MANAGEMENT SCIENCE, 54 (7), 2008 – interesting articles

[Deutscher Titel: MANAGEMENT SCIENCE, 54 (7), 2008 – interessante Artikel]

Boris Groysberg, Linda-Eling Lee, and Ashish Nanda
Can They Take It With Them? The Portability of Star Knowledge Workers’ Performance 1213-1230

  • Abstract: This paper examines the portability of star security analysts’ performance. Star analysts who switched employers experienced an immediate decline in performance that persisted for at least five years. This decline was most pronounced among star analysts who moved to firms with lesser capabilities and those who moved solo, without other team members. Star analysts who moved between two firms with equivalent capabilities also exhibited a drop in performance, but only for two years. Those who switched to firms with better capabilities and those who moved with other team members exhibited no significant decline in short-term or long-term performance. These findings suggest that firm-specific skills and firms’ capabilities both play important roles in star analysts’ performance. In addition, we find that firms that hire star analysts from competitors with better capabilities suffered more extreme negative stock-market reactions than those that hire from comparable or lesser firms. These findings suggest that hiring stars may be perceived as value destroying and may not improve a firm’s competitive advantage.
  • Key Words: firm-specific performance; team-specific performance; firm capabilities; productivity; mobility; knowledge workers

Tonya Boone, Ram Ganeshan, and Robert L. Hicks
Learning and Knowledge Depreciation in Professional Services 1231-1236

  • Abstract: Organizational knowledge is a critical source of competitive advantage for professional service firms. Learning from experience and sustaining past knowledge are critical to the success of such knowledge-driven firms. We use learning curve theory to evaluate learning and depreciation in professional services. Our results, based on seven years of project data collected from an architectural engineering (A/E) firm, show that (a) professional services exhibit learning curves, (b) there is virtually no depreciation of knowledge and, (c) the rate of learning accelerates with experience.
  • Key Words: learning; depreciation; professional services

William P. Barnett and Elizabeth G. Pontikes
The Red Queen, Success Bias, and Organizational Inertia 1237-1251

  • Abstract: Why do successful organizations often move in new directions and then fail? We propose that this pattern is especially likely among organizations that have survived a history of competition. Such experience adapts organizations to their environment, through so-called “Red Queen” evolution, but being well adapted for one context makes moving into new contexts more hazardous. Meanwhile, managers in such organizations infer from their histories of competitive success a biased assessment of their organization’s ability to change. Consequently, although surviving competition makes organizational change especially hazardous, managers in surviving organizations are especially inclined to such initiatives. We develop these ideas in an empirically testable model, and find supportive evidence in estimates of the model using data from the history of the U.S. computer industry.
  • Key Words: competition; organizational learning; organizational change

Lilach Nachum, Srilata Zaheer, and Shulamith Gross
Does It Matter Where Countries Are? Proximity to Knowledge, Markets and Resources, and MNE Location Choices 1252-1265

  • Abstract: We suggest that the proximity of a country to other countries is a factor that affects its choice as a multinational enterprise (MNE) location. We introduce the concept of a country’s proximity to the global distribution of knowledge, markets, and resources, and frame this concept as a function of both geographic distance and the worldwide spatial distribution of these factors. We test our location model on a data set comprising 138,050 investments undertaken by U.S. MNEs worldwide. Our findings show that the proximity of a country to the rest of the world has a positive impact on MNEs choosing that country as a location. Proximity to the world’s knowledge and markets are stronger drivers of location choice than is proximity to the world’s resources, after accounting for the country’s own endowments. Larger firms are able to benefit more from remote locations than smaller firms are.
  • Key Words: Multinational Enterprise location choice; countries’ proximity to the world; distance; proximity to knowledge; markets and resources; sandwich estimators

Robert Salomon and Xavier Martin
Learning, Knowledge Transfer, and Technology Implementation Performance: A Study of Time-to-Build in the Global Semiconductor Industry 1266-1280

  • Abstract: Organizational growth and performance hinge upon the effective deployment of productive knowledge in new facilities. However, getting those facilities fully operational can be difficult and time consuming. Interestingly, we understand little about what determines the performance of that process. In this paper we help fill this gap by analyzing multiple determinants of time-to-build—i.e., the time it takes a firm to build and ramp up operations at a new manufacturing facility. Theoretically, we develop predictions regarding the effects of competitive, firm, and technology characteristics on time-to-build. Empirically, we test our predictions on a sample of plant construction projects in the memory segment of the global semiconductor industry. We find that competition from rivals with superior technology is associated with shorter time-to-build, at least up to a point. Firm and industry experience are associated with shorter time-to-build. International projects, and those that push the technological frontier, take longer. Findings from this study enrich the literatures on corporate growth, international expansion, and technology strategy. We discuss implications for research and practice.
  • Key Words: time-to-build; international knowledge transfer; organizational learning

Ghiyoung Im and Arun Rai
Knowledge Sharing Ambidexterity in Long-Term Interorganizational Relationships 1281-1296.

  • Abstract: Although past research has investigated the impact of exploration and exploitation on firm performance, there is limited research on these effects in interorganizational relationships. We examine whether the boundary condition for ambidextrous learning can be extended from firms to long-term interorganizational relationships. Specifically, we focus on a particular aspect of learning—namely, explorative and exploitative knowledge sharing—and examine its impact on the performance of long-term relationships. We also theorize how ambidextrous management of the relationship and ontological commitment to span the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic knowledge boundaries between partners enable knowledge sharing. Our theoretical predictions are tested using data collected from both account managers at customer firms responsible for the relationship with a leading supply chain vendor and account managers at the vendor firm responsible for relationships with customers. The findings suggest that both exploratory and exploitative knowledge sharing lead to relationship performance gains, that such sharing is enabled by the ambidextrous management of the relationship, and that such sharing is facilitated by ontological commitment. Interesting differences in the enablers and consequences of both forms of knowledge sharing are detected between customers and the vendor.
  • Key Words: knowledge sharing; exploration; exploitation; learning paradox; contextual ambidexterity; digital boundary objects; ontological commitment

Hazhir Rahmandad
Effect of Delays on Complexity of Organizational Learning 1297-1312

  • Abstract: We examine how delays between actions and their consequent payoffs affect the process of organizational adaptation. Formal conceptions of organizational learning typically include the assumption that payoffs immediately follow their antecedent actions, making the search for better strategies relatively straightforward. However, previous actions influence current organizational performance through their effects on organizational resources and capabilities. These resources and capabilities cannot be modified instantly, so delays—from actions to changes in resources and capabilities to altered organizational performance—are inevitable. Our computational experiments show that delays increase learning complexity and performance heterogeneity through two mechanisms. First, complexity of state-space and, therefore, of learning grows exponentially with delay length. Second, the time required to experience the benefits of long-term strategies means the intermediate steps of those strategies are initially undervalued, prompting premature abandonment of potentially fruitful regions of the strategy space. We find that these mechanisms often cause organizations to converge to suboptimal, routine-like cycles of actions, based on organizations’ continually updated cognitive maps of how actions influence payoffs. Furthermore, the evolution of these cognitive maps exhibits path dependence, leading to heterogeneity across organizations. Implications for overcoming temporal complexity and the impact of initial cognitive maps are discussed.
  • Key Words: organizational learning; delay; complexity; simulation; heterogeneity; path dependence

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