Robert E. Wiltbank

Contributing Associate Professor of Strategic Management

Image of Robert E. Wiltbank

Contact Information

900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301

“Strategy is built around the notion that value is created by thoughtfully integrating the separate business functions.”


Strategy is all about understanding how everything connects. Strategy is figuring out how marketing and HR go together. You can't suck at anything and win, but winning is always relative. Two great teams can always beat each other. One great team can go undefeated. Strategy shares a lot of marketing ideas that have to be external facing. It's moving it in the same direction - In business management and not-for-profit - you really are trying to create value by making sure you do it better than anyone else. If you're going to go out and do fundraising, you have to be better than other fundraising options. In government, it's relative, but if you want to create real value, you have to get the whole machine moving in the same direction. If you're going to create value, you have to to do it better than anyone else.

Strategy is built around the notion that value is created by thoughtfully integrating the separate business functions. The perpetual challenge is creating new combinations of those functional resources and capabilities that manage organizational, customer, and competitive interactions over time. This interaction through time reminds us that the success of any strategic move is largely dependent upon how others react to it.


Dr. Wiltbank is Associate Professor of Strategic Management for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. Professor Wiltbank is a former Partner with Buerk Dale Victor LLC, a Seattle based venture capital fund, teaches Non Profit Governance, an executive course with National Arts Strategies designed for NFP leaders and board members around effective board governance, Business Policy and a capstone course in comprehensive business strategy as well as other courses.

His professional experience includes consulting and due diligence for many private equity investments, strategic marketing for several startup firms, and finance and corporate sales for a major electronics firm. He has published research in top tier academic journals covering topics from top management teams to non-predictive control strategies, to formal venture capital practices among angel investors. He is a Batten Institute Research Fellow with the Darden School at the University of Virginia, conducting an in depth study on organic growth in existing corporations, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Business Venturing. He also works with the Kauffman Foundation and the Angel Capital Education Foundation to expand his angel investor performance research throughout North America. He holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Washington, and a degree in Finance and Accounting from Oregon State University.

Robert loves basketball, music, and traveling. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, playing sports, going to church and seeing movies, as well as arguing politics and military strategy, and he plays a bit of Xbox.


  • Ph.D. Strategic Management, University of Washington
  • B.S. Finance and Accounting, Oregon State University
  • Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA)

Research Interests

Non Profit Governance. Executive course with National Arts Strategies designed for NFP leaders and board members around effective board governance. Business Policy. Capstone course in comprehensive business strategy. Industry & Firm Analysis, Competitive Strategy, Organizational Change. Entrepreneurship. New venture creation and management. Entrepreneurial Finance, Management Teams, Market Creation, Business Model. Industry Analysis. Integrative course on the industry impact on firm strategy covering technology evolution, value chains, industry forces, life cycles, and market creation.

Professor Rob Wiltbank is one of the key authors of a recent study released by the Kauffman Foundation on the financial returns of angel investors in North America. The “Returns to Angel Investors in Groups” study was conducted over the past year and analyzed results from 86 organized angel investor groups throughout the United States, The study, completed with Warren Boeker of the University of Washington, comprises the largest data set of angel investor exit ever collected. Read the complete study here.

Professor Rob Wiltbank received the "Best Empirical Paper Award" from the Academy of Management for his 2007 paper, "I Like How You Think: The Role of Cognitive Similarity as a Decision Bias" (with C. Murneiks, J. Haynie and T. Hartung), presented at the annual meeting for the Academy of Management in Philadelphia, PA.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Wiltbank, Robert N. et al. Effectual Entrepreneurship. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2011.

Wiltbank, Robert, N. Dew, S. Read and S. Sarasvathy. “Marketing Under Uncertainty: A Knock on the Door.” forthcoming in Journal of Marketing.

Wiltbank, Robert, N. Dew, S. Read and S. Sarasvathy. “Logical Frames in Entrepreneurial Decision Making: Experts vs. Novices.” forthcoming in Journal of Business Venturing.

Wiltbank, Robert, S. Read, N. Dew and S. Sarasvathy. “Prediction and Control Under Uncertainty: Outcomes in Angel Investing.” forthcoming in Journal of Business Venturing.

Wiltbank, Robert, N. Dew, S. Read and S. Sarasvathy. "Designing Organizations that Design Environments: Lessons from Entrepreneurial Expertise." forthcoming in Organization Studies.

Wiltbank, Robert, N. Dew, S. Sarasvathy, S. Read. "Immortal Firms in Mortal Markets? An Entrepreneurial Perspective on the Innovator's Dilemma." forthcoming in European Journal of Innovation Management.

Wiltbank, Robert with J. Liedtka, R. Rosen. The Catalysts: Becoming an Organic Growth Leader. New York: Crown Publishing, 2009.

Wiltbank, Robert, N.Dew, S.Read & S.Sarasvathy. “Outlines of a Behavioral Theory of the Entrepreneurial Firm.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2008.

Wiltbank, Robert, N. Dew, S. Read and S. Sarasvathy. "What to do Next? The Case for Non-Predictive Strategy," Strategic Management Journal, 2006

Wiltbank, Robert. "Investment Practices and Outcomes of Informal Venture Investors," Venture Capital: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, 2006

Wiltbank, Robert and Warren Boeker. "New Venture Evolution and Managerial Capabilities," Organization Science, 2005

Wiltbank, Robert, S. Read, N. Drew and S. Sarasvathy. "Prediction and Control: Angel Investing at the Individual Level," Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 2005

Wiltbank, Robert, S. Read and S. Sarasvathy. "What do Entrepreneurs Really Learn from Experience?" Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 2004

Wiltbank, Robert, S. Sarasvathy. "Business Angels." Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship, Hitt & Ireland, eds. 2004

Wiltbank, Robert, V. Rindova and S. Kotha. "Competitive Actions & Wealth Creation by Internet Ventures," E-Commerce & Entrepreneurship, ed. J. Butler. IAP, U.S.A., 2001

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.

Back to Top