Based on longitudinal data for a matched sample of 592 Italian academic inventors and controls, the paper explores the impact of patenting on university professors’ scientific productivity, as measured by publication and citation counts. Academic inventors (university professors who appear as designated inventors on at least one patent application) publish more and better quality papers than their colleagues with no patents, and increase their productivity after patenting. Endogeneity problems are addressed using instrumental variables and applying inverse probability of treatment weights. The beneficial effect of patenting on publication rates last longer for academic inventors with more than one patent.
In this article we provide an empirical illustration of hypotheses, developed in the literature, on the role of density and strength of ties in innovation networks.We study both exploration and exploitation networks in the Dutch multimedia and pharmaceutical biotechnology industry.We find support for most of our hypotheses but not all.These findings, in line with the mixed results in the literature, seem to indicate that the distinction between exploration versus exploitation, albeit useful, is still too general.There may be a stronger sectoral effect in how exploration and exploitation settle in network structural properties than anticipated thus far.
In the last ten years, the notion of a ‘business case’ for corporate sustainability has increasingly been used by the corporate sector, environmental organizations, consultancies and so on, to seek justification for sustainability strategies within organizations. In this paper, we aim to systemize and assess existing research and tools related to this increasingly popular concept. We present a review of (1) theoretical frameworks, (2) instrumental studies aiming to either prove or disprove a hypothesized causal sequence between corporate social or environmental performance and financial performance, (3) descriptive studies examining manager’s actual perceptions and practices, and finally (4) tools. We identify a clearly insufficient understanding of manager’s key arguments or business logic for adopting corporate sustainability strategies (how ‘business cases’ are built, how effective they are and what barriers they face). We attribute this primarily to lack of descriptive research in these areas.
Despite its long tradition and well known contributions, corporate strategy research is yet far from being mature. This paper proposes an innovative framework that approaches the field from the theoretical perspective provided by complexity theory. We propose to see the corporate level of the organization as the driver, pacer and framer of the overall firm's evolution process. Drive is provided by the cognitive representation of the corporate fitness landscape that is implicit in the firm's corporate plan. Pacing is a consequence of the kind of strategic initiatives ("search strategy") developed by the company. Framing is achieved through the architectural design that the corporate level implements for the firm.
In this paper, we show that ownership structures vary considerably across Europe, and that the dominant form ofownership is not necessarily the most efficient one. These findings are in contradiction to similar research basedon US samples. The results also demonstrate that firms without a dominant shareholder tend to outperform theircountry peer groups. We base our analysis on a new and unique dataset of uniform ownership data of the largest100 firms in the five major European economies. We quantify the differences in ownership by comparing threedistinct ownership structures of firms and relating them to performance. For the first time we employ aHodrick-Prescott Filter, a methodology widely used in macroeconomics to isolate the trend growth componentsfrom cyclical fluctuations, to estimate the share price trend of each firm. We take this trend as a good indirectindicator of the quality of governance.
This paper investigates the relationship between an employer and a knowledge worker when an arrangement is set ex-ante to a�ect the relative bargaining position in the ex-post negotiation. Specically, we study what drives the employers decision to endow the worker with the rights to control the deployment of valuable resources when this choice a�ects the workers bargaining power in the negotiation. Our analysis highlights how di�erent informational asymmetries impact on the employers problem of designing the employment contract to be o�ered to the worker.
Extant explanations of the nature and scope of firms, such as transaction costs, property rights, metering and “resources” can be integrated into a more general (capability based) theory of the nature and essence of the firm that recognizes the importance to the firm of creating (and capturing) value from innovation. We note that the appropriability of returns from creative and innovative activity often requires the entrepreneurial creation and co-creation of markets. Accordingly, market failure and transaction costs approaches need to be revamped to capture the essence of entrepreneurial and managerial activity that extends beyond the mere exercise of authority. We suggest that the nature and objective of the firm in an economy with innovation and incomplete markets is to capture value (profit) from its advantages and actions; and that the way in which the firm tries to achieve this (by establishing quasisustainable competitive advantage) is its essence. This is non-separable from its nature and objectives.
This paper provides a survey on studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection as well as empirical evidence on the effects of patent rights. Then, the second part considers the international aspects of IPR protection. In summary, this paper draws the following conclusions from the literature. Firstly, different patent policy instruments have different effects on R&D and growth. Secondly, there is empirical evidence supporting a positive relationship between IPR protection and innovation, but the evidence is stronger for developed countries than for developing countries. Thirdly, the optimal level of IPR protection should tradeoff the social benefits of enhanced innovation against the social costs of multiple distortions and income inequality. Finally, in an open economy, achieving the globally optimal level of protection requires an international coordination (rather than the harmonization) of IPR protection.
This paper employs data from an extensive European survey to produce one of the first systematic assessments of the private economic value of patents. The estimated mean of our patent value distribution is higher than 3 million Euros, the median is about one-tenth, and the mode is around a few thousand Euros. This is in line with previous findings about the skewed distribution of patent values. Our measure is significantly correlated with the number of patent citations, references, claims, and countries in which the patent is applied. Citations explain value as much as the other three indicators combined, and the right tail of citations is correlated with the right tail of our value measure. Yet, the four indicators only explain 2.7% of the variance of patent value. Thus, while the use of these indicators as proxies for value, particularly citations, may be justified, predictions based on these indicators carry significant noise. After using country, technology, and patent class fixed effects, we only explain 11.3% of the variation in patent value. The "measure of our ignorance" about patent value is still sizable, which calls for additional research to fill the gap.
This paper explores the relationship between firm performance, measured by Tobin's Q and very powerful controlling shareholders in a sample of Belgian listed firms. The paper shows that overall the largest shareholders have a negative effect on firm performance. Nevertheless, in family firms the effect of large controlling shareholders on performance is positive except when they are organized in voting blocks. Firms related to coordination centers display higher performance associated with large shareholders. The paper shows that the presence of a second shareholder in the firm has no significant effect.
Corporate ownership structures were important means to navigate postsocialist uncertainties, and as relational structures, they were vulnerable to subsequent path dependencies. Organizational innovations might outlive their relevant environments, locking firms in to underperform. This article analyzes the ownership sequences and performance of the 200 largest Hungarian firms between 1991 and 1999. Hungary in the 1990s is a strategic historical case to understand turning points, sequencing and performance. Optimal matching analysis is used to identify pathways, and dynamic scaling analysis to delimit ownership regimes in time. Hypotheses about how sequences mattered are tested by regression models of performance. The findings indicate that network forms buffered uncertainties up to 1995, contributing to high labor and capital efficiency. After this period, domestic corporate coalitions locked firms in, leading to inferior performance compared to manager buy-outs, domestic subsidiaries, and foreign-owned firms. Joint ventures on the other hand provided protection and then later the option for concentrating ownership, outperforming other pathways of ownership.
We discuss three methodological issues concerning forecasts of the outcome of financial distress. First, we argue that rather than using a binary model the outcome of financial distress should be modeled using a multinomial specification that distinguishes between failure, survival as going concern, and acquisition. We also argue for a random rather than matched-pair sampling technique to better reflect decision making reality. Finally, we investigate the value of using industry-mean adjusted regressors. We find that the binary bankruptcy model is mis-specified relative to the multinomial model, that the matched sampling technique overstates model accuracy and that industry specific intercepts have better explanatory power than industry-adjusted regressors.
It is well documented that firms develop nonmarket strategies to try to shape public policy changes to their advantage. But are there no limits to this? This paper argues that there is in fact an important limitation, internal to the firm, which comes from the necessity for firms to integrate market and nonmarket activities. Because the two types of activities are not always complements but sometimes substitutes, firms end up giving up part of their nonmarket activities to avoid restricting the development of their market strategies. This argument is tested in the context of the European telecommunications industry. Results suggest that there is reasonable ground for optimism regarding the potentially negative influence that firms' nonmarket activities might play in a democracy.
Abstract It is generally recognized that strategies can evolve from both intended and emergent actions and this understanding gradually permeates the strategy literature. Yet, the two phenomena are rarely analyzed as complementary processes and, if so, the analyses are usually conducted around case-based studies. To circumvent this, this paper develops an adaptive strategy-making model and incorporates measures of emergent and intended strategy modes to underpin quantitative analysis. Structural equation modeling applied on data from 185 business entities then shows that emergence fostered by autonomous and participatory strategy-making facilitates adaptive behavior, which in turn leads to higher performance outcomes. However, performance is enhanced further when the adaptive initiatives are integrated through strategic planning. These findings indicate that emergence is an essential driver of performance but is more effective if mediated by planning activities. This result has important implications for strategy research and strategic management practice.
Abstract Within-business diversification, product strategies, and competitors' innovative behavior may affect the competitive advantage of business units that operate in the integrated circuit industry. This investigation employs original data about new product introductions and sales from a representative sample of companies. In addition, the study's empirical taxonomy can deal with significant product heterogeneity, which many previous contributions overlook. Econometric analysis shows that corporate diversification within a market segment affects the competitive advantage of constituting units positively. Increased product variety also enables business units to gain a competitive edge over rivals. However, new product introductions by sister units in other market niches impair the performance of a focal unit. A higher propensity to innovate among rival firms also erodes the advantage of a focal unit, whereas positive spillovers arise from other firms' innovations in neighboring market segments.
Previous research identifies various reasons companies invest in information technology (IT), often as a means to generate value. To add to the discussion of IT value generation, this study investigates investments in enterprise software systems that support business processes. Managers of more than 500 Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) responded to a survey regarding the levels of their IT investment in enterprise software systems and the perceived utility of those investments. The authors use logistic and ordinary least squares regression to examine whether IT investments in two business processes affect SMEs' performance and competitive advantage. Using cluster analysis, they also develop a firm typology with four distinct groups that differ in their investments in enterprise software systems. These findings offer key implications for both research and managerial practice.
Abstract The purpose of this paper is to investigate the important relationship between risk taking and competitive advantage. Over the last two decades, a range of theoretical frameworks, drawn from behavioral decision theory, agency theory and strategic management have examined organizational risk-return trade-offs. This paper develops a model for the strategic management of risk. A dynamic model of competitive strategy linking risk and competition is presented, in which strategic reference points and risk attitudes are endogenously determined and influence risk/return performance. Following Shapira's (1995) arguments that good managers take high risk but are able to reduce it over time, we highlight the relevance of managing risk taking to achieve competitive advantage and then show how risk-seeking organizations can strategically achieve sustainable high returns at low risk.
Abstract Commenting on an analysis of the Financial Times MBA rankings, consideration is given to the emergence of an interest in such institutional rankings and the variety of factors involved in their present prominence. Specific attention is given to the pressures for business schools to manipulate the rankings and some of the forms that this takes. Although rankings are likely to remain a feature of the MBA environment for the foreseeable future, consideration is nevertheless given to alternative ways of providing potential MBA students with more useful sources of information.
Abstract This article analyses entry order decisions of incumbent firms diversifying from other industries (de alio entrants) in new markets. We study this issue in the Security Software Industry, a high turbulent industry in which de alio firms were first technological movers but start-ups dominate the downstream product market. With a generalized Tobit estimation of observed entry order decisions, we find that pre-entry firm capabilities that should represent strategic options do not significantly explain firm entry order. The article argues that inertial decisions more than rational assessments drive de alio entry order in Security Software.
Every so often, alliance scholars make cogent arguments for why the alliance field needs more process research. Rather than plea this case yet again, this paper explores why the field of alliance research continues to be overwhelmingly cross-sectional and structural in nature. Looking at research published since the mid-1990s, it appears that reflexive ‘calls for future process research’ crop up frequently. Even in cross-sectional, structural research, authors evoke stories about processes, even if these processes depend on assumptions about actors and behaviors that lie outside of what is observable with their data and methods. What impedes the development of process research are norms and taken-for-granted routines within the mainstream scholarly community. I discuss implications of this reflexivity and how it might be challenged to rejuvenate and advance alliance research.
Abstract What keeps an alliance leader awake during night? Past alliance research has contributed to our understanding of aspects such as motives for forming an alliance, initial conditions and the process of development. However, few studies have investigated challenges that alliance leaders face, as well as roles they adopt during the alliance life cycle. In this paper, we seek to investigate critical incidents that alliance leaders face in the execution of contract-based R&D alliances. By using the Critical Incident Technique, 158 critical incidents have been collected and analyzed. Our findings show that, in terms of frequency of occurrence, managing informal relationships and alliance formation are the two dominant themes, followed by formal R&D process, embeddedness, and exit. In addition, four crucial roles for managing an R&D alliance are also suggested. These roles are Facilitating, Finishing, Ambassadoring, and Trustkeeping.
Abstract In multibusiness firms, control of subsidiaries by the corporate headquarters is shaped by two levels of factors: subsidiary-specific factors and corporate-wide factors. Subsidiary-specific factors imply control that is tailor-made to the characteristics of each individual subsidiary. Corporate-wide factors imply control that is standardized across the subsidiaries within a firm. We argue that the balance between tailoring and standardization depends on the nature of the control mechanisms that corporate management uses to control its subsidiaries. Some mechanisms are more suited for tailoring, whereas others are more susceptible to standardization. Findings from a study of Dutch corporations reveal that control of subsidiaries can be characterized as tailored standardization. Autonomy is tailored to the individual subsidiaries within a firm. Integration, formalization, and communication are also subject to a corporate effect. Therefore, these three mechanisms are tailored to individual subsidiaries as well as standardized across the subsidiaries of a firm.
Based on an analysis of privatization acts and self-collected data on 13,422 economists, this paper statistically explores whether the diffusion of the ‘diffusers’, American-trained economists, influenced adoption of an economic policy. The results show that the diffusion of privatization was significantly affected by American-trained economists in the adopting countries and by the broader debates in the construction of economic ideas. The qualitative assessment of the enactment of privatization identifies the role of technocrats as handmaidens to broader national strategies. These results offer the interpretation of a transnational community, whose ideas evolve by an ongoing construction rather than by a diffusion of a reputed homogeneous American ideology.
In support of EURAM's vision of ‘building a community of engaged scholars’, I propose undertaking indigenous research in diverse European countries and cultures. I begin by recognizing the importance of indigenous research not only for developing an understanding of, and identity with, context‐specific management issues and problems in local European countries, but also for advancing general theoretical knowledge across cultural boundaries. Challenging to undertake, I propose a method of engaged scholarship for conducting indigenous research.
Abstract This comment starts with a personal account of experiences with business school rankings, which provides an introduction and illustration to the main points that follow. The first point is that noise dominates real news in published rankings, accounting for at least half and possibly much more of observed ranking changes. Thus, while ranking innovations have very real consequences in terms of applications, giving, and stakeholder perceptions, they need to be heavily discounted as carriers of new information. The second main point is that Devinney et al.'s finding of stable rankings for top schools and volatile rankings for lower-ranked schools is to be expected given what rankings measure and how they are constructed. Top schools reside in the thinly populated right tail of the school quality distribution, and therefore real differences in their quality are much more substantial and enduring than those for lower-ranked schools residing in more densely populated regions of this distribution. Published rankings, however, project these varying real differences into uniformly spaced ordinal rankings, obscuring the fact that ranking differences mean very different things for top schools and lower-ranked schools. The comment concludes with some ideas about how to improve the rankings.
Abstract This paper studies firms' choices of internal vs external sources of new capabilities. We first compare transaction cost, knowledge-based, and institutional arguments, which all emphasize the attributes of capabilities, including contractual hazards, capability gaps, and legitimacy. We next contrast these arguments with propositions that emphasize constraints on external availability as drivers of internal development. We then propose that a firm's internal reconfiguration and external reconfiguration routines affect its capability sourcing decisions as interactions with the capability attributes and external constraints. The empirical analysis draws on a survey of 162 telecommunications firms operating in Europe, North America, Latin America, or Asia.
Abstract The article ‘A New Finance Capitalism?’ raises an important paradox. Institutional investors are growing in size and the concentration of their stakes gives them potential influence over managers. Yet we observe an unexpected absence of shareholder activism and voice on the part of institutional investors in contemporary America. Concentration occurs without commitment. This comment further explores some reasons why today's largest investors seem resigned to or even to benefit from their relative passivity and preference of exit over voice. These reasons include conflicts of interest, market failures, lack of organizational capabilities, use of informal voice, and dependence of markets for corporate control. Corporate governance scholars have surprisingly little evidence on these topics, which suggest an important agenda for future research.
Abstract American households have vastly increased their participation in equity markets since the early 1980s, primarily through the purchase of shares in mutual funds. The resulting growth in assets managed by the mutual fund industry has been concentrated in a few fund complexes. Some of these – Fidelity in particular – have ended up holding very large ownership positions simultaneously in hundreds of US companies in the past few years, creating a latent network reminiscent of that operated by JP Morgan a century ago. Yet unlike the Morgan interests, mutual funds are relatively transient owners, rarely holding large ownership blocks for as long as 5 years. Moreover, funds are reticent to exercise their power, in part due to conflicts of interest. The result is that even the largest mutual funds are more likely to exit than to exercise voice, making the current version of American finance capitalism rather different from its predecessor.
Abstract This essay gives an account of the Center on Organizational Innovation at Columbia University. Established in 2000, the center promotes research on the social bases of reflexivity in organizations. Heterarchy is one such form, involving lateral accountability and the productive friction of competing criteria of worth. The dissonance of diverse organizational principles can lead to discovery.
Abstract The objective of this paper is to explore new modes of cooperation among customers, retailers and manufacturers resulting from co-design – a customer-centric business strategy. Co-design activities are performed at dedicated interfaces and allow for the joint development of products and solutions between individual customers and manufacturers. Our research on co-design is based on a deep interaction with case companies, making the research itself a further collaborative effort. In this paper, we first explore collaboration challenges with a case company introducing customer co-design (Adidas AG, a sport goods manufacturer). In a second step of exploration, we use findings from a larger database of case studies on customer co-design or mass customization to identify four basic modes of cooperation between customers, retailers and manufacturers. In a final step, the understanding gained from this differentiation is refined using the Adidas case. From the perspective of management practice, our research contributes to a better understanding of the collaboration challenges following a customer-centric business strategy. From the perspective of management research, the paper provides both a conceptual model of cooperation demands at the customer interface and a methodological framework for collaborative management research between academics and companies.
Abstract In the complex, usually problematic situation of interorganizational collaboration the need for managerial learning in the pursuit of collaborative advantage is high. Two particular characterizations of learning, in relation to interorganizational collaboration, are well described in the extant literature. We characterize these as transferable process learning and substantive (goal oriented) learning and introduce a third mode, the principal focus and contribution of this paper: local collaborative process learning. It is focused on understandings of the particular collaborative situation – including an appreciation of such elements as purpose, partners and processes – which participants gain as they progress the collaboration. Through research in four specific partnership development programmes, we develop an initial characterization of the notion and suggest additional layers of complexity that are implicitly involved in such learning. Inter-relationships between the three modes of learning in collaborations are then explored, to suggest some initial, broad, practice implications.
Abstract This paper is a reply to the paper by Josiassen and Harzing about the continued relevance of country-of-origin (COO) research in marketing (forthcoming, EMR). It develops detailed and articulated responses to each of their arguments. Although sharing some of Josiassen and Harzing's views, this reply maintains that the case of COO research raises significant issues in terms of its relevance to marketing practice.
Abstract This paper is an important contribution to the growing literature on the meaning of patent data. Its core findings should become part of the vernacular in empirical research using patents as measures of innovation. A startling finding is that commonly used patent-based proxies for value capture less than 5% of variation in value as reported by inventors. The results stand as a call for further exploration of the complex social and institutional processes by which patents are made. In this comment, I reflect on the main findings and their implications for what we know – and have yet to learn – about the value of patents and the meaning of patent data in innovation studies.
Abstract The increasing commercialization of academic science has generated concerns that this trend will negatively affect the research focus and productivity of academic scientists. Breschi et al. analyze a longitudinal data set of Italian academic inventors to empirically examine the impact of patenting on university professors' scientific productivity. They find that academic inventors actually increase their productivity and quality of scientific research post-patenting. This comment considers the social mechanisms that produce the article's key findings, and explore the broader implications for universities and public policy.
Abstract This article addresses the role of formal institutions and informal networks on corporate governance practices. The existing corporate governance literature has mostly examined the formal institutions, such as the effect of legal systems. Our contribution is to consider the effect of informal ‘small world’ characteristics of ownership and board networks. We use the case of Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) to examine these effects. Our empirical results reveal large differences in formal board and ownership structures between the Scandinavian countries, but strong similarities in terms of law enforcement, political stability, government effectiveness, rule of law, control of corruption as well as voice and accountability. We find that all three countries can be characterized as ‘small worlds' in which trust, information diffusion and reputation mechanisms are active governance mechanisms.
Multinational firms investing in foreign R&D activities were examined as having two main concerns: protecting their existing technological competencies and developing new competencies. The proposition that they make strategic choices to deal simultaneously with both concerns was tested by analyzing published data on 348 R&D investments in China between 1997 and 2002. Investing multinationals were shown to prefer setting up wholly-owned R&D labs in regions with poor IPR protection and cooperative ventures where protection was more robust. Cooperative ventures were preferred in regions with poorly developed factor markets, and wholly-owned labs where factor markets functioned more efficiently. These findings are consistent with the idea that multinationals making such investments attempt to develop and protect their core technology assets by balancing entry mode choices against the location choice in terms of intellectual property protection and the level of factor market development in the host location.
This paper investigates the relationship between new product introduction, and three constructs (search, collaboration and external R&D) developed to capture the different means by which firms link internal R&D to external inputs. By including interaction effects and applying detailed marginal effects analysis, it sheds new light on a research question, which has generated much empirical ambiguity. Search diversity and collaboration diversity measure the extent to which different types of information sources and collaboration partners are used. Both affect innovation performance positively, and are complementary to each other. External R&D measures the relative importance of contract R&D, and is found to have a conditional negative impact which is reduced by search and reinforced when combined with collaboration. When including interaction effects involving the overall R&D intensity of firms, our findings suggest the existence of two competing ideal types of open innovation strategy and organization.
Abstract Strategic management literatures have contributed significantly to our understanding of strategic decision-making, strategy formulation, strategy content and process. However, research into strategy context has been spasmodic, less interrogative and non-systemic. Hence, the relationship between context and both the content and process dimensions is not well understood. Recently, many organizations have been turning to scenario thinking methodologies to explore, facilitate and foster a linkage that enables better strategy content to develop. Scenario thinking has enhanced environmental sense-making in many organizations. But, such processes have come under increasing criticism for missing weak signals and emerging patterns in the underlying drivers of future change. This paper examines the reasons for these flaws by reference to recent developments in the cognitive psychology literature. It then investigates the strengths and weaknesses of using counterfactual reasoning as a tool for reducing the main biases that lead to foresightful thinking failures.
Abstract Free, libre or open-source software (FLOSS) is nowadays produced not only by individual benevolent developers but, in a growing proportion, by firms that hire programmers for their own objectives of development in open source or for contributing to open-source projects in the context of dedicated communities. A recent literature has focused on the question of the business models explaining how and why firms may draw benefits from such involvement and their connected activities. They can be considered as the building blocks of a new modus operandi of an industry, built on an alternative approach to intellectual property management. Its prospects will depend on both the firms' willingness to rally and its ability to compete with the traditional ‘proprietary’ approach. As a matter of fact, firms' involvement in FLOSS, while growing, remains very contrasted, depending on the nature of the products and the characteristics of the markets. This paper asks why for-profit firms contribute to FLOSS development and why some firms contribute more than others. The common explanation is that FLOSS is often a complement to proprietary software (or hardware or services) that the for-profit firm sells at a positive price. We present an alternative explanation based on the users' skill level. When users are skilled, opening the software is likely to result in a better product because the user base will contribute improvements (find bugs, write fixes and produce new features). We introduce the concept of the dominant user's skill and set up a theoretical model to better understand how it may condition the nature and outcome of the competition between a FLOSS firm and a proprietary firm. We discuss these results in the light of stylized facts drawn from recent trends in the software industry.
Abstract We believe that structural changes in a knowledge economy mean that managers will increasingly seek to make cooperative relationships the norm in their organisations. However, they are hampered in their attempts to do so by organisation designs that institutionalise the dominant assumption about human intentionality, which sees people and their relationships as motivated by self-interest. We argue that the self-interest assumption runs counter to the types of cooperation required to leverage fully the potential of the knowledge-based firm since it provides for relatively restricted forms of social exchange. We propose that the assumption of excellence, as set out by Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics, provides a valuable alternative. We discuss four tenets of this assumption and find that they suggest important differences in organisation design that are more likely to encourage and institutionalise cooperative relationships. We explore these differences, considering their implications for practice and research.
Abstract In a provocative article in this journal, Jean-Claude Usunier (2006) summarizes the critique on country of origin (COO) research and proclaims it to be ivory tower research that is of little relevance for consumers and businesses. Against this background, our paper comments on recent studies criticizing both past COO research and the relevance of the COO concept itself. We systematically counter the critique on COO research and provide reflections on the way forward for the field. Despite acknowledging Usunier's (2006) views that much research in this area might be guided by feasibility, rather than theoretical and practical relevance, and suffers from self-referential dynamics and overspecialization, we are critical of his conclusions with regard to the extant literature, its achievements and future research. We argue that COO is still a very relevant area of research, but one that does need to address several critical challenges.
Abstract Interlocking directorate networks among business enterprises have increasingly come under pressure due to internationalization and deregulation of markets. We show that in the small and internationalized economies of Switzerland and the Netherlands extensive changes have taken place. However, considerable differences in the form and the extent of these changes exist between the two countries. We argue that only by investigating which actors change their behavior we can understand and interpret the reasons for changes in the network structure. Combining a review of the Dutch and Swiss corporate governance landscape with a network analysis of board interlocks, we show that the changes in corporate networks are strongly affected by individual corporate strategies. The changing role of financial institutions in particular explains much of the variance between the two countries. Increasing influence of market pressures through dispersed ownership, on the contrary, does not explain changing patterns of interlocking directorates.
Abstract The article traces the research path taken over the last 20 years by a community of management and organizational scholars that has gradually emerged within the University of Bologna. This group has explored key themes in the realm of industrial districts, networks of firms and the origin of entrepreneurship, and central to this body of work has been a focus on units of analysis other than the single firm or the industry. This search for non-conventional units of analysis has allowed the community to explain phenomena that have otherwise proved difficult to grasp and decipher. This paper documents the milestones of this journey as it has moved across firms, dyads and networks in search of persuasive explanations of how firms behave at the intersection of transaction and strategic space.
The market for knowledge has grown dramatically over the past decades. Extant work underscores the factors shaping market efficacy: (a) the cost of searching for innovative knowledge; (b) asymmetric-information between inventors and investors; and (c) the inherent difficulty in maintaining ownership over knowledge. Recently, market transactions have been taking place online, matching disperse owners (entrepreneurs or inventors), and seekers (investors or licensees), of knowledge. This phenomenon constitutes a sharp departure from past practices where transactions tend to materialize around one's social circle (e.g., venture capitalists' social ties). We investigate the drivers of market efficacy in a setting where social ties are not available ex-ante, and identify alternative market mechanisms that emerge in such settings. Using novel hand-collected data for 30 online knowledge marketplaces, we find overwhelming evidence of adverse-selection-mitigating mechanisms (e.g., screening through upfront fees and disclosure requirements). We discuss theoretical explanations that are consistent with the observed mechanisms.
Abstract Using comprehensive data on the Danish population, this paper examines the determinants of entrepreneurs' choices of where to locate their new ventures. Our findings suggest that entrepreneurs place much more emphasis on being close to family and friends than on regional characteristics that might influence the performance of their ventures when deciding where to locate those businesses. Two factors could explain our findings: On the one hand, entrepreneurs may simply value proximity to family and friends. On the other hand, these relationships may help them to assemble the assets and to recruit the personnel that they need to succeed in their ventures. Our results suggest that the former plays the greater role in entrepreneurs' location choices.