Robin Gustafsson

Robin Gustafsson

Professori (Associate professor)
Professori (Associate professor)
T307 Dept. Industrial Engineering and Management
Professor (Associate Professor)
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management

I am an Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management (TUTA) at Aalto University. My research area is strategy and organization in industry and market disruptions (technology-induced disruptions). My current focus is on digitalization and platform economy, specifically how industries are disrupted, sources of competitive advantage in the digital age, platform and data business models, open science and innovation, and agile and playful strategy work. I teach advanced courses in strategy, platform and data business strategy, and innovation strategy at the Masters, doctoral, and MBA, and EMBA level.

My research has been published in top tier journals, such as the Academy of Management Journal, International Journal of Management Reviews, Information Systems Review, Research Policy, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Technology Innovation Management Review, R&D Management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and Organization Studies.

My research provides inputs to strategy work, strategic decision making, and strategic organization in industry-wide change, open digital platform strategizing and design, governance of open research and innovation, and policy. I have specialized in flipped classroom and experienced-based learning methods, including the Harvard case teaching method, and LEGO® Serious Play® facilitation method. I work frequently with SMEs and large-company managers and executives, as well as government officials and public sector leaders from different parts of the world, facilitating their strategy and policy work, and supporting their skills development in agile strategy work and strategizing in the age of digital and platform economy.  

Ongoing research projects:

Digital Disruption of Industries

Policy Rationles in the Shift to Digital Platform Economy

Playfulness at Work & in Workshops

The Consortium of 'Digital History of Telco and Exchanges in Finland and Sweden' 



Current doctoral students who I am the supervisor for
1st supervisor: Eero Aalto, Anita Golzarjannat, Janne Leinonen, Tomasz Mucha, Ruben Vicente-Saez and Derek Selin.
2nd supervisor: Timo Ahopelto and Sarri Nykänen

Supervised Doctoral Student
Zeerim Cheung (2019), Thesis: Analytically Structured History Approach Using a Relational Database - Essays on the Historical Embeddedness of Strategy Formulation
Kimmo Karhu (2017), Thesis: Managing Competitive and Cooperative Strategizing in Open PLatform Ecosystems using Boundary Resources 
Christopher Rowell (2017), Thesis: Signaling and Shaping Legitimacy - Weaving webs of meaning in time and new markets


I have supervised over 40 master thesis. I also supervise bachelor's theses. Here a selected set of exemplary Master Theses I have supervised which can be found electronically (alt. summaries of them):

Full researcher profile

Contact information

Phone number

Areas of expertise

Strategy, Strategic management, Platform economy, Platform strategy, Institutional change, Lego Serious Play, Innovation policy, Playfulness

Honors and awards

Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence

The chapter written by Christopher Rowell, Robin Gustafsson and Marco Clemente ' titled 'How Institutions Matter “In Time”: The Temporal Structures of Practices and Their Effects on Practice Reproduction’, published in Research in the Sociology of Organizations 48A has been selected by the editorial team as an Outstanding Author Contribution in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence. The chapter was chosen as a winner as it is one of the most impressive pieces of work the team has seen throughout 2016.
Award or honor granted for a specific work Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Jun 2017

Nominated member of The Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland

Award or honor granted for academic career Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Jan 2013


Export Promotion Rationales and Impacts – A Review

Eero Aalto, Robin Gustafsson 2020

Inward Foreign Direct Investment Promotion

Robin Gustafsson, Eero Aalto 2020

Four Tactics for Implementing a Balanced Digital Platform Strategy

Kimmo Karhu, Robin Gustafsson, Ben Eaton, Ola Henfridsson, Carsten Sørensen 2020 MIS Quarterly Executive

Advancing data monetization and the creation of data-based business models

Petri Parvinen, Miikka Laitila, Essi Pöyry, Robin Gustafsson, Matti Rossi 2020 Communications of the association for information systems

The dawn of an open exploration era

Ruben Vicente-Saez, Robin Gustafsson, Lieve Van den Brande 2020 Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Extending community management to industry-university-government organizations

Robin Gustafsson, Sirkka Jarvenpaa 2018 R & D MANAGEMENT

Exploiting and defending open digital platforms with boundary resources

Kimmo Karhu, Robin Gustafsson, Kalle Lyytinen 2018 Information Systems Research