Olav Sorenson's research while affiliated with University of California, Los Angeles and other places

Publications (131)

Article
I review Markus Reitzig’s book, Get Better at Flatter , and offer some critical observations on why managers might want to flatten their firms and on Reitzig’s advice to them. I also introduce the pyramid principle, a simple theory of why firms might end up taller than they would want to be.
Article
We argue that the actions for which actors receive recognition vary as they move up the hierarchy. When actors first enter a community, the community rewards them for their easier-to-evaluate contributions to the community. Eventually, however, as these actors rise in status, further increases in stature come increasingly from engaging in actions t...
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This essay discusses the organizational design of Unjani Clinics as described in Szerb, Kivleneice, and Aggarwal’s organizational zoo case study.
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Evaluating the attractiveness of startup employment requires an understanding of both what startups pay and the implications of these jobs for earnings trajectories. Analyzing Danish registry data, we find that employees hired by startups earn roughly 17% less over the next 10 years than those hired by large, established firms. About half of this e...
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We use investment-level data to study performance persistence in venture capital (VC). Consistent with prior studies, we find that each additional initial public offering (IPO) among a VC firm’s first ten investments predicts as much as an 8% higher IPO rate on its subsequent investments, though this effect erodes with time. In exploring its source...
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Objectives: Women remain underrepresented on faculties of medicine and the life sciences more broadly. Whether gender differences in self presentation of clinical research exist and may contribute to this gender gap has been challenging to explore empirically. The objective of this study was to analyze whether men and women differ in how positivel...
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Social relationships play at least three important roles in entrepreneurship. They help to determine who sees entrepreneurship as an available and desirable career path. Entrepreneurs use their contacts to raise funds for and to recruit employees and partners to their ventures. Social relationships also influence where and when entrepreneurs want t...
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Purpose: A large body of literature has demonstrated racial and gender disparities in the physician workforce, but limited data are available regarding the potential origins of these disparities. To that end, the authors evaluated the effects of race and gender on Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AOA) and Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS)...
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An examination of the prosecution and maintenance histories of approximately 2.7 million US patent applications indicates that women have less favorable outcomes than men.
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Although women make up half of the population, they represent just 10% of US patent inventors and only 15% of inventors in the life sciences. By tracking patent applications through the prosecution process, we found disparities between men and women inventors in the processes of obtaining and maintaining patent rights. Patent applications by women...
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We examined the extent to which and why early career transitions have led to women being underrepresented among faculty in the life sciences. We followed the careers of 6,336 scientists from the post-doctoral fellowship stage to becoming a principal investigator (PI) – a critical transition in the academic life sciences. Using a unique dataset that...
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The authors analyze Danish registry data from 1991 to 2006 to determine how firm age and firm size influence wages. Unadjusted statistics suggest that smaller firms paid less than larger firms paid, and that firm age had little or no bearing on wages. After adjusting for differences in the characteristics of employees hired by these firms, however,...
Chapter
Complexity ‘theory’ refers to a closely related set of ideas and approaches for understanding the effects of intermediate levels of interdependence between components in a dynamic system. One might usefully question what ‘interdependence’ means in this context. Divides interdependence into three categories. Pooled interdependence links independent...
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Entrepreneurs in many emerging economies start their firms informally, without registering with the state.We examine howinformality at the time of founding affected the performance of 12,146 firms in 18 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings indicate that entrepreneurs who registered their firms at founding enjoyed greater success in ter...
Article
We argue that social integration—in the sense of within-community interconnectedness—and venture capital have a complementary relationship in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Using panel data on metropolitan areas in the United States from 1993 to 2002, our analyses reveal that racial integration—in the microgeography of...
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Does social capital operate differently in China? A long and vibrant literature on the concept of guanxi suggests not only that social capital might have a different character in China but also that it might prove more valuable there to employees and entrepreneurs alike. Drawing on unusually high quality data on Chinese executives, Burt and Burzyns...
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The results of archival studies may depend on when researchers analyze data for at least two reasons: (1) databases change over time and (2) the sampling frame, in terms of the period covered, may reflect different environmental conditions. We examined these issues through the replication of Hochberg, Ljungqvist, and Lu’s (2007) research on the cen...
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Crowdfunding (CF) platforms, such as Kickstarter (KS), offer a means of funding innovation, connecting inventors and entrepreneurs with a multitude of supporters, who each provide a small fraction of the amount required to fund the project. Although considerable funding for innovation has historically come from venture capitalists (VCs), the entrep...
Article
We examine the extent to which the gender wage gap stems from dual-earner couples jointly choosing where to live. If couples locate in places better suited for the man’s employment than for the woman’s, the resulting mismatch of women to employers will depress women’s wages. Examining data from Denmark, our analyses indicate that (1) Danish couples...
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We examined the usefulness (precision) and completeness (recall) of the Author-ity author disambiguation for PubMed articles by associating articles with scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In doing so, we exploited established unique identifiers-Principal Investigator (PI) IDs-that the NIH assigns to funded scientists. An...
Data
Non-matched grants. Distribution of NIH fiscal years (budget start years of funded projects) for non-matched grants in step 2 of determining the relevant set of PIs. (TIF)
Data
Non-matched articles. Distribution of publication years of non-matched articles in step 3 of determining the relevant set of PIs. (TIF)
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A group of experts discuss their thoughts about the current state of crowdfunding, its future, important emerging trends in the field, and the opportunities and challenges facing investors and entrepreneurs in the space. Across the board, these experts highlight the importance of crowdfunding as a means for mobilizing resources. They also maintain...
Article
This Introduction to the Spec. Issue on Crowdfunding Begins by Providing Some Info. about the Hist. and Nat. of the Phenomenon. It Then Summarizes Some of the Key Advantages and Disadvantages of Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs and for Investors, Introducing the Various Articles in the Issue That Explore These Topics in Gtr. Depth. It Concludes with...
Article
Do unexpected events experienced by one line of business adversely affect other lines of business in diversified firms? We use fine-grained data on the film industry in the United States to show that such contagion frequently occurs when a distributor opens a film in theaters and concurrently releases an older title to home video: Being exposed to...
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We explore the relationship between whether firms begin as formal or informal organizations and the subsequent growth and performance of those firms in 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We find that being formal, being registered, at the time of founding contributed to both higher sales and greater employment in 17 of the 18 countries. Our result...
Article
We argue that social and financial capital have a complementary relationship in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth. Using panel data on metropolitan areas in the United States, from 1993 to 2002, our analyses reveal that social integration – in the microgeography of residential patterns – moderates the effect of venture capi...
Article
The performance of firms depends not just on the structure of the industries in which they compete but also on their relative positioning within those industries, in terms of operating within particular niches. We propose that demand for these niches depends endogenously on the historical ecology of the products offered: Niches become saturated – r...
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Existing research on categories has only examined indirectly the value associated with being a member of a category relative to the value of the set of attributes that determine membership in that category. This study uses survey data to analyze consumers' preferences for the "organic" label versus for the attributes underlying that label. We found...
Article
Interorganizational relationships connect people affiliated with organizations rather than corporate actors themselves. The managers and owners of organizations therefore do not always control these connections and consequently often cannot profit from them. We discuss the circumstances under which individuals (versus organizations) “own” these rel...
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Numerous studies have found that mergers and acquisitions destroy value. What might account for these poor decisions? Using comprehensive data from the advertis- ing industry, we found that the probability of being acquired rose but that the performance of merged entities declined { both losing clients and selling less to the clients retained { wit...
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We examined the drivers of product demography in a setting where innovation does not depend on technological advances. Using complete data on the population of television series introduced in the United States from 1944 to 2003, we estimated the effects of product age, across- and within-firm competition, and product theme saturation on the longevi...
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We propose that the failure to adopt an idea or innovation can arise from an in-group bias among employees within an organizational subunit that leads the subunit's members to undervalue systematically ideas associated with members of the organization outside their subunit. Such biases in internal selection processes can stymie organizational adapt...
Article
We examine the extent to which the gender wage gap stems from dual-earner couples jointly choosing where to live. If couples locate in places better suited for the man’s employment than for the woman’s, the resulting mismatch of women to employers will depress women’s wages. Examining data from Denmark, our analyses indicate (i) that Danish couples...
Article
Status and reputation have often been treated as synonyms. These concepts, however, arise from disconnected literatures in which they had quite distinct connotations. This article explores the similarities and differences between these theoretical constructs, discusses the extent to which research in the management literature has captured one versu...
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Studies have consistently found that entrepreneurs who enter industries in which they have prior experience as employees perform better than others. We nevertheless know relatively little about what accounts for these differences. The presumed explanation has generally been that these entrepreneurs benefit from the knowledge that they gained in the...
Article
Entrepreneurs, even more than employees, tend to locate in regions in which they have deep roots (‘home’ regions). Here, we examine the performance implications of these choices. Whereas one might expect entrepreneurs to perform better in these regions because of their richer endowments of regionally-embedded social capital, they might also perform...
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The theory of resource partitioning proposes that competition among generalists in the center of a market can trigger a process of resource release that engenders a proliferation of specialist producers outside the center. Previous research has generally examined the relationship between this proliferation and market concentration-a correlate of co...
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Although many streams of literature have recognized that firms with broader scope often underperform those with greater focus, relatively little research has examined the mechanisms that might account for these diseconomies of scope. One potential mechanism is that uncertainty shocks |events or short-term periods that upset the normal course of bus...
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Categorization processes are generally treated as consistent mappings of the underlying characteristics that they group. Yet, in many cases, the identities of actors influence these processes. When identity matters, high status actors often obtain more favorable classifications. We examine these processes in the context of the Motion Picture Associ...
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Default options have been shown to substantially influence choices: whatever the default option, consumers persistently choose it; that is, they display inertia. If curtailing default stickiness is desirable, would shrinking the costs of switching away from the default render this stickiness inconsequential? This paper suggests it would not, by doc...
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Using loan-level data from Mexico, we study the relationship between the organiza-tional structure of banks and the terms of lending to small businesses. We find that banks with decentralized lending structures – where branch managers have autonomy over the terms of lending – give larger loans to small firms and those with more "soft information"....
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In contrast to prior studies, which have generally argued that the failure of innovations to diffuse within an organization stems from informational or motivational difficulties, we propose that the failure to adopt an innovation can also arise from a form of organizational provincialism. Individuals identify with their subunits within the organiza...
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Using panel data on the Danish population, we estimated the revealed preferences of scientists and engineers for the places in which they choose to work. Our results indicate that these technical workers exhibit substantial sensitivity to differences in wages but that they have even stronger preferences for living close to family and friends. The m...
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We find that the public funding of academic research and venture capital have a complementary relationship in fostering innovation and the creation of new firms. Using panel data on metropolitan areas in the United States, from 1993 to 2002, our analyses reveal that the positive relationships between government research grants to universities and r...
Article
We find that the enforcement of non-compete clauses significantly impedes entrepreneurship and employment growth. Based on a panel of metropolitan areas in the United States from 1993 to 2002, our results indicate that, relative to states that enforce non-compete covenants, an increase in the local supply of venture capital in states that restrict...
Article
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 venture...
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Using a panel of U.S. metropolitan areas, we find that increases in the supply of venture capital positively affect firm starts, employment, and aggregate income. Our results remain robust to a variety of specifications, including ones that address endogeneity. The estimated magnitudes imply that venture capital stimulates the creation of more firm...
Article
The article introduces this issue of "Academy of Management Review" which focuses on topics such as the performance differentials between diversified companies and new business enterprises, the prediction of business mortality that is based on the industry conditions at the time of the company's founding, and the free-rider problem.
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I investigate the effect of multidivisional structure on investment efficiency using project-level data from the motion picture industry in the United States. I find that the multidivisional structure of the largest Hollywood studios increases a movie's production budget and advertising expenses, but does not improve its box office performance. I a...
Article
We examine how the ability of one actor to gain access to resources controlled by another depends on two factors: (i) the number of mutual acquaintances connecting the prospective lender and borrower and (ii) the scarcity of the resources in question. We argue that the incentives to renege on an agreement grow as the resources being traded become i...
Article
Most existing theories of relationship formation imply that actors form highly cohesive ties that aggregate into homogenous clusters, but actual networks also include many “distant” ties between parties that vary on one or more social dimensions. To explain the formation of distant ties, we propose a theory of relationship formation based on the ch...
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Many theories either implicitly or explicitly assume that individuals readily move to places that improve their financial well-being. Other forces, however, offset these tendencies; for example, people often wish to remain close to family and friends. We introduce a methodology for determining how individuals weigh these countervailing forces, and...
Article
Like all politics, all entrepreneurship is local. Individuals launch firms and, if successful, expand their enterprises to other locations. But new firms must start somewhere, even if their businesses are conducted largely or exclusively on the Internet. Likewise, policymakers at local and state levels increasingly recognize that entrepreneurship i...
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This paper has two objectives. We begin by contrasting two potential paths for future research in entrepreneurship. One is the establishment of an independent field of research with a clear jurisdiction, a common theoretical canon, and autonomy from related fields. The second is a phenomena‐based approach, in which scholars congregate around common...
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Much research suggests that social networks shape the emergence and development of nascent ventures. Scholars have argued that founders' and firms' networks influence innovation and the identification of entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as facilitate the mobilization of resources for growth and the harvesting of value from fledgling firms. It...
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We examine the relationship between income inequality and corporate demography in regional labor markets and specify two mechanisms through which the number and diversity of employers in a labor market affect wage dispersion. Vertical differentiation, or variation in the ability of organizations of a particular kind to benefit from labor inputs, am...
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Although prior empirical research has established an association between science and the widespread diffusion of knowledge, the exact mechanism(s) through which science catalyses information flow remains somewhat ambiguous. This paper investigates whether the knowledge diffusion associated with science-based innovation stems from the norm of openne...
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The broker profits by intermediating between two (or more) parties. Using a biform game, we examine whether such a position can confer a competitive advantage, as well as whether any such advantage could persist if actors formed relations strategically. Our analysis reveals that, if one considers exogenous the relations between actors, brokers can...
Article
We argue that social capital places strong constraints on an entrepreneur's ability to found a firm in a region in which he or she does not have connections. We examine this thesis using comprehensive data on the Danish population and find evidence broadly consistent with this claim. Entrepreneurs tend to open businesses in regions in which they ha...
Article
This study uses data on the U.S. film industry from 1982 to 2001 to analyze the effects on box office performance of prior relationships between film producers and distributors. In contrast to prior studies, which have appeared to find performance benefits to both buyers and sellers when exchange occurs embedded within existing social relations, we...
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In this paper we argue theoretically and empirically that capital markets systematically discount uniqueness in the strategy choices of firms. Uniqueness in strategy heightens the cost of collecting and analyzing information to evaluate a firm's future value. These greater costs in strategy evaluation discourage the collection and analysis of infor...
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We investigate the competitive consequence of vertical integration on organizational performance using a comprehensive dataset of U.S. motion picture production companies, which includes information on their vertical scope and competitive overlaps. Vertical integration appears to change the dynamics of competition in two ways: (i) it buffers the ve...
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Although strategy research typically regards firm scope as a positional characteristic associated with performance differences, we propose that broad contemporary scope also provides insight into the routines that govern firm behavior. To attain broad scope, firms must repeatedly explore outside the boundaries of their current niche. Firms with bro...
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There has been a recent revival of interest in the geographic component of firm strategy. Recent research suggests that two opposing forces---competition costs and agglomeration benefits---determine whether firms collocate in a given geographic market. ...
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Using the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates, I examine how immigrants perform relative to natives in activities likely to increase U.S. productivity, according to the type of visa on which they first entered the United States. Immigrants who first entered on a student/trainee visa or a temporary work visa have a large advantage over natives...
Chapter
A central tenet in sociology holds that positions in social structure influence the attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes of the actors occupying those positions. Though this proposition underlies much sociological thinking, perhaps the clearest instantiation of it appears in the literature collectively referred to as 'social network theory'. Research...
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Recent research in strategy has called attention to the fact that particular positions in inter-firm networks may serve as a source of competitive advantage for the firms occupying them. This empirical literature has nonetheless found it difficult to separate the effects of positions from those of firm capabilities and resources. We develop a gener...
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Scholars from a variety of backgrounds – economists, sociologists, strategists, and students of technology management – have sought a better understanding of why some knowledge disperses widely while other knowledge does not. In this quest, some researchers have focused on the characteristics of the knowledge itself (e.g., Polanyi, 1966; Reed and D...
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Genes can be mutated by altering DNA content (base changes) or DNA length (insertions or deletions). Most in vitro directed evolution processes utilize nucleotide content changes to produce DNA libraries. We tested whether gain of function mutations could be identified using a mutagenic process that produced only nucleotide deletions. Short nucleot...
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This article introduces a special issue of the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management devoted to exploring how patterns of social networks and interaction among scientists affect diffusion of innovation and knowledge. The history of science and technology has traditionally examined the individual genius. A newly developing approach, socia...
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Studies have consistently found that social structure influences who transacts with whom, and that actors appear to benefit when exchange occurs embedded within these relations rather than in an unstructured market. This paper argues that the apparent benefits of embedded exchange can arise from an endogenous mechanism: Actors offer better terms of...
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A large body of work argues that scientific research increases the rate of technological advance, and with it economic growth. The precise mechanism through which science accelerates the rate of invention, however, remains an open question. Conceptualizing invention as a combinatorial search process, this paper argues that science alters inventors'...
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Because knowledge plays an important role in wealth creation, economic actors may attempt to skew the flow of knowledge in their favor. Managers of a firm may seek to spread knowledge widely within their organization but prevent its diffusion to rivals, for instance. We ask, when will knowledge developed in one area of dense social connections - su...
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Nearly all industries exhibit some degree of clustering. Most explanations to date for the persistence of this geographic concentration have focused on arguing that clustering somehow improves the efficiency of production. This chapter, however, argues that these clusters could persist even in the absence of any benefits to collocation because soci...