The social responsibilities of higher education serve as the foundation for its existence. Within an increasingly global context, society expects colleges and universities to undertake new and increasingly complex social responsibilities that expand traditional higher education missions while emphasizing new obligations such as economic development and sustainability. Higher education institutions have responded by adding new programs and services—such as new degree programs, equity and inclusion offices, and training for older workers—and aggressively pursuing new sources of revenue in support of their missions. Despite these considerable efforts, there is a growing sense that higher education is not adequately fulfilling its social responsibilities. We contend that these trends do not stem from intransigence, but are instead symptomatic of the need for strategic management frameworks tailored to the unique social responsibilities and impacts of higher education. To this end, we introduce a strategic social responsibility framework based on the emergent concept of dynamic capabilities. Strategic social responsibility emphasizes the establishment and continuing renewal of an orchestration infrastructure that enables colleges and universities to maximize their social impact through the alignment of strategy and resources. Implications for future scholarship and policy are discussed.
University technology transfer allows universities to extract benefits from their research. We examine how universities can create and capture value from their technology creation and technology commercialization efforts by embracing a dynamic capabilities perspective. Our longitudinal analysis involves 829 universities and 3908 university-year observations in 30 subnational regions (provinces) in China during a 6-year period. Our findings reveal (1) that universities create more ideas and capture more licensing value through dynamic management and active orchestration of assets, (2) that a developed factor market accelerates value creation and commercialization, and (3) that a developed institutional environment at the subnational level stimulates value creation but inhibits value capture. These interesting findings justify a dynamic capabilities perspective of the university technology transfer process while opening avenues for future research.
This article presents insights from a laboratory experiment on human problem solving in a combinatorial task. I rely on a hierarchical rugged landscape to explore how human problem-solvers are able to detect and exploit patterns in their search for an optimal solution. Empirical findings suggest that solvers do not engage only in local and random distant search, but as they accumulate information about the problem structure, solvers make ‘model-based’ moves, a type of cognitive search. I then calibrate an agent-based model of search to analyse and interpret the findings from the experimental setup and discuss implications for organizational search. Simulation results show that, for non-trivial problems, performance can be increased by a low level of persistence, that is, an increased likelihood to quickly abandon unsuccessful paths.
Multimarket competition theory states that if two firms coincide in multiple markets, the level of rivalry between them changes, which, in turn, affects their performance. This article extends this perspective in two ways. We first propose that multimarket competition affects not only the rivalry levels of multimarket rivals but also the rivalry experienced by the other firms present in the markets in which these multimarket rivals operate. We refer to these indirect effects as multimarket competition spillovers, and we propose that they affect firm performance. Second, we conjecture that multimarket competition spillovers are more intense when the firm that creates the spillover and the one that receives it belong to the same strategic group. Our analyses of the Spanish retail banking sector show that the performance of firms is significantly affected by the multimarket competition spillovers of rivals that belong to the same strategic group.
Although significant scholarship has been devoted to the study of corporate political activity, contradictory messages emerge regarding its impact on public policy outcomes and firm performance. Using meta-analytic methods on a US-only sample of 93 studies, working papers, and books, we try to disentangle two mechanisms that explain why corporate political activity is not always beneficial to firms: (1) the uncertainty about the public policy process itself, that is, can firms get the policies they want through corporate political activity? and (2) the uncertainty about the policies’ impact on the firm, that is, whether firms effectively anticipate the implications of policies for their performance. Our results support the idea that these types of uncertainty play an important role in explaining the intermediary dynamics of corporate political activity. We find that in the United States, corporate political activity only weakly impacts public policy and at best has a (direct) weak effect on corporate outcomes.
Collaborative communities—where participants collaboratively solve problems and integrate their contributions—are increasingly popular organizational forms in a wide variety of domains. As with any cooperative effort, communities involve differential interests and information asymmetries, creating potential agency problems. I undertake an exploratory multiple-case study of four communities within the domains of enterprise information technology, sustainable products and services, drug discovery, and digital marketing and communication. I find that agency relationships in the collaborative communities are characterized by three distinct multiple-agency structures: commons, team production, and brokering. These are governed by four main categories of mechanism: (1) mutual monitoring, enabling self-regulation and peer-based control; (2) membership restrictions, regulating admission to the community; (3) values and rules, guiding member action and collaboration; and (4) property rights and incentives, regulating rights to community resources and distribution of rewards. I also identify contingencies between governance mechanisms and agency problems.
This study addresses the question of how established organizations develop new business models over time, using a process research approach to trace how four business model innovation trajectories unfold. With organizational learning as analytical lens, we discern two process patterns: "drifting" starts with an emphasis on experiential learning and shifts later to cognitive search; "leaping," in contrast, starts with an emphasis on cognitive search and shifts later to experiential learning. Both drifting and leaping can result in radical business model innovations, while their occurrence depends on whether a new business model takes off from an existing model and when it goes into operation. We discuss the implications of these findings for theory on business models and organizational learning.
We propose a generalized NK-model of late-mover advantage where late-mover firms leapfrog first-mover firms as user needs evolve over time. First movers face severe trade-offs between the provision of functionalities in which their products already excel and the additional functionalities requested by users later on. Late movers, by contrast, start searching when more functionalities are already known and typically come up with superior product designs. We also show that late-mover advantage is more probable for more complex technologies. Managerial implications follow.
In this article, we address two important gaps in the study of organizational responses to institutional complexity. First, we examine how organizations respond to institutional complexity associated with newly emerging logics that lack well-defined sets of practices; although previous research has examined logics new to a field, those logics have tended to be well-established in other domains. Based on the responses of 10 Canadian public schools to the emerging logic of Aboriginal distinctiveness, we identify four organizational responses (reinterpretation, advocacy, isolation, and integration) that we argue are distinctive of emerging logics. Second, we explore how individuals in organizations shape organizational responses to institutional complexity. We show how individuals’ sensemaking and institutional biographies combine to affect the kinds of action in which organizations engage (discursive or practical) and the scope of that action (expansive across the organization or confined to a subset of actors).
This article examines how organizations claim legitimate distinctive identities in competitive groups by projecting multimodal—that is, visual and verbal—images. Through a qualitative empirical exploration of wineries’ projected images in a regional cluster, this study identifies three projection strategies by which organizations combine collective and organizational identity markers to claim their legitimate distinctive identities. By examining legitimate distinctiveness as a multimodal discursive construct, this study advances the understanding of the link among collective and organizational identity, projected images, and legitimate distinctiveness, thereby contributing to theories of organizational positioning in established organizational categories. More broadly, this study contributes to discursive theories of legitimate distinctiveness by adding multimodal projection strategies to the array of linguistic rhetorical devices that organizations use to influence their stakeholders’ perceptions.
Our research contributes to knowledge on strategic organizational responses by addressing a specific type of institutional complexity that has, to date, been rather neglected in scholarly inquiry: conflicting institutional demands that arise within the same institutional order. We suggest referring to such type of complexity as "intra-institutional"—as opposed to "inter-institutional." Empirically, we examine the consecutive spread of two management concepts—shareholder value and corporate social responsibility—among Austrian listed corporations around the turn of the millennium. Our work presents evidence that in institutionally complex situations, the concepts used by organizations to respond to competing demands and belief systems are interlinked and coupled through multiwave diffusion. We point to the open, chameleon-like character of some concepts that makes them particularly attractive for discursive adoption in such situations and conclude that organizations regularly respond to institutional complexity by resorting to discursive neutralization techniques and strategically producing ambiguity.
Mergers and acquisitions research has principally focused on attributes of the acquiring firm and post-acquisition outcomes. To extend our knowledge, we focus on external factors, in particular rival responses, and explore when and how rivals respond to their competitor’s acquisitions. Leveraging the awareness–motivation–capability framework, we predict and find evidence that a rival’s dependence on markets in common with the acquirer, resource similarity between rival and acquirer, and a rival’s organizational slack increase the volume and, in some cases, also the complexity of a rival’s competitive actions following an acquisition. Furthermore, the type of acquisition positively moderates some of these relationships. The results extend our understanding of the influence of mergers and acquisitions on competitive dynamics in the marketplace.
A central tenet underlying studies on management fashions is that the diffusion of novel forms, models and techniques is driven by an institutional norm of progress, which is the societal expectation that managers will continuously use ‘new and improved’ management practices. We add to the literature on management fashions by arguing that, if the display of progressiveness in the manner of managing and organizing is expected of organizations, firms that are visibly progressive would be evaluated more positively by organizational audiences following this institutional prescription. Using article counts of co-occurrences of firms and various fashionable management practices in Wall Street Journal, we hypothesize positive effects of such associations on security analysts’ evaluations of these firms. Results support this hypothesis. Our study enriches the management fashion literature by highlighting the consequential relevance of organizational adherence to the norm of progress.
Through exposure to heterogeneous sources of knowledge, actors who broker between unconnected contacts are more likely to generate valuable output. We contribute to the theory of social capital of brokerage by considering the impact of field maturity. Using longitudinal data from the field of strategic management we find that the benefits of network brokerage are stronger during the early stages of field development and diminish as the field matures. The results of our study call for further research on the interplay between network structures and processes of field emergence.
This article explores the theoretical and empirical implications of incorporating forgone opportunities in strategic management research. Drawing on the well-studied literature examining whether firms should reinvest in focused businesses or pursue alternatives of diversifying and/or paying out excess cash to shareholders, hypotheses are developed for when diversification and payout policy, as the opportunity costs of reinvesting in the firm’s original businesses, will present firms with higher and lower opportunity costs. Empirical results suggest that the value of reinvestment in existing businesses is higher for firms facing lower opportunity costs of forgoing other alternatives (e.g. diversification and paying out) than for firms that have much higher opportunity costs of forgoing these same alternatives. Implications for incorporating opportunity costs into the diversification literature and the broader strategic management literature are also explored.