Session 181

Sustaining Innovation

Track C

Date: Monday, October 12, 2009


Time: 12:45 – 14:00


Room: Meeting Room 6

Session Chair:
Francesco Perrini, Bocconi University

Title: All Eggs in One Basket: How Uncertainty Affects Firms’ Scope of Innovative Activities


  • PuayKhoon Toh, University of Texas at Austin
  • Taekyu Kim, University of Minnesota

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of technological uncertainty on firm’s scope of innovative activities. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we propose that greater uncertainty over which competing technologies will emerge as the dominant one will lead a firm to increase its technological focus, to generate superior technologies in the race against competitors and in doing so resolve the uncertainty in its favor. By elucidating the endogenous role of firm scope on resolution of technological uncertainty, we essentially stress that firms do not merely adjust their organization structure to adapt to uncertainty. This potentially challenges the conventional way we view contingencies in the study of organization design and boundaries, and suggests that crucial environmental characteristics are factors that firms attempt to change, rather than adapt to.

Title: Funnels Revisited: Antecedents to NPD Portfolio Selectivity in Uncertain Markets


  • Ronald Klingebiel, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
  • Sven Metscher, University of Mannheim

Abstract: How do organisations strategically manage their new product development (NPD) portfolio over time? In this paper we explore why six case study firms display varying portfolio selectivity although theories of investment management under uncertainty and funnel concepts would suggest otherwise. We concentrate on the organisational antecedents to NPD portfolio selectivity, discussing eight factors which seem to not yet have informed the theoretical discourse on NPD management. Organisational realities such as process complexity, product interdependence, and commitment indivisibility caution the use of funnel-representations in theories of portfolio decision-making under uncertainty. In fact, funnels seem only indicative of superior management and performance if enabling conditions are present. Our findings identify important areas for further research.

Title: Learning Dynamics of Corporate Sustainability Integration: A Process-Based View


  • Clodia Vurro, Bocconi University
  • Stefano Brusoni, ETH Zurich
  • Francesco Perrini, Bocconi University

Abstract: Despite an increasing recognition of the need for integrating corporate sustainability into daily practices and corporate strategies, the learning dynamics by which organizations shift to integrated managerial models for sustainability are still open to debate. Presenting the longitudinal reconstruction of a large oil and gas company’s experience, our study opens the view on the learning dynamics occurring at each stage, and clarifies the drivers hindering or facilitating the process. Findings show how in the shift from reactive to accommodative to affirmative responsiveness postures, the organization upgraded its social adaptation capabilities by changing the configuration of roles and responsibilities, integrating internal decision making and response mechanisms, improving its ability to interact with internal and external stakeholders in a deliberate, systematic way.

Title: Sustaining Innovation in the Global Corporation: The Role of Managers, Enterpreneurs and Leaders


  • Philip Dover, Babson College
  • Udo Dierk, MEL-Institute

Abstract: How can we understand the role of key personnel in sustaining innovation within corporations around the globe? This article presents the results from the pilot study of a two-stage research project. It is underpinned by the concept that three basic archetypes exist – managers, entrepreneurs and leaders. We tested a new tool: the MEL-Index, a numerical and graphical representation of executives’ evaluation of their own and their corporation’s performance as managers, entrepreneurs and leaders. It was shown to have considerable diagnostic potential. Improvements were made in the test instrument, which will form part of a subsequent extended study.

All Sessions in Track C...

Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 173: Proactive Strategies to Manage an Uncertain World
Session 181: Sustaining Innovation
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 174: The Effect of Environmental Conditions on Organizational Reconfiguration
Session 183: Managing Collective Emotions under Strategic Uncertainty
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 175: The Influence of Uncertainty on Investment Behaviour of Firms
Session 185: New Forms and Governance Modes for Coping with Uncertainty
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 176: The Influence of External Uncertainty on Capability Development
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 177: How to Make the Right Decisions During Uncertain Times?
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 178: Does the Past Predict Future Exploratory or Exploitative Innovative Behaviour?
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 179: Environmental Dynamism and Firm Behavior
Session 182: Cognitive Processs under Uncertainty
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 180: The Dynamics of Top Management Team in Achieving Long Term Performance
Session 184: Value Creation Under Uncertainty

Strategic Management Society

Washington DC