Session 220

Contemporary Challenges to Organization Theory

Track E

Date: Monday, October 12, 2009


Time: 15:45 – 17:00

Common Ground

Room: Meeting Room 7

Xavier Martin, Tilburg University

Title: From Core to Periphery and Back: Sources of Differentiation in Network-to-Network Competition


  • Andrea Lipparini, University of Bologna
  • Gianni Lorenzoni, University of Bologna
  • Simone Ferriani, University of Bologna
  • Paolo Aversa, City, University London

Abstract: In networks where know-how is broadly dispersed, small firms are usually not expected to have ambidexterity in managing different strategic approaches. In this paper, data from extensive fieldwork conducted in the successful Italian motorcycle components industry show the co-existence of a deliberate dual network strategy, based on a efficiency-driven and a knowledge-driven approach. Thus provides an innovative contribution by shifting the focus of analysis from the core-firms in a network to the peripheral actors, that have been only partially considered in the analysis of differential performance. Secondly it shows how different strategies such as the knowledge-based and the efficiency-based can be orthogonally managed by small firms, providing flexible, diverse and effective support to the core companies’ value creation.

Title: From Strategy To Practice of Green Supply Chain: An Institutional Perspective


  • Valerie Moatti, ESCP Europe
  • Valentina Carbone, ESCP Europe

Abstract: Most companies have now adopted the “green attitude”, i.e. claiming their interest for integrating an environmental dimension into their business practices. After studying both the strategic intent and the supply chain decisions, we found it relevant to further analyze how firms are responding to environmental pressures within their supply chain. More specifically, thanks to the institutional theoretical perspective, we show that green supply chain strategy and practices are following different patterns. We point out here that green-washing represents a primarily needed step towards further concrete actions and results. Further, we expect that different institutional contexts (coercive versus normative or mimetic) lead to different types of green supply chain behaviours. We started by confirming our predictions through a large-scale survey of 600 international companies.

Title: Institutionalization, Intent and Implementation: A Meta-Analysis of Firm Size and Proactive Environmental Strategy


  • Frances Bowen, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Jessica Dillabough, University of Calgary

Abstract: Do large firms adopt more proactive environmental strategies than small firms? Researchers routinely include firm size as a predictor of proactive corporate environmental strategy, but with mixed results. We use arguments from new institutional theory on ceremonial adoption, and changing institutional pressures over time, to hypothesize that this relationship is moderated by (1) the type of environmental strategy, whether based on intent or implementation, and (2) the phase of institutionalization. Provisional results from meta-analyzing 104 effect sizes from 45 published studies support our arguments. Overall, we find a positive and significant, but weak, relationship between firm size and proactive environmental strategy. We also find evidence suggesting early ceremonial environmental strategy at larger firms, but that ceremonial adoption diminishes over time.

Title: Reputation Dynamics in Industries with Trangressing Rivals: From Blessings in Disguise to Collateral Damage


  • Anastasiya Zavyalova, Rice University
  • Michael Pfarrer, University of Georgia
  • Rhonda Reger, University of Tennessee
  • Debra L. Shapiro, University of Maryland

Abstract: We test a reputational dynamics model via longitudinal analysis of U.S. children’s products industries during a period of product recalls, injuries and even death. Results suggest that firms with recalls enjoy long term positive reputation equal or greater to that of firms without recalls. We suggest recalls might be “blessings in disguise”. We also find an association between firms’ responsive actions and reputation. For guilty firms, symbolic actions are associated with higher reputation, while substantive actions associate with lower reputation. For innocent firms, substantive actions associate with lower reputation; symbolic actions have no effect on reputation. Innocent firms might suffer the fallout of “collateral damage” from the bad acts of peers. We offer a theory of reputational dynamics including type of reputation-restoring action, temporal, and spillover effects.

Title: The Intensity of Legal Conflicts Among Corporations: The Role of Tangible and Intangible Resources


  • Jean-Philippe Bonardi, University of Lausanne
  • Cyril Bouquet, IMD
  • Fabrice Lumineau, Purdue University

Abstract: In spite of the large literature on firms’ transactions and contractual arrangements, little attention has been paid to what might happen later on if things turn wrong: legal battles between firms. What determines the intensity of these legal battles? Do firms’ tangible and intangible legal resources play an important role in this? In order to address these questions, this paper builds on the rational choice literature regarding wars between countries. Hypotheses are tested using a unique database of legal battles among European firms. Results suggest that the larger the size asymmetry between the two firms, the shorter and less intensive the legal battle. Moreover, the uncertainty about the opponents’ resources and capabilities seem to matter to explain the intensity of legal conflicts in our sample.

Title: The Paradox of Knowledge Retention and Organizational Downsizing


  • Achim Schmitt, École hôtelière de Lausanne, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland
  • Stefano Borzillo, CERAM Business School
  • Gilbert Probst, University of Geneva

Abstract: According to the knowledge-based view of the firm, sustainable competitive advantage is based on exploiting, exploring, and retaining a firm’s knowledge. While exploitation and exploration have received extensive attention within the literature, knowledge retention has been relatively neglected. This paper explores how a firm’s knowledge retention capability can be preserved over time. In particular, we develop a set of propositions about the use and effectiveness of knowledge retention strategies by linking three elementary antecedents (type of knowledge, distribution of knowledge, strategic relevance of knowledge) to a firm’s knowledge retention capability. By introducing employee downsizing as a research context, we believe that we present a promising research framework to empirically examine knowledge retention in practice.

All Sessions in Track E...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 256: Discipline Based Theories: What Do Theories of the Firm Say About Organizational Dynamics
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 257: Applying Theories: What Does Strategy & Organization Say About Health Care?
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 258: Integrating Theories of Problem Formation
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 309: Competitive Strategy, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 159: Strategic Factor Markets: Antecedents, Consequences and Dynamics
Session 166: Competitive Strategy and the Business of Science
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 160: Emerging Strategies in Acquisition
Session 220: Contemporary Challenges to Organization Theory
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 157: Managerial Cognition and Dynamic Capabilities at the Crossroads: Current Issues and Novel Strands of Development
Session 222: Challenging Traditional Notions of Competitive Strategies and Competitive Advantage
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 161: Demand-based Approaches to Strategy: The Role of Customers and Communities
Session 163: Resources and Capabilities to Strengthen Alliance Formation and Execution
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 164: Competitive Strategy and Firm Performance
Session 165: Emerging Organizational Solutions for Exploration Strategies
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 158: Strategic Change and Dynamic Capabilities
Session 169: Unpacking Sources of Heterogeneity: Market Frictions, Firm Resources, Strategic Actions
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 216: Industry Evolution and Resource Architecture
Session 217: Designing Organizations to Sustain Performance
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 214: Managerial Capabilities and the Microfoundations of Strategy

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