picture of Mary Tripsas

Mary Tripsas

Vice-Chair for Certificate Programs and Professor, Technology Management (she/ her)

Mary Tripsas is a Professor of Technology Management in the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Prior to joining UC Santa Barbara, Tripsas served on the faculties of the Wharton School for four years, the Harvard Business School for thirteen years, and Boston College for eight years. At BC she was founding director of the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship and led the creation of a new undergraduate concentration in Entrepreneurship.

She earned her Ph.D. from the MIT Sloan School of Management, her MBA from the Harvard Business School, her B.S. in Computer Science and Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana, and was certified as a CPA in the State of Illinois.

Tripsas is a leading management scholar whose research and teaching focus on technological innovation and entrepreneurship. She studies how organizations can best adapt to new technologies that disrupt industries and ecosystems, with an emphasis on how the interplay of organizational capabilities, organizational identity, and managerial mental models shape strategic responses to technological shifts. She has studied the evolution of technology and competition in a diverse range of both established and nascent industries including photography/digital imaging, typesetters, air taxis, music synthesizers and publishing.

Her influential work on the transformation of industries by new technology has been published in top tier journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Research Policy, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and Strategic Management Journal. She has won multiple major awards including the Strategic Management Journal Schendel Best Paper Award, the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Best Paper Award, the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Thought Leader Award, the Emerald Publishing Citation for Excellence Award, the Journal of Product Innovation Management Best Paper Award, and the MIT Sloan Zannetos best PhD thesis prize. In addition to journal articles, Tripsas has published a number of Harvard Business School teaching cases related to her research, with over 150,000 copies of her cases sold to students at academic institutions around the world.

Tripsas has served as a Senior Editor at Organization Science and is currently on the editorial boards of the Strategic Management Journal and the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the INFORMS Organization Science Division and the Consortium of Cooperation and Competitiveness and was Division Chair of the Academy of Management’s Technology and Innovation Management division. She is currently on the Executive Committee of the Industry Studies Association.

Before entering academia, Tripsas was a strategy consultant in the Cambridge and Milan offices of the Monitor Group and worked for IBM as both a software engineer and member of the sales force. She also served on the board of directors of Lexar Media (NASDAQ: LEXR) from 2003 to 2006, when the company was acquired by Micron.



Shah, S. and M. Tripsas, 2020, “User entrepreneurs in times of crisis: Innovators you can count on,” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 14:566-569.

Zuzul, T. & M. Tripsas, 2020, “Start-up Inertia versus Flexibility: The Role of Founder Identity in a Nascent Industry,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 65(2):395-433.

Ravasi, D., Tripsas, M. & Langley, A., 2020, “Exploring the Strategy-Identity Nexus,” Strategic Organization 18(1):5-19.

Cohen, S. & M. Tripsas, 2018, “Managing Technological Transitions by Building Bridges” Academy of Management Journal, 61(6): 2319-2342.

Anthony, C., Nelson A. & Tripsas, M. 2016, “‘Who Are You?…I Really Wanna Know’: Product Meaning and Competitive Positioning in the Nascent Synthesizer Industry,” Strategy Science, 1(3):163-183.

Agarwal, R., Bayus B, & Tripsas, M. 2014, “Abandoning Innovation in Emerging Industries,” Customer Needs and Solutions 1:91-104.

Benner, M. & M. Tripsas, 2012. “Prior Industry Affiliation and Framing in Nascent Industries: The Evolution of Digital Cameras,” Strategic Management Journal, 33:277-302.

Tripsas, M., 2009. “Technology, Identity, and Inertia: through the Lens of ‘The Digital Photography Company’” Organization Science, 20(2): 441-460.

Kaplan, S. & M. Tripsas, 2008. “Thinking about Technology: Applying a cognitive lens to technical change” Research Policy, 37(5):790-805.

Tripsas, M., 2008. “Customer Preference Discontinuities: A Trigger for Radical Technological Change,” Managerial and Decision Economics, 29:79-97.

Shah, S. and M. Tripsas, 2007. “The Accidental Entrepreneur: The Emergent and Collective Process of User Entrepreneurship” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 1:123-140.

Staudenmayer, N, M. Tripsas and C. Tucci, 2005. “Inter-firm Modularity and the Implications for Product Development,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 22:303-321.

Tripsas, M. and G. Gavetti, 2000. “Capabilities, Cognition, and Inertia: Evidence from Digital Imaging” Strategic Management Journal, 21:1147-1161.

Tripsas, M, 1997. “Unraveling the Process of Creative Destruction: Complementary Assets and Incumbent Survival in the Typesetter Industry,” Strategic Management Journal, 18:119-142.

Tripsas, M, 1997. “Surviving Radical Technological Change through Dynamic Capability: Evidence from the Typesetter Industry,” Industrial and Corporate Change, 6(2):341-377.

Tripsas, M., Schrader, S. and Sobrero, M., 1995. “Discouraging Opportunistic Behavior in Collaborative R&D: A New Role for Government,” Research Policy, 24:367-389.

Book Chapters

Shah, S. and M. Tripsas, 2016. “When Do User Innovators Start Firms? A Theory of User Entrepreneurship,” in Revolutionizing Innovation: Users, Communities, and Open Innovation, editors Dietmar Harhoff and Karim Lakhani, MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Anthony, C. and M. Tripsas, 2016, “Organizational Identity and Innovation” in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Identity, editors B. Ashforth, M. Pratt, D. Ravasi, M. Schultz, Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Altman, EJ. and M. Tripsas, 2015 “Product to Platform Transitions: Organizational Identity Implications” in Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Multilevel Linkages, editors Christina Shalley, Michael Hitt, Jing Zhou. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Tripsas M., 2014. “Technological Inertia” in Palgrave Dictionary of Strategic Management, editors Mie Augier and David Teece, Palgrave Press: London.

Agarwal, R. and M. Tripsas, 2008. “Technology and Industry Evolution” Chapter 1 in Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management, ed., S. Shane, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: W. Sussex, England, 3- 55.

Murray, F. and M. Tripsas, 2004. “Understanding the Exploratory Processes of Entrepreneurial Firms,” in Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 21, pp. 45-75, editors Joel Baum and Anita McGahan, JAI-Elsevier.

Tripsas, M. 2000. “Commercializing Emerging Technologies through Complementary Assets,” in Wharton on Emerging Technologies, Editors, George S. Day and Paul J.H. Schoemaker with Robert E. Gunther, John Wiley and Sons: New York.

Staudenmayer, N., Tripsas, M. and C. Tucci, 2000. “Development Webs: A New Paradigm for Product Development,” in Winning Strategies in a Deconstructing World, editors, R. Bresser, M. Hitt, R. Nixon and D. Heuskel, John Wiley and Sons: New York. Tripsas, M. 1998. “Accessing External Technological Knowledge: An

Evolutionary Perspective” in Innovationsforschung und Technologiemanagement: Gedenkschrift fur Stephan Schrader. Editor, Nik Franke, Springer Press: Heidelberg.

Teaching Materials

“Course Overview Note for Leading Innovative Ventures,” Harvard Business School #810-109.

“Adobe Systems, Incorporated” Harvard Business School Case #801-199.

“Adobe Systems, Incorporated Teaching Note” Harvard Business School #801-375.

“The Atavist: Reinventing the Book” Harvard Business School Case #812-177 (with M. Khaire).

“The Atavist: Reinventing the Book” Harvard Business School multimedia case (with M. Khaire).

“The Atavist: Reinventing the Book Teaching Note” Harvard Business School #815-142 (with M. Khaire)

“Driving Profitable Growth at US Auto Parts,” Harvard Business School case #812-032 (with A. Bhatia & A. McGahan)

“eReading: Amazon’s Kindle” Harvard Business School case #709-486 (with B. Anand, P. Olson)

“Fujifilm: A Second Foundation” Harvard Business School Case #9-807-137 (with G. Gavetti, Y Aoshima)

“Fujifilm: A Second Foundation, Teaching Note” Harvard Business School #810-127

“Lexar Media: The Digital Photography Company?” Harvard Business School case #805-062.

“Lexar Media: The Digital Photography Company? TN” Harvard Business School 805-105.

“Linear Air: Creating the Air Taxi Industry” Harvard Business School case #808-107

“Linear Air: Creating the Air Taxi Industry, Teaching Note” Harvard Business School #5-810-048

“Montague Corporation: Unfolding the Future in Cycling” Harvard Business School case # 808-087

“Montague Corporation: Unfolding the Future in Cycling, Teaching Note” Harvard Business School #812-175

"Polaroid Entering Digital Imaging." Harvard Business School Case #706-459 (with G. Gavetti)

“Tascot Ties: Going Neck-and-Neck with Tradition” Harvard Business School case #808-082 (with B. Silverman)

“TOTO: The Bottom Line” Harvard Business School case #809-064

“TOTO: The Bottom Line, Teaching Note” Harvard Business School #810-047

“World Wide Licenses: From Disney to Polaroid,” Harvard Business School case #805-060.

Other Publications

“Seeing Customers as Partners in Invention,” New York Times, Dec. 26, 2009

“When Names Change to Protect the Future,” New York Times Nov. 28, 2009

“Everybody in the Pool of Green Innovation,” New York Times, Oct. 31, 2009

“It’s Brand New, but Make it Sound Familiar,” New York Times, Oct. 3, 2009.

“Staving Off a Spiral Toward Oblivion,” New York Times, Aug. 8, 2009


Honors and Awards

SMS SRF Research in Organizations Grant (with S. Brusoni, X. Mundet), 2020-2022

Undergraduate Teaching Star Award, Boston College Carroll School of Management, 2017, 2019

Elected to Macro Organization Behavior Society (MOBS), 2015

Haub Family Fellow, Boston College , 2014- 2016

Graduate Teaching Award, Boston College Carroll School of Management, 2013

All-Academy Showcase Symposium co-organizer, Academy of Management, 2013

HBS MBA Class of 1966 Research Fellow, 2006-2008

HBS Arthur M. Rock Center for Entrepreneurship Assistant Professor, 2004-2006

SMS Best Conference Paper Prize, Finalist, 1999

Business History Conference Best Dissertation Finalist, 1999

INFORMS Technology Management Division Best Thesis Prize, second place, 1998

Winner, MIT Sloan Zannetos Ph.D. Thesis Prize, 1997

Winner, INFORMS College of Organization Science Best Dissertation Proposal, 1994

Consortium on Competitiveness and Cooperation Dissertation Grant, 1994-1995

Best Paper Awards

2005 Winner of Journal of Product Innovation Management Thomas P. Hustad Best Paper Award

2006 Winner of the Citation for Excellence Award from Emerald Group Publishing (top 50 articles out of 20,000 covered by the Emerald Management Database)

2008 Winner of the AOM Entrepreneurship Division Thought Leader Award

2013 Winner of the Citation for Excellence Award from Emerald Group Publishing (top 50 articles out of 20,000 covered by the Emerald Management  Database)

2015 Winner, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal Best Paper prize: awarded each year to one paper out of all papers published since the inception of SEJ through 5 years prior to the award.

2015 Winner, Dan and Mary Lou Schendel Best Paper prize: awarded each year to one paper out of all papers published since the inception of SMJ through 5 years prior to the award.

Former and Current PhD Students


Student Year of Degree Ph. D. From

Current Employer

Michelle Gittelman 2000


Rutgers Business School
George Westerman 2002

Harvard Business School

MIT Sloan School
Ryan Raffaelli 2013

Boston College

Harvard Business School
Tiona Zuzul 2014

Harvard Business School

U. Washington
Elizabeth Altman 2015

Harvard Business School

U Mass, Lowell
Christina Kyprianou 2016

UT Austin

IE Business School, Madrid
Lee Watkiss 2016

Boston College

Ivey School of Business, U of Western Ontario
Jacqueline Kirtley 2018

Boston University

Wharton School, U. Penn
Callen Anthony 2018

Boston College

NYU, Stern School of Business
Andrea Tunarosa 2019

Boston College

University of Tampa
Ben Innis Current

Boston College