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Article

Companies need business models to profit from innovation and technology. However, the success of a certain technology depends on whether and how it is used. Usage is important not only as an indicator of technology adoption, but also as a way for companies to design business models—as a way to create and capture value from technology. Usage is inscribed by the designers in the technology, but users in their ongoing practice can alter the designers’ intentions, which sometimes leads to innovation. Users can also combine different technologies in practice to accomplish a specific usage. In essence, usage is constitutive of technology and its value. Technology usage-based business modeling is a way to explore business modeling for technology that looks into how different technologies are integrated, either by users or platform actors, into solutions to address specific usage needs. To understand this notion of usage for business model design, one must first understand how value is created and captured from technology. At the same time, it is also important to know different streams of literature that have investigated technology usage: user-centered design, user innovation and lead users, form, function, affordances of technology, and the practice-based view. While usage-based business modeling has implications for all kinds of technologies, it is of particular importance for emerging, enabling, and embedding technologies, where the value of technology depends on the usage across multiple applications and connectedness between different users.

Article

Rangapriya Kannan and Paola Perez-Aleman

Innovation adoption is challenging at both intra-organizational and interorganizational levels. Several decades of innovation adoption research have identified various barriers at both levels. Intra-organizational barriers are often related to the characteristics of the innovation, adopters, managers, environment, and ecosystem but can also include an incompatibility with an organization’s strategy, structural impediments, organizational resource constraints, a lack of fit of the innovation with an organizational culture and climate, decision making challenges, a lack of integration with an organization’s knowledge management, human resource management practices, dynamic capabilities, and active innovation resistance from customers. Interorganizational barriers include uncertainty with learning and implementation, the distributed nature of the innovation process, differences in production systems, disparities in regulatory systems, variation within local contexts, and the nature of embedded knowledge adopted in diverse organizational contexts. One of the key missing aspects in understanding innovation adoption is how extant practices within an organizational or interorganizational context enhance or hinder innovation adoption. Although the practices of innovation adoption emerge and evolve dynamically, existing research does not highlight fine-grained practices that lead to its success or failure. A practice lens focuses on people’s recurrent actions and helps to understand social life as an ongoing production that results from these actions. The durability of practices results from the reciprocal interactions between agents and structures that are embedded within daily routines. A practice lens allows us to study practices from three different perspectives. The first perspective, empirically explores how people act in organizational contexts. The second, a theoretical focus investigates the structure of organizational life. This perspective also delves into the relations between the actions that people take over time and in varying contexts. Finally, the third perspective which is a philosophical one focuses on how practices reproduce organizational reality. By focusing on the unfolding of constellations of everyday activities in relation to other practices within and across time and space, a practice lens hones in on everyday actions. Everyday actions are consequential in producing the structural contours of social life. A practice lens emphasizes what people do repeatedly and how those repetitive actions impact the social world. A practice theory lens also challenges the assumption that things are separable and independent. Instead, it focuses on relationality of mutual constitution to understand how one aspect of the issue creates another aspect. Relationality of mutual constitution is the notion that things such as identities, ideas, institutions, power, and material goods take on meaning only when they are enacted through practices instead of these being innate features of these things Focusing on duality forces us to address the assumptions that underlie the separation. A practice perspective on innovation adoption highlights the concepts of duality, dynamics, reciprocal interactions, relationality, and distributed agency to inform both the theory and practice of innovation adoption. Understanding these concepts enables a practice lens for successful adoption of innovations that impact organizational and societal outcomes, such as economic development, productivity enhancement, entrepreneurship, sustainability, equity, health, and other economic, social, and environmental changes.

Article

Per Davidsson, Jan Recker, and Frederik von Briel

“External enabler” (EE) denotes nontrivial changes to the business environment—such as new technology, regulatory change, demographic and sociocultural trends, macroeconomic swings, and changes to the natural environment—that enable entrepreneurial pursuits. The EE framework was developed to increase knowledge accumulation in entrepreneurship and strategy research regarding the influence of environmental factors on entrepreneurial endeavors. The framework provides detailed structure and carefully defined terminology to describe, analyze, and explain the influence of changes in the business environment on entrepreneurial pursuits. EE characteristics specify the environmental changes’ range of impact in terms of spatial, sectoral, sociocultural, and temporal scope as well as the degree of suddenness and predictability of their onset. EE mechanisms specify the types of benefits individual ventures may derive from EEs. Among others, these include cost saving, resource provision, making possible new or improved products/services, and demand expansion. EE roles situate these (anticipated) mechanisms in entrepreneurial processes as triggering and/or shaping and/or outcome-enhancing. EE’s influence is conceived of as mediated by entrepreneurial agency that—in addition to agent characteristics—is contingent on the opacity (difficulty to identify) and agency-intensity (difficulty to exploit) of EE mechanisms, with the ensuing enablement being variously fortuitous or resulting from strategic deliberation.

Article

Yijie Min, Yanlong Zhang, and Sun Hyun Park

Family firms can either be “born” or “made.” Although previous studies suggest that most of the family firms in the US context are “born,” family firms can be “made” by the founder’s decision to invite family members to the management. We conceptualize this process of family firm emergence as familization, during which lone-founders’ family influence increases as more family members are appointed to director and/or executive positions. Transition from lone-founder-control to family-control is often accompanied by significant changes in governance structure, strategic decisions, and firm performance. This work documents the pervasiveness and heterogeneity of the familization process and proposes an analytical framework covering four research areas associated with the phenomenon: the antecedents that motivate founders to choose the familization path, the familization process involving internal and external firm constituents, the consequences of familization decision, and the potential moderators of the familization impact. To better understand these theoretical perspectives, an explorative empirical investigation is conducted based on a sample of Chinese-listed firms that experienced familization. Familization cases in other Asian emerging economies were also discussed in comparison with the family firms in Western economies.

Article

Internationalization of R&D facilitates knowledge sourcing of multinational corporations (MNCs) on a global scale. As MNCs internationalize R&D, they not only engage in domestic-driven R&D but are actively involved in overseas-driven R&D. And accordingly, the role of overseas R&D laboratories often evolves, from applying the HQ-generated innovation to local market, to innovating locally and contributing to the parent company. Within an MNC boundary, knowledge flows have become multidirectional: on top of the most typical knowledge flows from headquarters (HQ) to a subsidiary, reverse knowledge flows from a subsidiary to HQ as well as horizontal knowledge flows among overseas subsidiaries have become more salient. In addition to knowledge flows within a firm, increasing attention has been paid to external knowledge sourcing, i.e., knowledge sourcing from foreign locations outside the firm. MNCs commonly engage in local knowledge sourcing, i.e., sourcing knowledge from an overseas local environment, to tap into local hotbeds of innovation. But MNCs are also increasingly conducting global knowledge sourcing, i.e., sourcing knowledge from around the world, to practise global open innovation. Theoretically, knowledge sourcing in international R&D has often been examined from the capability and embeddedness perspectives. The effect of capability has been discussed in connection with motivation, autonomy, and mandates of subsidiaries. The effect of embeddedness has been discussed in connection with complementarity between external and internal embeddedness. As future research agenda, the following are suggested. First, cross-fertilization among the research fields of international R&D, global innovation, and open innovation deserves further attention. Second, greater research focus can be placed on managerial processes of global knowledge sourcing. Third, further research can be advanced on global knowledge sourcing at the team level. Fourth, the association between corporate governance and global knowledge sourcing can be investigated further. Fifth, much more attention needs to be paid to microfoundations of global knowledge sourcing. And lastly, further evolving patterns of global knowledge sourcing by advanced country multinationals (AMNCs) and emerging economies multinationals (EMNCs) continue to be relevant.

Article

Corporate governance research has a long and varied history, having evolved from a broad number of scholarly disciplines, including sociology, law, finance, and management. Across these various disciplines, it is maintained that governance is essential to corporate success, as it provides strategic and ethical guidance to the company. While research has largely focused on internal mechanisms through which governance is enacted (such as ownership arrangements, board structures, managerial rewards and incentives, etc.), external forces and mechanisms are increasingly important to modern businesses. External corporate governance mechanisms emanate from outside the organization and support forces that promote governance structures, processes, and practices by top executives and board directors. Institutions, industries, markets, networks, and strong individual external stakeholders all work to influence corporate governance decisions and behaviors both directly and indirectly. The external forces induce mechanisms that influence desirable behaviors or intervene when internal mechanisms are compromised or ineffective. Recent literature on external governance mechanisms can help scholars and practitioners develop a better understanding of this important area of inquiry, and future research should consider three broad suggestions to move the field forward: differentiating between forces and mechanisms; recognizing unique stakeholders, boundaries, and levels of analysis; and improving empirical designs to better recognize and understand what factors matter in instituting governance adjustments and behavior changes.

Article

Lukas Neumann and Oliver Gassmann

Frugal innovation as a concept was initially sparked by a groundbreaking article published in The Economist in 2010. In it, the conception and application of a handheld electrocardiogram (ECG), the Mac 400, specifically designed to serve the rural population in India, was introduced. Every aspect of this product and its ecosystem was designed to serve the customer at less than 25% of the original cost. Since this publication, a lively discussion around this concept has developed in academia as well as in the industry. As a term, “frugal innovation” refers to solutions (products or services), methods, or designs that focus on serving new customers in resource-constrained contexts at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) and/or emerging and developing markets. This understanding has broadened somewhat as such innovations gain increasing attention and relevance throughout all customer segments across the globe. What remains consistent is that frugal innovation is based on a new type of value architecture that is specifically developed to serve customers’ needs in the respective context by utilizing as few resources as possible. This approach leads to many cases where frugal innovations are novel and disruptive to their market environment. Research shows that for firms, especially traditional “Western” ones, these innovations require significant changes in firms’ activities along the entire value chain.

Article

With shareholder supremacy, the board is accountable to all shareholders, including minorities, enforced by restrictions on managerial opportunism. The market for corporate control and scrutiny of diversified institutional investors provide the mechanisms for disciplining managers to act in shareholders’ interests. Along with legal protections for minorities, these mechanisms ensure the supremacy of shareholders as a stakeholder group. Shareholder value maximization, as a theory and a set of financial techniques, provides quantitative outputs that drive managerial behavior. From a historical perspective, shareholder supremacy is a late twentieth-century phenomenon according to these definitional characteristics. History also reveals that shareholders have exercised dominance in other ways and that their power as a stakeholder group has waxed and waned over time as the governance role of investors has changed. Shareholder supremacy can be asserted in a number of ways. Shareholder activism and transparent structures of accountability are sufficient conditions in some circumstances. The suitability of this model is dependent on market structure and favored where there are local monopolies or businesses that have a narrow scope of activities. Alternatively, shareholders as active institutional investors can play a dominant role utilizing the market for corporate control. Collaboration with board insiders committed to expansion by takeover and merger is crucial to the success of this model. Finally, and most recently, the complementary presence of the market for corporate control, diversified institutional investors, and minority protection underpins present-day shareholder supremacy. In this model, the use of a common valuation technique is crucial. History reveals differing routes to shareholder supremacy, which have followed from developments in the institutional structure of regulation and changes in shareholding patterns.

Article

Fred Gault and Luc Soete

Innovation indicators support research on innovation and the development of innovation policy. Once a policy has been implemented, innovation indicators can be used to monitor and evaluate the result, leading to policy learning. Producing innovation indicators requires an understanding of what innovation is. There are many definitions in the literature, but innovation indicators are based on statistical measurement guided by international standard definitions of innovation and of innovation activities. Policymakers are not just interested in the occurrence of innovation but in the outcome. Does it result in more jobs and economic growth? Is it expected to reduce carbon emissions, to advance renewable energy production and energy storage? How does innovation support the Sustainable Development Goals? From the innovation indicator perspective, innovation can be identified in surveys, but that only shows that there is, or there is not, innovation. To meet specific policy needs, a restriction can be imposed on the measurement of innovation. The population of innovators can be divided into those meeting the restriction, such as environmental improvements, and those that do not. In the case of innovation indicators that show a change over time, such as “inclusive innovation,” there may have to be a baseline measurement followed by a later measurement to see if inclusiveness is present, or growing, or not. This may involve social as well as institutional surveys. Once the innovation indicators are produced, they can be made available to potential users through databases, indexes, and scoreboards. Not all of these are based on the statistical measurement of innovation. Some use proxies, such as the allocation of financial and human resources to research and development, or the use of patents and academic publications. The importance of the databases, indexes, and scoreboards is that the findings may be used for the ranking of “innovation” in participating countries, influencing their behavior. While innovation indicators have always been influential, they have the potential to become more so. For decades, innovation indicators have focused on innovation in the business sector, while there have been experiments on measuring innovation in the public (general government sector and public institutions) and the household sectors. Historically, there has been no standard definition of innovation applicable in all sectors of the economy (business, public, household, and non-profit organizations serving households sectors). This changed with the Oslo Manual in 2018, which published a general definition of innovation applicable in all economic sectors. Applying a general definition of innovation has implications for innovation indicators and for the decisions that they influence. If the general definition is applied to the business sector, it includes product innovations that are made available to potential users rather than being introduced on the market. The product innovation can be made available at zero price, which has influence on innovation indicators that are used to describe the digital transformation of the economy. The general definition of innovation, the digital transformation of the economy, and the growing importance of zero price products influence innovation indicators.

Article

Alex Bitektine, Jeff Lucas, Oliver Schilke, and Brad Aeon

Experiments randomly assign actors (e.g., people, groups, and organizations) to different conditions and assess the effects on a dependent variable. Random assignment allows for the control of extraneous factors and the isolation of causal effects, making experiments especially valuable for testing theorized processes. Although experiments have long remained underused in organizational theory and management research, the popularity of experimental methods has seen rapid growth in the 21st century. Gatekeepers sometimes criticize experiments for lacking generalizability, citing their artificial settings or non-representative samples. To address this criticism, a distinction is drawn between an applied research logic and a fundamental research logic. In an applied research logic, experimentalists design a study with the goal of generalizing findings to specific settings or populations. In a fundamental research logic, by contrast, experimentalists seek to design studies relevant to a theory or a fundamental mechanism rather than to specific contexts. Accordingly, the issue of generalizability does not so much boil down to whether an experiment is generalizable, but rather whether the research design matches the research logic of the study. If the goal is to test theory (i.e., a fundamental research logic), then asking the question of whether the experiment generalizes to certain settings and populations is largely irrelevant.