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, and technologies. 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 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, Huffington Post, 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, and technologies. 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 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, Huffington Post, 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.
  1. Overview

    Professor Raffaelli examines industry, organization, and technology "re-emergence," managing change and innovation, and the role of leaders during periods of instability.

  2. The Re-Emergence of Industries, Organizations, and Technologies

    The comeback of the mechanical watch industry has provided Professor Raffaelli with the opportunity to investigate re-emergence along several dimensions, using different types of qualitative and quantitative studies. Probing the resurgence in market demand for mechanical watches, he has defined the role of industry leaders and collectors, while assessing how indicators as varied as currency valuations and industry consolidation may affect re-emergence. Professor Raffaelli has pursued the role of identity change in re-emergence, citing identity claims, leadership, and message framing as core components. Building on this work, he is in the midst of a multiple-industry study that identifies several generalizable conditions that make some industries, organizations, and communities better suited than others for re-emergence. This work has led him to examine the recent resurgence of independent bookstores, fountain pens, vinyl LPs, high-end textiles, streetcars, and several others.

    Keywords: turnarounds; Innovation and Management; Technology Evolution; change management; Disruption; Transformation; Transition;

  3. Managing Organizational Change and “Identity Ambidexterity”

    Professor Raffaelli has looked at change management within firms in multiple industries, including financial services, book publishing, manufacturing, fashion and apparel, telecommunications, health care, advertising, luxury goods, and public schools. Based on this work, he has introduced the concept of identity ambidexterity—an organization’s ability to exploit past and current identities while simultaneously integrating elements of a new organizational identity. Identity ambidexterity serves as an important dynamic capability for organizations faced with the threat of new technologies or radical institutional change. It employs existing structures and activities that shape how the firm defines “who we are” and “what we do” while also permitting novel and transformative elements to permeate the organization. This balance facilitates adaptation, helping the firm to survive periods of environmental change.

    Keywords: Organizational ambidexterity; organizational identity; change management; Innovation Strategy; innovation management; Change Management; Transformation;

  4. Innovation and Practice Adoption

    In another stream of research, Professor Raffaelli explores how and when organizations adopt innovations and new practices in complex, dynamic environments. In theoretical work on this issue, he has advanced the idea that “institutional innovation” is not only, like all innovation, novel and useful, but must also be considered legitimate, or perceived to be both credible and appropriate. In empirical studies, he has focused on the adoption of Corporate Social Responsibility practices by large corporations. This work demonstrates how an organization’s relationship to its professional and industry communities can influence its decision to adopt novel practices.

    Keywords: institutional change; innovation & entrepreneurship; Diffusion Processes; Technology Adoption; Social Enterprise;

  5. Leadership and Values

    Professor Raffaelli investigates the role of the leaders within organizations and across industries over time. His work indicates the key role leaders play in driving and infusing values. He also connects leadership to meaning making, theorizing about the underlying processes and mechanisms that allow leaders to foster the continuance, character, and collective nature of values in organizations. His research finds that such leadership is essential in times of instability, including the re-emergence of technologies and industries.

    Keywords: leadership; Values and Beliefs; Mission and Purpose;