Research & Ideas

“D’Aveni is the Kissinger of corporate strategy. His highly original and imaginative work imports key ideas from the worlds of history and diplomacy to analyze and manage competitors and make decisions much more profitably."

Adrian Slywotzky, Author of the best sellers: The Profit Zone, and Value Migration

Richard D’Aveni has carried out decades of research into the competitive dynamics of companies. He studies current phenomena in order to understand the business world of the future. He has won the A.T. Kearney Award for Outstanding Research in General Management, received the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award for Strategy from Thinkers50, and was named Visionary Thought Leader of the Decade in 2018 by the Women's Economic Forum.

Academic Findings

In his academic research, D’Aveni has examined corporate bankruptcy and decline, vertical integration, and hostile takeovers. He has also investigated the workings of top management teams and their prestige. His original, rigorous approach draws on world history as much as business history, diplomacy as much as the study of industry. For a list of his scholarly publications, click here.

Prescient Calls to Action

D’Aveni’s research for executives has built upon these academic findings and paid particular attention to corporate competition. He scans the business environment for signs of change, and develops a framework for understanding and competing in a marketplace that is losing its traditional industrial boundaries, ushering in a new digital-physical age.


His first book, Hypercompetition (1994), predicted the evaporation of long term competitive advantages based on barriers to entry and power over buyers, suppliers, and substitutes. It foresaw the demise of national oligopolies, broken up by challengers with temporary advantages in the dynamic economy of the late 1990s and beyond.

Next, Strategic Supremacy (2001) predicted that global companies would aim to replace national oligopolies with new global spheres of influence. These spheres of influence would create new forms of barriers to entry.

Beating the Commodity Trap (2010) described how spheres of influence in turn would be undermined by commoditization in local markets, and offered a variety of tactical responses. It also presented mapping tools to understand how the battles would be fought in the trenches, and how key parts of a sphere of influence could be won or lost by dynamic product positioning.

Strategic Capitalism (2012) looked at the many types of capitalism emerging around the world, especially in China, and foresaw conflicts between some incompatible models. It predicted an economic cold war, including over trade, between the U.S. and China. We are only beginning to see the struggle between the two superpowers for economic and geo-political hegemony, and for control over the rules of competition on a global basis.

The Pan-Industrial Revolution (2018), began as a study of how the U.S. could use 3D printing to unravel China’s massive industrial advantages, and grew to a broad look at how additive manufacturing’s flexibility will create diversified, pan-industrial behemoths. Industry boundaries will collapse, and borders between nations will become less relevant. The book takes a wide-angle look, assessing the transformation at the factory, organizational, economic, and even social and political levels.

Recent Major Articles

As he researched additive manufacturing, he discovered it was progressing into manufacturing faster than observers expected. His May 2015 Harvard Business Review article, “The 3-D Printing Revolution,” explained that companies were beginning to use printers for commercial production, not just prototyping, and that additive offered a host of advantages over conventional processes. The magazine selected this article as one of its ten “must-reads” for the year.

Unlike most conventional manufacturing technologies, 3D printers have the flexibility to change over to making different products with minimal cost and time. This flexibility creates scope advantages that have the potential to upset competitive dynamics. In “Choosing Scope over Focus,” published in Sloan Management Review’s Summer 2017 issue, he previewed the argument for pan-industrial giants.

With pioneering companies integrating their printers into commercial production, practical business models for the technology began to appear. He published a follow-on HBR article, “The 3-D Printing Playbook,” in July 2018, to explain those six models and the strategic moves that could follow from them.

One reason that additive manufacturing has been slow to capture attention is that it is overshadowed by “Industry 4.0,” a collection of advanced digital technologies. But Industry 4.0, for all its fanfare, is an essentially conservative process as it aims to preserve assembly lines and other conventional structures. In “Jabil’s Manufacturing Leap,” published online in Strategy & Business in June 2019, he shows how Industry 4.0 is best seen as a springboard to focusing on additive and a few supporting digital technologies. Only with this transformation can companies gain the full benefits of the digital revolution.

The Pan-Industrial Revolution

A stunning look at what will happen to global industry as 3D printing quickly becomes a worldwide phenomenon.

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Strategic Capitalism

One of the world's leading authorities on global business strategy describes how the "economic cold war" began, how it is being played out now, and how the West can change the course of events in its favor.

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This best-selling book foretold the era of temporary competitive advantage in the 1990s and beyond, and still offers useful insights for attacking or defending against rivals in a dynamic economy.

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Beating the Commodity Trap

Beating the Commodity Trap provides a radical new framework for fighting back against commoditization.

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Strategic Supremacy

The author of Hypercompetition presents counter-revolutionary strategies and tactics that any industry leader or established company can use to defend itself against revolutionaries or disrupters.

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