Kathleen M. Eisenhardt's research while affiliated with Stanford University and other places

Publications (153)

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In the past decade, the business model has emerged as a fundamental strategic and organizational concept. In this essay, we first "look back" to synthesize recent research on designing high-performing business models into two influential research streams. Managerial cognition grapples with the role of holistic mental models and strategic thinking f...
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Resumo da investigação: A transformação digital é um tema dominante na economia global, mas o que significa para as empresas estabelecidas permanece perplexo tanto para os académicos como para os profissionais. À medida que o digital apaga fronteiras geográficas, industriais e organizacionais familiares, levou a caracterizações simplistas como "dig...
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Digital transformation is a dominant theme in the global economy, but what it means for established companies remains perplexing for both academics and practitioners. As digital erases familiar geographic, industrial, and organizational boundaries, it has led to simplistic characterizations such as “digital changes everything.” Yet while digital ch...
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One of the raging debates in organization study concerns the use of “templates” in qualitative research. This curated debate brings together many of the players in that debate, who make statements of position relative to the issues involved and trade accusations and counter-accusations about statements they have made that in their view have been mi...
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Our aim is to explore whether the benefits to firms of using community-based innovation extend to nascent markets: uncertain, high-velocity settings with novel, often complex products. Grounded in a rare empirical comparison, we closely track the two ventures (one using community-based innovation and the other firm-based) that pioneered the na2scen...
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The resource-based view (RBV) makes a significant contribution to strategy by explaining the relationship between resources and firm performance. Particularly in low uncertainty markets, executives have the foresight and time to build strategically valuable resources in current markets and leverage them into related markets. RBV is also relevant fo...
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Entrepreneurial and established firms form collaborative relationships to commercialize products. Through such ties, entrepreneurs seek (1) development help to hone ideas into marketable products and (2) access to markets. In most cases, entrepreneurs face a trade-off: they can be a big fish in a small pond, getting more attention and development h...
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Thus far the articles in the series JOD calls the “Organization Zoo” have employed the notion of a “zoo” metaphorically to describe an array of human institutions. Here we take the term literally to consider the design of the most complex organizations in the living world beside those of humans, a favorite of insect zoos around the world: ant colon...
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This essay sharpens and refreshes the multi-case theory-building approach, sometimes termed The “Eisenhardt Method.” The Method’s singular aim is theory building, especially with multiple cases and theoretical logic. Its defining features (e.g. research questions without obvious answers, careful case selection, well-identified constructs and relati...
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A teoria da agência é uma importante teoria, ainda que seja controversa. Este artigo traz uma revisão sobre a teoria da agencia, suas contribuições para a teoria das organizações e do trabalho empírico existente bem como desenvolve proposições testáveis. As conclusões são de que a teoria da agência oferece uma visão única sobre sistemas de informaç...
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Research summary Analytic models are a powerful approach for developing theory, yet are often poorly understood in the strategy and organizations community. Our goal is to enhance the influence of the method by clarifying for consumers of modeling research how to understand and appreciate analytic modeling and use modeling results to enhance their...
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Research Summary Strategy formation is central to why some firms seize novel opportunities while others fail. We explore a core dilemma of strategy formation in entrepreneurial settings – whether to learn a novel strategy one domain at a time (modular) v. assemble a complex strategy of coherent activities across all domains at once (integrative). B...
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Research Summary While revenue models are strategically important, research is incomplete. Thus, we ask: “What is the optimal choice of revenue model?” Using a novel theory‐building method combining machine learning and multi‐case theory building, we unpack optimal revenue model choice for a wide range of products on the App Store. Our primary theo...
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This commentary has several aims. First, it clarifies theorizing from cases by sharpening the insights of Welch and colleagues (Journal of International Business Studies 42 (5): 740–762, 2011) regarding context while also indicating inaccuracies. More importantly, the commentary outlines recent advances in case study methods including greater use o...
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Douglas P. Hannah and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt were recognized as a runner up for the 2019 Ralph Gomory Best Industry Studies Paper Award.
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Prior research has advanced several explanations for entrepreneurial success in nascent markets but leaves a key imperative unexplored: the business model. By studying five ventures in a nascent financial-technology market, we develop a novel theoretical framework for understanding how entrepreneurs effectively design business models: parallel play...
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I have had the benefit of working with a number of excellent people over the years. I would like to begin by acknowledging and thanking my coauthors: Thank you for being such amazing people as well as such stellar research collaborators. The purpose of this chapter is to write philosophically about what I think is rigorous and relevant research. I...
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This article, together with a companion video, provides a synthesized summary of a Showcase Symposium held at the 2016 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in which prominent scholars—Denny Gioia, Kathy Eisenhardt, Ann Langley and Kevin Corley—discussed different approaches to theory building with qualitative research. Our goal for the symposium wa...
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Research Summary Despite a wealth of research on competitive and cooperative strategy, gaps remain with respect to how firms successfully navigate cooperation and competition over time. This is especially true in ecosystems, in which firms depend on one another to collectively provide components and create value for consumers. Through an in‐depth m...
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Does group process matter? Consider the following comparative cases from the administration of US president John F. Kennedy. One case is the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Shortly after coming into office in 1961, President Kennedy and his cabinet authorized the invasion of Cuba by an army of Cuban expatriates backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)...
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The resource‐based view of the firm (RBV) is an influential theoretical framework for understanding how competitive advantage within firms is achieved and how that advantage might be sustained over time. This perspective focuses on the internal organization of firms, and so is a complement to the traditional emphasis of strategy on industry structu...
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Significant theories of organization pose fundamental questions about the nature of organizations. Transaction cost theory, for example, asks, “Why do organizations exist?”, while ecology queries, “Why are there so many kinds of organizations?”. Although complexity theory is among the newest organization theories, it nonetheless poses a fundamental...
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Research Summary: Examining the strategy formation process is central to understanding why some firms in entrepreneurial settings create competitive advantage and succeed while others do not. The strategy formation process, however, remains unclear. While existing work shows the value of learning from experience or having a holistic understanding o...
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Does an institutional change that lowers failure barriers improve new firm growth?We take advantage of a quasi-natural experiment in Japan that drastically reduced the stringency of bankruptcy regulations to examine this question. Using longitudinal data over a 10-year period, we find that bankruptcy reform increases the rates of bankruptcy and fou...
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Does an institutional change that makes bankruptcy more lenient enhance new firm growth? We take advantage of a quasi-natural experiment in Japan to examine this question using longitudinal data over a 10-year period. We find that bankruptcy reform not only increases the rates of bankruptcy and founding, but also improves the likelihood of high gro...
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We examine how venture CEOs effectively engage their boards in the strategy-making process. Using the inductive multiple-case study approach, we track CEO-board interactions inside and outside the boardroom in depth and over time through rare observations of board meetings and rich interview access to CEOs and their boards of directors. Our primary...
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This paper addresses resource redeployment in ecosystems. Prior research examines the value of resource redeployment across product markets in multi-business firms. In contrast, resource redeployment across ecosystems is an important corporate strategy employed by both single-and multi-business ecosystem firms that has received little attention. To...
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Research Summary: Governments in emerging economies often use institutional intermediaries to promote entrepreneurship, and bridge the void between ventures and public funding. While prior literature describes what institutional intermediaries do, it leaves open how intermediaries support different types of entrepreneurs. By comparing science park...
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Firms that employ a strategic logic of opportunity use simple rules to capture a variety of opportunities to create temporary competitive advantage. Simple rules are learned through repeated process experience, in an order of increasing cognitive sophistication, and share a common structure across firms. Learning and managing a portfolio of simple...
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As is widely observed in many market settings, sellers collaborate with intermediaries to commercialize products and to reach buyers. Sellers typically prefer intermediaries that have great market access—that is, intermediaries that can reach many buyers. But sellers also prefer a high relative standing in an intermediary’s portfolio, so that they...
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Drawing on institutional theory, we examine how the institutional logics—taken-for granted norms, structures, and practices—of different types of funding partners influence young firms and their search for innovations. We test our hypotheses in a longitudinal study of a complete population of ventures in the minimally invasive surgical device indus...
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Strategy research has evolved significantly in the last decades. The evolution has resulted in a multidisciplinary field with a remarkable topic and methodology diversity. This trend, while adding to the richness of the field, has rapidly changed the landscape of publishing, posing challenges to scholars, journals and readership. This symposium foc...
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As organizations face a more competitive, dynamic, interdependent and global world, organizational theory has embraced a view of the organization as a collaborative enterprise comprised of a network of individuals and teams. Leadership theory has been slower to make this shift away from studying bureaucracies with command and control, formal leader...
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Capturing new growth opportunities is fundamental to strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. These days, experimentation and improvisational change are in. But how should managers address the challenge? The answer, the authors argue, can be more complex and more crucial to a company's success than previously thought. Their research on mature cor...
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We recently introduced a research program on how firms can effectively capture fleeting opportunities using heuristics. Heuristics, we advocate, are the essence of strategy, especially in unpredictable markets where opportunities are often numerous, fast moving, and uncertain. Our emphasis on heuristics invites comparison with prominent research pr...
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We examine the role that changes to the institutional environment play in the formation, exit, and performance of ventures. We do so by taking advantage of two natural experiments in Japan that relates to the exit of a venture: successful IPO, and failure in bankruptcy. In our first study, we examine lowering the “barriers to success” of IPO reform...
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Early papers arguing for an institutional approach to studying organizations clearly spelled out the relevance of institutional theory for understanding entrepreneurial processes (Meyer and Rowan 1977: 345). Yet, subsequent work from this perspective has rarely studied entrepreneurship, but instead has focused on the diffusion of forms and practice...
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What types of individuals attract resources through certification and what type seek out resources through brokering? To resolve this theoretical tension, the allocation of public funds serves as a useful context whereby we shift focus from policy creation to policy implementation, through public infrastructure, and from large business to entrepren...
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This article examines why some entrepreneurial firms succeed while others do not. The focal explanation is top management teams, including several studies that address when and how top management teams are likely to influence entrepreneurial firm performance. There are several insights. First, large and diverse teams with a history of working toget...
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We examine how institutional changes that lower the barriers to successful exit influence the rate of IPO, and the initial capitalization and performance of subsequent ventures. Such IPO market reforms are widespread, but their effectiveness is unclear. We take advantage of a quasi-natural experiment in which the IPO listing requirements in Japan w...
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How do successful companies shape their high-level strategies? A decade ago, London Business School's Suit and Stanford's Eisen-hardt looked for the answer by studying the era's leading high-tech firms. They discovered that such firms relied not on complicated frameworks but on simple rules of thumb. Managers translated corporate objectives into a...
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Our knowledge-based society is pressing universities to transform from monastic scholarly enclaves into producers of new technologies and incubators of start-up firms. However, converting scientists' curiosity-driven discoveries into commercially viable innovations has proven so difficult that observers liken the journey to crossing a 'Valley of De...
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Benjamin L Hallen and Kathleen M Eisenhardt, ‘Catalyzing strategies and efficient tie formation: How entrepreneurial firms obtain investment ties’, Academy of Management Journal, May 3, 2011.
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Although network ties are crucial for firm performance, the strategies by which executives actually form ties are relatively unexplored. In this study, we introduce a new construct, tie formation efficiency , and clarify its importance for superior network outcomes. Building on fieldwork in nine Internet security ventures seeking investment ties, w...
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While much research indicates that organizational processes are learned from experiences, surprisingly little is known about what is actually learned. Using a novel method to measure explicit learning, we track the learned content of six technology-based ventures from three diverse countries as they internationalize. The emergent theoretical framew...
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Just when you think you have settled on the right strategy, you may need to change. By understanding the particular circumstances and forces shaping your company's competitive environment, you can choose the most appropriate strategic framework.
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Relationships between organizations are at the heart of how industries are organized, and are central to industry innovation. Using a multiple case, inductive study of eight technology collaborations between ten organizations in the computing and communications industries, this paper examines why some interorganizational relationships engender inno...
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Complexity theory and corporate strategy Corporate strategy focuses on the central strategic choices that are faced by multi-business firms with regard to creating competitive advantage and enhancing corporate performance. Multi-business firms are typically structured using multi-business-unit (BU) organization (sometimes termed M-form) in which th...
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Our purpose is to clarify the microfoundations of performance in dynamic environments. A key premise is that the microfoundational link from organization, strategy, and dynamic capabilities to performance centers on how leaders manage the fundamental tension between efficiency and flexibility. We develop several insights. First, regarding structure...
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Prior work examines competitive moves in relatively stable markets. In contrast, we focus on less stable markets where competitive advantages are temporary and R&D moves are essential. Using evolutionary search theory and an experiential simulation with in-depth fieldwork, we find that the relationship between performance and subsequent competitive...
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Technology acquisitions can benefit firms by providing valuable resources, increasing market power, and initiating strategic renewal. Yet despite these opportunities, technology acquisitions often present a significant challenge for both buyers and sellers. In this article, we review the research on technology acquisitions and outline what is known...
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Cross-business-unit collaboration is central to large firms' value creation, yet empirical support for the prevailing view that a corporate process best fosters such collaboration has been unconvincing. This study of six firms asks how executives create collaborations that perform at high levels. Our emergent theory unexpectedly emphasizes that a B...
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In the late 1970s, the much beloved tradition of Asilomar began. But then, of course, it was not even located at Asilomar. Rather it was a much smaller event that was held at Pajaro Dunes. Nonetheless, it featured what ultimately became the traditional blend of informal sessions that mixed students and faculty from around the University. The most m...
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Using computational and mathematical modeling, this study explores the tension between too little and too much structure that is shaped by the core tradeoff between efficiency and flexibility in dynamic environments. Our aim is to develop a more precise theory of the fundamental relationships among structure, performance, and environment. We find t...
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We examine how entrepreneurs shape organizational boundaries and construct markets through an inductive, longitudinal study of five ventures. Our central contribution is a framework of how successful entrepreneurs attempt to dominate nascent markets by co-constructing organizational boundaries and market niches using three processes: claiming, dema...
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Alliance portfolios are ubiquitous and influential for firm performance. Extant research addresses attributes of high-performing alliance portfolios but not how executives originate such portfolios. In our inductive case study of six entrepreneurial rivals in the wireless gaming industry, we find that executives are more likely to originate high-pe...
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Although inter-organizational relationships are important for new organizations, there has been limited research on how entrepreneurs successfully form relationships. Building on field data from nine Internet security ventures receiving equity investments from venture capitalists and corporate investors, we induct a theoretical framework for the su...
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This paper focuses on the tension that firms face between the need for resources from partners and the potentially damaging misappropriation of their own resources by corporate “sharks.” Taking an entrepreneurial lens, we study this tension at tie formation in corporate investment relationships in five U.S. technology-based industries over a 25-yea...
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The resource-based view's (RBVs) contribution toward understanding competitive advantage remains unfulfilled. A reason is the confounding of the concept of resources with RBVs strategic logic. We disentangle these by developing a typology of strategic logics (i.e., leverage, position, and opportunity) that specify alternative theoretical pathways l...
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While organizational processes, such as internationalization, acquisition, and alliance, are a fundamental concept within many literatures and central to firm capabilities, controversy exists regarding how they become high performing. One view emphasizes the role of experience while a second view emphasizes cognition and, in particular, the role of...
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While research suggests that organizational processes are learned from experience, surprisingly little is known about the content of what is learned and how that content is developed. Using an inductive logic and in-depth case studies, we explore how firms learn a strategically significant organizational process from heterogeneous experience. The f...
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Simulation is an important method, but its link to theory development remains unclear and even controversial. Our purpose is to clarify when and how to use simulation methods in theory development. First, we develop a roadmap for conducting theory development using simulation methods. It ranges from selecting the research question and simple theory...
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Organizational boundaries are a central phenomenon, yet despite their significance, research is dominated by transaction cost economics and related exchange-efficiency perspectives. While useful, it is time to engage in a broader view. Our purpose is to provide a deeper understanding of organizational boundaries. First, we develop four boundary con...
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Managers of corporations that are facing fading product-market domains are often inertial in their response to such decline or engage in endgame strategies within these markets. For managers operating in dynamic markets, however, such responses are often ineffective. Rather, such markets often demand a corporate entrepreneurship response whereby ma...