Inaugurated in 2007, the prize is awarded annually to a relatively young or new scholar, who displays exemplary scholarship that promises to have an impact on future strategic management practice. Below you will find an archive of past recipients of this award including their bios and interviews from the year they were recognized.
We are honored to present this year’s SMS Emerging Scholar Award to Jonathan Bundy of the WP Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
Jonathan completed his Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Organization Theory at the University of Georgia in 2014 and has already published extensively, with 13 articles in top-tier outlets such as SMJ, AMJ, AMR, Org. Science and ASQ. The latter has recently granted one of his papers with the ASQ Award for Scholarly Contribution. His research broadly centers on the relationship between business and stakeholders, highlighting specific aspects such as corporate reputation, advocacy, crises and impression management, and corporate governance. These themes are not only essential for emerging research in strategic management, but are also highly relevant to practice and policy making. In particular, his research on stakeholder management highlights the importance of prioritizing both strategic and relational goals in formulating cooperative arrangements. Similarly, his research on corporate reputation focuses on the important trade-offs that managers face in attempting to grow and protect their firms’ reputations—including the idea that reputation can sometimes be a burden in disguise. Finally, his work in crisis management is beginning to unpack the complex processes that firms must navigate when working to recover from highly disruptive events. Jonathan’s research has already received more than 1,700 citations. His strong pipeline of papers under review suggests that his productivity and impact will continue to grow in the coming years. His impressive scholarly record is inspiring and positions him among the emerging leaders in the field of strategic management.
Since the SMS Annual Conference will be held virtually this year, we invited Jon to share a recorded acceptance speech. He has also agreed to participate in the Awards and Honors Webinar series that SMS will host in October and November, 2021.
Jon also participated in a written interview with Dovev Lavie, Chair of the SMS Awards & Honors Committee. In this interview he shares many insights on his career and research.
As noted above, I had this great experience in an MBA course on the role of business in society, and stakeholder theory, CSR, and related concepts always resonated with me. At the time, I was also working as an economic development manager for the city of Rio Rancho, New Mexico (a suburb of Albuquerque). My work had a direct impact on important strategic decisions made by the companies we served, and the dynamics of our relationships always fascinated me. I was a government/community agent working with private businesses to create mutually beneficial outcomes. Often our interests were widely divergent, but we were usually able to work through these differences in sometimes surprising ways. My research draws pretty heavily on these experiences, and I’ve recently written about some of them (see Bundy, J. 2019. Considering a behavioral view of stakeholders. In J. S. Harrison, J. B. Barney, R. E. Freeman, & R. A. Phillips (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Stakeholder Theory: 245-249. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.).
I think my main contribution in the space is my work to recognize the balance that is required between the strategic goals and what I might call the expressive or relational goals in any business-stakeholder relationship. Businesses and stakeholders are certainly driven by strategic goals, and any good theory of strategic management must recognize those. But they are also driven by a host of other goals, rooted in their values, beliefs, identities, and worldviews. Much of my research argues and shows that businesses and stakeholders who are able to find the right balance between these goals have the most productive and cooperative relationships. In contrast, relationships that are out of balance—emphasizing one goal over the other—will often struggle and may even be defined by conflict and contestation.
One of the things that I love about our field is the amazing storytelling that we do in our research. Our theories are rich and robust, and they do an incredible job recognizing the inherent messiness that characterizes “real world” business. I think we do storytelling better than many of our sister disciplines. And I think this storytelling is best reflected in our conceptual work. Nearly all of our core theories come from conceptual work, including many of the theories that motivate me the most (e.g., stakeholder theory, upper echelons theory, socio-cognitive theory on reputation and other social evaluations). I write theory to tell my own stories, drawing on these exemplary contributions and trying to address the central problems and observations that I see in the field. And I credit any success to the amazing co-authors that I’ve been able to connect with. I love working with others, and by drawing on the diverse experiences and perspectives of a team, I think we are able to craft better stories that are both appealing and useful to wider audiences.
Much of my current research looks at the unintended side-effects or consequences of things we traditionally view as positive. For example, I’m doing work on the burdens of reputation, the trade-offs in crisis management, and the unanticipated consequences of corporate governance policy. Looking forward, I’m excited to do more research to uncover the “hows” of managing stakeholder relationships. That is, much of my research has focused on explaining the outcomes of stakeholder relationships, and why certain arrangements might be better than others in terms of performance. However, I’ve become more and more interested in the left-side of the model, or how we might structure and arrange for mutually beneficial relationships. I see this as not only theoretically interesting, but also of practical importance, particularly as we become more interconnected in our increasingly digital economy and society.
I believe the concept of stakeholder governance is a particularly promising research area. As noted above, our world is becoming more interconnected, and many of the strategies used for engaging with and serving stakeholders are changing rapidly. Social values are shifting as well, and it looks like the coming generations will be more socially and environmentally conscious. If businesses want to succeed and thrive, I think they need to figure out better ways to connect with these trends. It’s great to see organizations like the Business Roundtable and Blackrock recognize the need to serve multiple stakeholders, but I don’t think we’re even close to understanding the specific structures, arrangements, strategies, and tactics required to achieve these lofty ambitions. My sense is that the new foundational studies in strategic management will be those that help us work towards this understanding.
Study what you love and be ready to weather the storms. For every success I’ve experienced, I’ve had three-fold the number of failures. And it’s hard not to take some of these failures personally or as some kind of sign that I don’t belong. But failure is the best teacher, and as much as it pains me to say, I’ve learned something from every rejection I’ve ever received (of course, sometimes it takes a while to recognize these lessons). A passion for the topics that you study helps cut the sting of failure and keeps you motivated. Finally, work with interesting people. I’ve been able to connect with amazing colleagues from around the world, and many of these relationships have come from unsuspecting places (from conference symposia to barstools, and even cold-call emails). None of us are an island, and I think one of the amazing opportunities of this career is the ability to meet so many unique people. I view every new project as an exciting new adventure, and most of the fun is in the journey.
Ryan Krause is an associate professor of strategy and the Robert and Edith Schumacher Junior Faculty Fellow in the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University and is the 2020 SMS Emerging Scholar Recipient.
Ryan received his Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Organization Theory at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University in 2013. Since then, he has published 17 top-tier journal papers, for many of which he is the first author. His research focuses on corporate governance and strategic leadership, and he has examined a range of important questions regarding the board of directors, such as CEO-Chair separation, lead independent director appointment, and co-CEO models. Ryan's work has substantially advanced our understanding of the role, structure, and process of the board of directors in large public corporations and has already received over 1,000 Google Scholar citations. His research has also received coverage in major news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Harvard Business Review. Directors at JPMorgan Chase have specially cited his research in a letter to shareholders. Research is relevant when it can help managers and policymakers to improve their decision-making. Ryan’s research exemplifies how strategy scholars can conduct relevant research for practitioners.
Ryan was recognized at the 2020 SMS Annual Conference. As a recipient of the award, he also organized a webinar! Click here to watch the session.
We have conducted a short interview with Ryan, as this year's recipient. Click below to see his answers.
There were two different things that coalesced in me pursuing this career. One was that I was a business undergrad at Indiana University, but I had always been a scholar and a social scientist at heart. Even from a young age, I’ve always been fascinated by social phenomena. So, perhaps not surprisingly, about halfway through my undergrad, I realized I was far more interested in learning about business than I was in actually doing any of it. So, I was looking for a career path I could pursue that would indulge that intellectual curiosity about business. At the same time, my now-wife (then-girlfriend) was a year behind me in college, and I was looking for a way to stay in Bloomington another year. So, those two things were going on when my operations professor during junior year asked if any of us was interested in getting a PhD. Even though I hadn’t been, it immediately clicked for me, and I ran over to the library and looked up what it meant, and I was hooked from that point. And I got into the PhD program at IU by the skin of my teeth. It was fall of 2008, the financial crisis was starting, and they weren’t looking for a strategy student that year. But very luckily for me, Matt Semadeni, who at the time was an assistant professor who’d only been at IU a year, decided I was a risk worth taking, and I’m very grateful to him for that.
I am fascinated by the people who run large organizations partly because I find the task completely intimidating: the thought of being responsible for that many people and that much money, etc. I’m fascinated by people who take on that responsibility. Beyond that, I find the problem of corporate governance fascinating. Technically, boards are responsible for the company. And yet, they don’t really run anything. So, you have this weight of responsibility while having to do everything indirectly through management. I particularly find board leadership fascinating because I think the role of the board chair is possibly the most ambiguous job in corporate America, certainly the most ambiguous highly impactful job. Because as we move in this country to a world where most companies have a chair who is not the CEO, and most other countries are already there, there’s no good rulebook for what this job is. In my research, I’ve found that there’s quite a variance in how people approach this job. That ambiguity I think invites a lot of interpretation, which makes it really interesting to me.
I would say my first suggestion to them is: always ask lots of questions. I think part of the issue that independent directors face is trying to figure out the balance between being vigilant monitors and being good colleagues who support their chosen CEO. And I think that that doesn’t have to be a trade-off; most people view it as a tradeoff. I think the way you avoid that is you focus on asking questions; not being confrontational, but figuring out what information you need to make decisions and pursuing that information relentlessly. No good CEO should be unwilling to provide information when asked by the board. If they are, something’s up. Asking questions can be a pathway to providing advice and guidance as well. My second suggestion would be: understand the role that leaders are playing on the board. I don’t think there’s one best practice for board leadership; it can come from the chair, the CEO, the lead director, or that one really influential director who just sits at the back of the room. But it’s really important to understand where the leadership is coming from and who has the power. A strong board chair can take over a board and make the other directors superfluous. And a weak board chair can be worse than having the CEO and board chair positions combined because either the CEO walks all over the board or the board devolves into unproductive squabbling.
I think the literature is moving fairly swiftly away from purely archival studies. I don’t mean to denigrate them; they have played an important role in the development of the literature. However, as a domain, I think the strategic leadership and governance community is outgrowing them. I think those kinds of studies have served their purpose. It’s getting harder and harder to publish something that just uses data from existing databases. That doesn’t mean people have to collect primary data; it can be data you create from publicly available information, but something finer grained than accounting data and demographic data on boards and TMTs. You’re starting to see studies using primary data on strategic leaders in AMJ and SMJ. It can be done! I think we need those in the mix with archival studies. As for pitfalls, and kind of along the same lines, I worry about the literature becoming a caricature of itself. Agency theory is a very useful theory for specific things, but I feel like we as a discipline need to develop unique paradigms for corporate governance. We are not living in the same world as 30 years ago when boards were asleep at the wheel, and there were widespread governance lapses. Boards are very active now, and I don’t think our paradigms have caught up with that. I want us to avoid becoming staid in our theories and be more open to theoretical exploration rather than having to revert back to the same ones.
I would love to see us draw on the teams literature more for boards, in particular. There’s a lot of discussion about whether top management teams are actually teams, but boards really are teams. They have leaders, none of whom are really a boss in the traditional sense. They have to work together. So, I would love to see the corporate governance literature draw on the wealth of research on teams and team effectiveness. There’s a lot of literature on teams in organizational behavior, and I don’t think we’re making enough use of it.
This career is too long and life is too short to study things that don’t interest you. If you’re looking for research ideas, read the Wall Street Journal or go people-watch, and figure out what strategic phenomena—M&A, alliances, innovation, corporate governance, they’re all in the news every day—find something that you think is weird and interesting. Typically, within that weirdness and that interestingness, you can find a kernel of theoretical gap. If something seems like it doesn’t make sense, you can probably find an opportunity for theoretical contribution there. And design your research around that. Most of what we do should be methodical: designing your study, writing your paper, analyzing your data. You should be very methodical in those things. The inspiration part is different. You can’t make inspiration methodical and you shouldn’t try. Find something that interests you and figure out why it should be interesting to others.
Oliver Schilke, an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona, is the recipient of the 2019 Emerging Scholar Award of the Strategic Management Society.
Oliver completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at UCLA in 2014 and has already published more than 50 articles and book chapters on management and strategy-related topics. His research centers on dynamic capabilities, interorganizational trust, and institutional theory. Oliver’s body of research seeks to understand how institutionalized, taken-for-granted processes can shape strategic decision-making and ultimately organizational performance. For instance, addressing a fundamental debate in the strategy literature, his work demonstrates that the impact of dynamic capabilities depends in a nonlinear fashion on the extent of dynamism in the external environment. In another study, he reveals that trustworthiness in alliances can be explained by both contractual safeguards and organizational culture, yet under different conditions. His research also uncovers the role of organizational identity in explaining why some organizations are more susceptible to institutional pressures than others, offering a novel yet convincing argument.
Oliver has published 13 articles in top-tier outlets, most of which as first or single author. His research has already received more than 4,500 citations. His strong pipeline demonstrates continued productivity in the years to come. He studies a range of topics that clearly matter to strategy scholars and managers. He effectively connects disparate literature and leverages different methods, revealing extraordinarily productivity and substantial impact and placing him in the forefront of research on the microfoundations of strategy.
Oliver will be presented with this award at the Awards Luncheon, Tuesday afternoon at the SMS Annual Conference in Minneapolis. As a recipient of the award, he will also be organizing a session on Tuesday at the conference!
We have also conducted a short interview with Oliver, as this year's recipient. Click below to see his answers.
After graduating from business school, I was sure I wanted to pursue a career in either strategy consulting or investment banking. I had completed several internships in these fields and enjoyed the work. However, my plans changed when I became exposed to academic research. What ultimately convinced me to go “all in” and commit to a career in academia was the academic freedom that university faculty enjoy, including the ability to choose (within limits) what to work on and even when to conduct this work. How awesome is that?
I increasingly became interested in organizational phenomena that are highly institutionalized. By this, I mean processes that are taken-for-granted, are executed quasi-automatically, and often operate outside actors’ immediate awareness. Much of my reading led me to the work by (later PhD advisor) Lynne Zucker, which is why I decided to apply for the sociology program at UCLA—one of my best decisions ever.
Several of my initial research projects started out with my interest in strategic alliances that I came to witness during my work as a management consultant. How can firms successfully work together while still pursuing their autonomous goals? With this broad question in mind, I conducted a series of qualitative interviews with managers involved in alliances. Two things struck with me. First, alliances don’t exist in isolation; rather, organizations develop alliance routines that allow them to manage their portfolio of alliances and that stay with them even as individual alliances may come to an end. The notion of “alliance management capability,” thought of as a type of dynamic capability that allows firms to augment their own resource
base with that of their alliance partners, came to motivate much of my subsequent research. Second, the managers I interviewed insisted on the importance of trust in shaping alliance dynamics. Thus, I became curious how such trust develops between partners. In particular, I explored the processes through which trust can evolve from an interpersonal property largely restricted to the specific alliance managers involved to an interorganizational phenomenon ingrained in the fabric of institutionalized organizational action. In short, many of my research topics were initially motivated by my prior professional experience or by talking to managers and then further elaborated using strategy and sociological theory.
It is certainly not easy to evaluate one’s own “key contribution,” but I think what some strategy scholars might know me best for is my work on dynamic capabilities. This research tries to identify relevant types of routines and other processes that aid organizations in modifying their resource base. Arguably, these capabilities may help firms to achieve competitive advantage under conditions of environmental change, but the relationship between the performance impact of dynamic capabilities and the environment’s degree of dynamism was left somewhat ambiguous in initial theoretical accounts. And this is the issue that I aimed to address in my 2014 Strategic Management Journal article. This article proposes a somewhat non-intuitive, inverse U-shaped moderation pattern, implying that the effect of dynamic capabilities on competitive advantage is strongest under intermediate levels of dynamism but comparatively weaker when dynamism is low or high. My hope is that this article, along with a few others that followed, add greater clarity to the dynamic capabilities construct and its implications for organizational outcomes.
In my experience, both sociology and management journals essentially look for the same things—innovation and rigor—, which is why I believe the publication process is not incredibly different. If there is one thing that flagship sociology journals such as ASR may emphasize more, it is broader reach—that is, the ability of an article to speak to audiences in other subfields. Operationally, this means it’s not a bad idea to devote part of the Introduction and/or Discussion to elaborating why scholars outside the paper’s particular niche should care. I actually find this exercise to be quite helpful; it encourages me to approach the research problem from multiple angles and possibly bring in literatures that I might have neglected otherwise.
I look forward to continuing to advance my research program on organizational capabilities, trust, and legitimacy. In developing my research further, I strive to help bridge the "micro–macro" divide by showing how key phenomena—such as capabilities, trust, and legitimacy—can be fruitfully studied at both the individual and organizational levels and how these levels are inherently interrelated. To name just two examples, one of my ongoing research projects looks at the role of top managers’ social capital (i.e., network relationships) in supporting the development of organizational capabilities, arguing that these managers’ social capital can help to counteract some of the detrimental effects of routinization (such as inertia). Another working paper studies how social events can fundamentally shape the types of routines that emerge between collaborating organizations. Building on interaction ritual theory, we argue that participation in bonding vs. tournament rituals (in the form of informal vs. highly structured events) can affect trust building trajectories and set distinct exchange expectations, which in turn shape interorganizational collaboration routines.
As you can see from my answer to the previous question, I’m a big believer in the burgeoning micro-foundations movement in strategy. More and more scholars are delving into the processes underlying organizational strategy and success, enriching strategy scholarship with pertinent theoretical mechanisms and bringing in individuals and teams as key units of analysis. Much remains to be done, as we are only beginning to leverage relevant theories and methods that can help us better understand what has previously been merely assumed or black-boxed altogether.
Everybody’s career evolves differently and is based on a great number of success factors. Here, I’ll focus on two things that I personally found to matter a lot. First, the immediate social context is extremely critical—meaning the ability to work with other scholars who inspire you and whom you can learn from. Academic research is a team sport, so finding the “right” teammates is immensely important. I have been fortunate enough to consistently hit the jackpot with my advisors and coauthors, without whom my record would look very differently. Second, persistence clearly pays off in our line of work. Had I discontinued those research projects that received devastating feedback along the way, the publications section of my CV would be pretty much empty. I think you have to be somewhat overconfident that your research idea has merit (even if some journal reviewers might disagree), and a certain degree of escalation of commitment for projects that appear to be doomed can actually be quite beneficial in the long run.
From the Award Selection Committee:
"Exequiel Hernandez is the Max and Bernice Garchik Family Presidential Assistant Professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and is the winner of the 2018 Emerging Scholar Award for the Strategic Management Society.
Exequiel (Zeke) is best known for research examining how firms can use formal external relationships (e.g., board interlocks) and informal relationships to internationalize, innovate, and enhance their performance more generally. His work is creative in examining a new source of knowledge that firms tap into when expanding abroad – immigrants. These informal ties can affect the firm’s key foreign expansion decisions and their success when internationalizing. Zeke’s research seeks to identify conditions under which such informal ties, as well as more formal relationships, have an impact on the foreign expansion of firms.
In a second research stream, Zeke has examined how formal and informal institutions across countries can have a bearing on the innovative outcomes firms obtain from alliance networks. Significant research has examined the consequences of networks for firms, and his work takes national boundaries seriously and suggests that institutions can shape firms’ abilities to engage in networks and derive benefits from them, such as the quality and quantity of innovation.
In more recent research he is building upon these streams to consider the origins and changes in networks and the role played by competition as well as firms’ abilities to strategically modify their network positions.
In sum, Exequiel Hernandez has published eleven papers in top journals since obtaining his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2011. The committee concluded that his strong publication record across the field’s major journals, as well as his ability to ask important questions and identify novel mechanisms to unify corporate and international strategy research, made him a worthy winner of the Emerging Scholar Award."
Exequiel will be presented with this award at the Awards Luncheon, Tuesday afternoon at the SMS Annual Conference in Paris. As a recipient of the award, he will also be organizing a session on Monday at the conference! Click here to view the session details.
Below is an interview with Zeke Hernandez and SMS Board Member Jeffrey Reuer
I was always interested in immigration as a phenomenon, in part because I’ve been an immigrant most of my life and in part because the topic is always in the news (especially nowadays). I lived in four different countries growing up because of my father’s work. I was around immigrants, expats, and people doing business in foreign countries. The interface between people and organizations of different nationalities was inherently interesting to me.
When I started the PhD program at Minnesota, I was highly interested in global strategy. In my head, I had this map of the world with dots representing the locations of foreign firms, and my goal was to be able to explain that map—why do firms expand abroad? As I went through the normal process of taking seminars and reading the literature, I started to learn about theories that could explain firm internationalization. One night, as I lay in bed stressed about an econometrics exam, another map popped into my head. It didn’t only have dots representing the locations of foreign firms, but also other dots representing the locations of immigrants across the world. It struck me that the flows of people and firms across countries had to be related. I’m not sure exactly where that thought came from, and I figured someone had already made the connection. But I wrote down about a page of potential research ideas on the relationship between immigration and firms’ global strategies and set out to see if there were any precedents. That was the beginning of one of my main research streams.
It still took years to figure out how immigration was relevant firms. I had to read broadly in our field plus in sociology, economics, and political science to understand immigration as a phenomenon connected to strategic issues like location choice, innovation, performance, knowledge transfer, etc. I still continue to find new connections and research questions, and now there’s a small but growing community of scholars on the topic from which I draw inspiration. And with the current controversies about immigration in so many countries, I’m now motivated to contribute to the debate by offering empirical evidence that the interaction between firms and immigrants plays a crucial role in increasing the stock of skilled labor, innovation, and productive capital in the economy.
Hmm… It’s always hard to choose just one, so I’ll select a fairly recent one.
In a series of recent papers, my coauthors and I have explored how acquirers pick targets to improve their position in strategic alliance networks. We’ve found that an acquisition can not only create value by affecting the assets owned by firms – the focus on prior work on M&A – but also by modifying the structure of the two firms’ external alliance networks. These changes in the network can be favorable for the acquirer (what we call “network synergy”) and produce externalities that affect other firms in the industry positively or negatively.
The implications are pretty important. For those interested in corporate strategy, this research suggests a need to pay more attention to how M&A affect external relationships (e.g. with alliance partners, non-market stakeholders, etc.). Changes in these relationships caused by M&A can be an unexpected source of value creation or destruction. For those interested in networks, this work offers a novel lens to understand structural change: corporate actions that fuse or split nodes (acquisitions or divestitures, respectively) as distinct from the more commonly studied tie additions or deletions. Plus, acquisitions and divestitures (node changes) are more radical means of network change than tie changes. I see a promising opportunity to integrate the literatures on corporate strategy and networks.
I’m pushing along three fronts at the moment. The first is to continue exploring how immigrants affect the global strategies and performance firms, and the mechanisms by which this happens. The second is the relationship between corporate actions (acquisitions, divestitures) and the structure of firms’ alliance networks, as described in answer to the previous question. And the third has to do with how national institutions (e.g. intellectual property rights, competitive vs. cooperate approaches to business) affect the innovation benefits firms get from knowledge alliances (e.g. R&D) with foreign partners. The common thread is an interest in how firms strategically manage external collaborations, both formal and informal.
I associate key moments with wonderful people who have taught and supported me along the way. Deciding to get a PhD and pursue an academic career was the first milestone, and Gerry Sanders from my undergraduate institution played a tremendous role in helping me cut my teeth in doing research and navigate the application process. My training at the University of Minnesota was not only excellent but also more enjoyable than I ever could have imagined. For that I have to thank my co-advisors, Myles Shaver and Aks Zaheer, who have remained as mentors, coauthors, and friends. I’ve had supportive colleagues in the institutions in which I’ve worked, as well as in the profession more generally, who created a collaborative environment in which I could learn and grow into my role as a scholar and teacher. And I’ve been fortunate to have good coauthors, capable and hardworking. There are too many individuals to mention one by one – and I’m afraid I’d leave someone out! But I’m grateful to each one for their role in helping me love this profession.
I would pass along what my mentors taught me: focus on producing good research more than on getting a publication. The second is usually a byproduct of the first, but the opposite isn’t always true. This may be idiosyncratic, but to me good research is the convergence of an important question, an interesting and credible answer to that question (what we typically call theory), and convincing methods that support the proposed answer. The first two elements are the most important but the hardest to learn. I’m grateful for those who constantly reminded me of this early on, because the rookie bias is often to prioritize methodological skills over critical thinking. Most of us come into the profession knowing how to read and thus think we know how ask questions and craft arguments, while we usually lack the requisite “hard” methodological skills. This is reinforced by some paradigms that emphasize methodological rigor above all else. And it leads underinvesting in learning other essential research capabilities that have to do with reading broadly and critically, asking questions, connecting ideas across literatures and disciplines, writing persuasively, etc. I don’t want to be misunderstood: methodological rigor is crucial, but it’s not why we do research. We do it to address important questions, and the most impactful research is so because it poses novel questions or offers original answers to existing questions.
Emilie Feldman is Associate Professor (with Tenure) at the Wharton School of Management, University of Pennsylvania, and is the winner of the 2017 Emerging Scholar Award for the Strategic Management Society.
Emilie is best known for work on an important but under-studied phenomenon: corporate divestitures. Within corporate strategy, there is a large literature on acquisitions, highlighting their economic logic and implementation challenges. Divestitures represent approximately one third of overall deal activity, and yet they receive very little research attention. Over the last eight years, Emilie has helped to redress the balance, through a number of careful empirical studies. For example, she shows how executives engage in divestitures in order to enhance the market value of their enterprise, even though the longer-run operating performance may be problematic, particularly when these divestitures were made by executives with shorter tenures.
In another study, Emilie shows how family-controlled enterprises appear to apply a much higher “hurdle” on the decision to divest than non-family controlled enterprises. In her work on “dual directors” (individuals who hold a board position in both the divested business and the divesting firm), Feldman explores some of the ongoing relationships between the enterprises. While directors are legally obliged to act in the best interest of the firm on whose board they serve, Feldman finds interesting evidence that the dual director situations advantage the “parent” firm at the expense of the spinoff.
In recent work, Emilie provides interesting insight as to the impact of divestitures on resource allocation both internal to the firm in its capital budgeting and in terms of subsequent acquisition activity.
In sum, Emilie Feldman has published nine papers in top-tier academic journals since gaining her PhD in 2010. The committee felt that her strong publication record, and her ability to address important strategy questions using rigorous statistical methods, made her a worthy winner of the Emerging Scholar Award.
The below is an interivew with Emilie Feldman and SMS Board Member Julian Birkinshaw.
I have always been fascinated by industrial organization economics, antitrust law, and mergers and acquisitions, so I knew that I would study something in the domain of corporate strategy when I entered the doctoral program at HBS. I came to realize that even though most mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involve one firm selling some or all of its businesses to another company, the academic literature had analyzed these deals far more intensively from the perspective of the buying firm than the selling firm. So, I saw an opportunity to make a contribution by studying the strategic management of divestitures and spinoffs (which are a specific mode of divestiture). I think the main reason why so few people are studying divestitures these days is that the conventional wisdom is that these deals are simply the reverse of M&A, and we already know a lot about M&A, so why bother studying divestitures? The relative imbalance in the research attention that is paid to M&A versus divestitures is very striking to me, not least because divestitures typically account for about 30-40% of overall corporate deal-making!
My current research interests are in three main areas. First, I am exploring how divestitures interact with other modes of corporate strategic activity, and more generally, how different modes of corporate strategy can have an effect on one another. Second, I am studying the organizational diseconomies that exist within multi-business firms, and how those influence corporate strategic decision-making. Third, I have become very interested in how external parties, such as consultants, bankers, lawyers, and the like can affect the corporate strategies and the performance of the companies that engage them.
A core finding that stands out to me across much of my research is how inertial divestitures appear to be, and how costly this can be for firms. One piece of evidence for this point is that family firms are far less likely than non-family firms to divest businesses, perhaps in part because of their financial and personal ties to their companies, even though the divestitures undertaken by family firms strongly outperform the divestitures undertaken by non-family firms (Feldman, Amit, and Villalonga, 2016). Another illustration of this point is that the stock market returns to activist-led divestitures exceed those of manager-led divestitures, a finding that may be linked to the fact that activist investors are free from the personal and organizational constraints that may limit managerial decision-making (Chen and Feldman, 2017). Even securities analysts and investors fall prey to inertia: companies that spin off their legacy businesses enjoy greater improvements in the quality of their analyst coverage and their stock market performance than companies that spin off non-legacy businesses, suggesting that historical connections strongly constrain the perceptions of stock market participants as well (Feldman, 2016).
I do two main things when translating my research into practical insights that executives running large corporations might find useful. The first is to discuss the factors that typically drive executives to undertake (or not to undertake) certain strategies. For example, under what circumstances does the academic literature say that a company is more or less likely to merge with another firm, or to divest a certain business, or to diversify its scope into unrelated areas? I find that this approach helps executives explore the decision-making processes that underpin their corporate strategies more carefully than they otherwise would. The second thing I do is to talk about the typical performance consequences of companies undertaking certain strategies (or not). This helps executives think through the likely implications of their strategies for the bottom line. Managers tend to really care about investor response, so I’ll often use short- or long-term stock market returns as a key performance metric.
My advice to younger faculty would be to balance focus and flexibility. Focus means zeroing in one or a few ideas, theories, or phenomena that you find intellectually stimulating (since you will spend a lot of time thinking about and working on them). Having a clear research identity is critical in our field, and focus promotes that. Flexibility means being able to consider alternate theoretical perspectives, methodologies, or phenomena. The most creative and impactful ideas often arise at the intersection of fields, so it’s important to keep your eyes open for those opportunities. My advice to PhD students would also be to invest in rigorous methods training. Having strong empirical chops pays dividends in the long-run, and it’s very difficult to pick this up after you finish your doctoral studies.
Guoli Chen is 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 to MBAs, Executives and PhD participants.
Guoli's research focuses on the influence of CEOs, top executives, and boards of directors on firms' strategic choices and organizational outcomes, as well as the interaction and dynamics in the top management team and CEO-board relationships. He is interested in organizational growth, renewal and corporate development activities, such as IPOs, M&As, innovation, globalization. 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 at the Corporate Strategy and Corporate Governance interest group of Strategic Management Society and serves on the editorial board of Academy of Management Journal.
The following are some illustrative quotes from the nomination letters for Guoli Chen:
Below is an interview with Guoli Chen.
A: It’s my prior work experience in the early 2000s. At that time I worked in an investment bank, mainly helping private companies to raise funds from the equity market through IPO. In many parts of the process, such as due diligence, book building, etc., I had opportunities to interact intensively with the founders, CEOs, directors and other senior executives. Such experience triggered me to better understand this group of people’s behaviors, which could ultimately influence their firms’ choices and outcomes. To me, if we want to understand firms’ strategy, we need to know more about their strategists.
Meanwhile in the early 2000s, we saw an era of governance scandals, with several mega frauds such as Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, etc., causing billions of dollar losses for investors and thousands of job losses for employees. Once glorious companies filed for bankruptcy and CEOs were sentenced to years in prison. My research on firm leaders is naturally extended to these corporate governance issues.
A: I am fascinated by studies on CEO personality, such as overconfidence and narcissism. It seems that there are many dark sides of these personalities. It raises the question of whether these leaders can or would like to change their behavior. However, my series of research, together with my coauthors, suggest that these CEOs/executives apparently know their personality, but they embrace and probably love their leadership styles; they generally ignore feedbacks and resist change (Chen, Crossland and Luo, 2015). What’s more interesting is that directors also seem to know and appreciate it. There is a sorting mechanism in the director labor market where powerful narcissistic CEOs select those directors who are in favor of their leadership styles into the board. The result is that narcissistic CEOs, cocooned by a group of these types of directors, are even more likely to take risk-taking behavior (Zhu and Chen, 2015). One of my recent working projects further extends the sorting mechanism to the capital market, in which we find that some investors also seem to know and appreciate overconfident CEOs. For example, funds with risk-taking strategies are more likely to invest in firms led by these types of CEOs.
A: Read more and read extensively, both academic and practitioner articles, within our field and outside our domains. I think strategy is part of applied science and it needs to be managerially relevant. News articles and interactions with executives can supply us with research ideas that managers and the real business world truly care about. For instance, our paper on “Female board representation and corporate acquisition intensity” was motivated by a news article on Financial Times “UK fights Brussels on female board quotas” (Sept. 4, 2012). Another paper - “Passing probation: Earnings management by interim CEOs and its effect on their promotion prospects” - was triggered by an increasingly popular leadership succession practice – interim CEOs.
A: Joining INSEAD after graduation. It is probably the most important moment in my career trajectory. INSEAD has very supportive and productive colleagues. Its tough teaching environment made me become more focused and disciplined. In addition, it brings managerial relevance to my research. For instance, when we started the female board representation project, I first talked with executives/directors in our EDP programs about their views on the topic. I was also able to learn more from them on certain sensitive topics such as CEO narcissism when we further developed our research ideas.
Aaron Chatterji is an Associate Professor with tenure at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a recent visitor to the Harvard Business School. He previously served as a Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) where he worked on a wide range of policies relating to entrepreneurship, innovation, infrastructure and economic growth.
Aaron’s research and teaching investigate some of the most important forces shaping our global economy and society: entrepreneurship, innovation, and the expanding social mission of business. He was awarded an inaugural Junior Faculty Fellowship from the Kauffman Foundation to recognize his work as a leading scholar in entrepreneurship. He also received the Rising Star award from the Aspen Institute for his work on business and public policy. His research has been published in leading academic journals and been cited by The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. He has authored several op-ed pieces in leading newspapers, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, appeared on national TV and radio, and was recently profiled in The Financial Times and Fortune. Aaron has also testified as an expert witness at the House Committee on Small Business and the U.S. Department of State and served as a Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He serves as a board member for Durham Communities in Schools, an education-focused non-profit, and advises technology start-up companies on innovation and strategy. Aaron is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and previously worked as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. He received his Ph.D. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley and his B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.
Although Aaron’s research interests have evolved since he earned his doctorate, he has sustained a focus over time on the foundations of entrepreneurship and innovation. Early in his career, Aaron explored the influence of public policy and other factors on strategic choices by entrepreneurs and innovators. His papers deal with such issues as the impact of credit-card debt on entrepreneurship, conflicts of interest, and the influence of rating systems on corporate social responsibility. Aaron's nominators for the Award offered the following observations on his body of work:
Aaron’s current research delves into the process of business formation and the creation of new ideas. In one new project, Aaron and his co-author administered a survey to document the precise steps that aspiring entrepreneurs take in launching a venture. The results revealed that the entrepreneurship is tied both to local geography and income levels. In another project, he is investigating how entrepreneurs use analogies both to develop ideas and to improve pitches. He is now relying on field experiments, a methodologically innovative approach to the analysis of innovation. He describes his research goal as to get inside the black box of “what do entrepreneurs and innovators do?”
This interview was conducted by SMS Board Member Gabriel Szulanski, Member of the Awards and Honors Selection Committee
A: Since my undergraduate years at Cornell, I have always been driven by trying to understand specific phenomena. I look at business and society, identify puzzles and often find myself asking: Why does it work that way? I find the diverse theoretical toolkit available to strategic management scholars to be a tremendous benefit in this regard, because there is considerable diversity in the topics I am passionate about. So I never feel constrained in asking and answering a question. We have a relatively open field in my view, which has been a boon to my work. No one has ever said to me, “that isn’t a strategy question”, and for that, I am particularly grateful.
A: My father has been the most significant influence, without question, on my professional trajectory. As a kid, I watched him go to work every day, including many Saturdays and Sundays, because he wanted to, not because he had to, and that was instructive in terms of what kind of career I wanted. His example also provided me a kind of validation that scholarly pursuits were socially valuable and can have deep meaning that reverberates beyond the individual researcher. He has been a consistent source of advice and support for my entire life, and that continues today.
A: Will Mitchell has been a great mentor to me and I realized that he and like-minded scholars were active leaders and members in SMS. It seemed like a natural fit and I hope to continue to contribute to the organization. One of my recent efforts (w/ Charlie Williams) is “Research Chatter” a podcast for SMS on new research ideas from strategy scholars and the implications for practice and policy.
A: I believe that I was very fortunate to be hired into a great strategy group at Duke right out of graduate school. I did not know it then, but I have learned over the years that your first job has a tremendous impact on your career. Of course, getting tenure was an important milestone for any academic, perhaps so significant that I am still processing it. The other two pivotal moments were the offers to join the White House Council of Economic Advisers and visit The Harvard Business School. With the consent and encouragement from my colleagues at Duke, I have used these two spells away from campus to open my mind to new ideas and translate some of our collective research into practice.
A: My research has focused on former employees of large incumbent firms starting new ventures. These “spawns” typically perform better than other entrants, but there are open questions about the mechanism driving this empirical pattern. In the my job market paper I used patent citations to demonstrate that these performance advantages were not necessarily based on technical knowledge acquisition. In a forthcoming publication with co-authors, we document that employees learn valuable knowledge at the “parent” firm, but that this knowledge is about their own preferences and skills for entrepreneurship. Learning about one’s self through experimentation on the job is one important channel by which prior industry experience at incumbent firms can be valuable for entrepreneurs. Taken together, these findings have contributed to our understanding of entrepreneurs as products of organizations.
A: After considerable reflection, I do think there is tremendous synergy between research and teaching. If I can imagine myself using a slide from one of my academic presentations in a MBA classroom, I become more excited about the academic project. Similarly, students ask me questions every class that catch me off guard and that is where great research questions can come from. I think if you are passionate enough about the big research questions in strategy and believe they are worth devoting a career to, then it is a natural step to get students excited about the topic as well. I also received lots of good advice on teaching from colleagues at Duke and HBS.
Lastly, I have been very fortunate at Duke to have my teaching stacked in particular period of the year, which allows me to focus almost exclusively on the classroom during this time. The key has been to keep projects moving along through small and discrete tasks while I am teaching and then quickly transition back into research mode once the grades are submitted. I have become better at that through experience.
A: Pick a research topic that you are so passionate about that you will still love it in 5 years, because that is how long it takes for a paper and a research agenda to take flight. Second, make sure that the research question you find interesting is also interesting to at least 5 other people in the field, preferably senior scholars who can help you with the journal process and develop into mentors. Third, listen to feedback and incorporate it into your work. That seems obvious but in my experience “hearing” is different than “listening”.
The below text was written by SMS member Akz Zaheer. Aks Zaheer was one of the individuals who submitted a letter of recommendation for Andrew Shipilov during the nomination process.
Andrew Shipilov is a superb choice for the award as he has not only crafted an outstanding body of work in his career so far but has also made hugely significant contributions to many areas of the field, specifically, in addition to research, to the domains of institution building, service, practitioner outreach, and teaching.
Andrew's research has been both prolific and remarkable. I often read his papers with mixed feelings -- surprise and delight at the brilliant perspective and twist, tinged with some remorse at not having thought of the idea myself!
The quantity of Andrew’s output, in the relatively short span of just over eight years since graduation from Toronto’s Rotman School, is prodigious by any standards. As his vita shows, Andrew has 18 peer-reviewed papers in the top-most management journals, in addition to three practitioner papers, two books and several book chapters. Such a productivity rate in the top journals is highly unusual, and marks him out one of the most promising scholars the field has seen in years.
Andrew’s contributions to the field extend considerably beyond the quality and quantity of these high-impact papers. Recently, he has published a book on networks and alliances (Network Advantage: How to Unlock Value from Your Alliances and Partnerships) (with Greve and Rowley). The book is a terrific model of how we scholars can also make compelling contributions to the world of practice, and take the knowledge that we generate with our papers to inform practitioners in the “real” world. In addition, Andrew has published his work in top practitioner journals, including Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. By taking such major steps in this direction, Andrew provides us with a role model of scholarship at the very highest levels that is also majorly engaged with practice, so crucial for the broader legitimacy of our field.
A model scholar such as one deserving of the SMS Emerging Scholar Award must also engage in service to the field, and more to the point, in institution building for the field. Andrew excels handily on both these dimensions. He has a long list of service accomplishments, but the one I would like to particularly recognize is the bi-annual conference on organizational networks that he has been instrumental in organizing at INSEAD, and which is going to take place for the fourth time this coming October. This conference has developed into the premier organizational and strategic network conference for the field as a whole, attracting sparkling luminaries, and creating the forum for a regular airing, reenergizing and revitalizing of the field. Andrew deserves huge credit for his vision and drive in creating and institutionalizing this conference as a forum.
In conclusion, Andrew stands out as one who has contributed magnificently to superb and fulsome scholarship in the field, to outstanding professional service, to plentiful practitioner engagement and to crucial institution-building. His solid teaching record to various audiences marks him out further as an individual highly committed to the profession. All in all, Professor Andrew Shipilov presents a most unique exemplar of a rare and very special all-around scholar, excelling in all dimensions, and fully deserving of the SMS Emerging Scholar recognition. Bravo Andrew!
This interview was conducted y SMS Board Member Russ Coff, Member of the Awards and Honors Selection Committee.
A: I like to tell my students, only half-jokingly, that networking is one of the basic instincts we have as human beings and this is why it is important to study it. When I looked for a summer job during my MBA studies, it occurred to me that one’s network was the biggest asset one could have. I was amazed at the ease with which I got a summer internship nine months before I was supposed to start. A person in the career development office of my school made an introduction and I was immediately invited to visit the company. After I told the person in charge of the accounting team that I wanted to work for him and that I went to the same school he graduated from, I had the internship. When later on I joined a doctoral program at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management, I realized that a lot of colleagues there have been studying networks. So, I joined in and did not regret that decision ever since.
A: One of my recent papers examines how companies can enhance their creativity by leveraging relationships with departed employees. Together with my co-authors, we did a lot of interviews with companies working in the fashion and luxury goods industry. We learned that relationships with such alumni can act as sources of information and influence, which then helps remaining employees to generate novel and useful ideas. Our study provided academic backing to the idea that such relationships help fashion companies increase creativity of their collections. Once the paper was published and we presented our results to one of companies we interviewed, they started to manage alumni relationships in a more systematic manner.
A: My early research focused on the determinants of syndicate tie formation among investment banks. These banks routinely collaborate to create market for initial public offerings. It seemed logical to assume that investment banks were the main drivers behind formation of ties among investment banks. Available research showed that prior ties among investment banks, prior performance of such ties, banks’ status similarity or their propensity to take risks were among the key drivers behind inter-bank tie formation.
When I did an interview with an investment banker and asked a warm-up question “how do banks form syndicates”, he answered that I was “barking up the wrong tree”. According to him, it was the client--i.e. the company that issues the security--that would tell the lead bank on the IPO what other banks it wanted to see in the syndicate. In other words, our research on the syndicate formation missed the agency of the client who naturally was not observed in the network of relationships among the banks.
Once we coded data on the client-bank relationships, we could breathe the sign of relief—the relationships with clients clearly mattered for the formation of syndicates but they did not wash out the effects of prior collaborations amongst the banks. Even though ties between banks and their clients were much less frequent than the ties among banks themselves, bank-client ties were much more powerful predictors for the formation of the inter-bank relationships. These results laid the foundation for a paper which I published in the first journal I submitted it to. So, it was never rejected! This was surprising in of itself.
A: Use reviewing process wisely and take advantage of rejection letters. Social science is a socially constructed enterprise and different people may have different opinions about your paper. But most reviewers, even when they reject your paper, want to help you improve it. Thus, I tend to revise my papers after each rejection, especially if I see that several reviewers make related points.
Sometimes a paper may have a really tough ride. In 2004, I wanted to examine how people actually network to build social capital. Together with a couple of Ukrainian colleagues, we collected unique data among civil servants in the country. We surveyed officials ranging from the entry-level trainees to Vice-Ministers. We asked them questions about their networking behaviors, psychological characteristics and social capital. The paper won the Best Paper Award at the OMT Division at the Academy of Management in 2007, but we were able to publish it only in 2014.
When my students complain about receiving rejection letters, I tell them the story about this paper. I think the paper became better after going through different rounds of reviews and rejects. I am glad we finally published it. But we needed a lot of patience.
A: I want my research on networks to impact the practice of business. I recently finished a book “Network Advantage: How to Unlock Value from Your Alliances and Partnerships” (with Henrich Greve and Tim Rowley). It takes a distinct network perspective on firm performance and is useful for learners interested in innovation, strategic alliances, partnerships and competitive advantage. We developed many conceptual tools that should help companies benefit from their collaboration networks. I am now experimenting with these tools in different settings to see which insights they can offer to the practicing executives and how other academics can use them in their classrooms to teach cooperation.
I also started a blog (http://networks-and-innovation.insead.edu/) where I translate my research on networks and innovation to the thoughtful practitioners.
Gary Dushnitsky (PhD, NYU) is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Academic Director of the Deloitte Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. Prior to joining London Business School he served as a faculty member at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Mack Center for Technological Innovation, at the Wharton School.
His award-winning research focuses on the economics of entrepreneurship and innovation. Specifically, Gary Dushnitsky explores the shifting landscape of entrepreneurial finance; studying the strategic interactions between entrepreneurs and investors in such settings as corporate venture capital and crowdfunding. His work has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals -- including Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Nature Biotechnology and others. It has been featured in major media channels; among them: Business Week, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur Magazine, Les Echos, and others.
His dissertation was awarded best dissertation prizes by three divisions of the Academy of Management -- Entrepreneurship (1st place); Technology and Innovation (1st place); and Business Policy and Strategy (finalist). More recently, the Ewing Marion Kauffmann Foundation awarded him the inaugural Kauffmann Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research (2009).
Gary Dushnitsky serves as a senior editor at Organization Science and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, and is or has been, a member of several editorial review boards. Since 2011, he serves as an elected officer of the Competitive Strategy Interest Group at the Strategic Management Society. He also advises corporations on a range of corporate venturing issues, and has been involved in several reports and panels including the Ernst & Young Corporate Venture Capital Report (2009) and the World Economic Forum (2011).
The following are some illustrative quotes from the nomination letters for Gary Dushnitsky:
This interview was conducted by Russ Coff, member of the Awards and Honors Selection Committee.
A: I began my professional life during the 1990s, the Dot.Com era, working for a venture fund and later for a very large organization. I was intrigued by two seemingly contradicting observations: large organizations command the resources, capital and talent to drive innovation, yet small entrepreneurial ventures are celebrated as the origin of new technologies. Once I joined the doctoral program at NYU, I keenly consumed the works of Schumpeter, whose work embodies the aforementioned paradox, and the broader strategy & innovation literature. During that time, we have witnessed a rise in corporate venture capital, whereby large corporations invested and sought collaboration with innovative startups. I was immediately drawn to studying the phenomenon. My initial thinking was this is the blueprint for innovation in the 21st century, bringing together the relative strengths of each party. After a decade of studying the phenomenon, I came to realize this is no panacea. It can be a powerful innovation strategy, but requires a fine balance of strategic and organizational features to realize its full potential. Maybe equally important for an empirically motivated scholar such as myself, corporate venture capital affords an attractive setting to study such topics as inter-firm relationships, innovation, at the confluence of strategy, finance, and entrepreneurship.
A: For strategy scholars, I believe the most surprising findings are the ones that illustrate the potential and limitation of open innovation. For example, I find that established firms may be unaware of startups working on highly relevant innovation, not because the corporations ignore entrepreneurial companies, but rather because some startups choose to strategically avoid them (SMJ, 2009). In another study, I find that the organizational and remuneration features that empower large R&D teams within established firms, are also associated with hindering many corporations from effectively harnessing innovative startups (SMJ, 2010). These and other studies not only showcase the positive performance implication of corporate venturing, but also provide fine-grained insights into the mechanisms that enable and impede such benefits.
For entrepreneurship scholars, my work underscores the subtle strategic interaction between entrepreneurial ventures and different resource providers. In the aforementioned SMJ (2009), I observe that independent and corporate VCs are associated with distinct advantages and risks, and I find that innovative startups strategically choose which one to approach based on the net benefits which vary across industries and firms. In a recent study, I find that the scientific and commercializable output of biotechnology startups is sensitive to the investor that backs them (Nature Biotechnology, 2013). Taken together, these findings highlight the entrepreneurial finance landscape continues to evolve, shifting the balance of power between existing investors (e.g., angles, VCs) and new ones (e.g., crowdfunding, government VCs).
A: The Organization Science 2010 article, titled “Entrepreneurial Optimism in the Market for Technological Inventions.” Intellectually, it captures key theoretical insights that drive my empirical work to date. The paper shows how a well-studied outcome in the field of strategy can be reversed once we incorporate important behavioural insights from the entrepreneurship literature. Specifically, it explores entrepreneur-investor interactions which are known to be characterized by information asymmetries and adverse selection. I introduce the notion of optimism; a behavioural trait that may be negligible in most setting where adverse selection was previously studied (e.g., alliances among established firms) but is highly salient in early stage entrepreneurial funding. The study demonstrates that in the presence of entrepreneurial optimism the common remedy to adverse selection can become ineffective. To that end, it utilizes anecdotal evidence and a formal economic model, and the findings are consistent with a large-sample empirical test I am working on these days.
A: I encourage young scholars to pursue focused curiosity. By curiosity, I refer to the willingness to challenges existing orthodoxies, question why do certain things exist, and observe changes to the world around us. In practical terms, I believe doctoral students should not neglect following the business media while emerging themselves in canonical works of the past. The practice can be instrumental in uncovering fascinating research questions. Curiosity also leads to more inter-disciplinary work. In my own work, I have integrated insights from the fields of strategy, entrepreneurship and finance. This can prove useful in developing novel answers to the aforementioned questions.
Finally, one’s efforts should be focused. I believe in pursuing a coherent body of work through a series of related studies. Doing so will allow young scholars to tackle a focal domain through multiple complementary lenses, thus developing greater insights and ultimately building her or his identity as a domain expert. Along these lines, I find my research informs my MBA and executive teaching as well as interaction with practitioners. These engagements with business practitioners and consultants are not limited to diffusion of published work, and often uncover new research questions.
A: I believe the shifting landscape of entrepreneurial finance provides many opportunities to study new form of strategic interactions between innovative entrepreneurs and different resource providers. New sectors attract my research interests; for example, the convergence of the food and pharmaceutical industries, and emergence of wellness field, which gives rise to open innovation and corporate venturing activities among food and chemical corporations. New organizational forms motivate another stream of research; for example, crowdfunding platforms as a new institution governing entrepreneur-investor interactions. Here, my work seeks not only to apprehend the inner-working of a focal platform, but also to understand the industry sectors that may (or may not) benefit from this new institution.
Dovev Lavie has been selected to receive the 2012 Strategic Management Society Emerging Scholar Award. Dovev currently serves as an Associate Professor with the William Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion – Israel institute of technology, Haifa, Israel, which he joined in 2006. For Dovev this was a return to his academic roots as he was awarded a B.A. in Economics and Management (1996), a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and Management (1996) and an M.Sc. in Business Administration (1998) from the Technion.
Dovev enrolled at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, received an M.A. in Managerial Science and Applied Economics in 2002 and his Ph.D. in Management in 2004. His dissertation committee at Wharton included Professors Lori Rosenkopf, Ranjay Gulati, Nicolaj Siggelkow, Harbir Singh (who was his advisor) and Sidney Winter (who was his chair). Based on his doctoral studies at Wharton he received the 2005 INFORMS TMS Best Dissertation Award and the 2007 Academy of Management Newman Award for Best Paper based on a Dissertation.
Upon graduating from Wharton, he served as an assistant professor at the McCombs School of business at the University of Texas at Austin from 2004 to 2006. At McCombs he taught in the undergraduate business program.
Dovev's body of work, in excess of thirty articles, has been published in leading management journals. As one of the individuals supporting Dovev's nomination as the 2012 Emerging Scholar observed:
"Frankly, his body of work suggests significant contributions to our knowledge in the field and it is surprising that he is so young in chronological age and in the field. His record of productivity and continuing research suggest that Professor Lavie will likely be a highly productive scholar and will make significant contributions to our field throughout the next several stages of his career".
Another nominator commented:
Dovev is, without question, the most incredibly hard-working and productive scholar I know. When he originally proposed some of his dissertation ideas for his project proposal in our doctoral seminar in network theory and applications, I told him that he would be wasting his time to try to discern network position effects on firm performance. After unbelievably intensive data collection and analysis, Dovev proved me wrong. His quantitative dissertation-based paper on this topic, published in SMJ in 2007, changes the way we think about alliance network positioning, and has already received 176 citations on Google Scholar. This work was recognized with the Academy of Management's Newman Award for best paper from a dissertation.
Dovev's service to the profession is exceptional: he serves on the Research Committee of the Academy of Management BPS Division and the Organizing Committee of the Israel Strategy Conference, which he co-founded. As one of his letter writers observed:
Prof. Lavie had made a significant contribution to the field, serving on the review board of the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and Strategic Organization. For three of these journals Prof. Lavie has been awarded the Outstanding Editorial Board Member Awards (SMJ in 2011 and 2010, AMJ in 2010, and AMR in 2006). His service to the profession is exemplary.
Finally, the members of the Awards Committee note that Dovev has also put much effort into developing and maintaining forums for strategy scholars to interact, including the Israel Strategy Conference; in his role as SMS Associate program Chair for the newly created Cooperative Strategies Interest Group for the Prague Conference, and as an initiator of an SMS Special Conference in Israel. Members of the committee noted that Professor Lavie has served as a member of the SMS Conference Review Committee for Best Ph.D. Paper Prize in 2011. In addition, he has served as a member of the review committees for the Corporate Strategy and Corporate Governance and the Competitive Strategy Interest Groups for the SMS. He has also attended the SMS annual conference on a regular basis and has been a member of SMS since 2001.
This interview was conducted by Peter Smith Ring, member of the Awards and Honors Committee.
A: I was exposed to strategy research early in my career as an undergraduate student who engaged in a research project under the supervision of the late Avi Fiegenbaum. Avi was also my advisor for the Master’s thesis that investigated the entry of multinational corporations to Israel, and which served as the basis for several publications. Since Avi and I resided in the same town, I used to walk over to his house on weekends and discuss research ideas. I was working in the aerospace and defense industry, and took a day off every week to advance our research projects. Going back to school for my PhD was the natural next step. I got invites from Wharton and Kellogg and eventually opted for the more interdisciplinary program. The Wharton School proved extremely useful for my academic training. I had the fortune of working with Harbir Singh, Lori Rosenkopf, and Ranjay Gulati, whom together with Sid Winter and Nicolaj Siggelkow served on my dissertation committee. Seven years since arriving in the U.S., after few years as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, I returned to Israel, this time, as Avi’s colleague. I guess he was the catalyst for my academic career.
Q: My research bridges the resource-based view, organizational learning, and social network literatures in studying the evolution and performance implications of alliance portfolios. I have studied how technological change triggers the coevolution of a firm’s strategy and the configuration of its alliance portfolio, which in turn shapes the firm’s various inter-organizational relationships. I have also examined how firms strive to balance exploration and exploitation across various domains of their alliances, which enhances their performance. Nevertheless, my main focus has been on the role of network resources in driving value creation and appropriation in alliance portfolios. I have demonstrated how the complementary resources of a firm’s partners create value to the firm whereas the partners’ relative bargaining power undermines it, especially when allying with competitors. Still, I found that the firm can enhance value appropriation when its partners compete with each other. I have also demonstrated how inter-organizational differences among partners undermine performance by weakening relational mechanisms, yet firms leverage their partnering experience and alternative governance modes to overcome such impediments. In related work I further show how partner-specific experience is more beneficial than general partnering experience and how the interplay of network resources and internal resources drives innovation.
Research on inter-organizational collaboration has evolved significantly in the past decade. We know much about the evolution of alliance portfolios and their contribution to firm performance. I believe that future work will offer better integration of structural and relational embeddedness while highlighting the role of network resources. I also expect to see more simultaneous consideration of competition and collaboration within and across organizational boundaries. Scholars may want to consider how alliances shape other organizational phenomena and perhaps underscore different levels of analysis. For instance, one may study the motivation and behavior of alliance managers that maintain “dual citizenship” as representatives of their firm and its partner. It may be interesting to study how organizational restructuring, e.g., following a merger, influences relationships with alliance partners. Empirically, I would like to see more work that examines alliances from the standpoint of both partners in an effort to understand divergence in the partners’ perceptions of their alliance. At the macro level, there is still room for examining the role of alliances in shaping industry structure and economic development.
A: My current research focuses on the phenomenon of alliances, drawing on the resource-based view and extending work on exploration and exploitation. Some would say that these fast-growing literatures have all reached maturity. I believe that the next step for me would be to leverage network perspectives to study the emergence and implications of competition. My current research already reveals that firms can leverage competition to create value via alliances and that alliances can serve a role in enhancing a firm’s competitive position. Nevertheless, I believe that there are more fundamental mechanisms driving these effects. On the one hand, strategy research has traditionally focused on the firm and industry levels of analysis when studying competition even though firms are mostly affected by the competitive moves of their direct competitors irrespective of industry boundaries. On the other hand, scholars have applied network research to study collaborative relations among firms, without fully considering the implications of competitive relations. Ultimately it is essential to study the interplay of competitive and collaborative relations since firms’ behavior and performance depend on both. In the next few years I intend to invest in theory development and collect data that can enable me to shed new light on this important phenomenon, which is central to the field of strategic management.
A: My first advice is not to try to be productive. Instead, focus on research questions that you feel passionate about and enjoy the research process. When you are excited about a topic, the ideas flow. When you are committed to a research program, the papers follow.
My second suggestion is to work hard and never give up. If you are told that a certain research project is impossible or has never been attempted before, this is a reason to pursue it rather than abandon it. Don’t refrain from studying challenging research questions that are central to the field. This is your opportunity to make an impact. I think that productive scholars are not necessarily smarter or luckier than others, but they are certainly more persistent. Don’t be discouraged by journal rejects. This is part of the process. If you get an R&R, try to exceed your reviewers’ expectations. Avoid shortcuts. Go the extra mile. For instance, integrate archival data with fieldwork to enhance rigor and relevance. Self-criticism and critical peer review of your work are virtues rather than nuisance. Time-to-print should not be the priority.
My third suggestion is to build a research program rather than a collection of research projects. Related diversification of your research will maximize your productivity. When you design a study, think about how you can leverage it for multiple follow-up projects. Every paper should build conceptually on a prior paper that you have previously written. Don’t take on projects that are too remote from your research program. To the extent possible, leverage and extend your data instead of developing a new dataset from scratch. Such an approach will not only facilitate research productivity but also ensure that your research portfolio is coherent and impactful.
David G. Sirmon has been selected to receive the 2011 Strategic Management Society Emerging Scholar Award. David is currently the Pamela M. & Barent W. Cater '77 Faculty Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Management at the Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University. David received his Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship and Strategy from Arizona State University in 2004. Building from the resource-based view, his research explores the role of managers in realizing competitive advantage and wealth creation. Additional research interests include strategic entrepreneurship as well as firm governance focusing on family business and boards of directors. Since earning his Ph.D. (seven years), he has published 19 journal articles, including eight articles in consensus top journals such as the Strategic Management Journal (SMJ – 5), the Academy of Management Review (AMR - 2), and the Academy of Management Journal (AMJ). Furthermore, he has a number of publications in other top outlets including the Journal of Management (JoM - 2), the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), Strategic Entreperuesnhip Journal (SEJ), Journal of Management Studies, Organizational Research Methods and Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice (ET&P - 3). His work has been recognized with Best Paper Finalist Awards in 2010 from AMR, 2011 from AMLE, and 2008 from JMS, both a Showcase Symposium Award and Best Symposium Award in 2010 from the Academy of Management, and the Research Excellence Award from Clemson University in 2005.
Although he has a number of high quality publications, his 2007 Academy of Management Review was signaled by one letter writer: "Obviously, there has been much work on the resource-based view, but very little has focused on the dynamics of value creation, and in particular, on leveraging resources to create value." This scholar continues regarding the 2007 article: "There were over 50 papers submitted to this Special Issue in AMR, and in my view, this is the best article we published. Currently, this paper has 320 Google citations. In fact, this paper has the highest citation count for any article published in AMR during 2007." In addition, this writer said the following about some of his other papers, "His 2003 Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice paper is also the most cited paper published in ET&P in 2003, and his Journal of Management paper is the fourth most cited paper published in this journal in 2003. So, not only has Professor Sirmon been productive, but his work shows early signs of impact."
His appointment to serve on the editorial review boards of AMJ, SJM and Journal of Business Venturing is also indicative of the professional recognition he has earned. In fact, another letter writer, said the following about his work, "I have found Professor Sirmon's research to be thoughtfully conceived and stimulating. He's carved out a promising area of research and developed an exciting research agenda." Continuing this writer states "He tests ideas effectively using a number of theoretical perspectives, including resource-based view of the firm and competitive dynamics, highlighting the role of managers. One of his main contributions in this topic has been to re-inject leadership and managerial actions into the RBV logic."
Below is an interview with David Sirmon conducted by Robert Hoskisson.
A: My family provided me a learning laboratory of sorts in my youth. My Dad was the CEO of a bank that he led from relative obscurity to become a large regional commercial bank. I was in a unique position to observe his behavior and that of other executives. I was fascinated by his colorful stories detailing decisions regarding resource allocations, acquisitions, board interactions, and the political turmoil surrounding such decisions. I also watched as my two oldest brothers started, grew and eventually disbanded a very profitable family firm. Without a doubt these two experiences provided the primary motivation for my research interests. But it really wasn’t until I was immersed in my Ph.D. studies that these experiences and interests transformed into a research program. With excellent mentorship, I was able to fashion programmatic research on resource orchestration, boards, family firms, and strategic entrepreneurship.
A: While unique contributions are present in each paper, I am beginning to enjoy seeing how my work is forming a more complete whole. For instance, the resource-based view (RBV), one of the most prominent theories within strategic management, has mounting evidence to support its core logic. However critics as well as a meta-analysis identified a limitation – that is the theory has largely ignored the role managers’ play in obtaining and using firm resources. To address this issue, my colleagues and I developed a general model positing the necessary managerial actions needed to realize a resource-based competitive advantage – something that we call resource orchestration. In a series of articles we address these actions, their internal configuration, as well as role of environmental and governance contingencies. This treatment draws upon but goes beyond dynamic capabilities. In total my resource orchestration work is enriching, extending and contributing to resource-based logic, dynamic capabilities, and competitive dynamics literatures.
Additionally, my work on governance, which focuses on board of directors and family businesses, has contributed to our understanding of the internal processes of boards and sources of unique advantage in families firms. Lastly, another series of papers has helped define the area and construct of strategic entrepreneurship, which focuses squarely on the integration of advantage and opportunity seeking behaviors. We are likely to see significant growth in this area with the introduction of SMJ'ssister publication Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.
So, in total, by exploring specific contingencies related to resource orchestration, firm governance and strategic entrepreneurship, I aspire to have my research produce greater insight into the managerial “levers” by which competitive advantage and wealth creation are influenced. Although resources matter, managers, entrepreneurs, families, and directors have significant and unique influences on their firms’ outcomes.
A: Well, first, thank you very much. I have been blessed to work with great co-authors as well as very tough yet fair-minded reviewers and developmental editors. All of these people play a key role in anyone’s research endeavors. Now, I remember reading the previous emerging scholars’ advice, like focusing on programmatic work, developing/identifying novel datasets, examine trends in managerial practice, and developing effective collaborative relationships. To these excellent suggestions, I would add just two. First, I would encourage new scholars to accept critical comments and to deliberately learn from them. My initial reaction to critical comments is to accept ownership. That is, I try to avoid thinking about how the referee is wrong or failed to understand my logic, but instead look to see how they are right and how their perspective can enhance the paper. I find it much more effective to revise my papers in a proactive manner when I envision a critical yet productive conversation occurring between myself and the referees. My explicit goal is to craft the best manuscript possible and the referees’ input always helps me reach that goal. Second, to use athletic imagery, I would strongly advise new scholars to “keep running until the finish line.” I see or hear of people that simply succumb to fatigue near the end of a manuscript, a response letter or what have you and in any competitive context this is the kiss of death. Think of all the time you have spent to get that point – conceptualization, writing, data collection, analysis, peer review, revision etc. Do not give up near the end, instead run hard through the finish line. It is my opinion that this one behavior explains a significant amount of variance between scholars’ research productivity.
A: While the primary logic of resource-based theory is maturing, I thinking significant opportunities to expand and enrich this broad stream remain. Thus, I expect to continue my focus of examining managers’ role in developing resource-based advantages. However, moving forward may be accelerated by re-reviewing the past literature and picking up ideas that have been waiting for their time in the sun. For example, in my 2010 SMJ we examined resources portfolios which included weaknesses. While weaknesses were defined in early RBV work, they were largely overlooked as the core logic was tested. However, they are part of most all firms. Thus we should theoretically understand their direct and integrated role in firm advantage. We found that for some firms combining weaknesses with strength can positively affect performance, but there is greater risk. This begs the question of how managers can leverage weaknesses along with strengths to improve performance. Maybe it depends on how managers link strengths and weaknesses, that is the types of interdependencies within the firm may influence how and when weaknesses matter. Second, I would like to continue to my governance program focused on boards of directors and family firms. I am very interested in exploring how combinations of family and other owners (types of institutional owner for example) affect firm behavior. Finally, one of the most enjoyable aspects of research is learning, so I suspect that I will expand my research program as students and colleagues and I engage in stimulating conversations about new phenomena and theories.
Yan Anthea Zhang has been selected to receive the 2010 SMS Emerging Scholar Award. Anthea Zhang received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and is currently a Distinguished Associate Professor of Management in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. She has been a highly prolific scholar during her nine years in the profession with a total of 27 publications, 19 of which are in scholarly journals. In addition, many articles are in top scholarly journals in the field, to include the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies and Journal of Management, among others. She is first author or sole author on 16 of her journal articles. Her most prominent research has focused on CEO leadership, with an emphasis on CEO succession and dismissal in major organizations. In addition, she has also made contributions to research on firm strategies in emerging markets. One of her senior scholar described Anthea Zhang's research as characterized by theoretical novelty and rigorous empirical analysis applied to research questions of high managerial relevance. The practical influence of her research is shown by the citations in many top business media outlets such as the Economist, BusinessWeek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, among others.
Anthea Zhang has also provided significant service to the profession. For example, she serves on the editorial review boards of several scholarly journals such as Strategic Management Journal and Academy of Management Journal. She has been active in the International Association for Chinese Management Research, holding several positions and also active in the Strategic Management Society, currently as a representative-at-large in the Corporate Strategy and Corporate Governance Interest Group. She is an incoming associate editor for the Academy of Management Journal.
One senior scholar summed up her record in this way "Professor Zhang is an extraordinarily productive scholar with a national and international reputation for her research... Her work has made a fundamental contribution to the strategy field and her service to the professional is impressive..."
The following is an interview with Yan Anthea Zhang.
A: Since I received my Ph.D. from the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California in 2001, I have been working on two streams of research. One stream of research focuses on CEO succession and dismissal in public companies. This is a topic of keen interest in management given the important role of a CEO in her/his company and the increasing frequency of CEO turnover. My research in this area has examined the dynamics of the underlying processes of CEO selection as well as the organizational outcomes of the selection. My research has identified new phenomena and developed novel theoretical perspectives. For example, my 2004 AMJ paper with Rajagopalan develops a framework for understanding different types of CEO succession processes within organizations and finds that relay CEO successions outperform both non-relay inside successions and outside successions. My SMJ 2008 paper examines a new phenomenon: the dismissal of newly appointed CEOs. I develop and test theory to explain how information asymmetry at the time of succession may affect the likelihood of the dismissal of a newly appointed CEO. In addition to providing a better understanding of the CEO succession process and the selection of CEOs by the firm, I have also studied what happens during a CEO’s tenure. My 2010 SMJ paper with Rajagopalan compares tenure histories of inside CEOs and outside CEOs and finds that strategic change is associated with higher subsequent firm performance under the leadership of an inside CEO than of an outside CEO and this difference is amplified in the later stage of CEO tenure.
The other stream of research focuses on firm strategies in emerging markets. This topic has become increasingly important given the critical role of emerging markets in global economic growth. My research in this area has addressed issues such as foreign direct investment, innovation, and technology entrepreneurship which have important implications for multinationals’ globalization and the growth of indigenous firms in the emerging markets. For example, my 2007 JIBS paper with several colleagues examines how multinational companies use export strategy and ownership strategy to deal with innovation appropriation hazards in an emerging market. It addresses a pressing concern for multinational firms as they seek to expand their value chains globally yet minimize the risk of leaking proprietary knowledge to potential competitors in these markets. My 2009 SMJ paper with Li and Schoonhoven examines how the relationships between technology clusters affect the growth of the clusters. We develop a theoretical argument suggesting that neighboring technology clusters can have both mutualistic and competitive effects on each other. My forthcoming SMJ paper with Li, Li, and Zhou examines how the country origin diversity of foreign firms and absorptive capacity of domestic firms can jointly affect foreign firms’ spillovers to domestic firms in an emerging market.
A: I would offer three pieces of advice to young scholars. First, stay relatively focused. Staying focused helps one to follow the literature, build research identity, and increase research productivity. During my early tenure, I made a mistake by simultaneously working on multiple projects in different areas. In one year, I had four R&R papers rejected in top-tier journals. After that, I focused on the area of CEO succession and dismissal. After building a good record in this area, I started to work on firm strategies in emerging markets. Now working on two research areas actually enables me to learn and apply knowledge across projects and content areas.
Second, pay close attention to management practices. Strategic management is phenomenon-driven research domain so following management practices helps researchers to identify new phenomena and thus new research ideas. I regularly read Business Week and The Economist, which have inspired several of my papers. For example, my 2008 SMJ paper on the dismissal of newly appointed CEOs was inspired by a Business Week cover story on the dismissal of a CEO in a well-known American company. My 2009 SMJ paper with Wiersema was inspired by an Economist article, which commented on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s first regulatory requirement after the scandals of Enron, WorldCom and the like. Our study examines how the stock market reacted to CEO/CFO’s certification of their company’s financial statement and how CEO background information may be used by investors to judge the credibility and trustworthiness of CEO/CFO certification. I believe that because my research is inspired by management practices and addresses current and important questions in management practices, it is interesting and relevant to management practitioners. As evidence of this, my research has been discussed and cited in the business press on numerous occasions – including Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, The Economist, Investor’s Business Daily, CNBC, and USA Today.
Third, explore new and different data sources. Most of my publications are empirical studies. I love data. I am interested in exploring new data sources and using them to examine interesting research questions. For example, my coauthors and I compiled a unique dataset spanning the history of all the 53 national technology clusters in China from their founding to year 2000. This unique data set enables us to examine how the relationships between technology clusters affect the growth of the clusters. In a new study with Wiersema, we used the Institutional Brokers Estimate System I/B/E/S database, which has been used by finance and accounting scholars, to examine how investment analysts’ stock recommendation may affect the likelihood of CEO dismissal.
A: In the near future, I will keep working on these two research streams: CEO succession/dismissal and firm strategies in emerging markets. In the stream of CEO succession and dismissal, I will shift my research attention to the role of external constituents in CEO succession and dismissal. Previous studies including my own have mainly focused on internal factors such as firm performance, power and politics, and information asymmetry at the time of succession. However, firms are open systems and depend upon external constituents to provide critical resources. Therefore, external constituents should have an important influence on the board of directors’ decision regarding CEO retention vs. dismissal. In a new paper with Wiersema, we examine the role of investment analysts, as key information intermediaries in financial markets, in the board’s decision on CEO dismissal. In another study also with Wiersema, we examine executive dismissal in the wave of stock option backdating scandals. We are interested in how a firm’s decision on executive dismissal after a scandal is affected by the number of firms with the same problem.
In the stream of firm strategies in emerging markets, I will focus on foreign direct investment (FDI)’s spillovers to domestic firms and the globalization of emerging market firms. I am interested in how the attributes of foreign firms in terms of their country origin diversity, age distribution and location distribution affect spillovers to domestic firms. Globalization of emerging market firms is becoming an important issue as many emerging market giants such as Mexico’s CEMEX, India’s Tata Group, and China’s Huawei have become major global competitors. I am interested in the influence of information asymmetry role in the location choice of these firms’ overseas investment. I am also interested in how emerging market firms use credible signals to convey their quality thereby facilitating their globalization.
Integrating these two research streams, I will also examine the unique aspects of strategic leadership and corporate governance in emerging market firms. In a working paper with Shen, we examine how ownership of controlling shareholders affects dividend payouts of publicly-listed firms in China. I am also interested in the selection of top managers with a political background and international experience in emerging market firms and the associated organizational impact.
Michael Lenox holds a Ph.D. from MIT and is currently the director of the Batten Institute and Samuel L. Stover Professor of Business at the Darden School, University of Virginia. Michael Lenox was selected from a field of excellent candidates because of his research productivity, contributions to the field and future potential. He has 22 journal articles with publications in top scholarly journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Management Science and Organization Science, among others. His research has focused in and made contributions to two primary streams of work (1) Strategy, Environment and Nonmarket Strategies (stakeholder engagement, operational efficiencies and the environment and industry self regulation) and (2) Technology, Strategy and Innovation (transformation in R&D foci and programs, open innovation).
He has served or serves on the editorial review board for several scholarly journals including the Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science. In addition, he was appointed as an Associate Editor for Management Science in 2009. His future research integrates theoretical notions from his two major streams of research with the intent of giving voice to strategic management research into public policies. In summary, he is a bright young scholar with much promise to make important contributions to the field of strategic management and in other arenas.
The following interview to discuss his research was conducted by Michael Hitt, Texas A&M University.
A: I have had two primary research streams. The first of the two streams of research focuses on nonmarket strategies by businesses with an emphasis on environmental issues. In particular, I seek to answer the question—What are incentives for businesses to go beyond the requirements of government? Within this stream of research, I have focused on issues of stakeholder engagement, the contribution of operational efficiencies to environmental concerns and industry self regulation, among others. The second dominant research stream deals with technology, strategy and innovation. Within this research stream, I am interested in understanding how research and development models have been transformed to the current model of open innovation in which external knowledge is identified and brought into the organization in order to create innovation. In examining the question of open innovation, my research has addressed such issues as absorptive capacity, and the use of corporate venture capital to acquire minority stakes in firms in order to gain access to and knowledge about new technologies.
More recently, I have started to examine questions regarding industry evolution and competition in environments that involve high interdependencies and complementarities. Here, I attempt to integrate knowledge and foci from both of the research streams mentioned.
A: I would encourage young scholars to build a portfolio of research projects rather than to focus on only one project at a time. In so doing, one diversifies his/her risks regarding the potential payoffs/publication of the work and, if managed effectively, can be more productive over time. I also recommend involving good coauthors with complementary skills and interests which have been a boon to my own research.
In addition, young scholars should not consider single papers but rather build research projects from which multiple papers could be developed. This requires a broader frame and greater effort to plan the projects so that appropriate data can be obtained and several papers identified in advance. In fact, I recommend the development of projects from which at least three papers can be prepared. Of course, having larger projects and multiple projects, as well as multiple coauthors, requires appropriate balancing among and management of those projects to bring them to fruition. However, it allows a person to select particular papers and projects that are perceived to have higher potential value and payoff.
A: Strategy scholars have a lot to say about public policy. And, thus, I expect my research to integrate my interest in business strategy and public policy issues. At the Batten Institute, we focus on how entrepreneurship and innovation can affect broader social issues and policies. My research will fit under this umbrella. For example, much prior research has examined how we can increase the rate of innovation, assuming that all innovation is good and of equal value. Fewer questions have focused on the direction of innovation. But, we could examine how innovations can be developed that help to address environmental concerns. Thus, I see my research integrating interests across the areas that I mentioned earlier but focused on important social issues such as environmental concerns.
Riitta Katila is an Assistant Professor of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University. Since receiving her Ph.D. in 2000, her research has influenced two research directions in strategic management. The first focuses on boundary-spanning activities such as acquisitions and collaborations, and the second on how firms re-deploy their existing technologies to create durable competitive advantage. She studies these questions longitudinally in technology-based industries such as robotics using a combination of quantitative, qualitative, and computational methods. Her work on these two key questions in technology strategy has appeared in the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Research Policy, Administrative Science Quarterly and other outlets, and is frequently cited by scholars in the strategy field.
The SMS Emerging Scholar Award recognizes Riitta Katila's contributions as one of the leading young strategy scholars in the field, as well as her contributions to the professional community and to undergraduate and graduate student education.
The following interview with Riitta was conducted by Margarethe Wiersema, University of California - Irvine.
A: My first degrees were indeed in engineering, but I also worked as a strategy consultant before entering the Ph.D. program. The question of how organizations discover, develop and commercialize technologies was central in all the companies with which I worked. It began to interest me academically, and I felt that the right way to approach it was to understand both the engineering side that drives it and the strategy side that manages it.
A: That’s right. As an engineer, working in an engineering school at Stanford, I believe I can study technology-based firms in unique ways that strategy scholars traditionally do not—for example by introducing more precise measures of technology. For instance, one approach that I developed in my research was to combine measures of technological resources (patents) with success-based measures of commercialization (products), thus tracking an innovation from its invention to its introduction in the market. Studies traditionally focus on one or the other but do not link the two.
A: An intriguing paradox is that established firms often own the technical resources necessary for innovation but do not fully use them. In fact, firms often under-exploit the resources that they already have. My work explores how firms can leverage their existing resources better, and thus contradicts the long-held belief that innovation depends solely on new resources.
A: The firm’s existing resources are an unexpectedly flexible source of innovation. Successful companies redeploy this storehouse of technologies in many ways, including sharing knowledge across departments, licensing, maintaining shelved technologies, and rewarding reactivation.
A: Yes, in principle; however, most acquisitions and alliances are ineffective, and an intriguing research question is to understand why such efforts (in fact more than half of them) to acquire resources often fail, and how that failure rate can be reduced. One of the main insights from my work is that acquisition targets that are small and related in technology often make the acquiring firm more innovative, because those targets are able and willing to contribute to the acquisition’s success.
A: Yes, and this was an unexpected finding. Overall, I found that the most successful buyers anticipated the other firm’s perspective.
A: One intriguing research direction is the role of competition. Most research up to this point has focused on internal firm factors that predict innovation; however, the environment, and in particu-lar competition, has a large influence as well. Globalization, deregulation, and faster technological development only increase the significance of competition, which makes this direction even more important in the future.
Professor Reuer is the Boyd W. Harris, Jr. Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Strategic Management at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina. Since he received his Ph.D. in 1997, he has been a prolific scholar with a number of articles in top scholarly journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and Journal of International Business Studies, among others. His research has made important contributions to our knowledge of the governance of strategic alliances (largely using theory in information economics) and to corporate investment decisions (applying real options theory). Although young in the field (10 years since his Ph.D.), his work is highly cited by scholars and recognized in practice evidenced by such prominent business press media as The Financial Times. Professor Reuer is one of the top young scholars in the Strategic Management field and is positioned to make additional major contributions to the field in years to come.
The 2007 award was presented to Jeff Reuer during the SMS 27th Annual International Conference in San Diego on Oct 16, 2007. The conference also featured a special session where Jeff Reuer presented his research.