The Ruthven Institute Hub

The RI Hub is an alliance between the University of Melbourne and the Ruthven Institute centred on research and curriculum development to improve the profitability and sustainable success of Australian businesses.

The Ruthven Institute (RI) has collected and analysed corporate data over the past five decades in Australia which shows profitability has not improved over that time, and that only 1 in 10 of Australia's 2,000 largest corporations achieve world best practice returns of 22% over any 3-5 year period. Businesses continue to make fundamental strategic errors that hurt the bottom line and Australia's productivity and economic well-being.

The Hub is developing new and exciting teaching materials to bolster Australian business students' capabilities in evidence-based decision making, with a strong focus on the relationship between strategic choices, management and leadership practices and business performance. Training and tools are also in development for corporate clients, with an aim to lift the strategic wisome of Australian C-suites.

Alongside this curriculum development, the Hub houses a program of research designed to interrogate and leverage the RI evidence base to deepen our understanding of the key drivers of sustained success.

12 Rules for Business Success

The Ruthven Institute has developed 12 rules for business success. Based on 45 years of analysis of Australia’s top 1000 companies, the Ruthven Institute has distilled the essence of a winning business strategy. Research undertaken by the University of Melbourne between 1998 and 2001 supported many of these rules. Our Teaching Cases aim to expose students to these rules. Our Research Notes frame our ongoing research into the rules, while our Practice Notes translate these findings for a business audience.Graphic representation of 12 Golden Rules

Teaching Cases

We are developing teaching cases that showcase examples of Australian organisations wrestling with key strategic choices. Our Teaching Notes (available on request) explore the relationships between these choices and RI’s 12 Rules for sustained success. If you are an academic interested in developing cases for publication here, please contact us.

Teaching Case #1: Yering Station

Teaching Case #2: Kogan

Teaching Case #3: Amcor

Teaching Case #4: Gingham & Heels

Teaching Case #5: Lovisa (video also available)

Teaching Case #6: Blackmores

Research Notes

The Ruthven Institute has developed 12 rules for business success. Based on 45 years of analysis of Australia’s top 1000 companies, the Ruthven Institute has distilled the essence of a winning business strategy. Research undertaken by the University of Melbourne between 1998 and 2001 supported many of these rules. In this series of Research Notes, the RI Hub examines the academic and practice literature to assess the validity and continuing relevance of these rules. The Notes are designed to frame our ongoing research projects.

How Should We Calculate Firm Profitability

Rule 1 - Focus On One Business At A Time

Rule 2- Know your Industry And Its Life Cycle Phase

Rule 3 – Emulate Best Practice

Rule 4 - Be Forever Innovative

Rule 5 - Be The Master  Of Your Own Destiny

Rule 6 – Plan from the Outside In

Rule 7 - Outsource Non-Core Activities

Rule 8 - Don't Own Hard Assets

Rule 9 - Manage Your Finances Wisely

Rule 10 – Develop Strategic Alliances

Rule 11 - Lead from the Inside Out

Rule 12 - Develop a Unique Organisational Culture

Practice Notes

As part of our Research work we produce brief Practice Notes explaining key concepts and findings for practitioners:

Practice Note #1: Performance Measures - How Should We Calculate Profitability?

Practice Note #2: Focus or Diversification?

Practice Note #3: Know your Industry Life Cycle Phase

Practice Note #4: Be Forever Innovative

Practice Note #5: Be The Master Of Your Own Destiny

Hub Staff and Partners

Associate Professor André Sammartino leads the RI Hub. André is based in the Department of Management & Marketing at the University of Melbourne, and has a PhD from Melbourne. He has extensive teaching experience in strategic management, business judgement, consulting and international business subjects. André has published in Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies and California Management Review on a range of topics include top management team decision-making, assessment of country risk, and the geographic spread of multinationals. André has been a visitor at Copenhagen Business School, Temple University and Bocconi. He recently received ARC funding for a project on the history of inward foreign direct investment into Australia.

Dr Sabutay Fatullayev is the research fellow for The RI Hub and has recently finished his PhD in Accounting at the University of Melbourne. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Business Administration (Accounting) and Economics from the American University in Bulgaria and a Master’s degree in Commerce (Accounting) from the University of Melbourne. Prior to his doctoral studies, Sabutay served in the military and worked as an accountant in Azerbaijan. Sabutay’s main research interests lie in financial accounting, with a stronger focus on financial statement analysis, credit ratings, and debt contracting. He has attended and presented in conferences in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, where a paper from his dissertation received the best paper award. He has also taught several courses in introductory financial accounting and quantitative finance.

Dr Rakesh Pati is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Management at the Deakin Business School, Deakin University. Dr Rakesh Pati was the RI Research Fellow for 2019. Prior to U. of Melbourne, Rakesh worked as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship at Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Strategy & Entrepreneurship for his predoctoral fellowship University of Minnesota. Rakesh holds a PhD in Strategy & Entrepreneurship, MBA in Marketing & Strategy and Bachelor of Engineering. Rakesh’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business, areas in which he holds extensive experience in research, teaching, industry collaborations, and consulting that spans across USA, Australia and India. He also has wide experience in research grants, industry partnerships, community engagement, coaching and executive teaching. Rakesh has taught courses in Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship, International Business, Behavioral Strategy, and Business Judgement at undergraduate, postgraduate and executive levels.


Professor Danny Samson has been a professor at the University of Melbourne since 1988. He has served as both Head of the Department of Management and Associate Dean of the Faculty, and also lead the Center for Manufacturing Management. Danny has published over 130 articles in journals and been a consultant to leading organisations at high levels including NAB, Toyota, and Fletcher Challenge. He has written books innovation management, technology management and operations management, and his latest book Strategic Leadership is co-authored with Don Argus. Danny is currently Co-Editor in Chief of Operations Management Research journal. His ongoing research interests are in business strategy and competitiveness, operations and lean management, and decision and risk analysis. He has served as board member of the Transport Accident Commission.

Dr Ruth Dunkin has been Executive Director of Ruthven Institute since its beginning and is also currently an Adjunct Professor in Health Policy, Mitchell Institute, Victoria University. With a long experience as a senior executive in public policy, not-for-profit and private sector strategy and implementation, Ruth is a past Vice Chancellor of RMIT and Director, Policy at the Business Council of Australia and has been a board member on government, not-for-profit and for-profit bodies. She holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and an MPA from Harvard.

Francesca Pujatti is an associate of The RI Hub and current student of the Doctoral Program in Management at The University of Melbourne. She completed a Master in International Business at the same institution and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from Ca’Foscari, University of Venice. Francesca was awarded the Global Graduate Merit Scholarship for her Master’s studies and the Graduate Research Scholarship for the Doctoral Program. Her research interests are in strategy, international business and sustainability. She has previously tutored in business strategy at undergraduate level at The University of Melbourne.

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