MT research seminar series
Since April 2007 the MT research seminar series is a kind of journal club. During this seminar we will a) discuss work in progress, presented by the authors, b) present and discuss "standard", "classical" or otherwise interesting articles c) discuss methodology or theory as seen fit by the presentors. It is very open to various topics as long as they are related to management and technology...
It's goal is to establish a friendly research culture, and to enable constructive peer review among the MTEC researchers. The seminar series is primarily targeted to PhD students and PostDocs, although everyone interested in research is free to join.
Contact & Discussion
You can sign up for seminar announcements via our e-mail list (you can unsubscribe at any time). If you are interested to participate or present, contact Shiko Ben-Menahem or Fredrik Hacklin. We are flexible with dates and times.
Time & Dates
Time: Wednesday 13.00 - 14.30
Place: Weinbergstrasse 56/58, Room WEV E027 (directions & map)
You can subscribe to a Google calendar containing all upcoming events via iCal, rss feed or as web page.
Click on any event to see detailed descriptions and abstract.
- 13 November 2013
- Charlotta Sirén, University Vaasa/Luleå University of Technology
"Fighting Inertia: Benefits of Entrepreneurial Orientation and Strategic Learning for Large and Mature software Firms"
Inertia is often considered the most significant threat to organizations that have become established and grown large. In this study, we suggest that larger and more established companies require high levels of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) to overcome what we define as ‘learning thresholds’ that prevent companies from engaging in strategic learning. Data from 182 Finnish software firms suggest that the relationship between EO and strategic learning is more nonlinear for large and established software companies, and that only high levels of EO affect strategic learning positively. Our results also establish that large and established firms benefit more from strategic learning than do their smaller and younger counterparts. The positive moderating effects of firm size and age on the strategic learning-performance relationship are significant for lagged objective performance measures in terms of both sales growth and profitability. This study advances our knowledge by identifying how strategic learning is important in understanding the influence of EO on performance through overcoming the structural constrains that originate from inertia. We propose that the strategic learning construct deserves specific attention in further research because it enables the understanding of how higher-order learning processes can be systematically integrated to understand the connection between strategic change and organizational inertia.
- to be rescheduled, new date will be announced
- Nicole Rosenkranz, GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE -
ISOMORPHISM AND COMPETITIVE PRESSURES ON ORGANIZATIONAL AMBIDEXTERITY
Ambidexterity has developed into a ubiquitous phenomenon in management research,
asserting that firms need to engage in innovations that stretch between leveraging existing
competencies while simultaneously adjusting to future needs, termed exploitation and exploration.
Extant ambidexterity literature has ascribed the environment large influence on a firm’s conduct of
exploitation and exploration, however, limiting its focus on competitiveness and market dynamism as
predominant stimuli. While competitiveness and market dynamism are industry wide influences,
those industries classically defined by high innovation intensity also show a strong tendency to
operate in clusters. In taking an institutional theory lens, we propose geographical proximity as a
third driver impacting a firm’s innovation activities through institutional isomorphism. In analyzing
industrial clusters, defined as groupings of related or interconnected firms of an industry
concentrated in a geographical location, we find that two particular cluster characteristics, namely
density and specialization, impact the firm’s innovation activities. Using panel data on
biopharmaceutical clusters globally (1999–2007), our results show that firms converge toward and
replicate cluster-specific balances of exploitation and exploration, driven by isomorphic processes.
Previous Topics (2012)
- 2 May 2012
- Lise Rechsteiner, ETH Zurich
"Between Caring and Ruling"
Advancing the debate about the ethics of justice versus the ethics of caring, we argue that
practitioners experience conflicting ethical frameworks as members of formal organizations
and participants in social practice. We argue that practitioners have to balance caring and
justice ethics to resolve moral dilemmas. We describe six types of moral actions that have
implications for the relationship between social practice and formal organization.
- 25 April 2012
- Oliver Alexey, Imperial College
"CATEGORICAL DIVERGENCE, CATEGORY STRADDLING, AND THE CHANGING CATEGORY CURRENCY OF OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE"
The literature on categories is increasingly researching the origins and consequences of category
emergence. In particular, the changing effects of membership in categories considered illegitimate at their
initiation are yet poorly understood. By conceptualizing categorization to be based on causal models held
by audiences, we hypothesize the effects of membership in an illegitimate category and members’
category-straddling behavior, and how these effects should vary with increasing legitimation of the
category. We apply event study methodology to the complete population of firms’ announcements of
open source activities, a novel but fundamentally different method of software development openly
defying the extant dominant logic of software production and valorization, over a ten-year period.
Consistent with our hypotheses, we find negative effects of membership, positive effects of straddling,
and both effects declining with increasing legitimation of the category. We discuss the implications of our
findings for theories of organization and innovation, and for practice.
- 18 March 2012
- Francesco Rullani,LUISSA Rome
"A supply side story for a threshold model: Endogenous growth of the free and open source community"
- 14 February 2012
- Andreas Schneider, ETH Zurich, "A Review on Social Practice Literature – Epistemological, Ontological, Political, and Ethical Cuts"
The practice theory has recently (re-)gained a lot of attention in management and organization studies. Since Lave and Wenger’s and Brown and Duguid’s seminal contributions published in 1991, the theory has developed rapidly and resulted in a highly vibrant yet fragmented body of literature. In this paper we review the existing body of empirical studies based on the practice view, which were published in highly ranked journals in the fields of management and organization science during 1991-2011. The objective of the study is four fold. First, we cluster the empirical studies according to their focus areas and show the main literature streams that adopt the practice theory. Second, we show how these literature streams evolve over time along the four cuts that correspond to four main branches of philosophy: epistemology, ontology, politics, and ethics. We investigate whether the literature streams consider questions related to these cuts and how studying practices through the lens of different cuts contribute to the body of work on social practices. Third, we highlight promising avenues for future research to further advance the practice view. Finally we systematically analyze several key elements characterizing the research design of the studies and derive methodological implications for future research. Our review reveals a strong tendency in the literature towards epistemology-driven trajectories of theory building and towards a separate handling of the four cuts while neglecting the ethical cut to a large extend. We call scholars to take a more integrative view of the cuts to minimize phantom limb effects and consider ethics as a relevant field for studying social practices.
- 8 February 2012
- Daniela Laureiro Martinez, ETH Zurich, "Understanding Ambidexterity: A brain study of decision-makers"
No public abstract available
- 25 January 2012
- Fotini Pachidou, ETH Zurich, "Disentangling the “transformational capability”: How pharmaceutical firms innovate augmented products through asset reconfiguration and stakeholder learning"
- 19 January 2012
- (NB: Thursday, 10.30-11.45), Ayfer Ali, Harvard Business School, Buyer Behavior in Markets for Technologies
Markets for technology promise to increase productivity by better allocating
innovative capacity across firms. Research on the demand side of these markets, however, has
been limited. In this paper, we use a new dataset of patents available for licensing from a large,
innovative academic medical center (AMC) to understand the structure of these markets. Our
data includes data on all firms that showed interest in these patents by signing a confidentiality
agreement and later decided whether to license or not license the focal technology. Strikingly, we
find that of the 285 patents we observe, about 30% of patents available for licensing are never
even looked at, and of those that are looked at about 25% are not eventually licensed. Firms with
a higher number of own patents and older firms are more likely to take a license. A licensed
patent is looked at on average 3.24 times, compared to 2.23 times for patents that have been
considered but never licensed.
- 11 January 2012
- Evila Piva, Politcnico di Milano, "Doing business with the OSS community and related diversification: Research-based view and beyond"
This paper addresses a crucial question of strategy research: what determines the scope of the firm? Specifically, we investigate how doing business with communities of users and developers influences firms' related diversification. We focus on the case of software firms doing business with the Open Source software (OSS) community. Drawing on the resource-based view and integrating it with insights from the dynamic capabilities literature, we develop theoretical hypotheses on the effect of doing business with the OSS community on software firms' diversification. We test the hypotheses using a sample of 674 European software firms. The econometric estimates indicate that doing business with the OSS community is associated with greater related diversification. Moreover, the firms that have developed a community leveraging capability, i.e., a dynamic capability to bring community resources into the firm, pursue greater related diversification.
Previous Topics (2011)
- March 1. Tobias Fredberg, Chalmers University of Technology. Managing complexity in open innovation: a multi-perspective study of the SAFER arena.
- Almost regardless of definition, open innovation activities increases the complexity for an organization. The reason is that a reliance on outside sources in the innovation process demands handling relations that at least partly lie outside your control. The more parties involved in the collaboration, the more complex these relations become. In SAFER, an arena aimed to create world leading innovations in automotive safety, 22 partners (inlc. AB Volvo, & SAAB) aim to build collaboration on “open innovation principles”. As can be expected, this is problematic. The presentation analyses obstacles and possibilities from the perspectives of different actors and opens up a discussion for how such work could be organized and led.
- March 29. Stéphane Guérard, University of Zurich. Testing, Contesting and Legitimizing Technology.
- Based on two longitudinal case studies, this paper suggests that the legitimacy of technology involves two processes, one which encompasses the nature and the benefits of technology and the other its implementation. Our findings highlight that these processes are characterized by framing contests and the rise of ambiguity which call for relying on technology testing and institution testing to do both terminating framing contests and providing technology legitimacy. Building on evidence from our research, we develop a processual model for understanding how technology gain legitimacy when actors are competing on the meaning of technology and when the authorization from the regulator is needed to use the technology. We believe that our findings can be generalized to technologies such as new medical devices, new drugs, new genetically modified food, new pesticides, new nanotechnologies, or new biological technology such as cloning.
- May 24th. Helena Garriga, ETH Zurich, Chair of Strategic Management and Innovation. Striking balance: Understanding firm and user participation in Collaborative Open Innovation.
- This paper presents an empirical examination on the impact of firms’ and communities’ participation in knowledge creation in a multiple-firm open collaboration environment. Mobilization of communities is important for innovation outcome in Collaborative Open Innovations (COI). Restrained or self-controlled behavior of firms in COI is understood as poised innovation by firms. We will show that poised innovation directly impacts innovation contributions. By self-controlling, restraining their behavior, by being poised, firms produce different effects. By resisting to fully over-take the project, they structure their collaboration with users in ways that signal to users more user utility. If they concentrate with other firms, or if they open up to others, they enable more contributions. This paper contributes to understand how firms benefit from synergies coming from COI.
- TBA. Claus Noppeney (Bern University of the Arts and Business Department Bern University of Applied Sciences) and Nada Endrissat (Bern University of Applied Sciences). Turning pictures into scents: the role of boundary objects and aesthetic knowledge in creative processes.
- Have you ever thought of a scent when looking at a picture? Have you heard that images are able to evoke fragrances? This paper tells the unusual story of an innovative and highly successful perfume-making process which is based on images. Building on the work of Ewenstein & Whyte (2009) who have analyzed the role of artifacts in a team of architects, we illustrate how the images transfer meaning and knowledge between the professional groups that are involved in the perfume-making process, i.e. the designers and perfume-makers. While the designers are the creative directors who develop a concept for a new fragrance by choosing four to six images (photographs, collages, etc.) that represent a specific idea or meaning usually associated with an emotion (for example 'joy' or 'pride'), the perfume makers 'translate' this idea into a fragrance. The process involves several steps and requires a close co-operation between the creative directors and the perfume makers. As other researchers have shown in similar contexts, the creative process is facilitated by the images who serve as 'boundary' (Star & Griesemer, 1989) or 'intermediary' (Vinck & Jeantet, 1995) objects (Star 1989; Carlile 2002, 2004; Eckert & Boujut 2003; Ewenstein & Whyte 2009). For example, Eckert and Boujut (2003) note: “Looking at the objects generated or referred to during a design process enables us to study not only how a product is developed, but also how it is influenced by the objects themselves. Objects are reference points for explanations and externalizations of thoughts”. Yet, while most objects that have been studied so far are very technical (e.g. sketches, prototypes) and in this sense 'neutral' in nature, the boundary objects in the perfume-making process include an emotional component that seems decisive for the process. The emotion that is transferred via the images is closely connected to the tacit knowledge that both the designers and the perfume-makers possess. We argue that this tacit knowledge is therefore best understood as aesthetic knowledge (Strati, 2003; Ewenstein & Whyte, 2007), which incorporates the look, feel, smell, taste and sound of things in organizational life (Ewenstein & Whyte, 2007). However, practical illustrations of how aesthetic knowledge influences creative processes are very rare and our aim is thus to provide an example that shows how the boundary objects and emotions help to communicate the aesthetic knowledge. In addition, we show that it is less the object per se which translates the knowledge (see e.g. Carlile, 2004) but rather the emotion that is evoked by the images. As a consequence, the current understanding of boundary objects is revised and extended by a new sensory quality. The project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and follows a process methodology. Accordingly, knowledge is a social practice (Schatzki, 2001: Nicolini et al., 2003) and the units of analysis are the concrete processes and practices between the actors involved in the creative process. We employ qualitative interviews, participant observations, and take pictures in order to reconstruct the process. In addition, we collect and analyze the documents and objects that are used as well as the email correspondence between the designers and perfume makers. We will present this data in the paper and discuss the theoretical and practical implications for the communication of ideas and meanings in creative processes.
Stephan Hess, ETH Zurich, "R&D Venture: Proposition of a Technology Transfer Concept for Breakthrough Technologies with R&D Cooperation. A case Study in the Energy Sector"
- 16 November
- Cancelled due to SMS conference
- 30 November
- Stefan Haefliger, ETH Phenomenon-based research in management and organization science: Towards a strategy
Georg von Krogh, ETH Zurich
Cristina Rossi Lamastra, Politecnico di Milano
Stefan Haefliger, ETH Zurich
Recently, the editors of Long Range Planning called for more phenomenon-based research. Such research focuses on capturing and reporting on new or recent phenomena of interest and relevance to management and organization science. In this article, we explore the nature of phenomenon-based research and the opportunities associated with it. We seek to develop a research strategy for this type of work and provide corresponding guidelines for researchers interested in conducting scientific inquiry. Phenomenon-based research is a research strategy that establishes and describes the empirical facts that enable scientific inquiry to proceed. We illustrate this strategy with a prominent and recent example, namely the study of open source software development by an interdisciplinary community of scholars. Phenomenon-based research, we argue, may bridge epistemological divides and generate findings of high relevance to management practice.
- 14 December
- No seminar -> Koen Heimeriks, Rotterdam School of Management Brown Bag