Edward Roberts

Edward Roberts
MIT · MIT Sloan School of Management

Doctor of Philosophy in Economics MIT

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153
Publications
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7,708
Citations

Publications

Publications (153)
Article
This study analyzes the economic impact of MIT alumni-founded companies and highlights the key trends in the MIT entrepreneurial ecosystem between 1950 and 2014. Based on a large-scale survey of all living MIT alumni in 2014, this study is a major update to Roberts and Eesley (2011). It systematically characterizes alumni engagement in the broader...
Book
Society celebrates innovation after the fact. It is a revisionist exercise, and little is said about how to innovate. Aspiring innovators are told to get a big idea and a team and build a show-and-tell for potential investors. But that conflates innovation, entrepreneurship, publicizing an idea, and fundraising; it does not clue aspiring innovators...
Article
This paper analyzes the major comparisons and contrasts in entrepreneurship among technology-based university alumni over multiple decades from Tsinghua University in China and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. In doing so, we ask two related research questions: (1) Who enters entrepreneurship and with what types of id...
Article
We explore learning-by-doing in an important setting not previously explored - the context of one or more complex experiences encountered in novel circumstances. We explore characteristics that lead to learning at the beginning of the learning curve. We use data from survey responses of 2,111 entrepreneurs to examine performance of startup firms as...
Article
How does the relationship between the organizational context for venture idea formation and venture performance depend on the venture’s founding team and business environment? Using data from a survey of 2,067 firms, we show that venture ideas emerging from research lab contexts are imprinted in a way that is better aligned with a cooperative comme...
Article
How does the relationship between founding team composition and venture performance depend on the venture’s strategy and business environment? Using data from a novel survey of 2,067 firms, we show that while diverse founding teams tend to exhibit higher performance, this is not universally true. We find that founding teams that are diverse are lik...
Article
The ultimate value of this study is to help us understand the economic impact of the entrepreneurial ventures of university graduates. We know that some universities play an important role in many economies through their core education, research and development, and other spillovers. But in order to support economic growth through entrepreneurship,...
Article
We explore whether entrepreneurial performance is due to innate talent or the accumulation of entrepreneurial experience. Using a novel dataset with multiple observations of founding attempts per individual, we generate a unique measure of entrepreneurial talent. In contrast to prior findings, the relative importance of experience vs. talent change...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Prior work on the commercialization of innovation is motivated by competitive dynamics between startup and incumbent firms and has looked at the determinants of innovator commercialization mode. We contribute to the literature by examining variation in performance resulting from the choice of whether to innovate technologically in new ventures. The...
Article
Despite increasing attention to the relationship between institutions and entrepreneurship, there has been limited research about the link between institutional flexibility and entrepreneurial behavior. This paper explores a constraint on flexibility – the academic year system – by exploiting Tsinghua University’s 1984 adoption of the more flexible...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we explore the conditions under which learning at the individual level transfers to new firms. We use novel survey data from entrepreneurs combined with USPTO patent data for their firms to examine performance of startup firms as a measure of outcomes produced by learning acquired from prior founding experience. The results show that...
Conference Paper
We explore learning-by-doing in an important setting not previously explored - the context of one or more complex experiences encountered in novel circumstances. We explore characteristics that lead to learning at the beginning of the learning curve. We use data from survey responses of 2,111 entrepreneurs to examine performance of startup firms as...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Economics & Social Science, 1962. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 509-514). by Edward Baer Roberts. Ph.D.
Article
Full-text available
Research- and technology-intensive universities, especially via their entrepreneurial spinoffs, have a dramatic impact on the economies of the United States and its fifty states. A new report on just one such university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, indicates conservatively that, if the active companies founded by MIT graduates formed...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyzes major patterns and trends in entrepreneurship among technology-based university alumni since the 1930s by asking two related research questions: (1) Who enters entrepreneurship, and has this changed over time? (2) How does the rate of entrepreneurship vary with changes in the entrepreneurial business environment? We describe fin...
Article
During the many years that I was a founding member of the MIT Industrial Dynamics (ID) Group, later system dynamics (SD), I focused on trying to apply SD concepts, tools and techniques to the real world and to having real impact. That orientation originated from listening to Jay Forrester as he related his personal history and communicated his pers...
Article
We examined 79 Japanese MNCs’ R&D subsidiaries in the US from the knowledge-based view. We found: (1) subsidiaries’ R&D strategies generally encouraged knowledge flows; (2) subsidiaries’ R&D alliances promoted knowledge flows; (3) R&D subsidiaries with process-oriented incentives promoted vertical knowledge flows; (3) autonomous R&D subsidiaries pr...
Article
OVERVIEW: 2007 is Research-Technology Management's 50th year of publication. To mark the occasion, each issue will reprint one of RTM's six most frequently referenced articles. The articles were identified by N. Thongpapanl and Jonathan D. Linton in their 2004 study of technology innovation management journals, a citation-based study in which RTM r...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we explore the conditions under which learning occurs from small samples of experience encountered in novel environments. We distinguish prior experience from evidence of acquired knowledge and explore the experiential, organizational and entrepreneurial founder characteristics which lead to higher levels of learning from small sampl...
Article
This paper analyzes major patterns and trends in entrepreneurship among technology-based university alumni since the 1930s by asking two related research questions: (1) Who enters entrepreneurship, and has this changed over time?; and (2) How does the rate of entrepreneurship vary with changes in the entrepreneurial business environment? We describ...
Article
Few studies of technology alliances have explicitly examined the link between internal research capability and external sources of innovation via interfirm networks. While different partners bring with them different sets of resource opportunities, the networks can serve as "pipes" of information via indirect partners. This research examined whethe...
Article
I observe that despite 50 years, the field of engineering management has not yet established itself with the stability and all-presence of corporate finance or marketing. A quick survey of business school curricula will prove that, but engineering schools increasingly have a department that focuses upon engineering or technology management, often a...
Conference Paper
This research examines whether the level of research capability has a moderating effect on the performance impact of a firm's alliance structure in terms of number of technology partners and centrality of the firm. Interviews were also conducted with management executives and engineers to investigate the underlying motivations of technology allianc...
Article
The importance of linkage, leverage and technological leadership for successful management of technology in a firm is discussed. It is suggested that for driving successful technological innovation business strategy should be linked with technology strategy. It is important to know how to leverage what's inside the firm by accessing resources and c...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss the characteristics of academic "spin-off policies" in environments outside of high tech clusters and where technology transfer and entrepreneurship infrastructures have been weak. We explore whether the policies could explain the lack of growth potential of spin-off ventures that have repeatedly observed. We studied the case of Belgium,...
Article
This paper investigates how evolutions of complex technologies and networks of innovators affect the development of emerging innovations. Building upon the theories of technological evolution and socio-organizational dynamics, we develop propositions to examine the stability and change of networks punctuated by successive technological changes. We...
Article
Full-text available
The virtual agency concept is now used within the United States Government as an alliance approach to manage large research and development (R&D) processes across departments. This paper examines the history of the virtual agency concept and its important characteristics. The paper identifies the potential benefits and associated risks involved in...
Article
This paper contributes with empirical findings to European co-inventorship location and geographical coincidence of co-patenting networks. Based on EPO co-patenting information for the reference period 2000-2004, we analyze the spatial con figuration of 44 technology-specific co-inventorship networks. European co-inventorship (co-patenting) activit...
Article
The two primary sectors of the aerospace industry, commercial and military aviation, are each dominated by two key firms Airbus Industrie and Boeing in the commercial sector, and Lockheed Martin and Boeing in the military sector. This unique triad offers an opportunity for examining how technology acquisition and business development are pursued un...
Article
In our first paper we proposed a dynamic theory relating alliances and acquisitions to the evolution of a technology and the market it serves. Industry structure and critical success factors change as the underlying technology evolves from phase to phase, competitive pressures exerted on a firm vary, and companies respond by adopting changing appro...
Article
Sustained competitive advantage depends heavily on the ability of organisations to internalise the benefits of innovative activities. While the vital importance of innovation in today's competitive climate has been widely proclaimed, our understanding of innovative behaviour in service organisations is not yet fully developed. This article document...
Article
A general framework has been proposed for analyzing the impact of various managerial strategies on the overall outcomes of a firm's research and development (R&D) efforts. It suggests that three elements are critical: posture and direction, systems, and adjustment processes. The framework led to the development of a series of 20 hypotheses regardin...
Article
This paper discusses the role of contractual and organizational arrangements for the governance of supplier–manufacturer relationships in new product development projects. We present cross-sectional project level data from 50 manufacturer–supplier relations in new product development in the European Major Home Appliance industry using a single dyad...
Article
A general framework has been proposed for analyzing the impact of various managerial strategies on the overall outcomes of a firm's research and development (R&D) efforts. It suggests that three elements are critical: posture and direction, systems, and adjustment processes. The framework led to the development of a series of 20 hypotheses regardin...
Article
Although the economic and welfare consequences of privatization processes have been widely studied, less attention has been paid to understanding how these processes affect corporate research and development (R&D), and hence the innovative performance of the firm. We propose to address these issues by combining a policy level perspective with a fir...
Article
The number of firms using alliances as part of their corporate venturing or market entry strategies has surged over the past decade. Three common reasons cited for pursuing alliances are technology convergence, market access and alliance partners' complementary resources. This paper contrasts the alliance strategies of HP and IBM, two major competi...
Article
In their quest to develop profitable products, technology companies are constantly faced with the need to choose between alliances and acquisitions. Executives who understand where their products fit within the technology life cycle are more likely to make the right call.
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyzes the performance implications of interorganizational relationships in the development of technological innovations, focusing on the characteristics of the tasks partitioned between a manufacturer and its suppliers in the development of new products. We identify two critical dimensions: (1) the design scope and (2) the level of ta...
Article
The measures of practice in global strategic management of technology and research and development (R&D) are presented. A survey of the world's largest (R&D) performing companies revealed that top management linkages of business and technology strategies are crucial for effective technology strategy. External resource leverage is also important for...
Article
The virtual agency concept is now used within the United States Government to manage large research and development processes across departments. This paper examines the history of the virtual agency concept and its important characteristics. The paper identifies the potential benefits and associated risks involved in managing research and developm...
Article
Two traditional models of global expansion were evaluated in an exploratory effort to explain the globalization patterns of emerging high-technology companies. Extensive field interviews were conducted with 19 Massachusetts-based companies that supply software or peripheral products for desktop computing to explore: their timing and aggressiveness...
Article
Acquisitions and mergers are rapidly changing the character of the global defence-aerospace industry. This paper examines those phenomena by tracing the actions of two of the largest US aerospace giants from the perspectives of technology strategy. Following each of the acquisition efforts over the past few years by Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin, th...
Article
Two traditional models of global expansion were evaluated in an exploratory effort to explain the globalization patterns of emerging high-technology companies. In-depth field interviews were conducted with 19 Massachusetts-based companies that supply software or peripheral products for desktop computing to explore: their timing and aggressiveness i...
Article
Full-text available
Cover title. A previous version of this paper was presented at the Consortium on Cooperation and Competitiveness Colloquium, Cambridge, April 20-21, 1996.
Article
This paper develops five alternative structural ‘models’ for formal efforts aimed at spinning off new companies from universities, government laboratories, and other research and development organizations. In various ways the models combine the roles of the technology originator, the entrepreneur, the R&D organization itself, and the venture invest...
Article
Extensive data collected from the largest R&D-performing companies in the United States, Western Europe and Japan reveal that top management linkages and resource leverages are the keys to effective technology strategy. In terms of linkage, Japanese chief executive officers are more heavily involved in integrating technology with overall corporate...
Article
Extensive data from the largest R&D-performing companies in the United States, Western Europe and Japan reveal several key factors that influence technological effectiveness and R&D performance. For example, European firms are less involved with their customers in carrying out product development than are U.S. or Japanese companies. Timeliness of t...
Article
This is a book about the formation, development, and success or failure of new high technology companies, focusing on those that grew under the auspices of entrepreneurs from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston at the end of World War Two. Trained in high-technology in MIT's labs and academic departments or in the local industrial...
Article
Includes bibliographical references (p. 21-23). Edward B. Roberts.
Article
Research studies of 114 technology-based firms within the Greater Boston area indicate evolution over the first several years after founding toward more product- oriented businesses and away from consulting and R&D contracting, and increased orientation of the founders to sales and marketing, with lessened emphasis on engineering. In this article E...
Article
Research studies of 114 technology-based firms within the Greater Boston area indicate evolution over the first several years after founding toward more product-oriented businesses and away from consulting and R&D contracting, and increased orientation of the founders to sales and marketing, with lessened emphasis on engineering. In this article Ed...
Article
Full-text available
An assessment of the capital market for technology-based firms is presented, with emphasis on the links between the stages of evolution of a firm and the investment preferences of various capital sources. These factors lead to an expectation that initial capital will be supplied most frequently by the entrepeneurs themselves from their own savings,...
Article
"November 1990". "This paper is based on materials contained in E.B. Roberts, Entrepreneurs and High-Technology, Lessons from M.I.T. and Beyond (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 1991)."
Article
"October 1990." "This paper is drawn from materials contained in E.B. Roberts, Entrepreneurs in High-Technology: Lessons from M.I.T. and Beyond (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 1991)."
Article
Despite increasing studies of the family and career backgrounds of technological entrepreneurs, little is known of their personality and motivations. Empirical analyses carried out as part of a twenty-years research program on technology-based enterprises add to our knowledge of these entrepreneurial characteristics. From a personality perspective...
Article
Includes bibliographical references (p. 31-33). Edward B. Roberts.
Article
International trends towards collaboration among firms in the development and commercialization of new technologies are most evident in biotechnology. The optional forms of collaborative approaches – research contracts, minority equity investments, technology licensing, corporate alliances and joint ventures – are discussed in this paper with speci...
Article
Interest in the economic and technological contributions of new enterprises has grown steadily and has captured an international audience. The formation of new companies, especially those competing in technology-based fields, may even be generally viewed as a potential indicator of a country's economic competitiveness and its capacity for industria...
Article
Includes bibliographical references (p. 30-31). Edward B. Roberts.
Article
Technological innovation can alter the competitive status of firms and nations, but its purposeful management is complex, involving the effective integration of people, organizational processes, and plans.
Article
Includes bibliographical references (p. 30).
Article
Data gathered on 62 products from 26 biomedical firms founded in Massachusetts between 1968 and 1975 show a positive relationship between the level of technological sophistication of a firm's products and the risk associated with the use of those products. Oscar Hauptman and Edward Roberts report the results of their study of the impact of the U.S....
Article
Data gathered on 62 products from 26 biomedical firms founded in Massachusetts between 1968 and 1975 show a positive relationship between the level of technological sophistication of a firm's products and the risk associated with the use of those products. Oscar Hauptman and Edward Roberts report the results of their study of the impact of the U.S....
Article
"Presented at the National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine Symposium on New Medical Devices: Factors Influencing Invention, Development and Use, May 9-10, 1987, Washington, DC." Bibliography: p. 19-20. by Edward B. Roberts.
Article
Full-text available
A pilot test is reported on a method for relating the degree of 'newness' within a firm's portfolio of products and the firm's economic success. The embodied technology and market applications newness is measured in the sequences of 79 products developed and released by a sample of 10 small technology-based companies, each under 50 million in most...
Article
This paper applies the theories of technological innovation to the process of technology transfer to biomedical and pharmaceutical start-ups. It is based on detailed data gathered from 26 firms, founded between 1968 and 1975 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.The routes of technology transfer were traced, and the comparative impact of entrepreneu...
Article
Selective use of the alternative strategies available for entering new businesses is a key issue for diversifying corporations. The approaches include internal development, acquisition, licensing, joint ventures, and minority venture capital investments. Using the existing literature, the authors devise a matrix of company 'familiarity' with releva...
Article
Supported by a grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation and by funds from the RCA Corporation.
Article
Full-text available
Supported by a grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation and by funds from the RCA Corporation.
Article
Twelve critical roles that R&D people play were identified at Union Carbide. How well they play those roles can affect the success of innovation in your company as well. Interest in fostering more innovative R&D in the United States is being directed at our more mature industries, including chemicals and plastics. The emphasis on process optimizati...
Article
The complex issues and relationships surrounding the smoking problem indicate the desirability of a system dynamics computer simulation model for policy development and analysis. This paper describes an initial model-building effort, including reports of initial policy and sensitivity testing of the model. The lack of scientific research on most of...
Article
Study of a sample of faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) has determined that many academic scientists and engineers have commercially-oriented ideas. “Idea-havers” scored high on creativity measurement instruments and participated in more diverse work environment. Academic “idea-exploiters” are marked by personal backgroun...
Article
Published in Roberts, Edward Baer...et al. Biomedical Innovation (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981).

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