81-100 of 269 Results

Article

Sustainability Innovation: Drivers, Capabilities, Strategies, and Performance  

Devashish Pujari and Anna Sadovnikova

Though concern for environmental issues dates back to the 1960s, research and practice in the field of sustainability innovation gained significant attention from academia, practitioners, and NGOs in the early 1990s, and has evolved rapidly to become mainstream. Organizations are changing their business practices so as to become more sustainable, in response to pressure from internal and external stakeholders. Sustainability innovation broadly relates to the creation of products, processes, technologies, capabilities, or even whole business models that require fewer resources to produce and consume, and also support the environment and communities, while simultaneously providing value to consumers and being financially rewarding for businesses. Sustainability innovation is a way of thinking about how to sustain a firm’s growth while sustainably managing depleting natural resources like raw materials, water, and energy, as well as preventing pollution and unethical business practices wherever the firm operates. Sustainability innovation represents a very diverse and dynamic area of scholarship contributing to a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to general management, strategy, marketing, supply chain and operations management, accounting, and financial disciplines. As addressing sustainability is a complex undertaking, sustainability innovation strategies can be varied in nature and scope depending upon the firm’s capabilities. They may range from incremental green product introductions to radical innovations leading to changes in the way business is conducted while balancing all three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental, and social outcomes. Sustainability innovation strategies often require deep structural transformations in organizations, supply chains, industry networks, and communities. Such transformations can be hard to implement and are sometimes resisted by those affected. Importantly, as sustainability concerns continue to increase globally, innovation provides a significant approach to managing the human, social, and economic dimensions of this profound society-wide transformation. Therefore, a thorough assessment of the current state of thinking in sustainability innovation research is a necessary starting point from which to improve society’s ability to achieve triple bottom line for current and future generations.

Article

Equality of Treatment, Opportunity, and Outcomes: Mapping the Law  

Alain Klarsfeld and Gaëlle Cachat-Rosset

Equality is a concept open to many interpretations in the legal domain, with equality as equal treatment dominating the scene in the bureaucratic nation-state. But there are many possibilities offered by legal instruments to go beyond strict equality of treatment, in order to ensure equality of opportunity (a somehow nebulous concept) and equality of outcomes. Legislation can be sorted along a continuum, from the most discriminatory ones (“negative discrimination laws”) such as laws that prescribe prison sentences for people accused of being in same-sex relationships, to the most protective ones, labeled as “mandated outcome laws” (i.e., laws that prescribe quotas for designated groups) through “legal vacuum” (when laws neither discriminate nor protect), “restricted equal treatment” (when data collection by employers to monitor progress is forbidden or restricted), “equal treatment” (treating everyone the same with no consideration for outcomes), “encouraged progress” (when data collection to monitor progress on specific outcomes is mandatory for employers), and mandated progress (when goals have to be fixed and reached within a defined time frame on specified outcomes). Specific countries’ national legislation testify that some countries moved gradually along the continuum by introducing laws of increasing mandate, while (a few) others introduced outcome mandates directly and early on, as part of their core legal foundations. The public sector tends to be more protective than the private sector. A major hurdle in most countries is the enforcement of equality laws, mostly relying on individuals initiating litigation.

Article

Ethics Education: How Giving Voice to Values Fills in the “Action Gap”  

Daniel G. Arce and Mary C. Gentile

Giving Voice to Values (GVV) is a rehearsal and case-based approach to business ethics education that is designed to develop moral competence and that emphasizes self-assessment, peer coaching and prescriptive ethics. It is built on the premise that many businesspeople want to act on their values but lack the know-how and experience for doing so. The focus is on action rather than developing ethical awareness or analytical constructs for determining what is right and the epistemology behind knowing that it is right, while acknowledging that existing and well-established approaches to these questions are also important. The GVV rubric for acting on one’s values is based upon the following three questions: (1) What’s at stake? (2) What are the reasons and rationalizations you are trying to counter? and (3) What levers can be used to influence those who disagree? Taken together, the answers to these questions constitute a script for constructing a persuasive argument for effecting values-based change and an action plan for implementation. This approach is based on the idea, supported by research and experience, that pre-scripting and “rehearsal” can encourage action. GVV is meant to be complementary to traditional approaches to business ethics that focus on the methodology of moral judgment. GVV cases are post-decision-making in that they begin with a presumed right answer and students are invited to engage in the “GVV Thought Experiment,” answering the questions: “What if you were going to act on this values-based position? How could you be effective?” This implies a shift in focus towards values-based action in ways that recognize the pressures of the business world. As a consequence of this shift, GVV addresses fundamental questions about what, to whom, and how business ethics is taught. The answers to these questions have led to widespread adoption of GVV in business schools, universities, corporations, and beyond.

Article

The Evolution of the Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) Construct: Dominant Research Questions and Conversational Shifts  

Patrick Kreiser, Jeffrey G. Covin, Matthew J. Fox, Ignacio Godinez Puebla, and Shawn Enriques

Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has become a central construct in the management and entrepreneurship literature over the past several decades. Specific questions and associated themes have dominated EO research over the years, with the research itself exhibiting a number of conversational shifts prompted by the publication of seminal articles. The period 1973–1982 is the EO Construct Pre-emergence Era. During this time, scholars began to allude to the possibility that firms themselves—rather than only individuals—could act in entrepreneurial manners. What constitutes an entrepreneurial firm, wherein entrepreneurship might be seen as a central attribute of the firm, was yet to be clearly specified. The period 1983–1995 is the EO Construct Introduction and Legitimization Era. This era was prompted by the publication of an article by Danny Miller in which he introduced EO as a unidimensional construct composed of three overlapping dimensions: risk taking, innovativeness, and proactiveness. Dominant research questions of the era include: How is entrepreneurship manifested as an attribute of firms, independent of firm size and age? and What do entrepreneurial firms have in common? The period 1996–2010 was the EO Construct Critical Examination and Debate Era. This era was launched by an article by Tom Lumpkin and Greg Dess in which they observed that two additional dimensions to EO might be considered—namely, competitive aggressiveness and autonomy—and that EO might, alternatively, be represented by a firm’s profile across these five dimensions. Common research questions of the era include: How can entrepreneurial firms be different? Does EO look the same in different institutional and environmental contexts? Are there attributes that must be present in order to label a firm “entrepreneurial”? Is there a most appropriate way to conceive of EO’s dimensionality? and Does EO predict firm performance? The period 2011–2022 is the EO Construct Expansion and Specialization Era. This era began with the publication of an article by Jeff Covin and Tom Lumpkin in which they recognized differences between proposed conceptualizations of EO and suggested that future research explore both dominant EO conceptualizations, that is, the unidimensional and the multidimensional conceptualization of the construct. Research questions of the era include: Is it appropriate to consider different constructs using the label EO? What are the various forms and indicators of EO? How can EO be measured using nontraditional methods? Should the EO construct be extended to other levels of analysis? What are the antecedents to EO? and What are some of the non-performance-based outcomes of EO? As scholars addressed the prominent research questions of the day, intellectual building blocks have been established and promising domains of future research have been recognized. In general, the observed knowledge expansion that began with an emphasis on EO’s meaning and measurement now includes, for example, greater emphasis on EO’s nomological network, forms and manifestations, antecedents and outcomes, and applicable contexts and theories.

Article

Executive Education  

Rolv Petter Amdam

Executive education, defined as consisting of short, intensive, non-degree programs offered by university business schools to attract people who are in or close to top executive positions, is a vital part of modern management education. The rationale behind executive education is different from that of the degree programs in business schools. While business schools enroll students to degree programs based on previous exams, degrees, or entry tests, executive education typically recruits participants based on their positions—or expected positions—in the corporate hierarchy. While degree programs grade their students and award them degrees, executive education typically offers courses that do not have exams or lead to any degree. Executive education expanded rapidly in the United States and globally after Harvard Business School launched its Advanced Management Program in 1945. In 1970, around 50 university business schools in the United States and business schools in at least 43 countries offered intense executive education programs lasting from three to 18 weeks. During the 1970s, business schools that offered executive education organized themselves into an association, first in the United States and later globally. From the 1980s, executive education experienced competition from the corporate universities organized by corporations. This led the business schools to expand executive education in two directions: open programs that organized potential executives from a mixed group of companies, and tailor-made programs designed for individual companies. Despite being an essential part of the activities of business schools, few scholars have conducted research into executive education. Extant studies have been dominated by a focus on executive education in the context of the rigor-and-relevance debate that has accompanied the development of management education since the early 1990s. Other topics that are touched upon in research concern the content of courses, the appropriate pedagogical methods, and the effect of executive education on personal development. The situation paves the way for some exciting new research topics. Among these are the role of executive education in creating, maintaining, and changing the business elite, the effect of executive education on socializing participants for managerial positions, and women and executive education.

Article

Executive Severance Agreements: Making Sense of an Emerging, Yet Fragmented, Research Field  

Felice B. Klein, Kevin McSweeney, Cynthia E. Devers, Gerry McNamara, and Spenser Blosser

Scholars have devoted significant attention to understanding the determinants and consequences of executive compensation. Yet, one form of compensation, executive severance agreements, has flown under the radar. Severance agreements specify the expected payments and benefits promised executives, upon voluntary or involuntary termination. Although these agreements are popular among executives, critics continually question their worth. Yet severance agreements potentially offer three important (but less readily recognized) strategic benefits. First, severance agreements are viewed as a means of mitigating the potential risks associated with job changes; thus, they can serve as a recruitment tool to attract top executive talent. Second, because severance agreements guarantee executives previously specified compensation in the event of termination, they can help limit the downside risk naturally risk-averse executives face, facilitating executive-shareholder interest alignment. Third, severance agreements can aid in firm exit, as executives and directors are likely to be more open to termination, in the presence of adequate protection against the downside. Severance agreements can contain provisions for ten possible termination events. Three events refer to change in control (CIC), which occurs under a change in ownership. These are (1) CIC without termination, (2) CIC with termination without cause, and (3) CIC with termination for cause. Cause is generally defined by events such as felony, fraud, embezzlement, neglect of duties, or violation of noncompete provisions. Additional events include (4) voluntary retirement, (5) resignation without good reason, (6) voluntary termination for good reason, (7) involuntary termination without cause, (8) involuntary termination with cause, (9) death, and (10) disability. Voluntary retirement and resignation without good reason occurs when CEOs either retire or leave under their own volition, and voluntary termination with good reason occurs in response to changes in employment terms (e.g., relocation of headquarters). Involuntary termination refers to termination due to any reason not listed above and is often triggered by unsatisfactory performance. Although some prior work has addressed the antecedents, consequences, and moderators of severance, the findings from this literature remain unclear, as many of the results are mixed. Future severance scholars have the opportunity to further clarify these relationships by addressing how severance agreements can help firms attract, align the interests of, and facilitate the exit of executives.

Article

Experience Sampling Methodology  

Joel Koopman and Nikolaos Dimotakis

Experience sampling is a method aimed primarily at examining within-individual covariation of transient phenomena utilizing repeated measures. It can be applied to test nuanced predictions of extant theories and can provide insights that are otherwise difficult to obtain. It does so by examining the phenomena of interest close to where they occur and thus avoiding issues with recall and similar concerns. Data collected through the experience sampling method (ESM) can, alternatively, be utilized to collect highly reliable data to investigate between-individual phenomena. A number of decisions need to be made when designing an ESM study. Study duration and intensity (that is, total days of measurement and total assessments per day) represent a tradeoff between data richness and participant fatigue that needs to be carefully weighed. Other scheduling options need to be considered, such as triggered versus scheduled surveys. Researchers also need to be aware of the generally high potential cost of this approach, as well as the monetary and nonmonetary resources required. The intensity of this method also requires special consideration of the sample and the context. Proper screening is invaluable; ensuring that participants and their context is applicable and appropriate to the design is an important first step. The next step is ensuring that the surveys are planned in a compatible way to the sample, and that the surveys are designed to appropriately and rigorously collect data that can be used to accomplish the aims of the study at hand. Furthermore, ESM data typically requires proper consideration in regards to how the data will be analyzed and how results will be interpreted. Proper attention to analytic approaches (typically multilevel) is required. Finally, when interpreting results from ESM data, one must not forget that these effects typically represent processes that occur continuously across individuals’ working lives—effect sizes thus need to be considered with this in mind.

Article

Experiential Learning and Education in Management  

D. Christopher Kayes and Anna B. Kayes

Experiential learning describes the process of learning that results from gathering and processing information through direct engagement with the world. In contrast to behavioral approaches to learning, which describe learning as behavioral changes that result from the influence of external factors such as rewards and punishments, learning from experience places the learner at the center of the learning process. Experiential learning has conceptual roots in John Dewey’s pragmatism. One of the most influential approaches to experiential learning in management and management education is David Kolb’s experiential learning theory (ELT) and the learning cycle that describes learning as a four-phase process of direct experience, reflection, abstract thinking, and experimentation. Experiential learning has been influential in management education as well as adult education because it addresses a number of concerns with traditional education and emphasizes the role of the learner in the learning process. It has been adopted by over 30 disciplines across higher education and has been extensively applied to management, organizations, and leadership development. The popularity of the experiential learning approach is due to many factors, including the growing discontent with traditional education, the desire to create more inclusive and active learning environments, and a recognition of the role that individual differences plays in learning. A renewed interest in experiential learning has brought about new and expanded conceptualizations of what it means to learn from experience. Variations on experiential learning include critical approaches to learning, brain science, and dual-processing approaches. While the term “experiential learning” is used by scholars to describe a specific philosophy or theory of learning, it often refers to many management education activities, including the use of experiences outside the classroom such as study abroad, internships, and service learning. Experiential learning also includes educational “experiential” learning activities inside the classroom. Within organizations, experiential learning provides an underlying conceptual framework for popular learning and leadership development programs such as emotional intelligence, strengths-based approaches, and appreciative inquiry. There is a growing recognition that experiential learning is the basis for many management practices such as strategy creation, research and development, and decision-making. Applications of experiential learning and education in management include simulations and exercises, learning style and educator roles, learning as a source of resilience, learning attitudes and other learning-based experiences, learning flexibility, cross-cultural factors, and team learning. Emerging research interest is also found in the relationship between experiential learning and expertise, intuition, mastery, and professional and career development, decision-making, and judgment in organizations.

Article

Experimental Designs in Business Research  

Heiko Breitsohl

Conducting credible and trustworthy research to inform managerial decisions is arguably the primary goal of business and management research. Research design, particularly the various types of experimental designs available, are important building blocks for advancing toward this goal. Key criteria for evaluating research studies are internal validity (the ability to demonstrate causality), statistical conclusion validity (drawing correct conclusions from data), construct validity (the extent to which a study captures the phenomenon of interest), and external validity (the generalizability of results to other contexts). Perhaps most important, internal validity depends on the research design’s ability to establish that the hypothesized cause and outcome are correlated, that variation in them occurs in the correct temporal order, and that alternative explanations of that relationship can be ruled out. Research designs vary greatly, especially in their internal validity. Generally, experiments offer the strongest causal inference, because the causal variables of interest are manipulated by the researchers, and because random assignment makes subjects comparable, such that the sources of variation in the variables of interest can be well identified. Natural experiments can exhibit similar internal validity to the extent that researchers are able to exploit exogenous events creating (quasi-)randomized interventions. When randomization is not available, quasi-experiments aim at approximating experiments by making subjects as comparable as possible based on the best available information. Finally, non-experiments, which are often the only option in business and management research, can still offer useful insights, particularly when changes in the variables of interest can be modeled by adopting longitudinal designs.

Article

Experiments in Organization and Management Research  

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.

Article

Exploring the “Three Ps” of Service-Learning: Practice, Partnering, and Pressures  

Jennifer S. Leigh and Amy Kenworthy

Over the last three decades, service-learning has become a well-known experiential learning pedagogy in both management education and higher education more broadly. This popularity is observed in the increasing number of peer-reviewed publications on service-learning in management and business education journals, and on management education topics within higher education journals focused on civic engagement and community-based teaching and learning. In this field of study, it is known that service-learning can result in positive outcomes for students, faculty, and community members. In particular, for students, positive results are related to mastery of course content and group process skills like teamwork and communication, leadership, and diversity awareness. Despite the rise in scholarship, service-learning instructors still face several challenges in the area of best practice standards, fostering deep and cohesive partnerships, and managing institutional pressures that disincentivize engaged teaching practices. With constantly evolving challenges in management education, continued research is needed to understand a variety of service-learning facets such as platforms (face-to-face, hybrid, and virtual learning), populations (graduate vs. undergraduate populations and adult vs. traditional college-age learners), measurement (how to assess university-community partnerships and faculty instruction), and which institutional policies and procedures can enable and reward community-engaged teaching and learning approach.

Article

External Corporate Governance Mechanisms: Linking Forces to Behaviors  

G. Tyge Payne and Curt Moore

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

External Enablers of Entrepreneurship  

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

Familization of Lone-Founder Firms: Highlights from Asian Firms  

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

Family Business  

Frank Hoy

Family business is a multidisciplinary subject area of critical importance to practitioners. The global volume of family business owners and managers is enormous. The firms are significant components of national economies. Yet they are often underappreciated and have been under-represented in business and economic research. Scholars have the potential for contributing to the survival and prosperity of these firms. The boundaries of the field are ill-defined. Family business scholars are seeking recognition from their colleagues. Opportunities for future research are unlimited.

Article

Faultlines  

Keith Murnighan* and Dora Lau

Group faultlines are hypothetical dividing lines that may split a group into subgroups based on one or more attributes. An example of a strong faultline is a group of two young female Asians and two senior male Caucasians. Members’ alignment of age, sex, and ethnicity facilitates the formation of two homogeneous subgroups. On the other hand, when a group consists of a young female Asian, a young male Caucasian, a senior female Caucasian, and a senior male Asian, the group faultline is considered weak because subgroups, regardless of how they are formed, are diverse. As a relatively new form of group compositional pattern, the group faultline is associated with subgroup formation, and these subgroups, rather than the whole group, can easily become the focus of attention. When members strive to obtain more resources and protect their subgroups, between-subgroup conflict, behavioral disintegration, lack of trust, lack of willingness to share information, and communication challenges are likely. As a result, group performance is often negatively affected, and sometimes groups may even be dissolved. These results were repeatedly found in studies of experimental groups, ad-hoc project groups, organizational teams, top management teams, global virtual teams, family businesses, international joint ventures, and strategic alliances.

Article

Financial Precarity and Business in the Modern Era  

Carrie Leana

Financial precarity—the persistent worry about money and not having enough of it—is widespread, even in developed economies. It is a particular affliction of the poor, but it describes many people across the income distribution. Financial precarity is harmful not just to the individuals who experience it but also to the organizations in which they work. For individuals, financial precarity can negatively affect cognitive functioning, emotional stability, and social functioning. It is also associated with worse physical and psychological health, as well as depressed performance, both on and off the job. For employers, there are direct costs in the form of decreases in performance at work, as well as indirect costs in the form of increased absenteeism and health care costs. Private-sector companies are taking notice and have initiated a variety of programs to address employee financial precarity, including enhancing wages and offering financial assistance programs such as financial counseling, incentivized savings plans, and enhancements to retirement plans. Many of these programs have not been subjected to rigorous analysis (e.g., incentivized savings programs), and for some, there is little evidence of their effectiveness (e.g., financial literacy programs). Other programs (e.g., opt-out retirement plans) have a strong track record of success. Overall, private-sector employers are increasing their investments in employee financial wellness, which is a positive step in terms of providing needed supports to employees.

Article

For-Purpose Enterprises and Hybrid Organizational Forms: Implications for Governance and Strategy  

Marco S. Giarratana and Martina Pasquini

A company’s social purpose has become a key factor that should be considered in organizational design and strategic decision-making. For-purpose enterprises are for-profit, financially self-sustained organizations that embed a social aim as one of their main objectives. Companies that simultaneously must envisage a double purpose, namely, social and competitive, face an even greater complexity, that is, a likely risk of internal logics’ tensions and structural drifts. Scholars have proposed different theoretical and operative frameworks; on the one hand, they describe ad hoc business models to foster synergies between the social impact and economic and competitive-oriented actions. On the other hand, they also try to focus on an organization’s governance, suggesting incentive schemes and organizational designs that could smooth trade-offs and tensions, which could jeopardize a company’s viability. Following scholars have differentiated two clusters of studies: (a) instrumental–strategic–economic stream and (b) injunctive–social–behavioral. The first approach perceives as critical the balance between social-oriented aims and profit with a viable business model. Under this perspective, the concept of synergies between the two aims is critical. Its mainstream framework is the stakeholder theory approach while recent approaches, rooted especially in marketing and strategic human capital studies, bring to the central stage how corporate social responsible actions develop social identity processes with focal stakeholders, which are responsible for reciprocity behaviors. These different perspectives, although complementary, could imply significant differences for the organization design, product strategy, and the role and power of the chief sustainability officer as well as allocation of resources and capabilities. The second group of studies—injunctive–social–behavioral—is focused on understanding how to maintain active social aims under economic and competitive constrains. These works are particularly focused in investigating the intrinsic motivations of doing good and the type of tensions that could arise in organizations with a social mission. The works analyze the potential drifts, risks, and solutions that could mitigate tension and trade-offs. In this stream, the first line of work is related to social entrepreneurship, especially in developing countries, while the second is more focused on human-resource incentive schemes and organizational designs that preserve a company’s social goals under economic constrains.

Article

From Absorptive Capacity in International Business to Strategic Flexibility of Multinational Corporations  

Carine Peeters

Both the absorptive capacity (AC) and international business (IB) literatures are interested in knowledge processes and learning in organizations. Although originating from different streams of research, AC and IB were thus meant to meet and reinforce each other. Fundamentally, the role of AC in IB is to condition the performance outcome of firms’ internationalization efforts. Firms benefit from their IB activities conditional on being able to absorb new knowledge and learn. In other words, multinational corporations (MNCs) need to have the necessary AC to overcome their liabilities of foreignness and outsidership. Short of AC, the costs and challenges of entering foreign markets and operating across countries are likely to outweigh potential performance gains. Moreover, AC plays a role in the technological upgrade and economic development of nations, as it helps firms in emerging economies to benefit from spillovers of foreign direct investments by MNCs from more economically advanced economies. And national governments can play an important role to facilitate this effect by developing appropriate economic and innovation policies that support knowledge creation and learning. Firms can also proactively develop AC. For instance, MNCs can nurture a broad knowledge base that can be leveraged in different contexts and opt for a decentralized structure with mechanisms that help subsidiaries access the knowledge base of the parent organization. They can also practice specific routines to identify and access relevant knowledge from their external environment, transfer that knowledge in their organization, and assimilate it in their own knowledge creation processes. Moreover, MNCs can adopt human resources management practices that help raise the capacity and motivation of their employees to acquire and exploit new knowledge. Ultimately, the most important contribution of AC in IB might be to help MNCs develop the strategic flexibility that enables them to thrive in dynamic environments. High-AC MNCs may indeed be in a better position than other firms to (a) build diverse options to prepare for uncertain evolutions in the market, (b) access flexible resources to allocate to new courses of actions, and (c) redeploy resources across options over time. Unpacking the exact mechanisms as well as boundary conditions for the role of AC in building strategic flexibility offers ample opportunities for future research on a highly relevant topic for MNCs.

Article

From Decision Making to Decision Support  

Frederic Adam

In such a complex and well-researched domain as decision support systems (DSS), with a long history of authors making insightful contributions since the 1960’s, it is critical for researchers, especially those less experienced, to have a broad knowledge of the seminal work that has been carried out by prior generations of researchers. This can serve to avoid proposing research questions which have been considered many times before, without having consideration for the answers which have been put forward by previous scholars, thereby reinventing the wheel or “rediscovering” findings about the life of organizations that have been presented long before. The study of human and managerial decision-making is also characterized by considerable depth and seminal research going back to the beginning of the 20th century, across a variety of fields of research including psychology, social psychology, sociology or indeed operations research. Inasmuch as decision-making and decision support are inextricably linked, it is essential for researchers in DSS to be very familiar with both stream of research in their full diversity so they are able to understand both what activity is being supported and how to analyze requirements for developing decision support artefacts. In addition, whilst the area of decision support has sometimes been characterized by technology-based hype, it is critical to recognize that only a clear focus on the thinking and actions of managers can provide decisive directions for research on their decision support needs. In this article, we consider first the characteristics of human cognition, before concentrating on the decision-making needs of managers and the lessons that can be derived for the development of DSS.