Executive Links and Strategic Change: Is Unit Spanning by Executives Associated with Market Entry and Exit?
Bocconi University - Department of Management and Technology
November 1, 2011
Boston U. School of Management Research Paper No. 2012-7
Firms frequently create executive links by sharing people between units to transfer and combine knowledge. These links, however, potentially strengthen social ties and cognitive filters that reduce the possibility of strategic change. Our analysis of medical firms finds that executive links between units, especially between business units and the corporate unit, are associated with reduced market entry and exit. This finding runs counter to the prevalent view that sharing of individuals is an effective way to spread and combine diverse knowledge such that it initiates change. It suggests that the cognitive and social commitments from shared executives may undermine the knowledge diffusion and transformation expected to arise from these links.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: executive links, knowledge recombination, boundary spanning, dynamic capabilities, organizational structure, strategic change, inertiaworking papers series
Date posted: February 20, 2012 ; Last revised: March 27, 2012
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