Dr. Rick Cotton

Dr. Rick Cotton
Associate Professor


BS in Management Information Systems and Marketing, Syracuse University; MS and PhD in Organization Studies, Boston College

Office: BEC 242


  • Career success and extraordinary career achievement
  • Mentoring and developmental networks
  • International human resource management, talent management and workforce analytics
  • International management

Scholarship and Professional Profile(s)

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8584-8873

Dr. Rick Cotton began teaching at the Gustavson School of Business in 2015, bringing a passion for understanding how individuals thrive in their careers and how HR and talent management practices can foster organizational and individual success in a variety of country, industry and occupational contexts. He teaches undergraduates, MBA students and executives in talent management and human resource management courses and also enjoys consulting with organizations to help them be more successful.

His first research stream focuses on understanding how individuals can better thrive in their careers and how they can better handle challenging work situations and contexts across countries around the world. As such, Rick is a Co-Principal Investigator for the 140+ country Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) research program and a core research team member and co-author for the 35 country Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Contemporary Careers (5C) research program in addition to being the current Professional Development Workshop Chair for the Academy of Management’s 900+ member Careers Division. One of primary ways Rick studies extraordinary career achievement is by collecting and analyzing data on more than 25,000 individuals from more than 240 professional and occupational halls of fame ranging from baseball to business, automotive to consumer electronics and from teachers to tow truck drivers. Alternatively, Rick also looks at how individuals in challenging situations survive and thrive by studying unique populations including Australian women miners, correctional officers, serial entrepreneurs, employees in organizations recovering from scandal and chronic HR downsizers who have had to lay off hundreds or even thousands of employees. This research helps to highlight how human capital, social capital and positive psychological capital come together to foster success and resilience, particularly by leveraging workforce analytics and network analysis, including through studying individuals’ developmental networks (a.k.a., their ‘personal boards of advisors’ or ‘success networks’).

The second primary focus of Rick’s research is in studying higher level influences on career success including HR and talent management practices in different country cultural and institutional contexts. Rick hopes his research in these two streams will encourage HR practitioners and managers to find new ways to nurture individuals and organizations to achieve excellence and to help individuals find enhanced meaning and impact in their careers. So far, his research has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Career Development International, Journal of Management Inquiry, and the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and in business and media outlets including: BC Business, CFAX 1070 radio, CHEK News, EFMD Global Focus, Globe & Mail, Inc., Tiger21, Toronto Star, UPI (press release), Victoria News, and Your Workplace. He has won five Academy of Management Best Paper awards and has eleven articles that earned Academy of Management Proceedings honors in addition to being recognized six times over a four year period as a ‘Most Memorable Professor’ for his teaching prior to coming to UVic.

Rick has more than 20 years of experience from his work as a change management consultant with Accenture, as an independent consultant and as a Senior Vice President of Learning and Development at a Fortune 500 financial services firm. Rick earned his PhD at Boston College before working as an assistant professor in the University of North Carolina system prior to coming to UVic. His clients include: Aetna, BC Ferries, CNA Insurance, General Electric, the Hay Group, Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria, Pepsi, Putnam, Sapient, Tourism Victoria, United Technologies and several other primarily services-based firms, educational and governmental entities and MNCs.

Journal Publications

Kaše, R., Dries, N., Briscoe, J., Cotton, R., Apospori, E., Bagdadli, S., Övgü Çakmak‐Otluoğlu, K., …, Shen, Y. et al. (2020). Career success schemas and their cultural embeddedness: A comparative configurational perspective. Human Resource Management Journal, 30(3): 422-440. https://doi.org/10.1111/1748-8583.12218

Andresen, M., Apospori, E., Gunz, H., Suzanne, P., Taniguchi, M., Lysova, E., Cotton, R., Shen, Y. et al., (2020). Careers in context: An international study of career goals as mesostructure between societies’ career-related human potential and proactive career behavior. Human Resource Management Journal, 30(3): 365-391. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1748-8583.12247

Dastmalchian, A., Bacon, N., McNeil, N., Steinke, C., Blyton, P., Kumar, M. S., Bayraktar, S., Auer-Rizzi, W., Ahmad, A., Cotton, R.  et al. (2020). High-performance work systems and organizational performance across societal cultures. Journal of International Business Studies, 51, 353-388. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-019-00295-9  

Smale, A., Bagdadli, S., Cotton, R., Dello Russo, S., Dickmann, M., Dysvik, A., Verbruggen, M. (2019). Proactive career behaviors and subjective career success: The moderating role of national culture. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 40(1), 105–122. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2316

Parker, P., Cotton, R., Yates, M., Baxter, J., & Arend, S. (2019). Developmental network structure and support: Gendered consequences for work-family and work-parenting strain in the Australian mining industry. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(10), 1635–1665. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2017.1299195

Wang, L., & Cotton, R. (2018). Beyond Moneyball to social capital inside and out: The value of differentiated workforce experience ties to performance. Human Resource Management, 57(3), 761–780. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.21856

Shen, Y., Cotton, R., & Kram, K. (2018). Personal development also requires an advisory board (REPRINT IN MANDARIN). Business Review, (247), 6–17.

Cotton, R., Stevenson, W. B., & Bartunek, J. M. (2017). A way forward: Cascading ethical and change leadership, values enactment and group level effects on commitment in corruption recovery. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 53(1), 89–116. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021886316682591

Hsu, D., Wiklund, J., & Cotton, R. (2017). Success, failure and entrepreneurial reentry: An experimental assessment of the veracity of self-efficacy and prospect theory. Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, 41(1), 19–47. https://doi.org/10.1111/etap.12166

Clair, J. A., Ladge, J. J., & Cotton, R. (2016). This is how we do it: How perceived prosocial impact offsets negative personal outcomes associated with carrying out necessary evils. Journal of Management Inquiry, 25(3), 301–321. https:/doi.org/10.1177/1056492615612577

Clair, J., Ladge, J., & Cotton, R. (2016). Coping with the effects of emotionally difficult work. Harvard Business Review.

Shen, Y., Cotton, R., & Kram, K. (2015). Reunir un consejo asesor personal (REPRINT IN SPANISH). Harvard Duesto Business Review (Harvard Business Review - Spanish Translation), (247), 6–17.

Shen, Y., Cotton, R., & Kram, K. E. (2015). Assembling your personal board of advisors. MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(3), 81–90.

Cotton, R. (2013). Going global: The historical contingency of baseball hall of famer developmental networks. Career Development International, 18(3), 281–304. https:/doi.org/10.1108/CDI-12-2012-0127 

Cotton, R., & Shen, Y. (2013). The company you keep: The relational models and support expectations of key developer relationships. Career Development International, 18(4), 328–354. https:/doi.org/10.1108/CDI-09-2012-0093

Cotton, R., Shen, Y., & Livne-Tarandach, R. (2011). On becoming extraordinary: The content and structure of the developmental networks of Major League Baseball Hall of Famers. Academy of Management Journal, 54(1), 15–46. https:/doi.org/10.5465/amj.2011.59215081


Cotton, R. & Murphy, W. (2019). Your Success Network: Building key relationships that support your goals. In T. Skertich (Ed.), Career and Life Planning Guidebook for Medical Residents: The Best Part of Your Journey Is about to Begin, 10th Ed. Chicago, IL: Adventures in Medicine. http://physiciancareerplanning.com/ebooks/career-and-life-planning-guidebook-for-medical-residents/389/

Dries, N., Cotton, R., Bagdadli, S., & Oliveira, M. Z. (2014). Talent across cultures: Meanings and mindsets. In Global Talent Management – Challenges, Strategies, and Opportunities. Houten, Netherlands: Springer.

Cotton, R., Shen, Y., & Livne-Tarandach, R. (2013). On becoming extraordinary: The content and structure of the developmental networks of Major League Baseball hall of famers (REPRINT). In Sport Management (The International Library of Critical Writings on Business and Management Series #22). Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.


Cotton, R. (2020). Team Spirit! The Secrets of High Performing Teams. Presented to the WestShore Chamber of Commerce.

Cotton, R. (2020). Resilience in Leadership and Thriving in Teams. Presented as part of the UVic Leading Through Unprecedented Times Series.

Andresen, M., Lazarova, M.B., Apospori, E., Cotton, R., & Dickmann, M. (2020). Relationship between international mobility, employability and career success: A 30 Country Study. Presented at the 2020 Virtual AOM Conference 2020.

Dastmalchian, A., Bayraktar, S., Kumar, M.S., Bacon, N., Tang, N., Auer-Rizzi, W., Blyton, P., Ahmad, A., Cotton, R. & et al., (2020). The role of power distance on organizational structure and individual and organizational outcomes. Presented at the 2020 Virtual AOM Conference 2020.

Cotton, R., Pek, S., Berti, C., DeMille, M., & Majerbi, B. (2020). Community Engagement in the Transition to Carbon Neutrality. Webinar presented for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Hub.

Andresen, M., Apospori, E., Gunz, H., Cotton, R., & Taniguchi, M. (2020). (Unconscious) differences in individuals’ career conceptions across market economies: A comparative empirical study about the role of Varieties of Capitalism for careers. Presented at the AOM Careers Conference 2020 in Vienna, Switzerland.

Gianecchini, M., Bagdadli, S., Cotton, R., Kase, R., Lazarova, M., Smale, A., Bosak, J., Briscoe, J., Chudzikowski, K., Dello Russo, S., & Reichel, A. (2020). Organizational career management and individual career success around the world.  Presented at the AOM Careers Conference 2020 in Vienna, Switzerland.

Lazarova, M., Mayhrofer, W., Cotton, R., De Vos, A., Dimitrova, M., Dysvik, A., Forrier, A., Gunz, H., Kozhevnikov, A., Louisgrand, N., Reiss, L., Shaffer, M. Dickman, M. & Casado, T. (2020). Teaching about careers in turbulent times. Presented at the AOM Careers Conference 2020 in Vienna, Switzerland.


Recognition & Awards


Top 10% Downloaded Journal of Organizational Behavior Paper for 2018-2019, Wiley


Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Emerald Publishing Best International Symposium
2019 Top 20 Downloaded Article for 2017-2018, Wiley

2020, 2019(2), 2018(2), 2017, 2016, 2014(2), 2013(2), 2010, 2008

Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings Papers (Top 10%)

2019, 2010

Best Student Paper Award, Academy of Management Careers Division
2018 Academy of Management International Management Division Best Paper in OB/HRM/OT Finalist, Academy of Management
2018 Gustavson Best in Class – Leader of Excellence in Research Award, Gustavson School of Business
2017 Academy of Management Carolyn Dexter Best International Paper Finalist
2017,2016 Outstanding Reviewer Award, Academy of Management Careers Division
2014 Best Applied Paper Award, Academy of Management Careers Division
2014, 2013, 2012,
Most Memorable Professor Recognition, ASU Walker College of Business
2013 Honorable Mention Best Paper Award, Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS)
2012 Best Overall Paper Award, Academy of Management Careers Division
2008 Best Interactive Paper Award, Academy of Management Organization Development & Change Division



  • SHRM Foundation Research Grant, Funded by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (August 19, 2009 - August 11, 2016), awarded August 19, 2009 ($44,610 USD), Completed, Summer 2011, CoPI Rick Cotton with PI Judith Gordon

  • Leadership & Ethics Research Grant, Funded by Boston College Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics (March 15, 2006 - March 15, 2008), awarded March 15, 2006 ($18,600 USD), Completed, Spring 2008, CoPI Rick Cotton with CoPI Jean Bartunek

In Progress

  • GLOBE 2020 Colloquium on Culture and Trust Connection Grant, Funded by SSHRC (March 23, 2020 – March 22, 2021), awarded March 23, 2020, ($24,350 CAD).  Funded – In Progress, Spring 2020, Ali Dastmalchian with CoInvestigator Carolyn Egri, Coinvestigator Mansour Javidan, CoInvestigator Rick Cotton

  • BC Corrections: Engagement and Retention Project, Funded by BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (July 15, 2019) ($139,947 CAD). Funded – In Progress, Summer 2019, PI A.R. (Elango) Elangovan with CoInvestigator Rick Cotton

  • Women Leadership across Cultures (WomenLEAD): An exploration of the relationships among gender, organizational practices and societal culture, Funded by SSHRC (April 1, 2018), awarded April 1, 2018, ($200,000 CAD). Funded - In Progress, Spring 2018, CoPI Peter Dorfman with CoPI Stacey Fitzsimmons, CoInvestigator Amanda Bullough, CoInvestigator Ayman Ismail, CoInvestigator Kanika Bhal, CoInvestigator Mansour Javidan, CoInvestigator Mila Lazarova, CoInvestigator Rick Cotton, CoInvestigator Secil Bayraktar

  • Societal cultures, leadership and the human side of organizations: a multi-country study with a focus on women leaders and HR practices, Funded by SSHRC (April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2022), awarded October 1, 2015 ($270,000 CAD), Funded - In Progress, Spring 2016, PI Ali Dastmalchin with CoInvestigator S Fitzsimmons, CoInvestigator C Steinke, CoInvestigator P Dorfmann, CoInvestigator M Javidan, CoInvestigator Rick Cotton

Courses Taught

  • Managing People and Organizations II (Daytime, TELUS, Weekend MBA)
  • Driving Performance through Human, Social and Positive Psychological Capital (TELUS MBA)
  • Service Management Module: Talent/HR Management (BCom)
  • Leading People and Organizations II (BCom)
  • Gustavson Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE Program), My Values, My Passion, My Prosperity (Executive Programs)