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Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

This paper explores conflicting implications of firm-specific human capital (FSHC) for firm performance. Existing theory predicts a productivity effect that can be enhanced with strong incentives. We propose an offsetting agency effect: FSHC may facilitate more sophisticated “gaming” of incentives, to the detriment of firm performance. Using a unique dataset from a multiunit retail bank, we document both effects and estimate their net impact. Managers with superior FSHC are more productive in selling loans but are also more likely to manipulate loan terms to increase incentive payouts. We find that resulting profits are two percentage points lower for high-FSHC managers. Finally, profit losses increase more rapidly for high-FSHC managers, indicating adverse learning. Our results suggest that FSHC can create agency costs that outweigh its productive benefits.


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

How do we, as management researchers, develop novel theoretical contributions, and potentially break new ground, in management studies? To address this question, we review previous methodological work on theorizing and advance a typology of the reasoning processes that underlie theoretical contributions and significant advances in management studies. This typology consist of various types of analogical and counterfactual reasoning that range from focused thought experiments aimed at prodding existing theory in the direction of alternative assumptions, constructs and hypotheses to more expansive efforts around inducing new theoretical models and alternative explanations. With this typology we detail the mechanisms behind the formation of novel theoretical contributions and we illustrate the currency of our typology with a review of twenty-four major theoretical breakthroughs in management studies. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the implications of this typology for our collective efforts in building, elaborating and expanding theory in management studies.


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

To what extent do organizations respond favorably to minority participation, i.e. conform to demands from minority resource suppliers that hold an unconventional logic? A favorable response to minority participation (i.e. “alternative conformity”) contributes to decrease the influence of dominant players, alter the resource suppliers’ social structure, and promote new logics, which makes alternative conformity a soft control strategy for organizations. We expect a positive relationship between minority participation and alternative conformity and that relationship to be attenuated by organizations’ adherence to the dominant logic, centrality of minority logic holders, and minority logic’s institutional credit. We test and find strong support for our hypotheses using original data on investment funds in the French film industry (1994-2008).


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

We advocate for more tolerance in the manner we collectively address categories and categorization in our research. Drawing on the prototype view, organizational scholars have provided a ‘disciplining’ framework to explain how category membership shapes, impacts and limits organizational success. By stretching the existing straightjacket of scholarship on categories, we point to other useful conceptualizations of categories – i.e. the causal model and the goal-based approaches of categorization – and propose that depending on situational circumstances, and beyond a disciplining exercise, categories involve a cognitive test of congruence and a goal satisfying calculus. Unsettling the current consensus about categorical imperatives and market discipline, we suggest also that markets may tolerate more often than thought organizations that blend, span, and stretch categories. We derive implications for research about multi-category membership and mediation in markets, and suggest ways in which work on the theme of categories in the strategy, entrepreneurship, and managerial cognition literatures can be enriched.


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion

The position of an internal audit function as a “servant of two masters” (i.e. management and the audit committee) may lead to a conflict of priorities. In this setting, the tone at the top set by the Chief Audit Executive (CAE) plays a critical role in balancing the potentially competing preferences of management and the audit committee. We examine whether the emphasis in the CAE’s communication with internal auditors influences their judgments. We also test whether such influence is more pronounced in an internal audit task where potential for justification created through task complexity and ambiguity is high, as compared to low. We test two hypotheses in a mixed experimental design with the communicated preferences of the CAE to subordinates (cost reduction vs. effectiveness of internal controls) as a between-subjects factor, and levels of opportunity for justification (low, medium, high) manipulated within subjects. Findings suggest that the emphasis in the CAE’s message can bias internal auditors’ judgments, and such influence is more pronounced when the opportunity for justification is high, resulting in the elimination of a significantly greater number of internal controls and the design of less effective processes.


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion

The ability of firms to transform an environmental constraint into a strategic opportunity has been a controversial issue in the literature. Based on a comparative study of CO2 strategies in the cement and chemical industries, the article shows that the capacity of firms to be proactive regarding sustainable development is largely constrained by the characteristics of the sector in terms of dependence on natural resources, flexibility in the composition of activities portfolio and structure of the downstream sector.


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion

This article presents the results of a poll made among the members of the editorial and advisory boards of Valuation Studies. The purpose is to overview the topic that is the remit of the new journal. The poll focused on three questions:
1. Why is the study of valuation topical?
2. What specific issues related to valuation are the most pressing ones to explore?
3. What sites and methods would be interesting for studying valuation?
The answers to these questions provided by sixteen board members form the basis of the article. Based on these answers, it identifies a number of themes concerning the study of valuation, elaborating on the rationale for attending to valuation, the conceptual challenges linked to this, and the specific issues and sites that deserve further attention.


Département Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion

In a recent comment made about my paper “A Social Movement Perspective on Finance: How Socially Responsible Invetsment Mattered” (J Bus Ethics 92:57–78, 2010), published in this journal, Déjean, Giamporcaro, Gond, Leca and Penalva-Icher (J Bus Ethics 112: 205-212, 2013) strongly criticize the social movement perspective adopted on French SRI. They both contest the empirical analysis of the movement and the possibility for insiders to trigger institutional change towards sustainability. This answer aims to address the different concerns raised throughout their comment and illuminate the differences between both approaches. It first explains why SRI in France can be considered as a social movement, despite not being protest-oriented. It then reflects on the dangers of systematically associating societal change with radical activism. It concludes by elaborating on the importance of acknowledging the potential contribution of reformist movements from within the economic institutions to the enhancement of the social good.


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

This paper discusses the reasons that drive organizations to interrupt outsourcing, reverse their previous decision, and then reintegrate activities formerly delegated to providers. Contractual approaches, mainly derived from Transaction Costs Economics, offer some plausible explanations for reintegration originating from outsourcing failure. These explanations are mainly related to asset specificity, poor contractual design, and deficient monitoring. The study of a real case of outsourcing interruption in industrial maintenance illustrates these different factors. However, some other determinants might complement the contractual and strategic background, namely bandwagon behavior and institutional pressure exerted by external actors. Finally, we propose an integrative framework that combines micro- and macro-levels of organizational analysis. We argue that some existing complementarities between the different theories we use here can shed some light on real organizational problems. Besides the implications for theory, our work can help managers to understand the dynamics of organizational boundaries, thus allowing them to make better choices in both outsourcing and reintegration decisions.


Département Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise

This paper is devoted to the pattern of activity within large companies, through the two criteria of decentralization and contracting out. Our goal is to understand whether the determinants are identical for both internal and external boundaries of the firm. One literature stream contributes to the analysis of the internal structure and organization of divisional companies, studying the functions assigned to headquarters or divisions. Another part of the literature has focused on the boundaries of the firm issues and the firm's core activities. Few works are at the junction of these two traditions. This study builds on an empirical study dedicated to the book publishing industry. Our analysis leads to discuss determinants of internal and external borders. We show that functions or activities with high potential of economies of scale are mainly centralized and internalized. On reverse, those related to core business and non-programmable functions are mostly at divisional level and contracted out.


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