Benyamin B. Lichtenstein

Benyamin B. Lichtenstein
University of Massachusetts Boston | UMB · College of Management

PhD

About

106
Publications
90,608
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5,123
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2004 - present
University of Massachusetts Boston
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 1998 - August 2003
University of Hartford
Position
  • Professor (Associate) of Management

Publications

Publications (106)
Article
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We use theory and methods from complexity science to examine dynamic patterns among activities undertaken by nascent entrepreneurs in the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics. We develop hypotheses predicting that certain dynamic patterns in start-up activities will lead to the emergence of new firms when: (1) the rate of start-up activities is...
Article
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Stages of growth models were the most frequent theoretical approach to understanding entrepreneurial business growth from 1962 to 2006; they built on the growth imperative and developmental models of that time. An analysis of the universe of such models (n = 104) published in the management literature showed no consensus on basic constructs of the...
Article
Full-text available
Complexity scholars have identified two distinct drivers of emergence: (1) Far-from-equilibrium dynamics that trigger order creation, and (2) adaptive tension (McKelvey, 2004) which can push a system toward instability, leading to the emergence of new order. In this paper I suggest that both are true but incomplete. For example, when drawn out to t...
Article
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While you are reading these sentences, people are losing their lives at work. According to the International Labor Organization, every 15 seconds “153 workers have a work-related accident,” with one of them resulting in death (ILO 2016). Most of these accidents are highly preventable (Brauer 2006), but most businesses do not take the necessary ac...
Chapter
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What leads to entrepreneurial growth? In addition to all the known variables — skills, resources, opportunity, capital, environment, technology, and so on — are there internal processes that spur performance and success? Drawing on a longitudinal indepth analysis of three fast-growth ventures, this study applied causal loop modeling as a tool to ex...
Article
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Purpose of the study Amid insufficient retirement savings and the growing need to work longer, it is important to understand why self-employment, especially entrepreneurship, has grown among older households. Older households may have been pushed into entrepreneurship by the growing risks of wage-and-salary employment as wages and jobs have become...
Article
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Emergence is at the nexus of entrepreneurship and complexity science because the former studies how and why new organizations emerge, and complexity examines the emergence of new order in dynamic systems. As a means of summarizing work in emergence, this invited paper presents six insights that complexity science has brought to entrepreneurship: An...
Research
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An invited essay for the upcoming special issue in Entrepreneurship Research Journal on complexity science. The paper briefly summarizes the six key insights that emergence brings to entrepreneurship, and how those insights offer a new approach for understanding and (en)acting in the world.
Conference Paper
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A new (complementary) perspective in this stream (Lichtenstein, 2014) shifts away from the metaphors of complex adaptive systems [cas] to the sciences of dissipative structures, ecosystem resilience, and evolutionary complexity. Research in these areas shows that organizations oscillate between the 'attractors' of resilience and generative emergenc...
Article
A long-held assumption in entrepreneurship research is that normal (i.e., Gaussian) distributions characterize variables of interest for both theory and practice. We challenge this assumption by examining more than 12,000 nascent, young, and hyper-growth firms. Results reveal that variables which play central roles in resource-, cognition-, action-...
Article
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This paper contributes directly to the challenges practitioners be they scholars, executives or policy makers face when ‘managing’ complexity within and across boundaries. It proposes a new theoretical and methodological perspective that extends hitherto accounts of complexity and ways of engaging with this. We introduce a perspective that recogniz...
Article
Older households need to save more money for retirement, possibly by working longer. But, the same labor market pressures that have made it harder for people to save, such as increasingly unstable labor markets, have also made it more difficult for people to work longer as wage and salary employees. Self-employment hence may have become an increasi...
Article
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Entrepreneurship researchers typically assume that normal (i.e., Gaussian) distributions characterize the outcomes of interest. Our research challenges this assumption by examining a sample of 6,530 firms to uncover the shape of the distribution for two key variables in entrepreneurial firms: number of employees and revenues. Results show highly sk...
Chapter
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Emergence is present in the V of flying Canadian Geese, in vibrant ecosystems, and in organizations; its study has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. The time is ripe to integrate that work into a discipline of emergence, with a focuses on generative emergence. This study has several benefits. First, understanding emergence extends the li...
Conference Paper
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We employ complexity science to develop a granular process model explaining the ongoing emergence of a social innovation leading to the restoration of Millers Creek in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The restoration of Millers Creek has involved individuals, companies, neighborhood associations, community groups, schools, and city, county and state governm...
Chapter
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Can emergence be enacted intentionally? This last chapter presents three ways to do so. The first is to create the conditions for emergence, through actions detailed in numerous process studies of emergence. A second way is to enact each of the five phases in sequence, to purposively move the entire system through an emergence cycle. The third way...
Book
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Emergence, the creation of structures, organizations, and social entities, is increasingly important, but it can only be understood by integrating research from dozens of disciplines. This book accomplishes that goal, by providing the most complete set of emergents ever published, and introducing a discipline of emergence. Moreover, it focuses on a...
Conference Paper
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Emergence as a word has become increasingly popular, but is now being used in wildly different ways, decreasing its viability as an explanatory concept. By way of solving one key problem, the paper distinguishes the process of emergence from its outcomes, i.e. emergents. Drawing on philosophy and evolutionary economics, it identifies the four 'degr...
Article
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Whereas the creation and emergence of high-growth firms are central topics in entrepreneurship research, senior scholars lament the absence of a comprehensive theory to explain and predict this rare but important phenomenon. One approach that remains untested, however, is the use of power-law distributions to explain key growth measures in nascent...
Article
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The failure to establish an international agreement on climate change at Copenhagen in December 2009 highlights the challenge of managing complex problems at the interface of business and the natural environment (B&NE). This unfortunate outcome can be understood in the context of the larger “sociotechnical system” within which business and policyma...
Article
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Complexity science has evolved greatly in the past 30 years, starting from its European roots in Prigogine's dissipative structures model of phase transitions, continuing through the Santa Fe School's focus on self-organised adaptation as explained through computational simulations, and now to it's most recent focus on power laws and their basis in...
Article
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Corporations are collaborating to meet complex global challenges heretofore considered beyond the mandate of business leaders. These multi organizational consortia are not philanthropic efforts but operate within market parameters with limited input from Non Governmental Organizations. In order to examine some dynamics of successful collaborative p...
Article
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Most academic work on sustainability has been focused on the organizational level, reflecting the popular “business case for sustainability” idea. However, organizations are certainly not the only locus of entrepreneurial action for sustainability, nor are they the most ideal. This chapter reports on a six-year study of the Sustainability Consortiu...
Chapter
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The fields of entrepreneurship and complexity science are linked in a number of important ways. In particular, studies of entrepreneurship and complexity science are both focused on innovation, novelty and emergence. For these reasons entrepreneurship has one of the most long-standing connections to complexity science as compared to other manageme...
Article
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Complexity science has the potential to explain emergence; unfortunately most management applications of complexity rarely define emergence. We develop a typology that defines four increasingly demanding definitions of emergence, and use this typology to organise a review of the complexity literature, focusing on computational models that have been...
Article
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Emergence is at the core of entrepreneurship research, which has explored the coming-into-being of opportunities, new organisations, re-organisations, and new industries, agglomerations, and so on. Emergence is also at the theoretical core of complexity science, which is dedicated to exploring how and why emergence happens in dynamic systems like e...
Article
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Corporations are now collaborating to meet complex global sustainability challenges, which, until recently, were considered beyond the mandate of business leaders. Multi-organizational consortia have formed, not as philanthropic efforts, but to find competitive advantage. To examine the dynamics of an early collaboration of this sort, with a view t...
Book
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The authors present a new approach to leadership based on findings from complexity science. Integrating real case studies with rigorous research results, they explore the biggest challenges being faced in fast-paced organizations, and provide a host of concrete tools for leading during critical periods. © Jeffrey Goldstein, James K. Hazy, and Benya...
Article
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ABSTRACT Understanding the day-to-day dynamics,of entrepreneurs in action is critical to explaining how,new businesses come into being, and why some of them don’t. Although there are very few in-depth data sets of this kind, we utilize one of them for our analysis: the set of transcripts published in and about The Republic of Tea. Our draw on compl...
Chapter
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Throughout this book we’ve described and exemplified how generative leadership informed by complexity science can work successfully in organizations large and small. Each example has drawn out one or more key insights into how complexity science can be leveraged to create ecologies of innovation. For example, we saw how: Netflix grew through “ecolo...
Chapter
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In this chapter we begin to describe the specifics involved in creating an ecology of innovation in your organization or community. Thus far we have focused on the workings of complex systems, and we have shown how advances in complexity research over the last quarter century can inform one’s thinking about innovation and adaptation in organization...
Chapter
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At the core of emergence—indeed at the core of our book—is how an ecology of innovation can produce unique experiments that have the potential to become seeds for unprecedented organizational action. This is particularly salient in the high-tech industry over the past few decades where an understanding of the workings of an ecology of innovation ca...
Chapter
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During the initial panic of the “Great Recession of 2009” John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco Systems, told the New York Times of a crucial lesson he had learned nearly a decade before from Jack Welch when he was CEO of GE.1 Chambers had asked, “Jack, what does it take to have a great company?” Welch responded, “It takes major setbacks … by that I mean...
Chapter
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One of the most powerful findings of nonlinear science concerns the phenomenon of emergence: the coming into being of new structures, practices, and processes. In organizations, emergence is the basis for innovation. Emergence is a central process within the nexus of leadership, precisely because it occurs through an integration of “bottom-up” orga...
Chapter
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A key theme throughout this book, one that sharply distinguishes it from other works in the genre of leadership/management/ organizational theory, is that complexity is not something to be avoided or somehow damped down but instead is capable of yielding great dividends if it is embraced in the appropriate manner. In this chapter, we offer many ins...
Chapter
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Innovation—it’s a buzzword for the twenty-first century. Creating new services, new products, new processes, new business models, new organizational forms, and new industries seems to be the key to success in this era of business. What drives innovation? Why do some companies achieve innovation more consistently than others? Is it the people? Is it...
Chapter
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The elite sales managers at IBM in the early 1990s were proud to work at the world’s leading information technology (IT) company. But more recently, something had begun to change. Slowly at first, then far more quickly, it was becoming apparent that the company’s prospects had become increasingly bleak. A new technology, the microprocessor, entered...
Article
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Complexity science reframes leadership by focusing on the dynamic interactions between all individuals, explaining how those interactions can, under certain conditions, produce emergent outcomes. We develop a Leadership of Emergence using this approach, through an analysis of three empirical studies which document emergence in distinct contexts. Ea...
Article
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Healthcare spending will exceed $4 trillion by 2017, a trend that is leading executives to implement information technology (IT) systems to contain these rising costs. Studies show that numerous factors determine the outcome and net benefits of IT in healthcare. However, what happens when a newly implemented IT system results in negative outcomes?...
Article
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Inter-organizational projects (IOPs), in which multiple organizations work jointly on a shared activity for a limited period of time, are increasingly used to coordinate complex products/services in uncertain and competitive environments. For some time, project management researchers have examined the structures and processes within intra-organizat...
Article
Full-text available
Stages of Growth models were the most frequent theoretical approach to understanding entrepreneurial business growth from 1962 to 2006; they built on the growth imperative and developmental models of that time. However, our analysis of the universe of such models (N=104) published in the management literature shows neither a consensus on basic cons...
Article
Full-text available
Emergence – the “coming into being” of new processes, structures and entities – is a consequential phenomenon that management scholars have been exploring since Babbage (1832) described the emergence of a division of labor, and Weber (1947) explained the emergence of bureaucratic hierarchy. Emergence is important and unique not only because it occu...
Article
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Today, as consumer choices on one side of the planet affect living conditions for people on the other side and complex supply chains span the globe, businesses are facing a host of "sustainability" problems - social and ecological imbalances created by this globalization. Beginning in the late 1990s, organizational members of the Society for Organi...
Book
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This volume offers a new and very different approach to exploring leadership, one based on the new sciences of complexity. What we are calling “Complex Systems Leadership Theory” posits that leadership can be enacted through any interaction in an organization. Far from being the sole province of managers and executives, we contend leadership is an...
Article
There is a small but growing academic literature on social entrepreneurship, but little is known of the patterns of ‘becoming’ of a social enterprise, and what social entrepreneurs actually do during the process of new social venture creation. What we know is gleaned from the memories of successful social entrepreneurs, often many years after start...
Article
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Traditional, hierarchical views of leadership are less and less useful given the complexities of our modern world. Leadership theory must transition to new perspec-tives that account for the complex adaptive needs of organizations. In this paper, we propose that leadership (as opposed to leaders) can be seen as a complex dynamic process that emerge...
Article
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Modeling the dynamics of nascent entrepreneurship provides insight into how organizations are created. In order to study this complex phenomenon we develop a longitudinal case study and analyze it with respect to three modes of organizing: vision, strategic organizing, and tactical organizing. Multiple sources of data are used to identify changes w...
Article
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Firms engage in entrepreneurship to increase performance through both strategic renewal and the creation of new venture opportunities. Organizational learning (OL) has become an effective avenue for strategic renewal. But what of creating venture opportunities—can OL enhance the process of recognizing and pursuing new ventures? This article argues...
Article
Developing a theoretical explanation of entrepreneurship requires an integrative framework that explains changes across two or more levels of analysis; self-organization theory provides such a framework. We focus on "radical entrepreneurship," a multi-level context involving independent new ventures whose new-to-the-region/world innovations spark t...
Article
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Organizational learning continues to be an important issue for all types of firms. Managerial accounts of organizational learning are in high demand; for example, Senge’s The Fifth Discipline (Senge, 1990a) has sold over 500,000 copies in the U.S. Studies exploring the nature of knowledge creation, intellectual capital, and knowledge management hav...
Article
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Over the past two decades there has been a shift in the career literature from the view of a career as being a linear progression of job responsibilities within an industry, to that of a ‘boundaryless’, competency-based exploration that evolves in unexpected ways. This article argues that core constructs from ‘new science’ (non-linearity, interdepe...
Article
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Dramatic changes in 21st century careers have generated the need for a new set of theoretical lenses that view careers in a more dynamic, fluid way. Several characteristics of this new complexity lens that directly apply to dynamic career systems include discontinuities in career progression, non-proportionality of effects of effort, sensitive depe...
Article
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According to recent studies applying Resource-Based Theory [RBT] to entrepreneurial firms (e.g. Chandler & Hanks, 1994; Brush & Greene, 1996), In the early stages of new venture development It is the identification and acquisition of resources-rather than deployment or allocation activities-that Is crucial for the firm's long-term success (Stevenso...
Article
At the heart of the new venture growth that fuels the economic expansion is the question of how organizations make transitions from one stage of their development to the next (Churchill & Lewis, 1983; Covin & Slevin, 1997). To study this phenomenon, a three-stage model of self-organization was formulated and then tested in four growth-based new ven...
Article
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Complexity researchers have identified four basic assumptions underlying non-linear dynamic systems (NDS): the assumption that change is a constant; the assumption that emergent systems are not reducible to their parts; the assumption of mutual dependence; and the assumption that complex systems behave in non-proportional ways. In this paper I use...
Article
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Navigating major transitions is never easy, but complexity science offers insights into the transformations of three new ventures on the verge of a critical transition. The outcomes of change were unpredictable, but the process of change was extremely similar across the three firms. Moreover, the successful transitions incorporated three qualities:...
Article
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Relationships and interactions should be an important focus of attention in organizational scholarship. In contrast to traditional research approaches that focus on independent, discrete entities, methodologies oriented torelational concerns in organizations allow researchers to study the intersubjective and interdependent nature of organizational...
Article
As research and writing on the new paradigm expands into management, the question of whether this research is valid or vacuous becomes more crucial. In this article, a definition of the new paradigm is offered, then its premises and assumptions are carefully analyzed using current philosophy of science. Rather than taking the more common Kuhnian ap...
Article
The article explores issues of what matters most in individual organizational and societal transformation – economic issues or spirit? Transformation is defined and literature on individual, organizational and societal transformation is presented. The article looks at the standard arguments that economics are the driving force in transformation and...
Article
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The article explores issues of what matters most in individual organizational and societal transformation - economic issues or spirit? Transformation is defined and literature on individual, organizational and societal transformation is presented. The article looks at the standard arguments that economics are the driving force in transformation and...
Chapter
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