Session Details: Session 1047

How to Measure Knowledge -- Refining Old, Suggesting New Approaches

Track B

Date: Monday, October 13, 2008


Time: 11:15 – 12:30


Room: Salon 5

Session Chair:
Robert Wiseman, Michigan State University

Title: Are Patent Citations a Useful Measure of Knowledge Flows from Academic Research?


  • Michael Roach, Cornell University
  • Wesley Cohen, Duke University

Abstract: We examine measures of knowledge flows from academic research by employing a novel dataset that allows for the direct comparison of survey and patent-based measures. Using patent citations to both patent and non-patent (e.g., publications) references, we find that patent citations reflect the flow of codified knowledge through open science, yet obscure the flow of tacit knowledge through private interactions. We also find that patent citations are strongly associated with firms’ decisions regarding which R&D outputs are patented, appropriability mechanism and strategic patenting. Finally, patent citations to publications are a more useful measure of knowledge flows than citations to patent references. These results suggest that patent citations are potentially biased measures and illustrate the need for greater consideration of what patent citations actually reflect.

Title: Empirically Eliciting Capabilities in the Presence of Measurable and Transferable Resources


  • Joseph Clougherty, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Thomas P. Moliterno, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Abstract: Recent reviews of resource-based scholarship suggest that researchers are finding considerable support for the association between organizational capabilities—the process by which firms bundle discrete resources—and competitive advantage. However, measuring organizational capabilities presents empirical researchers with substantial difficulties in terms of measurement, while resources are more readily measurable. We propose an empirical strategy to use knowable resources to elicit what otherwise would be unknowable capabilities. Thus, we provide an econometric means to capture heterogeneity in firm capabilities.

Title: On the Use and Misuse of Ratio Measures in Strategy Research


  • Robert Wiseman, Michigan State University

Abstract: Strategy research relies heavily on ratios to measure a variety of firm, industry and societal characteristics. Generally, these ratios simply scale for size, but may they also hold theoretical meaning apart from that of the ratio’s components. Despite their popularity, the use of ratios is not without controversy. For example, several studies have demonstrated that the use of ratio measures in correlations and OLS regression may exaggerate relations of interest leading to biased and unstable results. In this study, I review the debate surrounding the use of ratio measures, discuss the problems for estimation and inference that are arise when ratios are used, and provide alternatives to the use of ratio variables that still satisfy the purpose for which ratio measures are created.

All Sessions in Track B...

Mon: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 1047: How to Measure Knowledge -- Refining Old, Suggesting New Approaches
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 1048: Measuring Knowledge in Organizations

Strategic Management Society

Cologne Conference