His research has explored organizational models and collaboration, innovation practices, and the implications of technology on traditional businesses, and he has presented his findings at conferences around the globe.

But for Sawyer Business School professor Dr. Robert DeFillippi, the impact of his work hits home when other academics cite his research in their own papers. In fact, his 1990 Academy of Management Review article, “Casual ambiguity, barriers to imitation, and sustainable competitive advantage,” was among the most-cited papers of the decade, according to Google Scholar.

“This data may be obscure to the general public,” says DeFillippi, professor of strategy and international business and co-director of the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership. “But amongst academics these are deeply meaningful metrics because the highest complement an academic can receive is to have their work cited by other scholars.”

As an educator, DeFillippi receives great satisfaction in hearing a class or research project of his that has impacted a former student’s life.

There was his former global MBA student who went on to complete her PhD in economics and management at Copenhagen Business School before accepting a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Another former student, who collaborated with DeFillippi on a case study that was published in a book series, went on to pursue a doctor of business administration degree.

“All these students were outstanding contributors to the classes they took with me and they choose to become academic scholars and educators as their next career,” says DeFillippi, who earned master’s and doctorate degrees from Yale and a master’s in social work from the University of Maryland. “I admire how all my students balance very demanding work, family and civic responsibilities with their responsibilities as students.”


Chair, Strategy and International Business Department
Professor of Strategy and International Business
Co-Director, Center for Innovation and Change Leadership
Phone: 617.573.8243
Fax: 617.994.6840
Email: rdefilli@suffolk.edu
Office: Sawyer Building, Rm. 650

Teaching Interests

  • Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Project-based Innovation and Knowledge Management
  • Management of Innovation
  • Strategic Management


PhD, Yale University
MSW, University of Maryland
MPhil, Yale University
BA, Northeastern University