The Executive Discoveries Series (EDS) intends to create a meaningful and impactful conversation between academics and business practitioners and consultants. The EDS Track at the SMS Annual Conference in Paris consisted of paper and common ground sessions as well as panel discussions that featured cutting-edge research coupled with provocative ideas that challenged conventional managerial wisdom and provided exposure for executives to new academic insights that could help advance their strategic insights and skills. For the Paris SMS Annual Conference, after close collaboration with the leadership teams of the SMS Interest Groups, we identified sessions that covered a range of current managerial challenges. Below you will find the easy-to-navigate, virtual EDS Track that ran through the conference program. These sessions are grouped into seven themes.
The first theme of the EDS track focused on ecosystems and platform-based business models. Topics in this theme ranged from how (new) ecosystems and platforms are built to which capabilities different actors need—especially incumbents and complementors—and covered the most appropriate actions for executives to respond to disruptive technologies, become ecosystem leaders, orchestrate digital ecosystems, capitalize on platforms, and hedge their strategies by getting involved in competing platforms. Empirical evidence came from a wide range of sectors including financial services, software, smart home, payment systems, video game, sharing economy, and automotive suppliers, and from firms such as Cisco, eBay, and Google.
The second EDS theme covered sessions broadly related to the topic of innovation. A first focus lies on a better understanding and classification of inventors, breakthrough discoveries, and the role of crowds in evaluating innovative ideas. A second focus lies on international innovation and covers topics from cross-border innovation of both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large multinational companies (MNCs), MNC innovation activities in emerging markets, the role of social norms, as well as the innovation of emerging market companies and how Western MNCs could respond. A final focus lies on business model innovation (BMI) and covers topics from a better conceptualization of BMI and its underlying sub-processes to a study of attention structure changes during BMI processes. The empirical evidence in this second theme comes from diverse settings, ranging from Dutch design firms to Swiss SMEs, and from sectors such as wireless routers, bionic prosthetics, mobile dating applications, to hydraulic fracturing and wineries.
The third EDS theme focuses on how to manage key stakeholder relationships. Topics covered in this theme include the emergence of distrust and conflict among stakeholders, legitimacy and reputation, lobbying activities, public relations, global stakeholders, and firms’ responses to stakeholder attacks.
This EDS theme studies the human capital of employees and top executives responsible for making strategic decisions in organizations. One focus within this theme lies on the strategic management of the pipeline for talent within firms. A second focus lies on CEOs and develops insights into newly appointed CEOs’ compensation packages, the consequences of CEO humility, the effects of external CEO appointments on firm performance, and the impact of the political regime on CEO succession. A third focus lies on directors, more specifically on how directors are selected, the performance implications of directors sitting on multiple corporate boards, and on the determinants of directors’ willingness to dissent.
This EDS theme centers on business-level and corporate-level strategy questions. Sessions on the former examine competitive strategies, such as imitation, first-mover advantages, responses to price wars, and the effects of private versus state ownership on competitive behavior and firm performance. Session focused on the latter examine the drivers of M&A performance, with an emphasis on the deal-making process, investments in due diligence activities, and different types of synergies.
This EDS theme explores the linkages between entrepreneurship and strategy. The sessions that are part of this theme focus on digital entrepreneurship, new venture team homogeneity, the timing of new venture formation, and (failed) experimentation. In addition, sessions discuss linkages between startups and large, established organizations as well as the funding by incumbent firms and their impact on entrepreneurial orientation and innovative activities. The empirical context is mainly US-based and healthcare-focused.
Studies that are part of this last EDS theme examine strategic decision makers’ attention focus, risk perceptions, and search strategies as well as the consequences of culture, tradition, and opening up the strategic decision-making process to participants from outside the executive suite or even from outside the firm.