Ryan L. Raffaelli

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Ryan Raffaelli is an assistant professor of business administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit. He teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) in the MBA required curriculum.

Professor Raffaelli studies the emergence and re-emergence of industries, organizations, technologies, and market categories. In particular, his research examines how innovations transform industries, organizational turnarounds, and leadership for change. He is currently investigating how organizations in stagnant industries are able to reinvent themselves, and how leaders infuse values in organizations during periods of instability. Professor Raffaelli’s research has been published or is forthcoming in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Proceedings, and Research in the Sociology of Organizations, as well as in a number of edited handbooks on innovation and management. His work has been covered by such media as the New York Times, The Economist, Forbes, TheStreet, and Yahoo!Finance.

Ryan Raffaelli is an assistant professor of business administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit. He teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) in the MBA required curriculum.

Professor Raffaelli studies the emergence and re-emergence of industries, organizations, technologies, and market categories. In particular, his research examines how innovations transform industries, organizational turnarounds, and leadership for change. He is currently investigating how organizations in stagnant industries are able to reinvent themselves, and how leaders infuse values in organizations during periods of instability. Professor Raffaelli’s research has been published or is forthcoming in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Proceedings, and Research in the Sociology of Organizations, as well as in a number of edited handbooks on innovation and management. His work has been covered by such media as the New York Times, The Economist, Forbes, TheStreet, and Yahoo!Finance.

Professor Raffaelli earned both a Ph.D. and an MS in management at Boston College. Earlier, he received concurrent master’s degrees in business and government relations and in business ethics at Harvard. While earning his undergraduate degree in management at Georgetown University, he studied corporate strategy and finance at Oxford University. 

Prior to his academic career, Professor Raffaelli was an executive in Accenture’s strategy management consulting practice, advising Fortune 500 companies, global nonprofits, and various U.S. government agencies. He also served briefly as a White House liaison to NASA.

Journal Articles

  1. Turnkey or Tailored? Relational Pluralism, Institutional Complexity, and the Organizational Adoption of More or Less Customized Practices

    We examine how the organizational adoption of new practices is influenced by relational pluralism, i.e., an organization's multiple ties to actors inside and outside its industry. We theorize that institutional mechanisms of practice diffusion underlying relational networks, and filtered by organizational characteristics, influence the adoption of practices that are more customized (tailored) or less customized (turnkey). We hypothesize first, that organizations participating in extra-industry professional networks will, through normative conformity, be more likely to adopt turnkey practices; second, that the normative pressure of professional networks will interact with the mimeticism of industry peers such that organizations will be more likely to adopt tailored practices; and third, organizational filters will affect adoption of all practices. Using unique survey data from 161 F500 organizations, supplemented by archival and qualitative data, we focus on two Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practice variants. We find significant support for our first two hypotheses and mixed support for our third: organizational infrastructure and identity significantly affect practice adoption, albeit in different ways, but only marginal support for leadership and elite organizational status. Our results point to how a complex web of relational ties affects the organizational adoption of practice variants that differ in their degree of customization.

    Keywords: Networks; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Business Processes; Adoption; Customization and Personalization;

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan, and Mary Ann Glynn. "Turnkey or Tailored? Relational Pluralism, Institutional Complexity, and the Organizational Adoption of More or Less Customized Practices." Academy of Management Journal 57, no. 2 (April, 2014): 541–562. View Details
  2. Mechanisms of Technology Re-Emergence and Identity Change in a Mature Field: Swiss Watchmaking

    I examine the processes and mechanisms whereby market demand for a "dying" technology re-emerges at a later date. In 1983, fourteen years after the introduction of the first quartz watch, mechanical watches, along with the Swiss Jura community of watchmakers who built them, were thought to be "dead" (Landes, 1983). Unexpectedly, however, by 2008 the Swiss mechanical watchmaking industry had re-emerged as the world's leading exporter (in monetary value) of watches. Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, which I apply to a wealth of data, I show how changes in product, organizational, and community identities associated with a legacy technology can be reconstituted to reconfigure a field. My findings highlight that three mechanisms—identity claims, leadership, and framing (i.e., temporal, linguistic, value)—are core to explaining field re-emergence. Although new or discontinuous technologies tend to displace older ones, legacy technologies that are seemingly "dead" can re-emerge, thrive, and even co-exist with newer technologies. Building on these results, I draw out theoretical and empirical implications that focus on the interface between technological shifts and identity change at multiple levels.

    Keywords: industry evolution; innovation streams; Technology Flows; identity; Consumer Products Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Switzerland;

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan. "Mechanisms of Technology Re-Emergence and Identity Change in a Mature Field: Swiss Watchmaking." Academy of Management Proceedings 1 (2013). View Details
  3. Logic Pluralism, Organizational Design, and Practice Adoption: The Structural Embeddedness of CSR Programs

    The institutional logics perspective highlights how organizations are embedded within broader systems of meaning and how this embeddedness activates salient institutional logics in organizations that can enable or constrain organizational decisions, practices, and actions. We investigate a core premise of the institutional logics perspective, that of the alignment of institutional logics and organizational practices and design, in the organizational adoption of CSR practices. We hypothesize that, in the adoption of practices, organizations will house those practices in structural units that align with the logic emphasized by the practice: when adopting practices reflecting a market logic, organizations will locate them in mainline business units, such as marketing; conversely, when adopting practices reflecting a community logic, organizations will locate them in non-mainline business units, such as corporate or philanthropic foundations. Using survey and archival data from 161 Fortune 500 firms, we find support for our hypotheses. Our findings reveal how institutional logics serve as underlying lynchpins, connecting organizational practices to organizational design so as to reinforce and enable each other.

    Keywords: Organizational Design; Management Practices and Processes; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact;

    Citation:

    Glynn, Mary Ann, and Ryan Raffaelli. "Logic Pluralism, Organizational Design, and Practice Adoption: The Structural Embeddedness of CSR Programs." In Institutional Logics in Action. Vol. 39B, edited by Michael Lounsbury and Eva Boxenbaum, 175–198. Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Emerald Group Publishing, 2013. View Details
  4. Uncovering Mechanisms of Theory Development in an Academic Field: Lessons from Leadership Research

    A long-standing debate in organization studies has centered on the tension between paradigmatic consensus and theoretical pluralism in an academic field, but little attention has been paid to the underlying processes of field development that account for this. Using a mechanisms-based approach, we examined the field of leadership over the last 50 years (1957-2007) focusing on: scholarly consensus on theory and methods; models and variables; and examinations of the state of the field. In spite of considerable advances in research, we find a general lack of commensuration or standards by which theories can be compared or synthesized; an emphasis on leaders' effects on performance rather than meaning-making or value infusion; and sparse instances of taking stock of the overall field. We conclude by proposing three research strategies for the future—theoretical compartmentalization, theoretical integration, and theoretical novelty—and advocating greater methodological variety.

    Keywords: Leadership; Theory;

    Citation:

    Glynn, Mary Ann, and Ryan Raffaelli. "Uncovering Mechanisms of Theory Development in an Academic Field: Lessons from Leadership Research." Academy of Management Annals 4, no. 1 (2010): 359–401. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Institutional Innovation: Novel, Useful, and Legitimate

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan, and Mary Ann Glynn. "Institutional Innovation: Novel, Useful, and Legitimate." In Innovation and Entrepreneurship, edited by Christina E. Shalley, Michael A. Hitt, and Jing Zhou. Oxford University Press, forthcoming. View Details
  2. Staying the Same While Changing: Organizational Identity in the Face of Environmental Challenges

    We explore the role of organizational identity in the adoption of new sustainability practices, focusing on how identity functions as a driver of (or sometimes a drag on) adoption. Drawing on illustrations from the U.S. hotel industry, we examine how sustainability practices diffused across firms. Focusing on two exemplar hotels, we show sustainability is not only "what we do" as an organization, but also "who we are." We discuss avenues for future research on sustainability from an identity perspective and reflect on implications for practice.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Mission and Purpose; Organizational Culture; Environmental Sustainability; Adoption; Accommodations Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Glynn, Mary Ann, Christi Lockwood, and Ryan Raffaelli. "Staying the Same While Changing: Organizational Identity in the Face of Environmental Challenges." In Leading Sustainable Change: An Organizational Perspective, edited by Rebecca Henderson, Ranjay Gulati, and Michael Tushman. Oxford University Press, forthcoming. View Details

Working Papers

  1. What’s So Institutional about Leadership

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan, and Mary Ann Glynn. "What’s So Institutional about Leadership." In Research in the Sociology of Organizations, edited by M. Kraatz. Emerald Group Publishing, forthcoming. View Details
  2. Mechanisms of Technology Re-Emergence and Identity Change in a Mature Field: Swiss Watchmaking, 1970–2008

    I examine the processes and mechanisms whereby market demand for a "dying" technology re-emerges at a later date. In 1983, fourteen years after the introduction of the first quartz watch, mechanical watches, along with the Swiss Jura community of watchmakers who built them, were thought to be "dead" (Landes, 1983). Unexpectedly, however, by 2008 the Swiss mechanical watchmaking industry had re-emerged as the world's leading exporter (in monetary value) of watches. Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, which I apply to a wealth of data, I show how changes in product, organizational, and community identities associated with a legacy technology can be reconstituted to reconfigure a field. My findings highlight that three mechanisms — identity claims, leadership, and framing (i.e., temporal, linguistic, value) — are core to explaining field re-emergence. Although new or discontinuous technologies tend to displace older ones, legacy technologies that are seemingly "dead" can re-emerge, thrive, and even co-exist with newer technologies. Building on these results, I draw out theoretical and empirical implications that focus on the interface between technological shifts and identity change at multiple levels.

    Keywords: identity; re-emergence; technology change; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Technology; Demand and Consumers; Identity; Change; Consumer Products Industry; Switzerland;

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan. "Mechanisms of Technology Re-Emergence and Identity Change in a Mature Field: Swiss Watchmaking, 1970–2008." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-048, December 2013. View Details
  3. The Re-Emergence of an Institutional Field: Swiss Watchmaking

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan. "The Re-Emergence of an Institutional Field: Swiss Watchmaking." Working Paper, 2013. View Details
  4. Identity Ambidexterity in Organizations during Periods of Technology Change and Environmental Instability

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan. "Identity Ambidexterity in Organizations during Periods of Technology Change and Environmental Instability." Working Paper, 2013. View Details
  5. Towards the Theoretical Maturation of Organizational Identity: Examining Variants and Finding Synergies among Different Conceptualizations

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan, Mary Ann Glynn, and Michael Tushman. "Towards the Theoretical Maturation of Organizational Identity: Examining Variants and Finding Synergies among Different Conceptualizations." Working Paper, 2013. View Details
  6. Towards a General Theory of the Institutional Field

    Citation:

    Raffaelli, Ryan, Mary Ann Glynn, and J. Strandgaard Pedersen. "Towards a General Theory of the Institutional Field." Working Paper, 2013. View Details
  7. The Market That Wasn't: The Non-Emergence of the Online Grocery Category.

    Citation:

    Navis, C., G. Fisher, Ryan Raffaelli, and Mary Ann Glynn. "The Market That Wasn't: The Non-Emergence of the Online Grocery Category." Working Paper, 2013. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Union City Schools: Sustaining The Turnaround

    Under the leadership of Superintendent Thomas Highton, Union City Schools, New Jersey, underwent a 14-year turnaround. In 1989, the Union City School District was the second-worst-performing district in New Jersey. As Mr. Highton prepared to retire, 2002 student test scores had increased to the point where Union City was the highest among New Jersey cities with a population of 50,000 or more. Teachers, parents, and administrators pondered whether his district would be able to sustain the changes after his departure.

    Keywords: Leadership; Leading Change; Performance Consistency; Change Management; New Jersey;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Raffaelli. "Union City Schools: Sustaining The Turnaround." Harvard Business School Case 303-137, June 2003. (Revised July 2003.) View Details
  2. Publicis Groupe: Leading Creative Acquisitions

    The CEO of a French-based advertising agency network led a series of high-profile acquisitions that created the world's 4th largest global communications company, after a failed strategic alliance taught him lessons about leadership and business relationships.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Leadership; Management Succession; Partners and Partnerships; Cooperation; Integration; France;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Raffaelli. "Publicis Groupe: Leading Creative Acquisitions." Harvard Business School Case 506-010, November 2005. (Revised February 2009.) View Details
  3. CEMEX (A): Building the Global Framework (1985-2004)

    CEMEX grew through acquisitions from a Latin American to a global company under the leadership of a CEO who believed in the importance of a "one enterprise" culture and benchmarking against world standards. As the CEO ponders an acquisition that would double the company's size and take it to new geographies, he wonders if the right capabilities are in place for what should be changed to manage the integration process effectively.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Competency and Skills; Globalized Firms and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Integration; Latin America;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Pamela Yatsko, and Ryan Raffaelli. "CEMEX (A): Building the Global Framework (1985-2004)." Harvard Business School Case 308-022, July 2007. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  4. CEMEX (B): Cementing Relationships (2004-2007)

    Keywords: Relationships;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Pamela Yatsko, and Ryan Raffaelli. "CEMEX (B): Cementing Relationships (2004-2007)." Harvard Business School Supplement 308-023, July 2007. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  5. CEMEX's Foundations for Sustainability

    Keywords: Multinational Firms and Management; Competitive Strategy; Change Management; Emerging Markets; Construction Industry; Mexico; Egypt; United States;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Pamela Yatsko, and Ryan Raffaelli. "CEMEX's Foundations for Sustainability." Harvard Business School Case 308-024, July 2007. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  6. Publicis Groupe: Leading Creative Acquisitions (TN)

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Leo Raffaelli. "Publicis Groupe: Leading Creative Acquisitions (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 506-066, May 2006. (Revised February 2009.) View Details
  7. Banco Real: Banking on Sustainability (TN)

    Keywords: Investment Funds; Banking Industry;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Leo Raffaelli. "Banco Real: Banking on Sustainability (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 306-067, February 2006. (Revised November 2008.) View Details
  8. Shinhan Financial Group (A)

    Mr. Young Hwi Choi, president and CEO of Shinhan Financial Group, embarked on an unconventional post-merger integration strategy with recently acquired Chohung Bank. The strategy focused on integrating traditional operations while attending to employees' reactions to change, especially the unionized workers at Chohung, an older bank that had recently fallen into decline, compared with the success of younger, more entrepreneurial Shinhan Bank. Once complete, the new bank would make Shinhan Financial Group the second largest bank in South Korea. Managing change involved a period called "dual bank" in which Shinhan and Chohung operated in parallel while undergoing an "emotional integration."

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Change Management; Employees; Leading Change; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Emotions; Integration; South Korea;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Raffaelli. "Shinhan Financial Group (A)." Harvard Business School Case 305-075, February 2005. (Revised March 2008.) View Details
  9. Shinhan Financial Group (A) (TN)

    Keywords: Financial Services Industry;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Leo Raffaelli. "Shinhan Financial Group (A) (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 306-024, November 2005. (Revised February 2008.) View Details
  10. Innovation at Timberland: Thinking Outside the Shoe Box

    Innovation was linked to Timberland's heritage. In 2005, CEO Jeff Swartz and COO Ken Pucker hoped the Invention Factory, an advanced concept lab, would develop new breakthrough products and reinvigorate the company's culture of innovation. Since the 1960s, Timberland had relied on innovation, developing the world's first waterproof boot and, in the 1980s, category-defining boat shoes and day hiking boots. Creating variations of these core products, along with expansion into apparel, had sustained Timberland's business for more than 30 years. Timberland's growth in the past six years was due to increased international sales and new customer segments. As Timberland's leaders looked to the future, they hoped Doug Clark, a biomechanist, and his Invention Factory team would bring a scientific approach toward building the next generation of Timberland products and ideas. The team had to convince those in the mainstream business to accept their new ideas and integrate them back into the product line.

    Keywords: Innovation and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Product Development; Organizational Culture; Science-Based Business;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Ryan Raffaelli. "Innovation at Timberland: Thinking Outside the Shoe Box." Harvard Business School Case 306-064, January 2006. (Revised February 2008.) View Details
  11. ABN AMRO Bank N.V.: Global Change Agents

    ABN AMRO Global Banking Group developed its risk management function in response to expansion, and increasingly focused on environmental and social risks. The head of the function needed to influence policies and business decisions in a highly decentralized context in which major country business units such as Brazil, India, and the United States operated relatively independently. Highlights the history of environmental and social responsibility at the bank, links to business performance, and the leadership skills required for a corporate staff head to influence change.

    Keywords: Risk Management; Banks and Banking; Expansion; Change; Governing and Advisory Boards; Social Enterprise; Leadership Development; History; Banking Industry; Service Industry; Brazil; India; United States;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Lance P. Pierce, and Ryan Leo Raffaelli. "ABN AMRO Bank N.V.: Global Change Agents." Harvard Business School Case 307-050, April 2007. View Details
  12. Medical Innovation Beyond MedStar: Mobilizing for National Impact

    Dr. Craig Feied, director of MedStar Health's Medical Informatics programs, wanted his innovations to influence national health care. Since joining Washington Hospital Center's Emergency Department in 1995 with Dr. Mark Smith, their information system had become the world's largest real-time data system. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon had highlighted the system's potential national impact, garnering attention from senior White House officials. Now Feied had to ask several questions about how he could effect an even bigger change: What organization vehicle should the use to manage his innovations? How can he take the projects to scale beyond MedStar? Taking the system to scale would require finding a new path involving a complex matrix of parties involved in medicine, government, and the private sector.

    Keywords: Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Policy; Government and Politics; Innovation and Management; Projects; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Health Industry; Washington (state, US);

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Ryan Leo Raffaelli, and Michelle Heskett. "Medical Innovation Beyond MedStar: Mobilizing for National Impact." Harvard Business School Case 306-096, April 2006. View Details
  13. The Making of Verizon

    Through a series of mergers, Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon chairman and CEO, successfully shared the co-CEO title twice while building the largest telecom company in the United States. The strong and complementary cultures of the companies that Seidenberg and a key group of executives had merged was a major factor in their success. However, in the steps leading up to this, decreased revenues in their traditional wireline business intensified their dependence on the growth of wireless and broadband services. As Verizon moved into this less familiar territory, the culture that had sustained them through change would have to be evaluated as they embarked on a new wave of growth. As the future of Verizon become more dependent on business in areas that bore little resemblance to the Baby Bells, were the lessons from past successful mergers less applicable?

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Change Management; Transition; Leading Change; Organizational Culture; Risk Management; Telecommunications Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Kanter, Rosabeth M., Douglas A Raymond, and Ryan Raffaelli. "The Making of Verizon." Harvard Business School Case 303-131, February 2004. View Details

Other Publications and Materials

  1. Weathering the Storm: The State of Corporate Citizenship 2009

    Keywords: corporate social responsibility;

    Citation:

    Carapinha, Rene, Peggy Connolly, Philip Mirvis, Christopher Pinney, and Ryan Raffaelli. "Weathering the Storm: The State of Corporate Citizenship 2009." Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, 2009. View Details
  2. The Market That Wasn't: The Non-emergence of the Online Grocery Category

    We examine the non-emergence of a potential new market category. In the late 1990s the entrepreneurial firms that attempted to sell groceries online attracted significant resources, made meaningful technological advancements and generated immense publicity, yet online grocery retail still failed to emerge as a stand-alone market category. Drawing on multiple primary and secondary data sources, we elaborate on existing frameworks of category emergence to investigate how the social construction of a market category offers a partial explanation for category non-emergence. Our explanations are rooted in the instability and contestation of the underlying beliefs, logics, and bases for legitimacy that can typify an emerging market’s focal actors and audiences. Our findings suggest that under such conditions of instability and contestation, if a core identity frame fails to emerge for the category as a whole, then in spite of significant advances in other areas, a new market category may still fail to emerge.

    Keywords: Online Technology; Food; Emerging Markets; Service Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Navis, Chad, Greg Fisher, Ryan Raffaelli, and Mary Ann Glynn. "The Market That Wasn't: The Non-emergence of the Online Grocery Category." Proceedings of the New Frontiers in Management and Organizational Cognition Conference 1, no. 1 (September, 2012). View Details