Session Details: Session 1018

Building on the Past: The Effect of Experience and Relatedness

Track I

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Time: 14:30 – 15:45


Room: Salon 16

Session Chair:
Louis Mulotte, Tilburg University

Title: Exploring New Technology Fields: Technological Relatedness and Technological Opportunities


  • Bart Leten, University of Leuven
  • Rene Belderbos, University of Leuven
  • Bart Van Looy, University of Leuven

Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on technology diversification and exploration by examining antecedents of firms’ choices to explore new technology fields and their subsequent technological performance in the newly entered fields. Drawing on innovation management and organizational learning theories, we hypothesize that technological entry is more likely, and post-entry technological performance higher, the greater the technological relatedness of a new domain to a firm’s existing technology portfolio. Technological opportunities in a domain attract entries, but only firms with a related knowledge base are able to benefit from the emerging opportunities. We find qualified support for our hypotheses in an analysis of consolidated patent data on the technological activities of 170 R&D intensive American, European and Japanese firms in 5 high-tech industries.

Title: External Shocks and Innovation Efforts: Determinants of Firms’ Responses to Environmental Challenges


  • Vivek Tandon, National University of Singapore
  • Curba M Lampert, Florida International University
  • Gautam Ahuja, University of Michigan

Abstract: We build and test a theoretical framework that identifies the factors that induce or prevent firms from exerting innovation efforts in response to external shocks. Specifically, we argue that the level and the kind – related versus unrelated - of diversification, and, the historical pattern of problem solving methodologies affect the firm’s propensity to invest in building technological capabilities in response to external shocks. We test our hypotheses examining the responses of large manufacturing firms in the United States to the oil shock of the early 1980s using oil-dependence measures from IO tables while controlling for firm fixed effects. Our study suggests that external shocks induce innovation efforts unequally in firms. This can cause firms’ technological capabilities to differ and have competitive consequences for firms.

Title: Managing the Dynamic Interplay Between Knowledge Relatedness and Autonomy in New Business Development Projects


  • Henri Burgers, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Abstract: Research on managing knowledge creation in new business development (NBD) projects and resulting project performance has shown ambiguous results. We develop novel insights into this relationship by distinguishing between technology and market knowledge relatedness and two phases in the NBD process. Our findings indicate that project performance is enhanced if top management team control is decreased for unrelated projects and increased for related projects. However, the relation is reversed for achieving cost objectives. This indicates that top management strategies emphasize cost control at the expense of the performance of the newly developed business. Another key finding is that these relationships change over the course of the NBD process. This implies that projects should be managed differently in the development and the subsequent commercialization phase of the NBD process.

Title: Relative Experiential Returns from Varying Expansion Modes: Evidence from New Product Development


  • Louis Mulotte, Tilburg University

Abstract: Extant research suggests that when a firm expands its activities or businesses through an expansion mode it has already used in similar conditions, it can benefit from positive experience effects, thereby realizing greater success. In this paper, we help advance this work by arguing that the organizational modes used by firms to expand lead to experience benefits of a different intensity, going from market-based arrangements experience to internal growth experience, with the case of the cooperation being an intermediate situation. By evaluating the commercial success of 278 aircraft programs introduced since WWII through internal developments, alliances, and licensing, we find support for our hypotheses, confirming that experiential learning processes work differently in the setting of varying organizational modes.

All Sessions in Track I...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 1505: Innovation, Learning and Corporate Responsibility
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 1705: Towards the Micro-Foundations Of Organizational Learning
Mon: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 1022: Using Alliance Networks to Enhance Innovation
Session 1024: Developing New Technologies and Products
Mon: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 1013: Linking Organizational Factors to Innovation Orientation and Outcomes
Session 1023: The Role of Top Management in Learning and Innovation
Mon: 17:00 – 18:15
Session 1016: The Influence of "Outsiders" on Innovation
Tue: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 1017: The Influence of Learning and Absorptive Capacity on Innovation
Session 1021: Influences on Innovation Strategies and Outcomes
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 1018: Building on the Past: The Effect of Experience and Relatedness
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 1014: Creating Ambidextrous Organizations
Session 1019: Working with Others: Collaboration and Knowledge Development
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 1015: Knowledge Innovation: Creating New Knowledge and Capabilities
Session 1020: When Does Geographic Proximity Pay?

Strategic Management Society

Cologne Conference