William F Hamilton

William F Hamilton
  • Ralph Landau Professor Emeritus of Management and Technology

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3537 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: entrepreneurship, technological innovation, technology strategy and planning



PhD, London School of Economics and Political Science, 1967; MBA, University of Pennsylvania, 1964; MS, University of Pennsylvania, 1964; BS, University of Pennsylvania, 1961

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1967-present (named Ralph Landau Professor of Management and Technology, 1978; Director, Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program, 1978-present; Associate Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the National Health Care Management Center, 1975-78; Director of Research and Development, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, 1972-74; Senior Research Associate, Management Science Center, 1967-69).

Other Positions

Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1974-75; Senior Operations Analyst, University City Science Center, 1967-70; Research Engineer, Sun Oil Company, 1961-64

Corporate and Public Sector Leadership

Director, Neose Technologies, 1991-present; Director, Marlton Technologies, 1988-present; Director, Hunt Manufacturing, 1986-present; Director, Centocor, 1985-present; Director, Digital Lightwave, 1997-present

Continue Reading


  • William F Hamilton (1997), Managing Technology as a Strategic Asset, International Journal of Technology Management, 14: 2-4.

  • William F Hamilton (1990), The Dynamics of Technology and Strategy, European Journal of Operational Research, 47. 10.1016/0377-2217(90)90273-E

    Abstract: This paper considers the evolution of strategies pursued by established and emerging firms as they attempt to commercialize radically new industrial technology. A general framework is proposed to relate strategic options and choices to the evolution of technologies, organizations and industry positions following a technological discontinuity. Empirical evidence from the emerging biotechnology field is presented to illustrate these patterns of evolution. The framework is then used to examine the roles played by strategic alliances in the evolving strategies of participants in biotechnology.

  • William F Hamilton (1985), Corporate Strategies for Managing Emerging Technologies, Technology in Society, 7: 2-3. 10.1016/0160-791X(85)90025-9

    Abstract: The emergence of radically new industrial technology is a powerful competitive force with significant strategic implications. Entirely new industries may develop around an emerging technology as existing industries are transformed or destroyed in its wake. Schumpeter1 aptly characterized such technological change as a force of “creative destruction,” which leaves both winners and losers among industrial firms. What factors distinguish these firms and their strategies for dealing with technological change? This paper reports on a study of the strategic options available to firms facing radical technological change, and the strategic choices made by firms involved in the emerging biotechnology field. Of particular interest are the widespread use of external relationships and their roles in the technology strategies of established firms. The paper begins with brief definitions of established and emerging firms, followed by a review of insights into the strategic nature of technological change drawn from prior studies. The evolving positions of established and emerging firms in the biotechnology field are then described with some elaboration of the collaborative relationships which characterize its early development. A conceptual framework is proposed to differentiate the strategic choices made by established firms in response to advances in biotechnology, and this framework is used to examine the roles played by selected interorganizational relationships in corporate strategies. The paper argues that these external alliances are appropriate initial responses to the strategic management challenges presented by radical technological change, but that the nature and significance of these alliances and associated corporate strategies change as the technology advances toward commercialization.


Past Courses


    The Senior Capstone Project is required for all BAS degree students, in lieu of the senior design course. The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for the student to apply the theoretical ideas and tools learned from other courses. The project is usually applied, rather than theoretical, exercise, and should focus on a real world problem related to the career goals of the student. The one-semester project may be completed in either the fall or sprong term of the senior year, and must be done under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member. To register for this course, the student must submit a detailed proposal, signed by the supervising professor, and the student's faculty advisor, to the Office of Academic Programs two weeks prior to the start of the term.


    The course is designed to meet the needs of the future managers, entrepreneurs,consultants and investors who must analyze and develop business strategies in technology-based industries. The emphasis is on learning conceptual models and frameworks to help navigate the complexity and dynamism in such industries. This is not a course in new product development or in using information technology to improve business processes and offerings. We will take a perspective of both established and emerging firms competing through technological innovations, and study the key strategic drivers of value creation and appropriation in the context of business ecosystems. In addition to prerequisites, this course is exclusively reserved for Management and Technology students.



Awards and Honors

  • David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching (Undergraduate Division), 2003
  • Excellence in Teaching Award (Undergraduate Division), 2003
  • Outstanding Teaching Award for distinguished undergraduate teaching, 2000
  • David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching (Undergraduate Division), 1991
  • Excellence in Teaching Award (Undergraduate Division), 1991-1999
  • White House Fellow, 1973-1974
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, 1972
  • Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award for Teaching Excellence, 1971

In the News

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Latest Research

William F Hamilton (1997), Managing Technology as a Strategic Asset, International Journal of Technology Management, 14: 2-4.
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In the News

Starting a Business Today: Less Competition But Also Less Cash

With new headlines every week confirming the poor health of the U.S. economy, one might wonder who in their right mind would pick the present time to launch a new company. Actually, say some Wharton faculty, the outlook isn’t all that bad if you choose the right business in the right market. Or, as one professor says: "Asking whether or not it’s a good time to start a business is like asking how big is a fish…”

Knowledge @ Wharton - 6/20/2001
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