skip to navigation skip to content

Strategy & International Business

Members of the Strategy & International Business group have broad research interests in the areas of strategy, organisation theory and international business. They actively contribute to both academic and business communities. They have published in top-tier journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and Journal of Applied Psychology. They currently serve or have served as associate editors at journals such as Journal of Management and Organization Studies and sit on the editorial boards of journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science.

The members of this group are cited and quoted regularly in the world media including the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and Business Week among others. They have worked with some of the world's leading organisations through collaborative research or executive education and have advised various multilateral agencies through collaborative research, executive education and advisory roles. 

The research of the group falls broadly into the following categories: 

  • Social stability and change (Kamal Munir, Shahzad Ansari, Jochem Kroezen)
  • Cultural industries (Allègre Hadida, Jochem Kroezen)
  • Competitive dynamics: industrial and national (Kamal Munir, Sucheta Nadkarni, Jin Zhang)
  • Dynamic capabilities (Shahzad Ansari, Allègre Hadida)
  • Technology and society (Shahzad Ansari, Kamal Munir)
  • Business and society (Kamal Munir, Jochem Kroezen, Lionel Paolella)
  • Political economy and evolution of Chinese businesses (Jin Zhang, Peter Williamson)
  • Behavioural strategy, executive characteristics and strategic cognition (Sucheta Nadkarni)
  • Categorisation processes and social structures of markets (Lionel Paolella, Kamal Munir)
  • Legal services markets (Lionel Paolella)
  • Industry renewal (Jochem Kroezen)


  • Ansari, Shahzad
    Professor of Strategy & Innovation, Director of the MPhil in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation Programme
  • Coleridge, Chris
    Senior Faculty in Management Practice, Director of the Cambridge Judge Launchpad
  • Hadida, Allègre
    University Senior Lecturer in Strategy
  • Kor, Yasemin
    Beckwith Professor of Management Studies
  • Kroezen, Jochem
    University Lecturer in International Business
  • Munir, Kamal
    Reader in Strategy & Policy
  • Nadkarni, Sucheta
    Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management, Head of the Strategy & International Business Subject Group
  • Paolella, Lionel
    University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation
  • Williamson, Peter
    Honorary Professor of International Management
  • Zhang, Jin
    University Lecturer in International Business

Lecturer and Senior Lecturer are equivalent to Assistant Professor in North American terminology. Reader is equivalent to Associate Professor with tenure in North American terminology.

Research & teaching staff

  • McGahan, Anita
    Sandra Dawson Visiting Professorship of Marketing, Strategy & Innovation

PhD students

Honorary appointments

Members of the group regularly publish in top academic and practitioner journals in management. Here is a selection from the last few years:


Nadkarni, S., Chen, T. and Chen, J. (2016) "The clock is ticking! Executive temporal depth, industry velocity, and competitive aggressiveness." Strategic Management Journal, 37(6): 1132-1153 (DOI: 10.1002/smj.2376)


Gray, B., Purdy, B. and Ansari, S. (2015) "From interactions to institutions: microprocesses of framing and mechanisms for the structuring of institutional fields." Academy of Management Review, 40(1): 115-143 (DOI: 10.5465/amr.2013.0299)

Reinecke, J. and Ansari, S. (2015) "What is a 'fair' price? Ethics as sensemaking." Organization Science (DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2015.0968) (a previous version of this paper won the Best Environmental and Social Practices Paper Award, OMT Division, Academy of Management, 2013)

Reinecke, J. and Ansari, S. (2015) "When times collide: temporal brokerage at the intersection of markets and development." Academy of Management Journal, 58(2): 618-648 (DOI: 10.5465/amj.2012.1004) (a previous version of this paper won the Best International Paper Paper Award, OMT Division, Academy of Management, 2014)


Nadkarni, S. and Chen, J. (2014) "Bridging yesterday, today, and tomorrow: CEO temporal focus, environmental dynamism, and rate of new product introductions." Academy of Management Journal, 57(6): 1810-1833 (DOI: 10.5465/amj.2011.0401)

Mohammed, S. and Nadkarni, S. (2014) "Are we all on the same temporal page? The moderating effects of temporal team cognition on the polychronicity diversity-team performance relationship." Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(3): 404-422 (DOI: 10.1037/a0035640)

Herrmann, P. and Nadkarni, S. (2014) "Managing strategic change: the duality of CEO personality." Strategic Management Journal, 35(9): 1318-1342 (DOI: 10.1002/smj.2156)

Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E. (2014) "Accelerated innovation: the new challenge from China." MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(4): 1-8


Seifert, M. and Hadida, A.L. (2013) "3 humans + 1 computer = best prediction." Harvard Business Review, 91(5): 28

Seifert, M. and Hadida, A.L. (2013) "On the relative importance of linear model and human judge(s) in combined forecasting." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 120(1): 24-36

Durand, R. and Paolella, L. (2013) "Category stretching: reorienting research on categories in strategy, entrepreneurship, and organization theory." Journal of Management Studies, 50(6): 1100-1123 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2011.01039.x)

Ansari, S.M., Wijen, F. and Gray, B. (2013) "Constructing a climate change logic: an institutional perspective on the 'tragedy of the commons'." Organization Science, 24(4): 1014-1040 (DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1120.0799)


Ansari, S., Munir, K. and Gregg, T. (2012) "Impact at the 'bottom of the pyramid': the role of social capital in capability development and community empowerment." Journal of Management Studies, 49(4): 813-842 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01042.x)

Williamson, P.J. and De Meyer, A. (2012) "Ecosystem advantage: how to successfully harness the power of partners." California Management Review, 55(1): 24-46


Williamson, P.J. and Raman, A.P. (2011) "How China reset its global acquisition agenda." Harvard Business Review, 89(4): 109

Ansari, S. and Phillips, N. (2011) "Text me! New consumer practices and change in organizational fields." Organization Science, 22(6): 1579-1599 (DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0595)

Mohammed, S. and Nadkarni, S. (2011) "Temporal diversity and team performance: the moderating role of team temporal leadership." Academy of Management Journal, 54(3): 489-508 (DOI: 10.5465/AMJ.2011.61967991)

Nadkarni, S., Herrmann, P. and Perez, P.D. (2011) "Domestic mindsets and early international performance: the moderating effect of global industry conditions." Strategic Management Journal, 32(5): 510-531 (DOI: 10.1002/smj.888)


Ansari, S.M., Fiss, P. and Zajac, E. (2010) "Made to fit: how practices vary as they diffuse." Academy of Management Review, 35(1): 67-92

Dacin, M.T., Munir, K. and Tracey, P. (2010) "Formal dining at Cambridge colleges: linking ritual performance and institutional maintenance." Academy of Management Journal, 53(6): 1393-1418

Nadkarni, S. and Herrmann, P. (2010) "CEO personality, strategic flexibility, and firm performance: the case of the Indian business process outsourcing industry." Academy of Management Journal, 53(5): 1050-1073 (DOI: 10.5465/AMJ.2010.54533196)

Other notable publications


Hadida, A.L. and Tarvainen, W. (2014) "Organizational improvisation: a consolidating review and framework." International Journal of Management Reviews (forthcoming)

Hadida, A.L. and Paris, T. (2014) "Managerial cognition and the value chain in the digital music industry." Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 83: 84-97 (DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.04.005)

Munir, K. (2014) "A loss of power in institutional theory." Journal of Management Inquiry (DOI: 10.1177/1056492614545302) (published online Aug 2014; forthcoming in print) (lead article to which Professors Paul Hirsch, Michael Lounsbury, Roy Suddaby and Hugh Willmott responded in the same issue)


Munir, K. and Naqvi, N. (2013) "Pakistan's post-reforms banking sector: a critical evaluation." Economic and Political Weekly, 48(47): 38-42

Hadida, A.L. (2013) "Let your hands do the thinking!: Lego bricks, strategic thinking and ideas generation within organizations." Strategic Direction, 29(2): 3-5 (DOI: 10.1108/02580541311297976)

Hadida, A.L. (2013) "Institutions, assets combinations and film performance: a U.S.-French comparison." Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 7(2): 155-170 (DOI: 10.1037/a0030166)


Herzog, J.O., Munir, K.A. and Kattuman, P. (2012) "The King and I: monarchies and the performance of business groups." Cambridge Journal of Economics (DOI: 10.1093/cje/bes032) (published online Jul 2012; forthcoming in print)

Munir, K. and Khalid, S. (2012) "Pakistan's power politics." Economic and Political Weekly, 47(25): 24-27


Koene, B. and Ansari, S. (2011) "Institutional change and the multinational change agent." Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24(4): 511-531 (DOI: 10.1108/09534811111144647)

Ansari, S., Wijen, F. and Gray, B. (2011) "Fiddling while the ice melts? How organizational scholars can take a more active role in the climate change debate." Strategic Organization, 9(1): 70-76 (DOI: 10.1177/1476127010395525)

Munir, K.A. (2011) "Financial crisis 2008-2009: what does the silence of institutional theorists tell us?" Journal of Management Inquiry, 20(2): 114-117 (DOI: 10.1177/1056492610394739)

Yin, E. and Williamson, P.J. (2011) "Rethinking innovation for a recovery." Ivey Business Journal (Online Edition), May/Jun


Hadida, A.L. (2010) "Commercial success and artistic recognition of motion picture projects." Journal of Cultural Economics, 34(1): 45-80 (DOI: 10.1007/s10824-009-9109-z)

Nolan, P. and Zhang, J. (2010) "Global competition after the financial crisis." New Left Review, 64: 97-108

Williamson, P.J. (2010) "Cost innovation: preparing for a 'value-for-money' revolution." Long Range Planning, 43(2-3): 343-353


Hadida, A.L. (2009) "Motion picture performance: a review and research agenda." International Journal of Management Reviews, 11(3): 297-335 (watch "Six things we know about motion picture performance")

Runde, J., Jones, M., Munir, K. and Nikolychuk, L. (2009) "On technological objects and the adoption of technological product innovations: rules, routines and the transition from analogue photography to digital imaging." Cambridge Journal of Economics, 33(1): 1-24 (DOI: 10.1093/cje/ben023)



Zhang, J. (2013) Globalisation and Chinese large firms (in Chinese). Tianjin: Nankai University Press.

Refereed book chapters


Birkinshaw, J. and Ansari, S. (2015) "Understanding management models: going beyond 'what and why' to 'how' work gets done in organizations." In: Foss, N.J. and Saebi, T. (eds.) Business model innovation: the organizational dimension. (forthcoming)


Hadida, A.L. (2014) "Performance in the creative industries." In: Jones, C., Lorenzen, M. and Sapsted, J. (eds.) Oxford handbook of the creative industries. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming) (watch "Creative and cultural industries performance")


Hadida, A.L. (2013) "Strategic assets and performance across institutional environments." In: Kaufman, J.C. and Simonton, D.K. (eds.) The social science of cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.207-231


Kroezen, J.J. and Heugens, P.M.A.R. (2012) "Organizational identity formation: processes of identity imprinting and enactment in the Dutch microbrewing landscape." In: Schultz, M., Maguire, S., Langley, A. and Tsoukas, H. (eds.) Constructing identity in and around organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.89-128


Ansari, S. and Munir, K. (2010) "Letting users into our world: some organizational implications of user-generated content." In: Griffiths, D., Phillips, N. and Sewell, G. (eds.) Technology and organization: essays in honour of Joan Woodward. (Research in the Sociology of Organizations Series, vol.29) Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, pp.79-105

Munir, K., Ansari, S. and Gregg, T. (2010) "Beyond the hype: taking business strategy to the 'bottom of the pyramid'." In: Baum, J.A.C. and Lampel, J. (eds.) The globalization of strategy research. (Advances in Strategic Management Series, vol.27) Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, pp.247-276

Ansari, S., Sidhu, J., Oshri, I. and Volberda, H. (2010) "Knowledge management across globally disaggregated onshore and offshore teams: the role of organizational politics." In: Contractor, F.J., Kumar, V., Kundu, S.K. and Pedersen, T. (eds.) Offshoring and outsourcing: the organizational and geographical relocation of high-value company functions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Members of the Strategy & International Business group engage deeply with the business community, multilateral agencies and governments through their impactful research, innovative executive education programmes and area expertise. Members of the group have spearheaded several research projects and grants funded by companies such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and Newton Asset Management (a division of BNY Mellon Bank). They have advised major multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, the European Commission, the Asian Development Bank and UNCTAD, as well as governments of countries such as Greece and Pakistan.

The Strategy & International Business subject group hosts a seminar series of distinguished visiting scholars. Please contact Luke Slater if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

Upcoming seminars

Michaelmas Term 2018

Construction and Labour Market Frictions, Sibling Relatedness and Establishment Growth: the Role of Resource Redeployability
Dr Timo Sohl, Pompeu Fabra University

13:30-15:00, 30 November 2018
LT3, Cambridge Judge Business School


study proposes that the potential for cross-business resource redeployment can attenuate the negative effect of market frictions on a focal business' creation of establishments because it allows multi-business firms to avoid external transaction costs, leading to more experimentation and riskier investments as compared to single-business firms. Because types of non-financial resources may differ in their adjustment costs, the research argues that the incentive to invest more in the presence of market frictions should depend on the degree of business relatedness required for intra-firm transactions to be more efficient than market transactions. While internal markets for establishments may require a high degree of business relatedness, employees may be more readily transferable across less related businesses. By exploring the impact of within-country variation in construction and labour market frictions on the establishment growth of multi-business relative to single-business chains, the difference-in-differences analysis provides evidence supportive of the arguments.

Speaker bio

Timo Sohl is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and Affiliated Professor at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. His research focuses on corporate diversification and resource allocation in multi-business firms. He and his co-authors won the Best Corporate Strategy IG Proposal Award from the Strategic Management Society in 2018 and a Distinguished Paper Award of the Strategic Management Division (STR) from the Academy of Management in 2014. Timo received his PhD in Management from the University of St Gallen. Before joining UPF, he was a post-doctoral fellow at IESE Business School and a visiting fellow at Texas A&M University.

The Liability of High Status and the Advantages of Brokerage in the Face of Environmental Shocks
Professor Andrew Shipilov, INSEAD

13:15-15:00, 13 November 2018
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School


Status is a signal of quality in the environments characterised by "Spencian" uncertainty, such as, the uncertainty about the quality of actors given the steady state of their industry. However, when faced with "Knightian" uncertainty, for example, situations where market participants cannot set accurate odds for predicting quality based on affiliations with prominent industry participants, status' reliability as a signal goes down. Instead, such environments favor network positions characterised by brokerage. Brokers are flexible in adapting their network to environmental changes which helps them thrive under Knightian uncertainty. We examine how the exogenous shock in the form of dot-com crash of 2000 affected investment banks' ability to convert status and brokerage to performance. We find that, following this shock, high-status banks perform poorly, while brokers perform well.

Speaker bio

Andrew Shipilov is a Professor of Strategy and the John H Loudon Chair of International Management at INSEAD. In 2014, Professor Shipilov received a prestigious Emerging Scholar Award from the Strategic Management Society. He is an expert in the areas of strategy, innovation and networks. His current academic research examines how social networks, strategic alliances, and partnerships affect a firm's competitive advantage. Professor Shipilov's work has been published in the leading management journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Social Networks, Strategic Organization, Industrial and Corporate Change, Managerial and Decision Economics. He also published in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and Talent Management Magazine. He is an editorial board member of the Strategic Management Journal and Strategic Organization, two premier journals in strategy. His research received prizes from the Academy of Management, the leading international association of management researchers.

How the Network Neighbourhood Influences Partnerships: From Handshakes to Formal Collaboration Among US Fire Departments
Professor Anita McGahan, University of Toronto

12:00-13:30, 29 October 2019
Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School


An extensive body of research investigates the conditions giving rise to informal agreements and formal contracts between two partnering organisations. A largely separate body of work has addressed the emergence of ties within organisational networks. This paper contributes to the integration of insights from network theory and contract theory. Specifically, the study explores how the level of formality in an agreement between two parties depends on the broader network of exchange relationships in which they are embedded. The analysis draws on the network literature to develop a theory of governance choice that emphasises the network neighborhood. It is argued that partners’ outside ties influence the coordination, control, and information exchange within the partnership. The research tests the validity of our claims by analysing collaborative agreements among US Fire Departments between 1999 and 2010. The results indicate that the network neighborhood significantly influences the way that partners work together.

Speaker bio

Anita M. McGahan is Professor and George E. Connell Chair in Organisations and Society at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She is cross-appointed to the Medical School and the School of Public Health; is Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard University; is the Chief Economist in the Division of Health and Human Rights at the Massachusetts General Hospital; and is a past President of the Academy of Management. In 2014, she joined the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance. During her 2010-2015 appointment as the Director of the University of Toronto’s PhD Programme and as the Associate Dean of Research, the School’s PhD and research rankings internationally increased from 11th to fourth and 17th to third, respectively.

McGahan earned both her PhD and AM at Harvard University in two years. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she received highest academic honours as a Baker Scholar, and a BA from Northwestern University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also spent several years at both McKinsey & Company and Morgan Stanley and was previously on the faculties of both Harvard Business School and Boston University. She has visited the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the London Business School, the Australian Graduate School of Management, and the Division of Social Medicine and Global Health at Harvard Medical School.

McGahan’s credits include four books and over 150 articles, case studies, notes and other published material on competitive advantage, industry evolution, and global health. Her current research emphasises entrepreneurship in the public interest and innovative collaboration between public and private organisations. She is also pursuing a long-standing interest in how firms overcome industry disruption to achieve breakthrough performance. Her recent work emphasises innovation in the governance of technology to improve global health. McGahan has been recognised as a master teacher for her dedication to the success of junior faculty and for her leadership in course development. In 2010, she was awarded the Academy of Management BPS Division’s Irwin Distinguished Educator Award. In 2012, the Academy conferred on McGahan its Career Distinguished Educator Award for her championship of reform in the core curriculum of Business Schools. In 2018, McGahan was awarded both the Inaugural Educational Impact Award and the Dan and Mary Lou Schendel Best Paper Prize from the Strategic Management Society. In 2012 she was elected a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society, and in 2015 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management.

Spoken like a Woman: How Gender Influences CEO Communication
Professor Gerry McNamara, Michigan State University

12:00-13:30, 27 September 2018
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School


Given their central roles in organisations, investors and analysts are likely to assess the leadership qualities of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in public interactions. In such settings, female CEOs face a challenge since individuals typically view leadership roles as masculine and expect leaders to exhibit agentic characteristics. At the same time, due to gender stereotypes, individuals typically expect females to display communal qualities. Analysing quarterly earnings’ call transcripts, we develop and test arguments about how female CEOs manage this tension and balance the need to be seen as both agentic and communal. We also develop arguments about how investors respond to the agentic and communal attributes of CEO communication. Our findings largely support our hypothesised model.

Speaker bio

Professor McNamara is a professor of management at Michigan State University. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on examining the effects of behavioural factors, organisational practices, and strategic positioning on organisational decision-making and risk taking. His research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, the Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Management, and the Journal of International Business Studies. His research on mergers and acquisitions has been abstracted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Economist, Harvard Business Review Daily Stat, and Business Week. Additionally, he has been honoured as the JMI Scholar of the Year by the Western Academy of Management.  He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Strategic Management Journal and served as an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Journal from 2010-2013.

Previous seminars

Easter Term 2018

Writing for an Audience
Professor Will Mitchell, University of Toronto

12:00-13:00, 6 July 2018
Cambridge Judge Business School

Speaker bio

Professor Will Mitchell is Sandra Dawson Visiting Professor in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School. He serves as a Professor of Strategic Management and Co-Academic Director, Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences Programme at Rotman School of Management, where he holds the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialisation. Will studies business dynamics in developed and emerging markets, investigating how businesses change as their competitive environments change and, in turn, how business changes contribute to ongoing corporate and social performance. He has published extensively in top journals including Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Management Science and Academy of Management Review. His work has been highly cited. He served as the co-editor of  Strategic Management Journal from 2007 - 2015 and serves as a board member of Neuland Laboratories (Hyderabad).

Diversity & Performance in the Multinational Firm: Evidence from the Ships of the Dutch East India Company, 1700-1796
Professor Filippo Carlo Wezel, Universita’ della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano)

12:00-13:30, 16 May 2018
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School


The global organisation is routinely confronted with the problem of managing groups composed of diverse nationalities. These problems were amplified during early capitalism, when language and religious differences created sharp divisions among workers. Empirical analyses that draw on historical evidence of the causal relationship between national diversity and subunit performance nevertheless remain rare. We deploy social categorisation and similarity-attraction theories to suggest how national diversity may have affected conflict and turnover among the members of multinational teams in early capitalism. In addition, we consider workforce recruitment as an alternative mechanism that suggests a confounding of the effects of national diversity with a lack of firm-specific experience. We test our hypotheses on instances of individual punishment and desertion among roughly half a million seafarers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and on the time to completion of more than two thousand voyages to Asia by VOC ships. Our results suggest that much of the adverse performance "effect" of multinational diversity could be explained by historical shifts in workforce recruitment, rather than by a causal impact of conflict and turnover. More generally, the study has implications for the analysis of diversity in historical contexts, when demographic heterogeneity did not yet have implications for the external legitimacy of firms.

Speaker bio

Filippo Carlo Wezel was appointed Professor of Organization and Management at the Faculty of Economics of Universita’ della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano) in September 2009. He is currently Director of the Institute of Management and Organization at USI and permanent visiting Professor at emlyon (France). Filippo is also a Senior Editor at Organization Science. With a PhD in Management from the University of Bologna, he previously held appointments at the University of Groningen (post-doc) and at Tilburg University (assistant and, then, associate professor). He acquired further academic experience as visiting researcher/professor at the Wharton Business School, Duke and Columbia Universities, and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). His research focuses on the effects of categorisation in markets, on managerial mobility, and on entrepreneurship. His work has been published in Academy of Management Journal, American Sociological Review, Organization Science, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, Strategic Organization, Advances in Strategic Management, and Research in the Sociology of Organizations.

Big, Beige and Bulky: Aesthetic Shifts in the Hearing Aid Industry (1945-2015)
Dr Stine Grodal, Boston University Questrom School of Business

11:00-12:30, 1 May 2018
Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School


Aesthetics play an important role in the success of technology products. Scholars have theorised about how the aesthetics of technology products shift over the course of the technology lifecycle. These scholars posit that aesthetics follow a reverse pattern of the technology lifecycle with minimal novelty during the era of ferment, but that producers engage in aesthetic innovation when the technology matures to differentiate their products in the market. We extend this theory through an inductive examination of technological and aesthetic innovations in the hearing aid industry over the 70-year period 1945-2015. We identify that aesthetic innovation tends to occur within the confinement of a dominant aesthetic - that is an aesthetic manifestation, which is present in the majority of products during that lifecycle. In contrast to existing theory, we find that the innovations in aesthetics that eventually drive forth a new dominant aesthetic tend to be launched in during the era of ferment. We find that categorical aspirations - aiming for the product to take on the meaning of other product categories - are a core driver of aesthetic innovation. Over the course of the technology lifecycle, producers begin to question the dominant aesthetics and begin to draw analogies to other categories. Through analogies to other categories, producers form aspirations to have their products attain the same meanings as the categories aspired to. However, these new categorical aspirations do not immediately spur aesthetic innovations challenging the dominant aesthetic - rather they remain latent. The latent categorical aspirations do not lead to experimentation with a new aesthetic manifestation until a new era of technological ferment jolts the existing dominant aesthetic. As technological designs destabilise, it frees up producers to experiment with the accumulated latent categorical aspirations. After a period of aesthetic experimentation, the industry settles into a new dominant aesthetic, which undergoes minor aesthetic elaborations as the technology matures.

Speaker bio

Stine Grodal is an Associate Professor at Boston University Questrom School of Business. She received her PhD from Stanford University. Her work has received numerous awards and has been published across a variety of journals among others Administrative Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review and Organization Science. Her research focuses on the emergence and evolution of markets, industries and organisational fields with a specific focus on the role categories and their associated labels play in this process. In particular, her work explores the strategic actions that market participants take to shape and exploit categorical structures.

That Could Have Been Me: Director Deaths, Mortality Salience & CEO Prosocial Behaviour
Dr Guoli Chen, INSEAD

15:30-17:00, 19 March 2018
Room tbc, Cambridge Judge Business School

in association with the Cambridge Corporate Governance Network (CCGN)


Mortality salience – the awareness of the inevitability of death – is often traumatic. However, it can also be associated with a range of positive, self-transcendent cognitive responses, such as a greater desire to help others, contribute to society, and make a more meaningful contribution in one's life and career. In this study, we provide evidence of a causal link between CEO mortality salience and a subsequent increase in prosocial behaviour, at both the individual and organisational levels. We find that CEOs experiencing a situation likely to trigger mortality salience (the death of a director at the same firm) engage in a series of actions reflecting a greater personal and professional focus on prosociality, including an increased presence on nonprofit boards, more frequent use of prosocial language, and higher levels of corporate social responsibility at both the CEOs' home firms and the outside firms on whose boards they sit. We further show that the impact of director deaths is amplified in situations where CEO mortality salience should be most acute (i.e. high CEO-director demographic similarity, and sudden director deaths). In supplementary analyses, we also find suggestive evidence that CEO prosociality is directed toward ingroups.

Speaker bio

Guoli Chen is an Associate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD. He received his PhD in Strategic Management from the Pennsylvania State University. He teaches Strategy, Value Innovation, Incentives Design, and Corporate Governance courses to the MBA, PhD, and Executive Education programme participants.

Guoli's research focuses on the influence of CEOs, top executives, and boards of directors on firms' strategic choices and organisational outcomes, as well as the interaction and dynamics in the top management team and CEO-board relationships. He is interested in organisational growth, renewal, and corporate development activities, such as IPOs, M&As, innovation, globalisation. He has published in several top academic journals, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Business Venturing, Leadership Quarterly, and Strategic Organization. His papers have received awards at the Academy of Management Conference and Strategic Management Society Conference. He was a representative-at-large of the Corporate Strategy and Corporate Governance interest group of the Strategic Management Society and serves on the editorial board of the Academy of Management Journal.

Before starting his academic career, Guoli worked as an investment banker at Daiwa Securities SMBC. He provided financial consulting in the areas of IPOs, fundraising, and company restructuring.

Lent Term 2018

Founder Industry Specific Experience: An Asset or a Liability? The case of International Expansion
Professor Niron Hashai, Arison School of Business

12:00-13:30, 5 March 2018
Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School


Firms typically use their knowledge to achieve growth. In newly established firms, this knowledge initially comes from their founders’ experiences. We propose that founders’ industry specific prior experience facilitates new firm growth in the short run, but in the long run becomes an obstacle to experiential learning essential for continued growth. We further propose that founders possessing industry specific and general prior experiences are better positioned to facilitate growth in both the short and long runs. Finally, we propose that the combination of industry specific and general prior experience of founders positively affects firm growth. We test these propositions in the context of founders' international experience and the international expansion of high technology new firms. Our analysis shows that early in new firms’ international expansion, the more industry-specific the prior international experience of founders, the more positive its effect on international growth. Yet, once these firms gain international experience, the more industry specific the prior international experience of founders the more negative its effect on international growth. In parallel, we find that the more diverse are the prior international experiences of individual founders or founding teams, in terms of being industry specific or general, the more positive their effect on international growth.

Speaker bio

Niron Hashai is an Associate Professor at the Arison School of Business, the Interdisciplinary Center, Israel and the Albertson-Waltuch Chair in Business Administration at the School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Professor Hashai obtained his BSc in Computer Sciences from the Technion and his MBA and PhD from Tel Aviv University. His research interests include: theory of the multinational corporation, technological innovation, diversification, and growth patterns of high technology firms. His research was published in top strategy, management, international business and innovation journals, including: Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Research Policy, Strategic Management Journal and Strategy Science.

Professor Hashai serves on the boards of the Journal of International Business Studies, and the Global Strategy Journal, among others. Niron is also a visiting Associate Professor at New York University, the Startup Nation visiting fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, the University of Oxford, The Peter J. Buckley International Visiting Fellow at Leeds University Business School and an associate member at the John H. Dunning Research Centre, University of Reading.

Professor Hashai is co-founder of HUstart – the Hebrew University entrepreneurship center and the Israel Strategy Conference (ISC).

Towards a Theory of Ecosystems
Professor Michael G. Jacobides, London Business School

12:00-13:30, 23 January 2018
Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School


The recent surge of interest in “ecosystems” in strategy research and practice has mainly focused on what ecosystems are and how they operate. We briefly review this literature and complement it, considering when ecosystems emerge, why they converge and what makes them distinct. We argue that modularity enables ecosystem emergence, as it allows a set of distinct yet interdependent organizations to coordinate without full hierarchical fiat. We propose that this interdependence is based on different types of complementarities, which can be supermodular or unique, unidirectional or bidirectional. We explain how different types of interdependencies map onto different types of ecosystems, and argue that at the core of ecosystems lie non-generic complementarities. We conclude with implications for mainstream strategy and suggestions for future ecosystem research.

Speaker bio

Michael G. Jacobides holds the Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at London Business School, where he is Associate Professor of Strategy. He has held visiting appointments at Wharton, Harvard Business School, NYU-Stern, has visited Bocconi, University of Paris and Singapore Management University, and teaches in Columbia for the LBS/Columbia EMBA-Global. He has served on the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum on the Financial System and the Future of Investments, and is a Visiting Scholar with the New York Fed, focusing on changing business models in Financial Services. He studied in Athens, Cambridge, Stanford and Wharton, where he obtained his PhD.

Michael's focus is change, design and strategy: he studies industry evolution, value migration, new business models, and structural change in firms and sectors. He is also interested in organisational design and how firms cope with organisational pathologies. His research has earned him the Sloan Foundation Award for the best Industry Study, and he has raised over £1m in research funds. A Ghoshal Fellow in the Advanced Institute of Management, his research has been sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust, NATO, MBAA, the WEF and other private and public bodies. He has worked with McKinsey, PwC, KPMG, Airbus, Finmeccanica, Pirelli, Lufthansa, Vodafone, Telenor, DT, Nokia, Burberrys, Santander, Credit Suisse, BBVA, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds, RBS, Nordea, Rabobank, Zurich, if, MerckSerono, Chiesi Pharmaceutica, Roche and the NHS on executive development, thought-leadership and strategy.

Michael has given keynotes for corporate events and for industry associations, including Accenture, McKinsey, PwC, Winterthur, De Beers, the Innovation Roundtable, the British Bankers Association, the Mortgage Senate, the Institute of Sovereign Investors, the Healthcare Forum, FIDI, ACE, RICS, and has spoken on TEDx, as well as in sessions for the WEF meetings in Brussels, Vienna, Istanbul, New York, Rome, Dubai and in Davos, where he has facilitated public and private events. On policy, he is working with the WEF, the UK parliament (on the future of Financial Services), the European Council (a task-force advising President Van Rompuy on Innovation & Entrepreneurship) and has spearheaded the RedesignGreece initiative, which aims to help restructure the Greek public administration. His current degree teaching is on Managing Corporate Turnarounds, a popular phenomenon-driven strategy elective.

A former VP of the European Academy of Management and officer of the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society, Michael has published in academic journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Research Policy, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Financial Perspectives and Industrial & Corporate Change, where he serves as the Co-Editor. He writes for Harvard Business Review, Financial Times,, Huffington Post, Business Strategy Review, Greek dailies To Vima and Kathimerini, where he holds an op-ed column. He has been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, FT,, Reuters, Bloomberg, Radio 5, Radio France, El Pais, Dubai's The National, the Russian State TV24, SKAI and ANT1, and appears regularly on CNN.

Connecting and Creating: Tertius Iungens, Individual Creativity, and Strategic Decision Processes
Dr David Obstfeld, California State University

13:00-15:00, 15 January 2018
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School


In contrast to previous research that emphasised macro-to-macro relationships, this study investigates how strategic decision characteristics shape the creative process at the organisational micro-level. Whereas individual creativity thrives on novel combinations of diverse knowledge and perspectives, we argue that the characteristics of strategic decisions influence the extent to which employees’ combinatory activities enhance their creativity. Multilevel modeling results based on 638 employees from 34 organisations show that the positive relationship between tertius iungens (TI) orientation and creative performance is reinforced by strategic decision comprehensiveness, especially when coupled with low strategic decision speed. The results suggest that, paradoxically, when top managers consider a narrower range of options and act more quickly to respond to challenges in the external environment, they risk constraining creative processes within the organisation.

Dr Obstfeld will discuss the findings from the above paper in the context of the core ideas of social network brokerage as explored in his new book with Stanford University Press: "Getting New Things Done: Networks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action." Mobilising people to pursue action in the pursuit of innovation depends critically on the effective orchestration of social networks and knowledge sharing. This orchestration is vital to the pursuit of innovation, especially in a world increasingly reliant on collaborative projects that assemble actors with diverse interests, abilities, and knowledge. In the talk, Dr Obstfeld offers a conceptual framework along with brief original ethnographic data from an automotive design context for conceptualising how social network and knowledge processes combine to influence success in both routine and non-routine innovation. He integrates recent work to propose a theory of social skill with implications at the micro-, organisational-, and industry levels that speak directly to his Strategic Management Journal paper.

Article by Dr Olli-Pekka Kauppila, Dr Lorenzo Bizzi, and Dr David Obstfeld, forthcoming Strategic Management Journal.

Speaker bio

David Obstfeld is an Associate Professor of Management at The Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton. His research examines how social network and knowledge processes interact to produce different forms of innovation in organisations, entrepreneurship, and collective action. His research has been funded by multiple grants including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Academy of Finland, and received the W. Richard Scott Award for Distinguished Scholarship for an outstanding contribution to the organisational discipline by an article published within a three-year period from the American Sociological Association. His book-length study, Getting New Things Done: Networks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action (Stanford University Press 2017), focuses on how brokers coordinate action for innovation and value creation in complex organisational contexts. His research has been published in leading management and the social science journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, and Industrial and Corporate Change, and widely cited across a diverse range of disciplines. Before joining Mihaylo, David was a visiting faculty member at the Stern School of Business, New York University and the Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine. He received his AB from the University of Chicago and his PhD from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Prior to his academic career, he was an executive at the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) for 10 years.

Michaelmas Term 2017

Limitations of Perceived Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Mobility Constraint: Stuck in Their Heads?
Professor Russell Coff, University of Wisconsin-Madison

14:00-15:00, 6 December 2017
Lecture Theatre 3, Cambridge Judge Business School


Strategy scholars emphasise firm-specific human capital as a source of sustained competitive advantage, in part, because it is thought to hinder mobility. We explore theoretically and empirically how perceptions of firm-specificity relate to turnover. Recent findings show that workers who perceive their skills as firm-specific tend to be dissatisfied and suggest that turnover could actually be more likely. Using two datasets (Korea and US), we find that perceptions of firm-specific skills are often associated with increased turnover. We found no evidence of lower wages for those who changed jobs and perceived their skills as specific – external opportunities did not appear constrained. Accordingly, perceptions of firm specificity may drive behaviour in ways not fully anticipated by existing theory. This, in turn, suggests the need for new theory about the relationship between human capital and competitive advantage.

Speaker bio

Russell Coff is the UW Foundation Chairman Orr Bascom Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research explores the role of human assets in innovation, creativity, and, ultimately in competitive advantage. For example, he studies management dilemmas associated with human capital including: the management of strategic investments in knowledge-based assets under great uncertainty; appropriating value (rent) from competitive advantages; creativity & innovation under conditions of asymmetric information and uncertainty; and how buyers cope in mergers and acquisitions that involve human assets.

Coff received his PhD from UCLA and has previously been a faculty member at Emory University and Washington University in St Louis. Russ has served the research community through his participation on a variety of editorial boards including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Strategic Organization (where he was a co-editor). He also chaired the Business Policy and Strategic Division of the Academy of Management and the Strategic Human Capital Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society. He is currently the President of the Strategic Management Society.

The Liability of Opaqueness: State Ownership and the Likelihood of Deal Completion in International Acquisitions
Professor Jiatao (JT) Li, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

14:00-15:30, 8 November 2017
Lecture Theatre 2, Cambridge Judge Business School


State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are often less transparent and have more complex organisational structures than other types of firms. This opaqueness tends to generate political resistance when SOEs undertake cross-border acquisitions. Data on attempted foreign acquisitions by Chinese firms were analysed to compare the likelihood of deal completion between SOEs and firms with other forms of ownership. The SOEs’ completion rate was 14 per cent lower than that of other firms. Their disadvantage was shown to be less when they could provide credible signals by being publicly–listed (though only on an exchange in a well-developed economy and when they hired reputable auditors), having a better past record and hiring respected financial advisors. Overall, the evidence confirms that Chinese SOEs face greater resistance than other Chinese firms in international acquisitions, and their opaqueness aggravates the resistance.

Speaker bio

Professor Li is Chair Professor of Management, Lee Quo Wei Professor of Business, and Director of Center for Business Strategy and Innovation, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He served as Head of the Management Department from 2006 to August 2017; Associate Dean (Faculty) of the HKUST Business School from 2009 to 2013; and Senior Associate Dean of the HKUST Business School from 2013 to July 2017.

JT is an elected Fellow of of the Academy of International Business (AIB), and has been elected as Vice President of the AIB and the Programme Chair of the 2018 AIB annual conference in the US. He is Editor of the Journal of International Business Studies, responsible for research related to strategy and policy in emerging economies. He has served as Associate Editor for the Strategic Management Journal, a leading journal in management, from 2009-2016. He is also on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Global Strategy Journal, Journal of Management, and Long Range Planning. He served as Programme Chair of the Strategic Management Society’s special conference held in Hong Kong in December 2016.

Professor Li is an expert on global business strategy. His current research interests are in the areas of organisational learning, strategic alliances, corporate governance, innovation, and entrepreneurship, with a focus on issues related to global firms and those from emerging economies. His research work has been published regularly in premier management journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, and Journal of International Business Studies, and several of which have won best paper awards.

A passionate teacher at the UG, MBA, EMBA, Executive Education, and PhD levels, he has repeatedly been recognised on the Teaching Excellence Honor Roll and with teaching excellence citations over the years. During his tenure as Head of the Management Department, the department has won the Franklin Department Teaching Excellence Award six times. At HKUST, Professor Li has served on various university-level committees, including as the Chair of the University Appointments and Substantiation Committee and a member of the University Administrative Committee. As Associate Dean (Faculty) of the HKUST Business School from 2009 to 2013, he was responsible for the School’s faculty development. As Senior Associate Dean from 2013 to 2017, he oversaw all aspects of the school’s research portfolio.

Professor Li has served the Hong Kong community in multiple roles. He writes regularly for the Hong Kong Economic Journal. He has served on the Business Panel of the University Grants Committee in its Research Assessment Exercise, and he has been a member on the Research Grants Council’s Business Panel. He has also served on the Human Resources Committee of the Fu Hong Society which provides homes for the handicapped in Hong Kong. Since 2016,Professor Li has been contributing actively to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hong Kong by serving as a faculty mentor for startup ventures at the Hong Kong X entrepreneurial platform.

JT received his PhD in strategy from the University of Texas. He joined the HKUST in 1997 as an Assistant Professor of Management. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000, Full Professor in 2006, Chair Professor in 2009, and Lee Quo Wei Professor of Business in 2016. Before joining HKUST, he was with McKinsey & Company in Hong Kong, a global management consulting firm.

From Farms to Fuel Tanks: Influence of Stakeholder Framing Contests on Market Meaning and Firm Entry in the Emergent US Biodiesel Sector
Dr Shon Hiatt, University of Southern California

13:00-14:30, 21 November 2017
Castle Teaching Room, Cambridge Judge Business School


We explore how stakeholder framing contests can shape market settlement and influence venture entry into markets. Using data on all ventures founded in the US biodiesel industry, we present a framework to explain which frames will eventually win the contest, become engrained in the market meaning, and thereby affect entrepreneurial entry. The results show that market frames advanced by farm associations, market enthusiasts and environmental activists differentially influenced the settlement of market meaning and impacted entrepreneurial entry by focused and hybrid firms. The paper also highlights how stakeholder attempts to grow nascent markets can produce unintended consequences by attracting audiences with divergent goals that lead to changes in market meaning and consumer demand.

Speaker bio

Shon Hiatt is an assistant professor of Business Administration at USC Marshall School of Business. He explores issues related to entrepreneurship, new-market emergence, and business sustainability in developed and developing economies, and his award-winning research has been published in scholarly journals and featured in media outlets. An expert in the agribusiness and energy sectors, he serves as the Faculty Director of the Food Industry Executive Programme, is a faculty affiliate of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and is a recipient of the 2015 Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research and the 2016 Academy of Management Emerging Scholar Award. Prior to joining USC, Shon was a member of faculty at Harvard Business School.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Contact Luke Slater if you wish to arrange a meeting with Shon during his visit

Contact us

Get in touch with the Strategy & International Business subject group via their Administrator, Luke Slater:

Seminars are added as they are arranged.

View a list of all Cambridge Judge research seminars