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Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise

Although Strategy research aims to understand how firm actions have differential effects on performance, most empirical research estimates the average effects of these actions across firms. This paper promotes Random Coefficients Models (RCMs) as an ideal empirical methodology to study firm heterogeneity in Strategy research. Specifically, we highlight and illustrate three main benefits that RCMs offer to Strategy researchers—testing firm heterogeneity, predicting firm-specific effects, and estimating trade-offs in strategy—using both synthetic and actual datasets. These examples showcase the potential uses of RCMs to test and build theory in Strategy, as well as to perform exploratory and definitive analyses of firm heterogeneity


Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

We propose that institutional logics are resources organizations use to leverage their strategic choices. We argue that firms with an awareness of multiple available logics, expressed by a larger stock of competences and a broader industrial scope are more likely to add an institutional logic to their repertoire and to become purist in this new logic. We also hypothesize that a favorable opportunity set as expressed by status leads high and low status firms to add a logic but not to focus exclusively on this new logic. We examine our hypotheses in the French industrial design industry from 1989 to 2003 in which a managerialist logic emerged and prevailed along with the pre-existing institutional logics of modernism and formalism. Our findings contribute to theory on the relationship between organizations’ strategy and institutional change and partially address the paradox of why high-status actors play a key role in triggering institutional change when such change is likely to undermine the very basis of their social position and advantage.

Mots clés : Institutional logics, strategic resources, institutional plurality, strategic choice, logic addition, logic focus


Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

When will knowledge holders share their knowledge with peers? Several studies suggest that norms of knowledge disclosure encourage knowledge transfer. More recently, scholars have hypothesized that norms of knowledge use may indirectly promote it. In this article, we synthesize a theoretical framework of the effect of norms of knowledge use and test its predictions by means of a field experiment involving more than 500 Italian chefs. For the literature on knowledge transfer, we confirm the importance of norms, but we also show that they are not complete substitutes for other means of protecting private knowledge. For the literature on social norms, we provide evidence of how actors assess others’ propensity to conform and how this influences the intention to participate in the norm-regulated exchange.

Mots clés : social norms, knowledge transfer, institutional theory, thick rationality, intellectual property


Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

A critical issue has been absent from the conversation on dynamic capabilities: the two seminal papers represent not only different but contradictory understandings of the construct’s core elements. Here, we explore the reasons for this, using author co-citation analysis to inform our analysis. Our findings suggest that the field is being socially constructed on the basis of two separate domains of knowledge and that underlying structural impediments have impeded dialog across the domains. In light of this evidence, then, we take up the challenge to find a solution to this dilemma. By employing a contingency-based approach, we show that there are ways to unify the field that rely, paradoxically, on integrating the two contradictory views, while still preserving the assumptions that led to their differences.

Mots clés : Dynamic capabilities, Co-citation analysis, Development path, Resource-based, Dynamic bundles


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 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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