Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy) at Stanford. He co-founded the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (which everyone calls “the d school”). Sutton received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from The University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983. He is a Senior Scientist at Gallup and academic director of two executive education programs: Customer-Focused Innovation and the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. He has served as professor at the Haas Business School, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a Fellow at IDEO, an advisor to McKinsey & Company, and faculty at the World Economic Forum at Davos.

Sutton studies organizational change, leadership, innovation, and workplace dynamics. He has published over 150 articles and chapters in peer-reviewed journals, management outlets such as Harvard Business Review and the McKinsey Quarterly, and news outlets including The New York Times, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal. His books include Weird Ideas That Work, The Knowing-Doing Gap (with Jeffrey Pfeffer), and Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense (with Jeffrey Pfeffer), which the The Globe and Mail selected as the best business book of 2006. The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss are New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. His latest book, Scaling-Up Excellence (with Huggy Rao) is a Wall Street Journal bestseller and was selected as one of the best business books of the year by Amazon, the Financial Times, Inc., The Globe and Mail, and Library Journal. His latest book is The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt. It was selected as book of the month by the Financial Times, and was featured in outlets including The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and The Guardian, New York Magazine, INC, and Vox. Sutton and Huggy Rao are currently focusing on The Friction Project, a multi-pronged mission to understand the causes and cures for destructive organizational friction–and when it is wise to make things harder to do. As part of the project, Sutton hosted two seasons the Friction Podcast through the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

Professor Sutton’s honors include the award for the best paper published in the Academy of Management Journal in 1989, the Eugene L. Grant Award for Excellence in Teaching, selection by Business 2.0 as a leading “management guru” in 2002, and the award for the best article published in the Academy of Management Review in 2005. The London Business School selected Sutton for the 2014 Sumantra Ghoshal Award “for rigour and relevance in the study of management.” The American Management Association selected Sutton as one of the top 30 leaders who most influenced business in 2014 (ranking him 10th on their list). Sutton was named as one of 10 “B-School All-Stars” by BusinessWeek , which they described as “professors who are influencing contemporary business thinking far beyond academia.”

Sutton has given keynote speeches to more than 200 groups in 20 countries. His writings and opinions are often described in places including The New York Times, The Atlantic, Financial Times, Esquire, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Wired, TechCrunch, Vanity Fair, and Washington Post. Sutton has been a guest on many radio and television shows, including on ABC, Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, Fox, NBC Today Show, KGO, PBS, NPR, Marketplace, and CNN. Sutton had been interviewed on popular podcasts including WorkLife with Adam Grant, How To! with Charles Duhigg, Goop with Elise Loehnen, That’s What She Said with ESPN’s Sarah Spain, The Art of the Charm, Sloan Management Review, and Harvard Business Review.

Sutton’s personal site is He is a columnist at the Sloan Management Review, blogs as an “influencer” on LinkedIn, and tweets @work_matters.

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