Session Details: Session 1023

The Role of Top Management in Learning and Innovation

Track I

Date: Monday, October 13, 2008


Time: 15:30 – 16:45

Common Ground

Room: Salon 7

Rhonda Reger, University of Tennessee

Title: An Attention-Based Theory of Organizational Learning Across Multiple Domains


  • Hakan Ener, IESE Business School

Abstract: This paper proposes and tests an attention-based theory of organizational learning that addresses firms’ ability to compete in new market domains while preserving and enhancing performance in their existing market domains. Longitudinal analyses of drug development projects pursued by US biopharmaceutical firms spanning two decades indicate that organizational learning may fail or greatly speed up, depending on executives’ attentional load arising from simultaneously entering new market domains. Firms avoid learning disruptions by expanding the executive team, and recruiting individuals with particularly relevant career experiences during periods of rapid organizational growth. The findings point towards a view of organizational learning as a multi-level process where the executive team plays a key role in leveraging organizational experience.

Title: Board's Strategic Involvement and Organizational Innovation: The Roles of Performance Feedback and Absorptive Capacity


  • Chanan Ben Oz, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
  • Avi Fiegenbaum, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Abstract: The strategic involvement of the board and its impact on the strategic choices such as innovation has become a major theme for business practitioners and academic researchers. This involvement is especially important in early stage high tech firms since the strategy is crafted and will have a long term impact on the destiny of the firm. The current study central argument is that boards have to enhance their strategic involvement mainly by enhancing their absorptive capacity. We develop two propositions: first, boards should direct their absorptive capacity by performance feedback learning about the organization's undesirable strategic gaps. Second, the enhancement of board's absorptive capacity enhances the impact of strategic feedback gaps learning on strategic choices. A sample of 200 firms is collected to examine the propositions.

Title: How Does the Distribution of Knowledge Matter in TMTs? Industry Backgrounds and Systems Innovation


  • Willow Sheremata, York University
  • Peter Lee, York University
  • Thomas Medcof, York University

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to explore how distributions of knowledge in top management teams (TMTs) affect the performance of firms that develop and bring technological systems to market. Therefore, we investigate diversity of knowledge regarding technologies and associated markets, which is obtained through industry experience, in the TMTs of non-diversified firms in the computer systems industry. We model conceptualizations of diversity based on predominant and “any” industry backgrounds, as well as proportions of different knowledge bases in the team, in order to understand how the distribution of knowledge matters. Our results indicate that looking at the proportions of specific types of knowledge, in conjunction with diversity indices, helps unpack what is really going on when a knowledge structure affects firm performance.

Title: Knowledge Acuity in Top and Middle Management: Blind Spots, Dark Holes and Astigmatism


  • Philippe Byosiere, Doshisha University
  • Denise Luethge, Northern Kentucky University

Abstract: The effects of four different modes of strategy implementation (local, top, middle and open) are investigated on four types of tacit knowledge creating behaviors (tacit accumulation, wandering inside, wandering outside and tacit transfer) between senior and middle managers at the HQ and nine local divisions of a large MNC. The results confirm the important role of middle managers on tacit knowledge transfer in all cases. Differences in the perception of the relationship between strategy implementation and tacit knowledge creation is moderated by the perspective of level and location within the organization. For senior managers at the local divisions, strategy implementation by the top leadership has a strong negative effect on tacit knowledge transfer. The results for senior and middle managers at the HQ are identical.

Title: Leadership and Learning in Strategic Alliances


  • David Zoogah, Morgan State University

Abstract: Even though leadership in strategic alliances has been suggested as important, the alliance literature lacks studies of leadership and its influence on learning and innovation. Adopting a strategic leadership perspective, I develop a theoretical model of the impact of alliance executives’ leadership styles and practices on learning and innovation. I take a fine-grained look at the processes and levels of alliances to describe how strategic leaders influence learning and innovation. I adopt a micro perspective to encourage research that integrates leadership and learning and innovation in alliances.

Title: Staying on the road to success: Understanding the Sources of Innovation Strategies in New Technology-Based Firms


  • Marina Candi, Reykjavik University
  • Rognvaldur Saemundsson, University of Iceland

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to investigate the sources of innovation strategies in new technology-based firms. Based on hierarchical regression analysis of survey data collected in a set of new technology-based firms, hypotheses about how environmental conditions and resource endowments are related with innovation strategies are tested. Specifically, relationships with explorative or exploitative innovation strategies, respectively, are examined. The research provides a connection between previous research investigating the relationship between the composition of founding teams and performance and research that investigates the relationship between innovation and change on one hand, and performance on the other.

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