Richard A. D'Aveni, Professor of Strategic Management


You are a tenured professor at one of the world’s leading business schools. How do you maintain your edge? How do you keep your ideas fresh and meaningful to those on the corporate and government front lines? These questions occupy Richard D’Aveni’s mind. The answers?

Worldwide connections

First, in a global business world and international affairs, you make sure that you see the world. He consults with family-owned companies in Turkey, works at Italy’s Bocconi University, delivers keynotes worldwide, and carries out on the ground research in China and elsewhere. With literally hundreds of business and political connections in over 60 countries, D’Aveni has his ear to the ground.

Constant engagement

Second, you engage with leaders with pressing and challenging problems. Richard D’Aveni consults with corporations and advises governments worldwide. He has helped France and French firms to plan their spheres of economic influence and improve their positions within the E.U., culminating in its presentation in the French Senat. With the Vice president of Indonesia’s involvement, he has run programs to improve the competitiveness of Indonesia’s top firms. And he has helped found business schools in Latin America, the Middle East, India, South East Asia, and Japan. He also brings some of the world’s leading executives into his classrooms to test his ideas in the crucible of debate.

The result is that Richard D’Aveni has consistently provided innovative insights into the real world of strategy, including:

Hypercompetition: Not many thinkers actually change the business lexicon.  D’Aveni did just that with his creation of the concept of hypercompetition.  In today’s even more turbulent times his description of hypercompetition appears powerfully prescient.

Mapping Your Competitive Position: D’Aveni’s 2007 Harvard Business Review article offered a powerful and practical tool to better understand a company’s competitiveness.  His use of price-benefit analysis offers unique insights, combining analysis with art.  “Price-benefit analysis is an art form, requiring many judgments,” he advises. 

Commoditization: Over a decade, Richard D’Aveni’s research looked at the perils of commoditization caused by low cost producers such as China.  This led him to identify three commodity traps – deterioration, proliferation and escalation.  Not satisfied with identifying and deconstructing the problem, D’Aveni’s work (captured in Beating the Commodity Trap, Harvard Busiuness Press, 2010) provides strategies to escape each trap.

Challenging Capitalism: In his 2012 book, Strategic Capitalism, D’Aveni brings his tools and analysis to bear on the rise of China and the challenges it poses the United States and other nations. He argues that China has proved adept at using capitalism strategically. To counter, the developed world must also learn to take a more strategic approach to capitalism.