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Rob Austin

Professor, Information Systems

Evolution of Work Chair

Rob Austin

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Robert D. Austin is a professor of Information Systems at Ivey Business School, and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Medical School. 

Before his appointment at Ivey, he was a professor of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Copenhagen Business School, and, before that, a professor of Technology and Operations Management at the Harvard Business School. At Harvard, he chaired the executive program for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) for more than ten years.

Professor Austin has published widely, in both academic and professional venues, such as Harvard Business Review, Information Systems Research, MIT Sloan Management Review, Organization Science, Organization Studies, and the Wall Street Journal. He also is the author of ten books, more than 100 published cases and notes, three Harvard online products, and two popular Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) running on the Coursera platform. His “Cyberattack!" Simulation won the 2019 International Serious Play Gold Medal. His research on neurodiversity employment programs is funded by SSHRC.

Over the years, Dr. Austin has consulted with and delivered education experiences to many multinational corporations, working mostly with C-level executives, and he has served on numerous boards, especially for technology companies. He is a member of the international jury for the CIO 100 Awards, a judge for MIT Sloan’s International CIO Leadership Award, and he has advised the European Commission on “e- Competencies for Innovation” and “e-Leadership.”


  • Managing Innovation (Accelerated MBA)
  • Leveraging Information Technology (HBA, 2 sections)


  • PhD, Management and Decision Science, Carnegie Mellon University
  • MS, Industrial Engineering, Northwestern University
  • BA, English Literature, Swarthmore College
  • BS, Engineering, Swarthmore College

Recent Refereed Articles

  • Austin, R. D.; Hayes, R. H.; Nolan, R. A., 2023, "Cashing Out Excellence", MIT Sloan Management Review, June 64(4): 58 - 63.
  • Crossan, M. M.; Furlong, B.; Austin, R. D., 2022, "Make Leader Character Your Competitive Edge", MIT Sloan management review, December 64(2): 1 - 12.
  • Bason, C.; Austin, R. D., 2022, "Design in the Public Sector: Toward a Human Centred Model of Public Governance", Public Management Review
  • Joshi, M.; Su, N.; Austin, R. D.; Sundaram, A. K., 2021, "Why So Many Data Science Projects Fail to Deliver", MIT Sloan Management Review, March 62(3): 85 - 89.
  • Krzeminska, A.; Austin, R. D.; Bruyère, S.; Hedley, D., 2019, "The advantages and challenges of neurodiversity employment in organizations", Journal of Management and Organization, July 25(4): 453 - 463.
  • Bason, C.; Austin, R. D., 2019, "The Right Way to Lead Design Thinking", Harvard Business Review, April 97(2): 82 - 91.
  • Austin, R. D.; Hjorth, D.; Hessel, S., 2018, "How aesthetics and economy become conversant in creative firms", Organization Studies, November 39(11): 1501 - 1519.
  • Rahrovani, Y.; Pinsonneault, A.; Austin, R. D., 2018, "If You Cut Employees Some Slack, Will They Innovate?", MIT Sloan Management Review, August 59(4): 47 - 51.
  • Austin, R. D.; Fieldhouse, M.; Mohan, A.; Quinn, P., 2017, "Why the Australian Defence Organization Is Recruiting Cyber Analysts on the Autism Spectrum", Harvard Business Review
  • Austin, R. D.; Pisano, G. P., 2017, "Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage", Harvard Business Review, April 95(3): 96 - 103.
  • Austin, R. D.; Nolan, R. L., 2016, "Leading in a World Without Secrets", Harvard Business Review
  • Austin, R. D., 2016, "Unleashing creativity with digital technology", MIT Sloan Management Review, September 58(1): 157 - 157.
  • Austin, R. D.; Upton, D. M., 2015, "Leading in the age of super-transparency", MIT Sloan Management Review, December 57(2): 24 - 32.
  • Austin, R. D.; Sonne, T., 2014, "The dandelion principle: Redesigning work for the innovation economy", MIT Sloan Management Review, January 55(4): 67 - 72.
  • Austin, R. D.; Lee, D.; Sullivan, E., 2012, "Accidental Innovation: Supporting Valuable Unpredictability in Creative Process", Organization Science, September 23(5): 1505 - 1522.

For more publications please see our Research Database

Work in Progress

  • Project: Deploying IT to Enhance Organizational Innovation
  • Project: Neurodiversity as a Source of Organizational Talent
  • Project: Living and Leading in an Era of Super Transparency

Honours & Awards

  • Ivey Research Merit Award, 2018 - 2022
  • Digital Management Teaching Excellence Award, 2022
  • Ivey Publishing Best-Selling Case Award, for "Digital Transformation at GE: What Went Wrong?" (with Genevieve Pelow), 2021
  • Harvard Business Review article "Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage" selected for inclusion in HBR's 10 Must Reads 2018
  • SAP Autism at Work Leadership Award, 2016
  • Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for Volume 48 of MIT Sloan Management Review, 2008
  • Book Artful Making (co-authored with Lee Devin) honored with the Elliot Hayes Award, by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, 2004
  • Herbert A. Simon Doctoral Dissertation Award, Carnegie Mellon University, 1995


  • Professor, Management of Innovation and Digital Transformation, Copenhagen Business School
  • Dean, Faculty of Business Administration, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton
  • CEO, CBS-SIMI Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
  • Head of Operations, Oliko, a subsidiary of Novell
  • Manager, Ford Motor Company

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