Advances in Strategic Management

Publications
In our analysis of the Russian household deposit market during the 1990s, we show how the initial conditions of market emergence contributed to a vicious circle in which private commercial banks progressively lost the trust of potential depositors. The roots of this destructive dynamic lay in the initial conditions of market emergence. Initial experiences of fraud and financial loss led Russian households to distrust that commercial banks would honor their contractual obligations. As distrust grew and became more ingrained, the competitive conditions in the deposit market changed in a way that further increased the gains to opportunism and decreased the returns to trust production. In a self-reinforcing process, fraud begat more fraud.
 
Activities Formed by a Proportion of Thinking and Acting at any Point.
Thinking Co-Evolving with Acting within a Shared Frame of Reference.
This paper gives an answer to the continuing emergent-deliberate debate. Thinking and acting are two outstanding features of this controversy. What is needed in the field is a framework that can explain under what circumstances each of these two features takes place along the strategy-making process. The focus of the paper is on the sequence of thinking and acting in the strategy-making process. A framework is developed to show how thinking co-evolves with action in a succession of strategic activities. Within boundaries, strategic activities are carried forward by social automatic behaviour, following a set pattern. Yet, when an action crosses a certain threshold, a different condition of awareness is achieved. Similarly, thought can cross an equivalent threshold, giving rise to consciousness. Either condition enhances the organization's ability to make changes in the direction of its strategic activity.
 
Network formation is often said to be driven by social capital considerations. A typical pattern observed in the empirical data on strategic alliances is that of small world networks: dense subgroups of firms interconnected by (few) clique-spanning ties. The typical argument is that there is social capital value both to being embedded in a dense cluster, and to bridging disconnected clusters. In this paper we develop and analyze a simple model of joint innovation where we are able to reproduce these features, based solely on the assumption that successful partnering demands some intermediate amount of similarity between the partners.
 
In this paper we explore the degree to which patents are representative of the magnitude, direction, and impact of the knowledge spilling out of the university by focusing on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in particular, on the Departments of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data, we show that patenting is a minority activity: a majority of the faculty in our sample never patent, and publication rates far outstrip patenting rates. Most faculty members estimate that patents account for less than 10% of the knowledge that transfers from their labs. Our results also suggest that in two important ways patenting is not representative of the patterns of knowledge generation and transfer from MIT: patent volume does not predict publication volume, and those firms that cite MIT papers are in general not the same firms as those that cite MIT patents. However, patent volume is positively correlated with paper citations, suggesting that patent counts may be reasonable measures of research impact. We close by speculating on the implications of our results for the difficult but important question of whether, in this setting, patenting acts as a substitute or a complement to the process of fundamental research.
 
In this paper we consider a number of experiments to determine whether aspiring managers can solve non-market strategy problems. Conducting a survey of nearly 300 MBA students, we show that with simple, single-stage problems, managers are very competent in reaching the optimal choice given their non-market environment. As problems become more complex, however, they have much greater difficulty in arriving at the optimal result. In this regard, analysts must use some caution when evaluating empirical results and applying theoretical results.
 
This paper reviews the literature on corporate political strategy and identifies a number of open research questions and streams for potential investigation. The paper develops a framework to explain why, when, and how a firm will pursue multi-forum political action as part of its non-market and integrated strategy.
 
This paper reflects on the lack of focus on history characterizing the strategic management field. Reasons and consequences of such a peculiar situation need to be pointed out in order to develop a better history-grounded research approach inside the field. In terms of (the missing) history of thought, a fear of history seems to characterize the field, for a more aware historical understanding of strategic management and practices is likely to question not only notions and concepts, but the very perception of the field as a practically oriented discipline. A lack of historical reflection is usually preferred, wherein strategic management seems to come out of the blue, ignoring its inner evolution over time, and the relationships with previous bodies of knowledge in the business realm, such as for instance administrative sciences and accounting. In terms of the history of practice the situation is - if possible - even worse, with an obscure understanding of contexts and features of managerial practices in the past. Archival research is called for here, drawing on two research projects on pre-industrial revolution context (the Spanish Royal Tobacco Factory in the XVIII century, and the Venice Arsenal in the turn of the XVI century), in order to examine how prior management practices can influence and inform our present understanding of the discipline of strategic management. A less simplistic view of managing practices in the past emerges, which challenges the commonly held cycle of innovation and discontinuity perpetually alleged in the strategic management field to legitimize its own existence as a research area. While strategic management tools show a potential contribution to historical understanding in this archival research, a more historically aware understanding of the evolution of the field is thus intended as a way to falsify strategic management theory.
 
A key issue facing researchers of economic, political, social, and cultural changes is the dialectical tension between globalizing and localizing processes. This paper addresses a specific aspect of the "global-local nexus' that has not been well developed in the geographic literature: the relationships between transnational corporations and nation-states. Each can be conceptualized as highly embedded interacting networks. Firms and states are locked in competitive struggles. The competitive strategies they employ are both diverse and the outcome of contested power relations, internal and external. Increasingly, too, they involve various forms of collaborative relationship. -from Author
 
This paper extends organizational ecology by making an attempt to disentangle the consequences of scale and scope economies for organizational survival under different product market configurations. We test our hypotheses by analyzing the mortality rates of 643 UK motorcycle producers during the 1899–1993 period. The findings obtained offer two specific contributions. First, by separating the performance impact of scale from scope economies we clarify the complex mechanisms behind the survival consequences of different organizational strategies. Second, we show how the intensity of both scale and scope forces is relative to the aggregate market-level product configuration. The implications of these findings for organizational ecology and strategic management, and their cross-fertilization, are further discussed.
 
We investigate the competitive consequence of vertical integration on organizational performance using a comprehensive dataset of U.S. motion picture production companies, which includes information on their vertical scope and competitive overlaps. Vertical integration appears to change the dynamics of competition in two ways: (i) it buffers the vertically integrated firms from environmental dependence and (ii) it intensifies competition among non-integrated organizations. In contrast to the existing literature, our results suggest that vertical integration has implications well beyond both the level of the individual transaction and even the internal efficiency of the integrated firm.
 
This paper analyzes the relations among bank mergers, changes in boards and their networks, and changes in the global footprint of merging banks. We examine all mergers involving U.S. banks with foreign branches between 1986 and 2004. We find that while the largest banks have become even larger through mergers, their boards have stayed roughly the same size with the same pattern of connections, leaving banks relatively less central in the intercorporate network. And while global banks previously had more globally-oriented boards, this is no longer the case, as the link between board networks and strategy has become more tenuous. Because global banks were particularly prone to merging, the average commercial bank in the U.S. is now far more domestically-oriented than firms in most other industries. American banks have thus become more domestic at the same time that the rest of American industry has grown much more global.
 
Systemic industries comprise groups of firms making component products that are valued as complements by consumers (PC, automobiles, aircraft, networking). In this study, we investigate the distribution of research effort across the technological system by individual firms as a basis for building competitive advantage. Our empirical setting is a sample of component makers in the personal computer system. We show that even in a sample dominated by focused component manufacturers, diversified research effort in the broader technological system improves R&D productivity in the component technology. Broad scope R&D in the rest of the system also increases the marginal benefits of research efforts in the component technology, though at a diminishing rate. We explore the determinants of this complementarity between the scope of system level research and the focus on component level research, and derive implications for competitive advantage.
 
This chapter explores the origins of the theme of competitive advantage in 19th and early 20th century economics. This theme, which forms the core of modern Strategic Management, was a battleground for debates about the value of abstract theory versus observations about real-life events. Intellectual genealogies, citations, and other sources show the central roles played by the University of Vienna and Harvard University. These two institutions strongly influenced the theory of monopolistic competition as well as all three modern views of competitive advantage – the industrial as expressed by Porter, the resource-based as expressed by Penrose, and the evolutionary as expressed by Schumpeter.
 
Scholars have begun to recognize the importance of integrating organizational issues into real options theory. In doing so, some argue that options are inappropriate for evaluating critical strategic investments. In a more in-depth analysis, we argue that the organizational form that an option takes has a profound effect on exercise decisions. When options are initially integrated, organizational elements such as routines and culture become increasingly intertwined over time, raising the cost of abandoning the option – in effect, pushing firms to exercise options. In contrast, initially isolated options become idiosyncratic and more costly to integrate over time – pushing firms to kill them. There are also reputational and social capital effects that may bias exercise decisions beyond the mere consideration of costs, leading to escalation or missed opportunities. Accordingly, firms must first be able to manage the associated organizational costs and minimize systematic bias in exercise decisions. Real options theory is moving away from the limitations of the financial options analogy and is increasingly integrated with strategy and organization theory. This shift requires that researchers consider issues such as intermediate organizational forms, external monitoring of exercise decisions, portfolios of competing options, and group process interventions.
 
Main field documents.
List of expert interviews.
Composition of the panel.
SEMATECH as a temporary and permanent organization.
Features that led to SEMATECH's metamorphosis.
Purpose – The aim of this study is to inquire into the circumstances and mechanisms that drive temporary systems to become permanent organizations. Methodology/approach – This study is based on a retrospective longitudinal case study (1980–1995) and informed by research on organizational path dependence. Our research object is SEMATECH, the leading global semiconductor manufacturing consortium. Findings – This longitudinal case study of the research and development consortium SEMATECH shows how and under what conditions a project, once its initial objective had been achieved, managed to turn itself into a permanent organization, that is, it terminated its institutionalized termination. Based on our findings, we argue that the postponing of this specific project's institutionalized termination can be understood by adopting a path dependence perspective that allows for the capturing of self-reinforcing processes to account for the stability of the (once temporary) system. Originality/value of the paper – In this chapter, we question the certainty put forward in organizational studies of projects concerning the ephemeral nature of projects due to their built-in termination mechanism.
 
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/35985/2/b1379537.0001.001.pdf http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/35985/1/b1379537.0001.001.txt
 
The “upper echelon” literature has mainly produced static empirical studies on the impact of top management team composition on organizational outcomes, ignoring the dynamics of industrial demography. Organizational ecology explicitly studied the dynamics of organizational diversity at the population level, however largely ignoring how the entry and exit of executives shapes organizational diversity over time. In this paper, we try to integrate both streams of demography research and develop a multi-level behavioral theory of organizational diversity, linking selection processes at both levels of analysis. The behavioral mechanism connecting the two levels of analysis is the stylized empirical fact that small groups, including top management teams, routinely reproduce their demographic characteristics over time. We argue that, under certain conditions, the potent forces of team homogenization coevolve with those of population-level selection to sustain between-firm diversity.
 
Selection Patterns.
A key component of evolutionary models in economics and organizational research, the notion of organizational selection is rarely the object of inquiry. It generally suggests instead a neutral and unquestioned process, a mechanism explaining organizational success and survival. In this chapter, we explore the variation of selection; we problematize the notion of selection and do an exercise in conceptual genealogy. We differentiate between three patterns of firm selection: Darwinian, strategic, and institutional and define the associated ¿embedded rationalities¿ that buttress those different selection patterns. We illustrate how selection differed and evolved through time by exploring two empirical cases ¿ France and the United States. Building upon our empirical exploration, we stress some important contributions for three theories familiar to strategy scholars ¿ resource-based view, population ecology, and institutional theory. We also point to some consequences for empirical research and suggest new directions for future work on the dynamics of organizational action.
 
In this paper we review contracting issues raised by a government’s decision to contract out activities linked to public services, as well as highlighting potential future research avenues. We first review the different kinds of contracting arrangements and public private partnerships used by government to contract out their activities. In Section 1, we highlight the difficulties linked to the specificities of the arrangements between the government, considered a competent and benevolent dictator, due to complex information and commitment issues. We focus on the different sources of contractual failures resulting from contractual incompleteness and from imperfect competition among the potential private providers of public services. We then focus on the specificities of the relationship between the private and public parties that might be non-benevolent and therefore submitted to specific constraints to control potential disfunctioning like corruption, (see Section 2). Lastly we consider the “government” no longer as an homogeneous entity, but as a complex, multi-purpose organization submitting third parties to specific hazards (Section 3). Suggestions for further research follow in the conclusion.
 
This paper explores the emergence and coordination of synchrony in networked groups like those that develop integrated product platforms in collaborative ecosystems. While synchronized actions are an important objective for many groups, interorganizational network theory has yet to explore synchrony in depth perhaps because it does not fit the typical diffusion models this research relies upon. By adding organizationally realistic features – sparse network structure and intentional coordination – to the firefly model from theoretical biology, I take some first steps in understanding synchrony in organizational groups. Like diffusion, synchrony is more effective in denser networks, but unlike diffusion clustering decelerates synchrony’s emergence. Coordination by a few group members accelerates group-wide synchrony, and benefits the coordinating organizations with a higher likelihood that it converges to the coordinating organization’s preferred rhythm. This likelihood of convergence to an organization’s preferred rhythm – what I term synchrony performance – increases in denser networks, but is not dependent on tie strength and clustering.
 
Interorganizational partner selection decisions are plagued with uncertainty. When making partnering decisions, firms strive to answer two questions: does the prospective partner have resources which can be used to generate value in the relationship; and whether the partner will be willing to actively share these resources and cooperate in good faith. Answers to these questions help reduce three types of uncertainty - partner capability uncertainty, partner competitiveness uncertainty and partner reliability uncertainty. For a relationship to benefit both partners, they have to possess complimentary resources of comparable quality, avoid explicit competition as well as be willing to engage in the cooperative behaviors within the confines of their relationship. In this paper we examine the importance of prospective partners' characteristics (differences in size, status and specialization) as well as their network characteristics (existence of a common partner and membership in the same clique) to the formation and longevity of their social relationships as these characteristics reduce firms' value generation and partner reliability uncertainty.
 
This paper examines the application of real option theory to sequential investment decision-making. We address the apparent conflict between applications that suggest that early investments provide growth option value and those that suggest that delayed investment may provide deferral option value. In an effort to contribute to the development of criteria that discriminate between investments that confer growth options from those that confer deferral options, we introduce a conceptual model that explains technological adoption as a sequence of embedded options. Upon the introduction of each generation of a technology, a firm may either defer investment and wait for the arrival of a future generation or invest now and obtain experience that provides a preferred claim on adoption of subsequent generations. The paper considers four potential technology migration strategies; compulsive, buy-and-hold, leapfrogging, and laggard. We propose that these four technology migration strategies are dependent on the magnitude of inter-generational technological change, the frequency of inter-generational technological change, the uncertainty of inter-generational technological change, and the nature of rivalry.
 
The lack of cumulative progress in strategic management has been blamed by some leading researchers on the methodological immaturity of the field. These researchers argue that strategic management should move beyond reliance on eclectic and informal empiricism, to a conscious emphasis on formulating falsifiable theories and hypotheses. In this paper we survey the debate between researchers who call for the adoption of falsification as a criterion of empirical testability, and others who resist what they see as the imposition of methodological conformity. We show that in spite of their differences, both sides share a concern with cumulative progress. We argue that "evolutionary epistemology" - an approach to explaining scientific progress that derives from Popper's original ideas - represents a useful perspective from which to examine the current obstacles facing strategic management. Using evolutionary epistemology, we examine the research process in strategic management. We suggest that data constraints are driving the evolution of strategic management by conferring benefits on question focused research programs, while penalizing domain focused research programs. Specifically, the increased emphasis on rigor has meant that research programs whose hypotheses can be rigorously tested with readily available data are displacing research programs that deal with issues for which data requirements are very costly. We conclude by pointing out that attempts to enhance the scientific status of strategic management by emulating other successful fields could lead to loss of relevance and theoretical sterility.
 
We review theory and evidence on corporate diversification, industry structure, and firm strategy from an organizational economics perspective. First, we examine the implications of transaction cost economics (TCE) for diversification decisions. TCE is essentially a theory about the costs of contracting, and TCE sheds light on the firm’s choice to diversify into a new industry rather than contract out any assets that are valuable in that industry. While TCE does not predict much about the specific industries into which a firm will diversify, it can be combined with other approaches, such as the resource-based and capabilities views, that describe which assets are useful where. We also discuss the transaction-cost rationale for unrelated diversification, which focuses on the potential efficiencies from exploiting internal capital markets. We review this argument as it emerged in the transaction cost literature in the 1970s and 1980s and, more recently, theoretical and empirical literature in industrial organization and corporate finance. We then discuss how diversification decisions, both related and unrelated, affect industry structure and industry evolution. Here, the stylized facts suggest that diversifying firms have a crucial impact on industry evolution because they are larger than average at entry, grow faster than average, and exit less often than the average firm. We conclude with thoughts on unresolved theoretical, methodological, and empirical issues and problems and provide suggestions for future research.
 
Experimental methods in economics are well-suited for strategy research. The control of the laboratory allows researchers to decouple confounding influences of decision and environmental variables. We review the basic tenets of the methodology, and illustrate how economic experiments have examined strategic behavior in three .different settings: Markets, games, and decisions. In markets we discuss contestability, multiple point competition, and information-based fads (or "mirages”). In games we discuss coordination, reputation-building, and committee decision making. In decisions we discuss compensation contracts and tournaments.
 
The valuation of innovation investments still poses several unresolved questions. Although some authors have analyzed these problems within a framework based on real options theory, their work has not explicitly tested the value of specific real options. The model of firm market value presented in this paper formally includes a technology switching option,which allows a firm to exchange an existing technology with a new technology. We test the model on a panel of publicly traded British firms operating in different manufacturing industries. The results provide support to the claim that the stock market recognizes and evaluates a technology switching option.
 
All knowledge claims are also to some extent legitimacy claims. No theory can receive serious attention, let alone gain credence, unless it is also seen as legitimate. Philosophers of science have spent decades trying to frame criteria that determine the legitimacy of theories, only to agree to disagree on the matter. Sociologists of science, on the other hand, take a broader view, arguing that rather than seeking ex ante criteria of knowledge it is best to examine how researchers legitimate knowledge in practice.
 
Strategy as Multifaceted Discourse.
Although we have seen a proliferation of studies examining the discursive aspects of strategy, the full potential of the linguistic turn has not yet been realized. This paper argues for a multifaceted interdiscursive approach that can help to go beyond simplistic views on strategy as unified discourse and pave the way for the new research efforts. At the meta-level, it is important to focus attention on struggles over competing conceptions of strategy in this body of knowledge. At the meso-level it is interesting to examine alternative strategy narratives to better understand the polyphony and dialogicality in organizational strategizing. At the micro-level, it is useful to reflect on the rhetorical tactics and skills that are used in strategy conversations to promote or resist specific views. This paper calls for new focused analyses at these different levels of analysis, but also for studies of the processes linking these levels.
 
The application of real options theory to international strategy has surged in recent years. However, it is still a relatively new and loosely defined field, and there are several constraints on practical applications of this powerful theory. To move forward this field, the paper first provides a systematic analysis of theoretical and empirical contributions of real options theory to three critical issues in international strategy: (1) valuing multinational networks, (2) assessing market entry modes, and (3) evaluating market entry timing. The paper further suggests that future studies can focus on a refined treatment of uncertainty and the development of a dynamic theory in international strategy. Five testable propositions are developed in these directions.
 
This study analyses the determinants of the value of a portfolio of real options and explores implications for strategic management. It focuses the analysis on four elements: the number of real options in the portfolio, constraints on the number of options that can be exercised, the volatility of underlying assets, and the correlation between underlying assets. These elements are articulated around a trade-off between growth options and switching options and are applied to different strategic situations of technological, market, and macroeconomic uncertainty.
 
In this paper we investigate the ownership and control of British firms using recent techniques from computational graph theory. In particular, we analyze the `small-world' properties of UK company ownership and the corporate elite. A `small-world' is characterized by short `path-lengths' (actors are linked by a short chain of acquaintances) and high `clustering' (one's friends tend to be friends in their own right). We find that the network of both ownership and control can be characterized as a small-world. We simulate a set of corporate worlds using newly introduced random-graph models of Chung and Lu. In general, we reject the hypothesis that the corporate world of ownership and control is generated by a random graph model. The network structure of ownership and boards is decidedly more `clubby' than would be expected by chance, suggesting the presence of additional social structure not captured by the random graph model. In addition, we find that financial institutions are important and give rise to different network topologies.
 
Past theorizing and empirical work suggest that long-standing strategic leaders generate harmful attention and information-processing effects in their organizations, which in turn impair organizational learning and performance. In contrast, our argument is that longevity and its attendant inertia foster useful transformational and strategic persistence for organizations pursuing stretch goals. Through attentional vigilance and restricted focus, inertia may create the cognitive profile necessary for effective learning when organizations pursue the seemingly impossible. We empirically examine our ideas in the context of the French royal navy and the naval battles it had with the British in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. More specifically, we focus on two distinct but related stretch periods during which the French royal navy was tasked with building a powerful naval force and using it to gain naval supremacy over Great Britain. Given its exceptionally weak starting position at the beginning of the two studied periods and its desire to displace the established and advantaged navy of the era, the French had a lofty task. Our results are supportive of the stability argument, with leader longevity and inertia being positive for outcomes.
 
Why do nations succeed in particular industries? Why do certain industries prosper in one country, but languish in others? Several recent attempts to address these core questions in the study of geography and strategy are based on the notion of domestic rivalry as the essence of the persistence of competitive advantage of nations. Starting from the claim that rivalry between countries typically implies competition among organizational populations across national boundaries, in this paper we make a first attempt to develop empirical connections between a central problem in international business and the conceptual and analytical categories of corporate demography. Relying on information on the founding of 719 independent motorcycle producers operating in Belgium, Italy and Japan during the period 1898-1993, we build on recent results in organizational ecology to link a selected number of essential but underspecified aspects in current theories of international business to observable patterns of competition within and among organizational populations. The results of the analysis invite a new interpretation of the evolutionary forces that shape the competitive advantage of nations.
 
Sample Mapping from Patent Background to Topic.  
Multidimensional Scaling Applied to Measures of Attentional Coupling at Motorola in 1975, 1985, and 1995.  
Tobit Regression Results.
This study examines the effects of organizational attention on technological search in the multibusiness firm. We argue that attentional specialization and coupling, or (respectively) attention given to problems within and across units, affect a unit's ability to engage in distant and local search by shaping how problems are perceived and addressed. We test this theory by applying a probabilistic topic model to all Motorola patents issued from 1974 to 1997, thus identifying and measuring attention to technical problems. Our results suggest that (a) subunits with specialized attention are not myopic but instead explore broadly and (b) tight attentional coupling across units increases the breadth of search. This study contributes to attention-based views of the firm and to studies on organizational design and search.
 
Firms tend to transfer more knowledge in technology joint ventures compared to contractual technology agreements. Using insights from new institutional economics, this chapter explores to what extent the alliance governance association with interfirm knowledge transfer is sensitive to an evolving industry norm of collaboration connected to the logic of open innovation. The chapter examines 1,888 dyad-year observations on firms engaged in technology alliances in the U.S. information technology industry during 1980-1999. Using fixed effects linear models, it analyzes longitudinal changes in the alliance governance association with interfirm knowledge transfer, and how such changes vary in magnitude across bilateral versus multipartner alliances, and across computers, telecommunications equipment, software, and microelectronics subsectors. Increases in industry-level alliance activity during 1980-1999 improved the knowledge transfer performance of contractual technology agreements relative to more hierarchical equity joint ventures. This effect was concentrated in bilateral rather than multipartner alliances, and in the software and microelectronics rather than computers and telecommunications equipment subsectors. Therefore, an evolving industry norm of collaboration may sometimes make more arms-length governance of a technology alliance a credible substitute for equity ownership, which can reduce the costs of interfirm R&D. Overall, the chapter shows that the performance of material practices that constitute innovation ecosystems, such as interfirm technology alliances, may differ over time subject to prevailing institutional norms of open innovation. This finding generates novel implications for the literatures on alliances, open innovation, and innovation ecosystems.
 
We study the spatial diffusion of stock backdating, an instance of corporate misconduct about which public information was virtually absent until 2005. Contrary to the findings of Bizjack, Lemmon, and Whitby (2009), our results reveal that this “invisible” practice did not diffuse through board interlocks. Rather, stock backdating spread through geographic proximity: firms were more likely to backdate stock options to the extent that other firms located geographically close to them had done so. Lending support to the importance of localized interactions among members of the local business elite, the effect of geographical proximity was conditional on high levels of local board interlocks. Our findings regarding the differential impact of geographic proximity and board interlocks on the diffusion of this invisible practice are analogous to the diffusion pattern of controversial practices proposed by Davis and Greve (1997).
 
We examine the effect of firm ownership status on three environmentally relevant variables: energy efficiency, toxic emissions, and spending on pollution abatement. Prior research has demonstrated that public firms invest less than private firms and suggests this difference is due pressure from investors to strongly favor short over long-term earnings. We extend this logic to other firm behavior, examining whether publicly owned facilities invest in energy efficiency and pollution reduction differently than privately owned facilities. Using data from the US Census of Manufactures from 1980 to 2009, information on pollution from the Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and pollution abatement spending from the Pollution Abatement Costs and Expenditures survey, we find that facilities switching to public ownership are less energy efficient and spend less on pollution abatement than their privately owned counterparts. However, we also find that facilities switching to public ownership have lower toxic emissions than other facilities. We also examine how different sources of external pressures alter these results and find that increased regulatory scrutiny is correlated with increased energy efficiency, toxic emissions, and abatement spending. More concentrated institutional ownership in public firms is associated with lower energy efficiency as is a greater brand focus. These latter results are broadly consistent with the idea that publicly owned firms respond to pressures from investors with a reduced focus on environmentally relevant variables. However, since facilities switching to public ownership have lower toxic emissions, this suggests that there are two competing pressures in publicly owned facilities: cost pressures, consistent with lowered energy efficiency, and public perceptions, consistent with lower toxic emissions, particularly since TRI data became available. In this sense, the combination of ownership and transparency of information appears to influence how firms prioritize different stakeholders. © 2018 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
 
We examine the determinants of multinational firms' propensity to conduct R&D activities in host countries, with specific attention to the influence of host countries' university research. We consider heterogeneous locational drivers related to the type of R&D activity: basic research, applied research, development for local markets, and development for global markets. Drawing on official survey data on R&D activities by 498 Japanese multinational firms in 24 host countries and estimating two-stage models, we find that the likelihood that firms conduct R&D in a host country is generally increasing in the strength of university research. Conditional on a firm's R&D presence, university research strength is associated with a greater propensity to conduct (basic) research activities rather than (local) development, while the intensity of host country university-industry collaboration is most strongly associated with applied research. Host country experience and the depth of the firm's manufacturing presence are also associated higher propensities to engage in research.
 
Behavioral strategy completes the analyses of superior profitability by highlighting how non-economic, behavioral barriers generate an alternative source of strategic opportunities. Existing internal and external analysis frameworks fail to explain why strategic factors can be systematically mispriced and why large firms’ structural and resource advantage are regularly disrupted by entrepreneurs. We argue that the systematic biases documented in the behavioral and organizational sciences in fact illuminate an alternative source of competitive advantage. Strategists could develop superior insights into the value of resources and recognize factors that are either under- or overvalued while competitors remain blind to such possibilities. Our argument is illustrated by how three “underdogs” disrupted the incumbents in their industries by exploiting rivals’ predictable biases and blind spots. We conclude by discussing how our ideas can be generalized as an alternative, behavioral approach for strategy.
 
In M&A markets, acquirers face a hold-up problem of losing the value of investments they make in due diligence, negotiations, and post-acquisition planning if targets would pursue the options of waiting for better offers or selling to an alternative bidder. This chapter extends information economics to the literature on M&A contracting by arguing that such contracting problems are more likely to occur for targets with better outside options created by the information available on their resources and prospects. We also argue that acquirers address these contracting problems by using termination payment provisions to safeguard their investments. While previous research in corporate strategy and finance has suggested that certain factors can facilitate an acquisition by reducing a focal acquirer's risk of adverse selection (e.g., signals, certifications), we note that these same factors can make the target attractive to other potential bidders and can exacerbate the risk of hold-up, thereby leading acquirers to use termination payment provisions as contractual safeguards.
 
An increasingly large group of scholars in Europe have begun to take a practice lens to understanding problems of strategy making in organizations. Strategy-as-practice research is premised on the notion that all social life is constituted within practices, and that practices and practitioners are essential subjects of study. Applying this lens to strategy foregrounds the mundane, everyday work involved in doing strategy. In doing so, it expands our definition of the salient outcomes to be studied in strategic management and provides new perspectives on the mechanisms for producing such outcomes. As strategy-as-practice scholars, we have been puzzled about how much more slowly the ideas in this burgeoning field have traveled from their home in Europe to the United States than have other ideas in strategic management traveled from the United States to Europe. In this chapter, we contribute some thoughts about the development of the strategy-as-practice field and its travels in academia.
 
Data Structure.
Three Mechanisms of Concept Naturalization.
Representative Quotations: Antecedents of Naturalization.
The Concept Naturalization Process.
Representative Quotations: Outcomes of Naturalization.
In this paper, we examine the interplay between external legitimacy judgments, internal identity beliefs, and conceptions of sustainability. Based on observation at industry events and interviews with key stakeholders, we examine how organizational actors interpret the concept of sustainability in civil aviation, an industry subject to intense legitimacy threat for its environmental impact. We find that the concept of sustainability is interpreted through a process of naturalization, by which conceptual ties to past practices are forged, and the concept becomes corrupted. We describe three mechanisms (relabeling, bundling, zooming out) through which concept naturalization occurs, and we show how this process creates resonance between sustainability and an industry ethos, which captures the aspirations, ideals and values of the industry.
 
This paper studies organizational change following a shift in an industry environment, in the context of how a focused factory adapts to a change in its manufacturing objectives. We use the organizational nature of production operations to suggest that the effectiveness of adaptation will depend on how well the manufacturing requirements of the new objectives match manufacturing capabilities at the production line level. We test our hypotheses using primary data from the Hartselle, Alabama compressor manufacturing focused factory of the Copeland Corporation. The results suggest that factors that influence adaptability derive from individual and organizational competence, and that the direction and extent of their influence depends on the systemic nature of the operational activity concerned. The results highlight roles of carefully designed complexity in operations and of process-oriented decision making on the shop floor in successful adaptation. This work contributes to our understanding of how business organizations overcome constraints to change.
 
When considering whether to adopt a network technology, how does uncertainty about whom a potential adopter might interact with affect their adoption choice? On the one hand, uncertainty about potential network partners might enhance adoption incentives, as increased uncertainty induces the potential for economies of scope across the potential network. On the other hand, uncertainty may reduce the expected value of any particular connection, and reduce adoption incentives. Since this is a theoretical puzzle, this chapter presents empirical evidence to help illuminate it. It presents evidence the destabilizing of a social network may increase the scope of network externalities, using data on sales of a video-calling system made to an investment bank’s employees and subsequent usage by these customers. The terrorist attacks of 2001 led potential customers in New York to start communicating with a new and less predictable set of people when their work teams were reorganized as a result of the physical displacement that resulted from the attacks. This did not happen in other comparable cities. These destabilized communication patterns were associated with potential adopters in New York being more likely to take into account a wider spectrum of the user base when deciding whether to adopt relative to those in other cities. Empirical analysis suggests that the aggregate effect of network externalities on adoption was doubled by this instability, and that for those with diffuse networks, this more than compensated for the negative baseline effects of the instability.
 
Courses in strategic management should teach future strategists how to react to unexpected strategic events such as the appearance of innovative technologies, proposed mergers, drastic changes in production costs, or major actions by competitors or customers. Strategic events often trigger important changes in strategies, and reactions to strategic events make the difference between long-run success and failure. Courses can teach students about the philosophical and psychological difficulties posed by complex environments and uncertain futures and teach some procedures that help to assure that important issues receive consideration. Research may be able to identify some decisionmaking heuristics that foster success.
 
Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage has become a major area of research in strategic management. Building on the assumptions that strategic resources are heterogeneously distributed across firms and that these differences are stable over time, this article examines the link between firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Four empirical indicators of the potential of firm resources to generate sustained competitive advantage-value, rareness, imitability, and substitutability are discussed. The model is applied by analyzing the potential of several firm resources for generating sustained competitive advantages. The article concludes by examining implications of this firm resource model of sustained competitive advantage for other business disciplines.
 
Top-cited authors
Walter W. Powell
  • Stanford University
Rebecca Henderson
  • Harvard University
Ajay Agrawal
  • University of Toronto
Brian Silverman
  • University of Toronto
Joel A. C. Baum
  • University of Toronto