User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit (A) | E381A William Barnett, Sara Leslie2010

User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit (B) | E381B William Barnett, Sara Leslie2010

Gazprom and the E.U. | GS72 Condoleezza Rice, William Barnett, Cameron Bell2009

NetApp and the Challenge of Global Leadership | IB89 William Barnett, Sara Leslie2009

The Dubai Ports Controversy | GS73 Condoleezza Rice, William Barnett, Cecilia Hyunjung Mo2009

Creating Qualcomm (A) | E301A William Barnett, Gary Mekikian2008

Hyundai Motor Company in China | IB91 William Barnett, Jae-Gu Kim, Mooweon Rhee2008

Volantis | E224 William Barnett, Mike Harkey2006

UFSoft | SM92 William Barnett, Peter Lorentzen2005

Webvan | E77A William Barnett, Keith Sigg2005

Bozeman, Montana & The Yellowstone Business Partnership | SI54 William Barnett, Dave Boennighausen2004

Montebello Capital (B) | E140B William Barnett, Brad Wolfe2004

Napster 2.0 | SM128 William Barnett, Ilya Levtov2004

Seagate Technology 2004 | SM60B William Barnett, David McKendrick, Kyra Gebhardt2004

Abercrombie & Kent, Pioneering Global Ecotourism | SI47 William Barnett, Terry Cumes, William Durham, Roderick Morris2003

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste | SI48 William Barnett, William Durham2003

Belize's Community Baboon Sanctuary | SI51 William Barnett, William Durham, Nathaniel Fisher2003

Hyundai Motor Company | SM122 William Barnett, James March, Mooweon Rhee2003

Network Appliance (B) | E55B William Barnett, Jamie Earle2003

Network Appliance (C), The Growth of Network Appliance | E55C William Barnett, Charles Holloway, Jamie Earle2003

Network Appliance (D) | E55D William Barnett, Charles Holloway, Jamie Earle2003

The Wild Salmon Center | SI45 William Barnett, Erik Budde, William Durham2003

Montebello Capital | E140A William Barnett, Janet Feldstein2002

SkyStream Networks, Inc. (A) | E135A William Barnett, Andrea Higuera, Aimee Swanson2002

SkyStream Networks, Inc. (B) | E135B William Barnett, Andrea Higuera, Aimee Swanson2002

The Environment for Entrepreneurship in China | E198 William Barnett, Peter Lorentzen2002

Touring In The Galapagos Islands | SI36 William Barnett, Brady Beaubien, William Durham2002

Agilent Technologies: Organizational Change (A) | OD1A William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Victoria Chang2001

Agilent Technologies: Organizational Change (B) | OD1B William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Victoria Chang2001

NextStage Entertainment | SM57 William Barnett, Christopher Flanagan, Jason Salgado2001

Apex PC Solutions, Inc. | E66 William Barnett, Jeff Chambers, Nathaniel Durant1999

Third Federal Savings and Loan | SM45 William Barnett, Heather MacDonald Stefanski1999

W.R. Hambrecht + Co. | E62 William Barnett, Jeff Chambers, Pratap Mukherjee1999

Establishing Network Appliance (A) | E55A William Barnett, Lauren Dutton1998

Varian, 1997 | SM31 William Barnett, Jane Wei1997

Mendocino Brewing Company (A) | SM15 William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Wendy Harrington1995

Newell Company (A) | SM16 William Barnett, Paul Reddy1995

FITS Imaging Inc. (A) | SM12 William Barnett, Nicolas Vandenberghe1994

Note on the U.S. Craft, Brewing Industry | SM11 William Barnett, Wendy Harrington1994

Innovium 2018 | SM306 William Barnett, Christy Johnson, Morgan Salama2018

NetApp 2017 | SM289 William P. Barnett, Christy Johnson, Sahver Kaya2017

Innovium 2017 | SM277 William Barnett, Christy Johnson2017

The Rise of AmorePacific | SM274 William P Barnett, Mooweon Rhee, Dongyub Shin2017

The Rise of Apple | SM260 William P. Barnett, Debra Schifrin2016

Global Fisheries: The Emergence of a Sustainable Seafood Movement | SI141 William Barnett, Pamela Matson, Julia Novy-Hildesley, Julia G. Mason, Alana F. Springer2016

SM Entertainment | IB108 William P. Barnett, Mooweon Rhee, Sang-Hoon Kim2015

Mercado Libre | IB105 William Barnett, Gary Mekikian2013

Facebook 2012 | E468 William Barnett, Arar Han2012

Taobao vs. Ebay China | IB88 William Barnett, Mi Feng, Xiaoqu Luo2010

User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit (A) | E381A William Barnett, Sara Leslie2010

User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit (B) | E381B William Barnett, Sara Leslie2010

Gazprom and the E.U. | GS72 Condoleezza Rice, William Barnett, Cameron Bell2009

NetApp and the Challenge of Global Leadership | IB89 William Barnett, Sara Leslie2009

The Dubai Ports Controversy | GS73 Condoleezza Rice, William Barnett, Cecilia Hyunjung Mo2009

Creating Qualcomm (A) | E301A William Barnett, Gary Mekikian2008

Hyundai Motor Company in China | IB91 William Barnett, Jae-Gu Kim, Mooweon Rhee2008

Volantis | E224 William Barnett, Mike Harkey2006

UFSoft | SM92 William Barnett, Peter Lorentzen2005

Webvan | E77A William Barnett, Keith Sigg2005

Bozeman, Montana & The Yellowstone Business Partnership | SI54 William Barnett, Dave Boennighausen2004

Montebello Capital (B) | E140B William Barnett, Brad Wolfe2004

Napster 2.0 | SM128 William Barnett, Ilya Levtov2004

Seagate Technology 2004 | SM60B William Barnett, David McKendrick, Kyra Gebhardt2004

Abercrombie & Kent, Pioneering Global Ecotourism | SI47 William Barnett, Terry Cumes, William Durham, Roderick Morris2003

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste | SI48 William Barnett, William Durham2003

Belize's Community Baboon Sanctuary | SI51 William Barnett, William Durham, Nathaniel Fisher2003

Hyundai Motor Company | SM122 William Barnett, James March, Mooweon Rhee2003

Network Appliance (B) | E55B William Barnett, Jamie Earle2003

Network Appliance (C), The Growth of Network Appliance | E55C William Barnett, Charles Holloway, Jamie Earle2003

Network Appliance (D) | E55D William Barnett, Charles Holloway, Jamie Earle2003

The Wild Salmon Center | SI45 William Barnett, Erik Budde, William Durham2003

Montebello Capital | E140A William Barnett, Janet Feldstein2002

SkyStream Networks, Inc. (A) | E135A William Barnett, Andrea Higuera, Aimee Swanson2002

SkyStream Networks, Inc. (B) | E135B William Barnett, Andrea Higuera, Aimee Swanson2002

The Environment for Entrepreneurship in China | E198 William Barnett, Peter Lorentzen2002

Touring In The Galapagos Islands | SI36 William Barnett, Brady Beaubien, William Durham2002

Agilent Technologies: Organizational Change (A) | OD1A William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Victoria Chang2001

Agilent Technologies: Organizational Change (B) | OD1B William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Victoria Chang2001

NextStage Entertainment | SM57 William Barnett, Christopher Flanagan, Jason Salgado2001

Apex PC Solutions, Inc. | E66 William Barnett, Jeff Chambers, Nathaniel Durant1999

Third Federal Savings and Loan | SM45 William Barnett, Heather MacDonald Stefanski1999

W.R. Hambrecht + Co. | E62 William Barnett, Jeff Chambers, Pratap Mukherjee1999

Establishing Network Appliance (A) | E55A William Barnett, Lauren Dutton1998

Varian, 1997 | SM31 William Barnett, Jane Wei1997

Mendocino Brewing Company (A) | SM15 William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Wendy Harrington1995

Newell Company (A) | SM16 William Barnett, Paul Reddy1995

FITS Imaging Inc. (A) | SM12 William Barnett, Nicolas Vandenberghe1994

Note on the U.S. Craft, Brewing Industry | SM11 William Barnett, Wendy Harrington1994

NetApp 2017 | SM289 William P. Barnett, Christy Johnson, Sahver Kaya2017

Innovium 2017 | SM277 William Barnett, Christy Johnson2017

The Rise of AmorePacific | SM274 William P Barnett, Mooweon Rhee, Dongyub Shin2017

Global Fisheries: The Emergence of a Sustainable Seafood Movement | SI141 William Barnett, Pamela Matson, Julia Novy-Hildesley, Julia G. Mason, Alana F. Springer2016

SM Entertainment | IB108 William P. Barnett, Mooweon Rhee, Sang-Hoon Kim2015

Mercado Libre | IB105 William Barnett, Gary Mekikian2013

Facebook 2012 | E468 William Barnett, Arar Han2012

Taobao vs. Ebay China | IB88 William Barnett, Mi Feng, Xiaoqu Luo2010

User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit (A) | E381A William Barnett, Sara Leslie2010

User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit (B) | E381B William Barnett, Sara Leslie2010

Gazprom and the E.U. | GS72 Condoleezza Rice, William Barnett, Cameron Bell2009

NetApp and the Challenge of Global Leadership | IB89 William Barnett, Sara Leslie2009

The Dubai Ports Controversy | GS73 Condoleezza Rice, William Barnett, Cecilia Hyunjung Mo2009

Creating Qualcomm (A) | E301A William Barnett, Gary Mekikian2008

Hyundai Motor Company in China | IB91 William Barnett, Jae-Gu Kim, Mooweon Rhee2008

Volantis | E224 William Barnett, Mike Harkey2006

UFSoft | SM92 William Barnett, Peter Lorentzen2005

Webvan | E77A William Barnett, Keith Sigg2005

Bozeman, Montana & The Yellowstone Business Partnership | SI54 William Barnett, Dave Boennighausen2004

Montebello Capital (B) | E140B William Barnett, Brad Wolfe2004

Napster 2.0 | SM128 William Barnett, Ilya Levtov2004

Seagate Technology 2004 | SM60B William Barnett, David McKendrick, Kyra Gebhardt2004

Abercrombie & Kent, Pioneering Global Ecotourism | SI47 William Barnett, Terry Cumes, William Durham, Roderick Morris2003

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste | SI48 William Barnett, William Durham2003

Belize's Community Baboon Sanctuary | SI51 William Barnett, William Durham, Nathaniel Fisher2003

Hyundai Motor Company | SM122 William Barnett, James March, Mooweon Rhee2003

Network Appliance (B) | E55B William Barnett, Jamie Earle2003

Network Appliance (C), The Growth of Network Appliance | E55C William Barnett, Charles Holloway, Jamie Earle2003

Network Appliance (D) | E55D William Barnett, Charles Holloway, Jamie Earle2003

The Wild Salmon Center | SI45 William Barnett, Erik Budde, William Durham2003

Montebello Capital | E140A William Barnett, Janet Feldstein2002

SkyStream Networks, Inc. (A) | E135A William Barnett, Andrea Higuera, Aimee Swanson2002

SkyStream Networks, Inc. (B) | E135B William Barnett, Andrea Higuera, Aimee Swanson2002

The Environment for Entrepreneurship in China | E198 William Barnett, Peter Lorentzen2002

Touring In The Galapagos Islands | SI36 William Barnett, Brady Beaubien, William Durham2002

Agilent Technologies: Organizational Change (A) | OD1A William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Victoria Chang2001

Agilent Technologies: Organizational Change (B) | OD1B William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Victoria Chang2001

NextStage Entertainment | SM57 William Barnett, Christopher Flanagan, Jason Salgado2001

Apex PC Solutions, Inc. | E66 William Barnett, Jeff Chambers, Nathaniel Durant1999

Third Federal Savings and Loan | SM45 William Barnett, Heather MacDonald Stefanski1999

W.R. Hambrecht + Co. | E62 William Barnett, Jeff Chambers, Pratap Mukherjee1999

Establishing Network Appliance (A) | E55A William Barnett, Lauren Dutton1998

Varian, 1997 | SM31 William Barnett, Jane Wei1997

Mendocino Brewing Company (A) | SM15 William Barnett, Glenn Carroll, Wendy Harrington1995

Newell Company (A) | SM16 William Barnett, Paul Reddy1995

FITS Imaging Inc. (A) | SM12 William Barnett, Nicolas Vandenberghe1994

Note on the U.S. Craft, Brewing Industry | SM11 William Barnett, Wendy Harrington1994

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