Richard RumeltBio: Richard P. Rumelt (born 1942) holds the Harry and Elsa Kunin Chair in Business and Society at UCLA Anderson where he has been a faculty member since 1976.

Professor Rumelt was educated as an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley and earned his DBA from the Harvard Business School. During 1993-96 Professor Rumelt headed the INSEAD Corporate Renewal Initiative. He has been the President of the Strategic Management Society.

Professor Rumelt is widely recognized as being one of the intellectual fathers of both the modern theory of corporate diversification and the resource-based view in strategy. His fundamental contributions have been popularized or extended by many other scholars, both in strategy and in the field of international business.

Prof. Rumelt’s work on product diversification has been instrumental to the development of modern international business research. His insights on product diversification have informed much subsequent work on geographic diversification and on the trade-offs between product and geographic diversification.  Rumelt’s finding that somewhat diversified companies perform better than highly diversified ones, remains more compelling given the present debate in the international business field on the optimal geographic scope (regional versus global) of multinational enterprises.
Rumelt’s research has also challenged the power of ‘industry forces’, demonstrating that firm-level factors are more important drivers of performance than industry factors, much in line with the mainstream view in international business that firm-specific advantages drive economic performance.

Prof. Rumelt’s recent book, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters,  departs from looking at strategy is purely economic terms and defines real-world strategy work as problem solving. This way of looking at strategy allows a unified framework for examining strategy in firms, non-profits, and governments because, he argues, good strategy follows from identifying the key challenges and offering ways to deal with them.

Richard P. Rumelt is an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of International Business as the recipient of the 2014 AIB Fellows Eminent Scholar Award.

Last Updated: October 2014