Batten Institute

Robert Wiltbank



Bio: Robert Wiltbank is Assistant Professor of Strategic Management for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. His research focuses on strategy development under uncertainty, particularly as it relates to new venture development. His study of angel investing practices and performance is the first empirical examination of the outcomes achieved by angel investors in the U.S. His publications include a study of top management team change in new ventures in Organization Science, and a study on the effectiveness of formal venture capital practices among angel investors in Venture Capital. At Willamette University he teaches courses on New Venture Creation, Strategic Management, and Industry Analysis.

Professor Wiltbank’s 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 holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Washington, and a degree in Finance and Accounting from Oregon State University.

Expertise: Leading Organic Growth–new venture creation, strategic management, and industry analysis


Fellowship Focus: Business leaders today are challenged with developing new means of growing revenue due to the poor success rate of the previously favored approach—mergers and acquisitions. Given the urgency of this challenge, the topic of organic growth has great potential to attract the attention of a corporate audience and to inform business practice in meaningful ways. The time is right to redirect attention to the possibilities inherent in well-executed approaches to internally-generated growth.

The few existing studies on this topic tend to focus on product development from an R&D perspective. While important for business products, this work fails to address the potential power of innovation in business models. Paying attention to the activities of line managers, and the opportunities for business model innovation represents an exciting opportunity to add to knowledge about how successful businesses grow through internally-generated means.

During his Batten Fellowship, Robert Wiltbank will contribute his expertise to developing the methodology and field research for Leading Growth Project. He will be heavily involved in the analysis and interpretation of data resulting from participant interviews and surveys. He will also contribute his expertise on how best to frame and disseminate the conclusions of the initial U.S.-based phase of the project. The outcomes of the Leading Growth Project will identify key attributes required for successful growth leadership and will result in the design of educational experiences for graduate students and executives that build individual skills and enhance business practice. 

Contact Info


Appointment: 2005–2007

Publications & News

Books include:

The Catalyst: How You Can Become an Extraordinary Growth Leader (co-author) 

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