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The Strategy & International Business subject group

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About the subject group

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.

Contributions of the group’s faculty are inter-disciplinary and shed light on critical competitive, economic, social and environmental issues facing organisations and their top leaders. The group’s research has uncovered how corporations deal with disruptive events and compete in an increasingly complex global environment with a diverse set of socio-political and economic influences. A distinctive feature of the group is its ability to produce leading research at the juxtaposition of how corporations achieve and sustain competitive viability, and how their social and environmental footprints can be examined and moderated through internal and external governance systems.

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

  • Disruption, business models, and decision making in volatile environments (Shazhad Ansari, Allègre Hadida, Yasemin Kor)
  • Competitive dynamics and firm/industry renewal: (Yasemin Kor, Jochem Kroezen, Kamal Munir, Jin Zhang)
  • Top management teams and corporate governance (Yasemin Kor, Lionel Paolella) 
  • Business, technology, and society (Shazhad Ansari, Yasemin Kor, Jochem Kroezen, Kamal Munir, Lionel Paolella)
  • Categorisation processes and social structures of markets (Kamal Munir, Lionel Paolella)
  • Social stability and change (Shazhad Ansari, Jochem Kroezen, Kamal Munir)
  • Cultural industries (Allègre Hadida, Jochem Kroezen) and legal services markets (Lionel Paolella)
  • Political economy and evolution of Chinese businesses (Peter Williamson, Jin Zhang)

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.


PhD students

Honorary appointments

Publishing output

Members of the Strategy & International Business group have published in top-tier journals such as Administrative Science QuarterlyAcademy of Management AnnalsAcademy of Management JournalAcademy of Management ReviewJournal of Applied PsychologyJournal of International Business StudiesJournal of ManagementJournal of Management StudiesOrganization ScienceOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and Strategic Management Journal.

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 QuarterlyAcademy of Management JournalAcademy of Management ReviewStrategic Management JournalStrategic Organization and Organization Science.

Industry engagement

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.

Below are some examples of recent and current research projects that faculty members have been conducting in collaboration with or in support of businesses.

  • Professor Shaz Ansari works as a consultant at Thinfilms, a New Jersey firm providing thin film services to over 150 corporations in the hybrid microelectronics, semiconductor, optical, medical and sensor industries. He has also delivered executive education and training to several multinational corporations.
  • Dr Chris Coleridge founded and is now the CEO of Carbon13, a startup accelerator funded by ARM, Volkswagen, BP, EY and DLA Piper. The accelerator works to foster scalable ventures with the potential to take 10 million tonnes of CO2 per annum out of the emissions base through technically- or behaviourally-based innovations across the energy, mobility, manufacturing, buildings, agriculture and finance sectors.
  • Professor Yasemin Kor is collaborating with the Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative on projects for the food industry, to enhance sustainability and resilience.
  • Dr Kamal Munir frequently consults with blue chip and technology firms facing disruption related challenges. He also serves on the advisory board of a healthcare company and is involved with start-ups in the technology space. Dr Munir also consults for governments and multilateral institutions in the area of competitiveness at the national and industry levels. He serves as an Advisor to OECD’s Centre on Philanthropy. Dr Munir is currently working with a global network of professional accounting and advisory firms on issues related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Dr Lionel Paolella has been advising organisations on ways to foster equity, diversity and inclusion. He has also delivered executive education and training programmes on diversity to several corporations.
  • Professor Peter Williamson has been advising several multinationals and Chinese companies on globalisation strategies and development of their business ecosystems. He currently serves as a non-executive director of the global renewal energy firm Green Gas International and non-executive chairman of the global digital process automation company Bizagi.

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 2021

Ratings, reactivity, and the paradox of recognising responsibility
Ben Lewis, Associate Professor, Brigham Young University

14:45-16:15, 19 November 2021
Lecture Theatre 3, Cambridge Judge Business School

We examine why organisations may at times decrease their performance after receiving a positive rating. In contrast to the prevailing assumption that organisations will strive for favourable ratings to achieve reputational benefits, we argue that when the values captured by the rating are perceived as incompatible with a dominant logic that it may lead organisations to strategically reduce their performance on the rated dimension. Utilising a difference-in-differences design, we examine how companies responded to being rated and recognised as a charitable organisation, an evaluation that we maintain was generally perceived as incompatible with the dominant logic of shareholder maximisation during the early 1990s. Our results suggest that rated companies decreased philanthropic contributions more after being rated as a generous firm relative to firms that were rated but not recognised, primarily as an anticipatory impression management tactic. We also found this reaction to be amplified and attenuated by factors that increased or decreased the saliency of the perceived incompatibility between the philanthropy rating and the dominant shareholder logic. These findings provide insights for scholarship on how organisations react to external evaluations and raise important questions for scholars and practitioners interested in the effectiveness of evaluation metrics in shaping organisational performance.

Ben W. Lewis is an Associate Professor of Strategy in the Department of Management at the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business. He is currently on sabbatical leave working with scholars at London Business School and Imperial College London.

Ben’s research explores how firms strategically manage their reputation, particularly within the domains of corporate social and environmental responsibility. Recently, he has focused his efforts on understanding how corporations respond to ratings and rankings. His work has been published in leading management journals including Administrative Science Quarterly and the Strategic Management Journal. In 2017, he received the William H. Newman Award, a prestigious recognition from the Academy of Management for solo-authored work based on a dissertation. In 2020, he received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Organizations and the Natural Environment division of the Academy of Management.

Ben received his PhD in Management from the Johnson College of Business at Cornell University in 2013, and a MAcc and BS in Accounting and Economics from Brigham Young University in 2008. Prior to pursuing his doctoral studies, he was involved in international development work in Kenya and Mozambique. Many of his research interests have been shaped by these experiences and drive his efforts to understand how business can be used as a force for good in society.

Some organisational antecedents of evil
Professor Freek Vermeulen, London Business School

13:00-14:30, 23 November 2021
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

People in organisations sometimes engage in severe acts of abuse towards people under their control or care, such as subordinates, clients, pupils, or patients. Using a situationist perspective, we developed a theory of organisational control to identify characteristics of organisations that make such behavior more likely. The theory indicates organisational pathways that constitute a slippery slope towards severe forms of maltreatment. To test our theory, we empirically examined the sadistic abuse of vulnerable patients by care home staff, using longitudinal data on 14,000 US care homes. The analysis showed that the neglect of patients, minor rule breaches, and physical restraint gradually escalates into active sadistic behaviour by carers. A lack of both informal and formal monitoring mechanisms gives rise to these pathways. Surprisingly, the analysis showed that forms of formal supervision – both by managers and team leaders – largely fail to curtail abuse. Whereas prior research focused on how organisational measures around control, rules, and monitoring can unleash positive employee behaviors such as creativity and innovation, our findings indicate that organisational context can also unleash the darker inclinations in human behavior.

Freek Vermeulen is a Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He writes and speaks on topics such as strategies for growth, innovation, and strategy execution. The Harvard Business Review Press described him as “a strategist with a keen eye for the absurd.”

Freek’s research has appeared in various academic journals, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and the Strategic Management Journal, but also in managerial publications such as the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

He is a keynote speaker on industry and company conferences and the winner of several teaching awards, including the first ever winner of London Business School’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He currently serves as the Chair of the School’s Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department.

Previous seminars

Michaelmas Term 2020

Political Turnover and the Cross-border Acquisitions of Chinese Firms
Professor Jane Lu, City University of Hong Kong

11:00-12:00, 19 November 2020

Acquisitions are subject to governmental interventions. Yet prior studies on acquisitions either paid scant attention to the role of government or equated it to the laws and regulations issued by government. This study unpacks the black box of “government” and focuses on the agents who implement governmental policies. We contend that government officials can wield their influence on firms to align corporate actions with their political incentives. We propose that officials at the end of their terms are more risk averse, and therefore, tend to discourage high-risk deals. The reduction in the risk level of acquisition deals during political turnover period is contingent on officials’ incentive and ability to influence firms in their jurisdictions. In a sample of 447 cross-border acquisitions between 2003 and 2014 by listed Chinese firms, we find that during subnational political turnover periods, cross-border acquisition deals tend to have lower risk profile as shown in lower stakes, more industry relatedness, and smaller institutional distance between the acquirer and the target. Further, the reduction in the risk level of cross-border acquisitions during political turnover periods varies by the risk-taking propensity of officials and the resources in their control over the firms. This study provides a political perspective to acquisitions and highlights how government officials’ political incentives could influence cross-border acquisitions.

Jane Lu is a Chair Professor and Head of Department of Management at the City University of Hong Kong. She received her MBA from China Europe International Business School and Ph.D. from the Ivey School of Business, Western University.

Jane’s research centers on international strategy and non-market strategy with a focus on emerging market firms. The question of what influences the success of a firm is at the heart of research in strategy and international management. Her earlier research investigates this core area of inquiry by looking at broad level issues that underlie the international strategy of a firm, as well as specific strategic questions, such as how to make a successful foreign entry into a country, or how to manage successfully in a foreign country. Her recent research continues this line of research but with a focus on emerging market firms and their non-market strategies such as political strategy and corporate social responsibility. She has examined firms based in Japan, China (including Taiwan), India and USA across a variety of organisational forms, such as state-owned enterprises, collective-owned enterprises, private-owned enterprises, foreign subsidiaries, business groups and family firms.

Jane has published in leading academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management and Journal of International Business Studies, among other journals. Her work has received more than 7000 google citations and generated significant impact to the field. She is currently a Senior Editor of Journal of World Business and a Consulting Editor of Journal of International Business Studies. She is also the President of Asia Academy of Management.

Prior to joining academia, Jane Lu worked in senior management positions in a major international trading company and in Rabobank.

Political Protest and Corporate Philanthropic Giving: A Natural Experiment of Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan
Professor Haibin Yang, City University of Hong Kong

09:00-10:00, 10 November 2020

Drawing on social movement literature and network spillover effect, we theorise that social movement targeting at a particular political group may bring about negative spillover to politically-connected firms, and consequently, firms are likely to use corporate philanthropic giving to preempt possible damages. We test our theory by examining listed firms in Taiwan that responded to the Sunflower Student Movement against the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT). Our difference-in-differences estimates provide evidence that pre-event linkages to the protested party KMT exhibited significantly higher levels of philanthropic giving following the movement. Furthermore, two important contingencies, namely a firm’s location in Taipei and its B2C market type, significantly increased prior KMT-connected firms’ philanthropic amount after the social movement than that of non-KMT connected firms. These findings shed fresh light on the spillover effect of political movement on organisations, the adverse impact of political connections, and the insurance function of corporate social activities in counterbalancing the corporate political missteps.

Haibin Yang is a Professor in Strategic Management at City University of Hong Kong. He received his PhD from University of Texas at Dallas. His research interests include alliance networks, acquisitions, innovation, entrepreneurship, and competition in transition economies. His research works have appeared in some top-tier management journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, and Journal of Management Studies, etc. He currently serves in the editorial boards for Strategic Management Journal, Journal of World Business, Long Range Planning, Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Journal of Marketing Science.

Lent Term 2020

Platform Competition and User Generated Content: Evidence From Game Wikis
Professor Tobias Kretschmer, LMU Munich School of Management 

12:00-13:30, 29 January 2020
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Today, many platforms rely on contributions by users to create value. While they play an increasing role in today’s digital economy, little is known about how dominant user-driven platforms emerge and what determines the quality and amount of the available content. We aim to extend our understanding of this phenomenon by studying the relationship between the level of competition and user activity. We argue that a platform’s competitive position influences user behavior through two mechanisms: First, a more dominant position entails more favorable beliefs, leading to increased activity at the extensive margin, i.e. a higher number of users. Second, the level of competition affects the non-pecuniary benefits users can derive, impacting their activity at the intensive margin, i.e. how much and how frequently each contributes. We study these dynamics in the context of two competing game wiki platforms and exploit content updates as a source of exogenous variation in a quasi-experimental research design. We  find that a more dominant position is associated with a higher level of user activity in aggregate, which is primarily driven by the extensive margin of content creation. In addition, this entails higher social benefits, leading to increased activity at the intensive margin. Lastly, we  find evidence that a higher competition intensity can act as a motivating factor in itself. 

Tobias Kretschmer is a Professor of Strategy, Technology and Organization (ISTO) at LMU Munich School of Management and currently a visiting professor at UCL School of Management. He holds a PhD in Economics from London Business School and an MSc in Strategy from the University of St. Gallen. Prior to joining LMU Munich, he held full-time positions at London School of Economics and INSEAD. He is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London and a Research Professor at ifo Institute in Munich.

His work focuses on strategy and organisation design in technology-intensive industries, especially platform markets and information and communication technologies. His work appeared in American Economic Review, Management Science, Information Systems Research, Strategic Management Journal, and Organization Science. He is an associate editor at Strategic Management Journal and the International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Michaelmas Term 2019

Resource Allocation Capability & the Allocation of Resources in Multi-Business Firms
Dr Catherine A. Maritan, Syracuse University

12:00-13:30, 26 November 2019
Cambridge Judge Business School

Resource allocation is fundamental to strategic management. Understanding how firms allocate resources, both financial and nonfinancial, to initiatives and across businesses has been studied in various literature streams, often quite separately and without strong links across arguments or findings. This paper examines two areas of prior work: (1) studies of the process of allocating capital, which emphasise factors leading to unintended outcomes or misallocations, and (2) research on resource sharing or redeployment in diversified firms to create value, which suggests effective allocation of nonfinancial resources. To bridge the disconnect between these two sets of arguments and findings, we offer an analysis that develops the concept of resource allocation capability and considers its implications for the resource allocation process and ultimately, heterogeneity in firm performance.

Catherine A. Maritan is an Associate Professor at the Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University. She received a PhD in strategic management from Purdue University. Her research focusing on resource allocation, organisational capabilities, and strategy processes has been published in leading academic outlets. Professor Maritan is an Associate Editor at Strategic Management Journal, a former Senior Associate Editor at Journal of Management, and a member of the editorial boards of Academy of Management Review and Journal of Management. She co-chairs the Strategy Research Foundation, the grant funding body of the Strategic Management Society and previously served in elected leadership roles in both the Strategic Management Society and Academy of Management. Her teaching, research and professional service have received numerous honours. She previously served on the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo and has held visiting faculty appointments at Dartmouth College and Purdue. She also brings practical business experience to her scholarly activities; before embarking on an academic career Professor Maritan worked as a mining engineer and as a corporate banker, based in Canada and in the UK.

Structuring the Ecosystem: Antecedents of Digital Platforms’ Organisational Boundaries and Technological Interfaces
Professor Annabelle Gawer, University of Surrey

13:30-15:00, 20 November 2019
Room KH107, Cambridge Judge Business School

This article explores the under-theorised topic of digital platform boundaries. Can digital platform firms extend their boundaries in ways that are different from traditional, non-platform firms? Are their boundaries different by nature? Do digital platform firms enter new markets and extend their scope for different reasons than non-platform firms? And can we predict whether, when, and how digital platform firms are likely to extend or modify their platform boundaries? Building on economics, strategic management, and information systems research, this research conceptualises digital platform boundaries as firm scope and technological interfaces between platform and ecosystem. The study develops a framework that predicts whether and when digital platforms are likely to extend or modify their platform boundaries. Criteria for choices in boundary extension or modification include whether the platform is a transaction or an innovation platform and whether it is in a pre-dominance or dominance phase within its lifecycle.

Annabelle Gawer is the Chaired Professor in Digital Economy and Head of the Department of Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Surrey Business School, and Director of the Centre of Digital Economy at the University of Surrey.

Professor Gawer is a thought-leader, educator and expert adviser on the business of digital platforms, and on the dynamics of platform-based innovation ecosystems. A graduate of MIT and Stanford, she is the author of four highly-cited books including Platform Leadership (2002), Platform, Markets and Innovation (2009), Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Platforms (2017) and The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation and Power (2019), as well as articles on platform leadership and innovation ecosystems in The Financial Times, The Economist, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, MIT Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Research Policy, Journal for Production Innovation Management and others.

Professor Gawer’s books and articles are translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Bulgarian, and she is regularly invited to address international audiences as a keynote speaker in business and academic conferences. She has great experience in teaching strategy, high-tech strategy, digital platforms economics and strategy and innovation at MIT (1994-2000), INSEAD (2004-2015) and Surrey (2016-present).

Regulatory impediments and the redeployability of physical assets: implications for investment decisions
Dr Timo Sohl, Pompeu Fabra University

12:30-16:00, 5 November 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

This study examines how the internal redeployability of physical assets such as plants and stores can explain heterogeneity in investment responses to exogenous changes in rigidities imposed by regulation. Focusing on within-country variation in construction permitting procedures, we propose that an increase in construction impediments has a negative effect on establishment growth because more inefficient permitting and quality control systems can increase investment sunkness. We also argue that businesses are unequally exposed to construction impediments because their sunk costs are affected differently, proposing that redeployability of establishments across closely-related siblings lowers the performance threshold that justifies business expansion in the presence of construction impediments. Analyses of the establishment growth of multiunit chains that are part of multi-chain parents relative to stand-alone chains support our arguments.

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.

Lent Term 2019

Integrating Distant Pasts and Futures Sustainably in the Present: toward a Theoretical Framework of Organisational Temporality
Professor Majken Schultz and Professor Tor Hernes, Copenhagen Business School

12:00-13:30, 5 April 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Contemporary organisations are increasingly confronted with the need to comply with short-term business cycles while addressing long-term concerns. This tension between short and long-term concerns is pertinent in relation to grand challenges, such as climate change, but is also found when organisations are forced by market forces to succumb to extreme “short-termism” at the expense of long-term concerns. Whereas the relation between short-term and long-term horizons has traditionally been considered a matter of trade-offs, there is a need for exploring other dynamics between short- and long-term time horizons in organisations. This talk suggests a theoretical elaboration of how actors may sustainably integrate distant pasts and futures into ongoing activities. We use the interplay between strategy and identity as an example of how new dynamics between short- and long-term horizons may be found. Strategy and identity exhibit distinctively different temporalities, enabling them to be complementary to one another. Based on a longitudinal study of a global brewery we elaborate which temporal differences are likely to lead to sustained interplay, where strategy is meaningfully framed by long-term identity narratives, while more short-term strategies serves to enact identity over time. These findings, we argue, have major implications for how organisations can comply with short-term business cycles while addressing long-term concerns.

Majken Schultz earned her PhD from Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and is currently Professor of Management and Organization Studies at Copenhagen Business School, International Research Fellow at the Centre for Corporate Reputation at Oxford University and member of the Centre for Organizational Time based at CBS. Her current work explores how organisation actors construct their temporality. She has applied a temporal view, for example, on studies of organisational identity reconstruction, the interplay between culture and identity in strategic transformation and the use of history for future change. Majken is actively involved in the Danish business community in a variety of networks and holds several positions in company boards.

Tor Hernes earned his PhD from Lancaster University. He is currently Professor of Organization Theory at Copenhagen Business School and Adjunct Professor at University of Southeast Norway. He is Director of the Centre for Organizational Time based at CBS and co-leader of the VELUX funded project “The temporality of innovations in the Danish food sector”. Tor works with theories of time and temporality from process philosophy. His empirical research focuses on dynamics between continuity and change in organisations. Tor won the George R. Terry Book Award for his book A Process Theory of Organization in 2015 (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Business Models and Business Model Innovation
Professor Christopher Tucci, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

12:00-13:30, 22 January 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

This talk offers a broad review of the nexus between Business Models and innovation studies, and examines the notion of Business Model Innovation in three different situations: Business Model Design in newly formed organisations, Business Model Reconfiguration in incumbent firms, and Business Model Innovation in the broad context of sustainability. Tools and perspectives to make sense of Business Models and support managers and entrepreneurs in dealing with Business Model Innovation are reviewed and organised. The framework elucidates the nature of the complementarities across various perspectives. Finally, the use of business model-related ideas in practice is discussed, and critical managerial challenges as they relate to Business Model Innovation and managing business models are identified and examined. I also discuss a recent review performed with Allan Afuah and Lorenzo Massa on why it is difficult to cumulate knowledge in business model research, and work with Gianluigi Viscusi and Lorenzo Massa on complexity and business models.

Christopher L. Tucci is Professor of Management of Technology at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where he holds the Chair in Corporate Strategy and Innovation. He is Visiting Professor of Innovation at Imperial College London and Visiting Thought Leader at CEIBS in Shangai, China. He received the degrees of PhD in Management from the Sloan School of Management, MIT; SM in Technology & Policy from MIT; and BS in Mathematical Sciences, AB in Music, and MS in Computer Science from Stanford University. He was an industrial computer scientist involved in developing Internet protocols and applying artificial intelligence tools. Professor Tucci joined EPFL in 2003 where he teaches courses in Design Thinking, Digital Strategy, and Innovation Management. His primary area of interest is in how firms make transitions to new business models, technologies, and organisational forms. He also studies crowdsourcing, Internetworking, and digital innovations. He has published articles in, among others, Academy of Management Review (AMR)Strategic Management JournalManagement ScienceResearch PolicyCommunications of the ACM, Search Engine JournalAcademy of Management Annals, and Journal of Product Innovation Management. His article with Allan Afuah, “Crowdsourcing as solution to distant search,” won the Best Paper of 2012 for AMR. He is currently an Associate Editor of Academy of Management Discoveries. He has served in leadership positions in the Academy of Management (AOM) and the Strategic Management Society.

Overcoming the Liability of Gender: Collaboration Networks and Entrepreneurial Patenting by Garage Inventors
Dr Michelle Rogan, Kenan-Flagler Business School

12:00-13:30, 14 January 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

What roles do collaboration networks play in explaining gender differences in entrepreneurial entry? Are network effects gender symmetric or asymmetric?

The research investigates these questions by comparing rates of entrepreneurial patenting in a matched sample of male and female “garage inventors”, observing inventors’ patenting and collaboration networks from their first independent patents to their first entrepreneurial patents (new patents with newly formed firms).

The rate of entrepreneurial patenting by female inventors is significantly increased when they have been collaborating in larger inventive teams, larger inventive networks or mixed gender teams.

Further analysis shows that of these effects, team size and network size are gender symmetric, increasing rates of entrepreneurial patenting in the same way for men and women. However, the mixed gender team effect is asymmetric, increasing rates for women but decreasing rates for men. Although developing broader networks is important for women, working on mixed gender teams may provide them with a unique advantage.

The study also points to the need for additional research into the asymmetry of network effects on entrepreneurship.

Dr Michelle Rogan’s research centers on corporate entrepreneurship. She focuses on acquisitions of social capital, such as how firms use acquisitions of target firms to gain valuable inter-organisational relationships to customers, suppliers and other business partners in the advertising industry.

She is investigating the effect of competition among clients of advertising firms on the formation of new advertising agencies both within and outside of existing advertising holding companies. In the consulting industry, Dr Rogan is exploring how ownership rights to inter-organisational relationships affect new business development in established firms.

Dr Rogan’s research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organisation Science, Management Science and Annual Review of Sociology.

She joined UNC Kenan-Flagler from INSEAD. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a management consultant at Accenture in San Francisco where she was involved in the implementation of large-scale change initiatives including corporate entrepreneurship efforts in global technology firms. The focus of her client work involved the mobilisation of sponsorship networks to support corporate renewal efforts in these firms as well as the design and implementation of firm-wide training programmes.

Dr Rogan received her PhD in Strategic and International Management from London Business School and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yale University.

Easter Term 2019

The Effect of Founder Experience on Labour Market Outcomes: a Field Experiment
Dr Tristan Botelho, Yale School of Management

12:00-13:30, 25 September 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Founding one’s own venture is often seen as desirable; however, most entrepreneurs must subsequently enter wage employment. Although a transition to wage employment is common, it remains unclear how founder experience is perceived and evaluated by recruiters at hiring firms. The study argues that current theory can be used to make a strong case for founder experience as an asset as well as a liability to hiring firms. The research first discusses the advantages and disadvantages of founder experience for wage employment and then tests these theories through a field experiment, namely a resume audit study. Specifically, it tests how those who started their career as founders fare relative to those who started their career as wage employees at the initial evaluation stage of the hiring process: receiving a callback for an interview. Findings show that former founders receive fewer callbacks than non-founders; however, all founders are not disadvantaged similarly. Former founders of successful ventures receive even fewer callbacks than former founders of failed ventures. Through 20 interviews with technical recruiters, the study highlights the mechanisms driving this founder experience discount: concerns related to the applicant’s capability and ability to fit into and remain committed to the wage employment and the hiring firm. It also investigate three sources of heterogeneity: applicant gender, hiring firm age, and job location.

Dr Tristan Botelho is an Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour and a Faculty Affiliate of the Programme on Entrepreneurship at the Yale School of Management. Broadly his research is on evaluation processes, often in the context of digital platforms, entrepreneurship and labour markets. This research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly and Organization Science, and he has been recognised with several research awards. His research has also been covered by various media outlets and he has written pieces for the Harvard Business Review and the London School of Economics Business Review. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management in 2017.

Digitisation and Open Innovation: Towards an Integrative Framework
Professor Gianvito Lanzolla, Cass Business School

14:30-16:00, 14 May 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

In this paper we develop a systematic integrative framework that predicts the likely scope of open innovation’s search and recombination mechanisms vis-à-vis digitisation of the innovation function. Overall, our analyses show that potential “inertial” effects of digitisation (i.e. activities set into motion) on the scope of search and recombination are far from being unidirectional and unambiguous because digitisation engenders changes in the micro-mechanisms of absorptive capacity and innovation governance that are at the core of search and recombination’s scope. First, we show that digitisation might, on one hand, increase formal control and centralisation in the governance of the innovation process. On the other hand, digitisation might also enable informal and distributed governance of the innovation process. Second, we show that an organisation’s absorptive capacity might – via digitisation and connectivity – enable more formalised knowledge, better understanding of the linkages among pieces of knowledge and better communication flows. On the other hand, the net effect of digitisation might be an increase in complexity, new tacit knowledge, and new communication silos. Finally, digitisation may change the distribution of skills in the innovation function. Our analysis (and current events) shows that companies are equipping themselves with more and more digital skills. The addition of digital skills to the organisation adds to the diversity of the organisation, which may increase absorptive capacity. However, there might be an “imbalance” between the digital and legacy skills in both directions, each with their own impact on the innovation process. Our resulting integrative framework predicts that, depending on the relative balance of the forces enacted by digitisation, the actual scope of Open Innovation’s search and recombination mechanisms vis-à-vis digitisation might lead firms to more incremental innovation in core or peripheral components, or to architectural innovation. Building on these mechanisms, we develop managerial implication for product development.

Gianvito Lanzolla is Professor of Strategy at Cass Business School, City, University of London, which he joined in April 2006. From January 2016, he has been serving as Dean of the Faculty of Management, the largest faculty at Cass (80 academics). Gianvito is the Founding Director of the Cass’s Digital Leadership Research Centre (DLRC). Before joining Cass, Gianvito was a Research Fellow on the faculty of the London Business School (2004-2006). Over the years, he has had several visiting appointments at leading business schools including the London Business School, Hyderabad’s Indian School of Business, University of Bologna and Berlin’s ESMT. Since January 2016, Gianvito is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA).

Gianvito studies the impact of technological and institutional change on competitive dynamics, firm strategy and firm organisation. His articles have appeared in leading outlets including: Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Production and Operations Management, Long Range Planning, Journal of Management, Business Strategy Review, Business History and Harvard Business Review. Gianvito’s research has won several academic prizes and has been widely featured in the business media such as Financial Times, The Economist, CNBC, CCTV, Wall Street Journal – and in policy papers such as ITU. Gianvito is currently editor of two special issues (in California Management Review and Academy of Management Discoveries) focused on the strategic and organisational implications of digital transformation.

Gianvito has directed and delivered several executive development programmes and has contributed as an advisor to many boards and executive leadership teams around the world. Recent corporate engagements include: Apple, Gazprom, Syngenta, European Club Association, Schott, Beazley, BBC, IBM, the UAE’s Prime Minister Office, Abu Dhabi Ports Authority, Microsoft, Mizuho, Zurich, KION, Axel Springer, Vailant and Vodafone. He has also delivered more than 100 keynotes speeches to corporate and policy audiences.

An accomplished executive instructor, Gianvito teaches “Strategic Leadership”, “Diversification and Growth”, and “Leading Digital Transformation” to Executive and full-time MBA students, both in Cass’s London and Dubai campuses. In 2013, he launched the Digital Innovation in Action MBA programme, the most successful MBA elective in the school. He has yearly been awarded several teaching excellence prizes including the 2015 City University’s Award for Teaching and Learning Excellence, the 2012 City University’s Student Voice Award and the 2009 and 2007 Cass Business School’s Award for Teaching and Learning Excellence.

Gianvito holds an MSc in mechanical engineering (Dean’s list) and a PhD in strategic management. Before joining academia, he was the founder and managing director of “e-change Srl”, an e-business transformation provider which in 2002 he sold to a leading software company.

Why Should We Change? How Hidden Temporal Structures Influence Change Recipients’ Response to Strategic Change
Dr Quy Huy, INSEAD

12:30-15:00, 10 May 2019
Castle Teaching Room, Cambridge Judge Business School

A growing body of research has shown that change agents’ temporal perspectives matter to effective strategic change implementation. An important but overlooked stakeholder in strategic change implementation is the change recipients. The study investigated the processes through which change recipients’ temporal perspectives influenced the implementation of a strategic change intervention in a multidivisional engineering company. The research develops an abductive model of how change recipients rely on diverse temporal perspectives to make sense of a proposed strategic change and respond accordingly. Factors related to organisational design and the presence of organisational subcultures give rise to variation in change recipients’ temporal perspectives.

Dr Quy Nguyen Huy has been Professor of Strategy at INSEAD since 1998. He is known as a pioneering world scholar in linking social-emotional factors to the performance of strategic change and organisational innovation. Dr Huy’s research on strategic change, strategy execution, and organisational innovation has won ten international awards and was published in prestigious scholarly and practice journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Organisation Science, and Strategic Management Journal. Dr Huy’s research on middle managers was published in and selected by Harvard Business Review as “Breakthrough Ideas for Today’s Business Agenda.”

Dr Huy’s pioneering research on how collective emotions and emotional capital enhance organisational innovation and strategy execution has been applied by numerous organisations worldwide, both in the private and non-private sectors. Dr Huy has done executive development, teaching, consulting or coaching for a wide range of profit and non-profit organisations worldwide, including Aerospatiale Matra, Alcan, the Aga Khan Foundation, Alcan, Alstom, Arcelor Mittal, Astra Zeneca, Bell Canada Enterprises, British Telecom, Electricité et Gaz de France, Fiat, Fujitsu, Google, Hewlett Packard, IBM, HIV Aids Alliance, Intesalat, the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent, LG Electronics, Lufthansa, Marconi, Matsushita, Motorola, Petrobras, the Royal Bank of Canada, Sasken, Standard Chartered Bank, Sicredi, Siemens, United Arab Emirates Civil Service, and Via Rail Canada.

Huy was originally trained as an electrical engineer in corporate finance. He worked for 16 years in various managerial functions with several large information technology firms in North America. His managerial career covered systems and software engineering; sales and marketing of digital platforms; and corporate finance, where he dealt with institutional investors and credit rating agencies and worked on joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and turnarounds of firms with turnover up to 10 billion dollars. Huy is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He specialised in the determination of cost of capital, analysis of very large capital projects, capital structure and debt financing, and valuation of business ventures and risks.

Seeing like a Philanthropist: From the Business of Benevolence to the Benevolence of Business
Professor Woody Powell, Stanford University

12:30-14:00, 16 April 2019
Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Over the course of American history, philanthropists have been both praised and pilloried, depicted as redeemers of democracy and a threat to it. Despite the shifting social terrain in which they have operated, philanthropists – and the organisations they create – have grown in number and influence, acting as a catalytic force in the genesis and development of the modern non-profit sector. Philanthropic largesse has also played a powerful role in shaping civic life and political affairs. We argue that it is important to understand not only how philanthropists are seen, but also how they see. In narrating the development of American philanthropy from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries, our aim is to capture changes in what it means to “see like a philanthropist”- that is, to illuminate the meanings and ends of philanthropic wealth. We focus on three core influences on philanthropic visions:

  1. the sources of philanthropic wealth
  2. its organisational embodiments
  3. the criticisms levelled at its outsized influence.

We show that philanthropists have transposed the practices they used to earn their great fortunes into the organisational routines of their philanthropies and turned these into requirements for those who receive their funding. The actions of past philanthropists weigh heavily on, and intertwine with, the strategies of present-day philanthropists. Consequently, the political might of philanthropy both channels and enables the critiques to which its influence is subjected. In chronicling this long arc of history, we show how the super-rich’s perceptions of themselves and their role in public life have evolved as well as the myriad ways philanthropy has altered civic and political discourse.

Woody Powell is Professor of Education (and) Sociology, Organisational Behavior, Management Science and Engineering, and Communication at Stanford University. He has been a faculty co-director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society since it was founded in 2006, and currently shares the Marc and Laura Andreessen Co-directorship with Rob Reich. Prior to moving to Stanford in 1999, Powell taught at Stony Brook, Yale, MIT, and the University of Arizona. He has received honorary degrees from Uppsala University, Copenhagen Business School, and Aalto University, and is a foreign member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science. He has served on the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council since 2000, and was an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute from 2001-13. His interests focus on the processes through which ideas and practices move across organisations, and the role of networks in facilitating or hindering the transfer of ideas.

Powell is the author or editor of Books: The Culture and Commerce of Publishing, with Lewis Coser and Charles Kadushin (Basic Books, 1982); Getting into Print: The Decision-Making Process in Scholarly Publishing (U. of Chicago Press, 1985); The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, with Paul DiMaggio (U. of Chicago Press, 1991); Private Action and the Public Good, with Elisabeth Clemens (Yale U. Press, 1997); The Nonprofit Sector, with Richard Steinberg (Yale U. Press, 2006), and The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, with John Padgett (Princeton U. Press, 2012). His 1990 article, “Neither Market Nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization,” won the Max Weber award; “Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Inter-Organizational Collaboration in the Life Sciences,” (2005), received the Viviana Zelizer prize. “Technological Change and the Locus of Innovation: Networks of Learning in Biotechnology,” with K. Koput and L. Smith-Doerr (1996), was recognised by Administrative Science Quarterly as one of its most influential publications. His 1983 paper with Paul DiMaggio, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” is the most cited article in the history of the American Sociological Review.

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

This 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.

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.

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 JournalAdministrative Science QuarterlyOrganization ScienceSocial NetworksStrategic Organization, Industrial and Corporate ChangeManagerial and Decision Economics. He also published in Harvard Business ReviewMIT 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.

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.

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 JournalOrganization Science, the Journal of Applied PsychologyOrganizational 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 JournalNew York TimesEconomistHarvard 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.

Easter Term 2018

Writing for an Audience
Professor Will Mitchell, University of Toronto

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

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 JournalOrganization ScienceManagement 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.

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.

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 QuarterlyAmerican 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 QuarterlyOrganization ScienceStrategic Management JournalResearch 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.

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