Working papers

  • Title
  • Author(s)


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

We advance research on corporate diversification by joining insights from the demand-side and relational views in strategy to offer a novel theory of client-led diversification. We propose that client-led diversification results from a combination of the customer-driven opportunities emphasized in the demand-side view and the creation of added value through relational assets that is a central tenet of the relational view. Furthermore, we hypothesize that suppliers’ client-specific knowledge, clients’ relational commitment to suppliers, and growth opportunities in clients’ markets (relative to the suppliers’ own markets) will magnify the client-led diversification effect. We test our hypotheses using a longitudinal dataset on patent law firms and their diversification into new domains of patent prosecution work for their corporate clients.


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Organizational adaptation is a concept that describes both congruence within organizations, with respect to the strategies and structures deployed, and across organizations, with respect to the degrees to which organizations meet the expectations of their environments. A wide array of research traditions have explored the concept of adaptation, albeit with many different labels. This annotated bibliography tracks the foundations of organizational adaptation, its digressions, and its challenges. Such a review provides important resources for scholars interested in conducting research in organizational adaptation by identifying the multitude of perspectives that encompass adaptation.

Keywords: Adaptation, Organizational Change, Strategic Choice


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

The impact of socially responsible corporate behavior on economic performance is a major preoccupation of managers today. This article explores the links between narrowly defined constructs: stakeholder orientation, environmental proactivity and profitability, from the perspectives of stakeholder theory and resource-based theory. We collected data on the food and beverage, and household and personal products, industries. Using structural equation modeling, this paper makes two contributions. We found a negative link between companies simply having a higher stakeholder orientation and profitability. Importantly, however, environmental proactivity not only had a positive impact on profitability, but also appeared to mediate the relationship between stakeholder orientation and profitability. In other words, if a company is more environmentally proactive, it will be more attentive to a broad array of stakeholders, and this will in turn contribute positively to profitability.

Keywords: environmental proactivity, firm profitability, resource-based theory, stakeholder theory, stakeholder orientation


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

In this paper, we develop a theoretical model and offer a first empirical test of how competitive dethronement affects managerial risk taking. Drawing on the mechanism of endowment effect and reference-dependent utility theory, we predict that former market leaders take more risks compared to, otherwise identical, competitors. We empirically test this prediction using two contexts allowing us to use different methods to operationalize risk. The first setting draws on field data from a two-month banking sales contest. The second, quasi-laboratory, data comes from an educational game. Consistent with model’s prediction, we find that dethronement is associated with increased risk taking but that the endowment effect leading to such response decays over time. In contrast, a mere decline in performance ranking does not have the same effect.


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Constructing narratives of transformative change is an important but challenging practice through which strategy makers attempt to influence acceptance of an ongoing transformation. To understand whether and how strategy makers can construct a steady influx of captivating narratives of transformative change, we analyzed how one noted strategy maker assisted the successful transformation of his organization over three decades by orchestrating the production of change narratives. Our analysis reveals that the strategy maker constructed and reconstructed meanings of change over time using three sets of distinct but interconnected narrative practices. We develop a dynamic model linking the simultaneous mobilization of these practices to strategy makers’ ability to harness the persistent tension between novelty and familiarity in a transformative change, and thereby win endorsement from key audiences.

Keywords: Strategic Change, Narrative, Strategy as Practice, Storytelling, Reflection


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

We develop a conceptual understanding of when and how organizations respond to normative pressures. More precisely, we examine two main factors underlying the willingness and ability of organizations to respond to an issue: (1) issue salience, and (2) the cost-benefit analysis of resource mobilization. We suggest that decision-makers’ interpretation of issue salience in conjunction with their perception of the costs and benefits of taking action to address the issue generates five potential responses: symbolic compliance and symbolic conformity, substantive compliance and substantive conformity, and inaction. We extend the baseline model by examining a number of boundary conditions. By focusing on the willingness and ability of organizations to respond to normative pressures, and by adopting the issue as the unit of analysis, our model helps explain intra- as well as inter-organizational response heterogeneity to institutional complexity. We contribute to the institutional research tradition and offer useful implications for managerial practice, from strategic management to policy making.

Keywords: institutional theory, normative pressures, symbolic, substantive, conformity, compliance, issue salience


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

This article theorizes about and tests the conditions under which firms’ commitment to an industry is influenced by social movement organizations (SMOs) that favor the industry. We argue that the more prominent SMOs are within an industry, the more a firm increases its commitment to that industry by expanding its operations; yet, this main effect should be moderated substantially by a firm’s idiosyncratic characteristics. The current research predicts that a firm’s location, its sensitivity to information about the industry’s potential, and its history of associations with activists determine the magnitude of the effect of SMO prominence on its strategic commitment to the industry. We test and find support for these hypotheses using a longitudinal data set of European manufacturers of solar photovoltaic cells between 1990 and 2011. The findings offer new insights for literature on social movements and organizations, as well as strategic management research.

Keywords: Organization and Management Theory, Strategy and Policy, Sustainability/Corporate Environmentalism, Economic Sociology, Nonmarket/Political Environment


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

This paper examines when human-capital-intensive firms reconfigure their human assets for incoming client projects, and how clients matter to firms’ reconfiguration decisions. Using micro-data in the UK merger and acquisition (M&A) legal services industry, we find that law firms consistently reconfigure the combinations of lawyers working together on M&A mandates, forgoing synergies from tried-and-tested combinations. Firms’ reconfiguration decisions are also influenced by prior relations with clients, and client attributes. Firms are more likely to use tried-and-tested combinations of lawyers when providing services to existing clients, especially when the same lawyers have served those clients together previously. Further, the economic attractiveness of clients also decreases human asset reconfiguration. Our paper contributes to the literatures on strategic human capital and the micro-foundations of resource-based theory.

Keywords: Strategic Human Capital; Resource Reconfiguration; Resource Based Theory; Micro-Foundations of Strategy; Human-Asset-Intensive Firms


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Extant research suggests that hiring experts during economic downturns can improve firm financial performance. However, recessionary labor markets deepen the challenges facing hiring firms, calling to question both the firm-level benefits and the tactics of acquiring talent when demand for a firm’s business is declining. We theorize and find that hiring expert talent during a recession actually weakens firm performance in the context of knowledge-based services. Notably though, we find firms can effectively attenuate the negative hiring effect by targeting particular labor pools, underlining the significance of gaining human capital advantages through focused sourcing. We test our hypotheses using a longitudinal sample of large U.S. corporate law firms between 2002 and 2010.

Keywords: human capital, firm performance, knowledge workers, labor pools, economic recession


Departments: Strategy & Business Policy

Firms that are slow in the execution of investment projects often incur substantial revenue losses. However, accelerating investments generally results in higher investment costs. In this paper, we integrate this investment speed tradeoff in a reduced-form model of project development to create an empirical proxy for firm speed. We examine how deviations from industry-average speed in the execution of large investments in oil and gas facilities worldwide from 1996 to 2005 impact firm value, as measured by Tobin's q. We find that there is substantial variation in investment speed among firms in the oil and gas industry. Using a linear correlated random parameter model to account for unobserved firm heterogeneity, we show that faster firms have higher firm value when speed results from firms' dynamic capabilities. On average, accelerating a firm's investments by 5% (or 1 month) below the industry norm due to dynamic capabilities increases market value by $214.3 million. Additionally, we show that the effect of speed on firm value varies widely among firms and is amplified by good corporate governance but often mitigated by the level of firms' debt.

Keywords: time-based competition, dynamic capabilities, strategy dynamics, firm value, project management, correlated random parameters


JavaScriptSettings