New article conditionally accepted in Strategy Science:
Formal and informal controls as complements or substitutes? The role of the task environment
Markus Kreutzer*, Laura B. Cardinal**, Jorge Walter***, & Christoph Lechner****
* European Business School, **University of South Carolina, ***The George Washington University, **** University of St. Gallen
The traditional view of control in organizations largely implies an “either-or” substitution logic, as opposed to the complementarity logic implied in the more recent view of control. This study examines whether formal and informal controls complement or substitute each other in their influence on performance outcomes, and whether such an interaction differs for more or less exploratory tasks. Our findings from an analysis of 184 strategic initiative teams in a cross-industry multi-country sample of firms support the complementary view. More specifically, we find support for our hypotheses that the combined use of formal and informal control has a positive impact on the performance of initiative teams, and that this complementary effect is more pronounced when the degree of exploration is lower. Accordingly, our study contributes to the organizational control literature both theoretically—by providing an explicit theoretical rationale for the complementary view—and empirically—by virtue of providing an empirical test of the interactive effects of formal and informal control.
Keywords: Control theory, informal organizational control, complementarity, strategic initiative teams, degree of exploration
Just attended the Strategic Management Society Meeting in Rome to plan the upcoming conference in Berlin as an Executive Discoveries Series Coordinator. Thanks to Niko Pelka from SMS for this great opportunity to be involved in putting together the program for an SMS Annual International Conference!
A new research project I’m involved in will be included in the Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management Meeting, this time for the 2016 Meeting in Anaheim, CA:
Before they were ties: Predicting the value of brand-new connections
Daniel Z. Levin*, Jorge Walter**, & J. Keith Murnighan***
* Rutgers University, ** The George Washington University, *** Northwestern University
The vast majority of research on the value of social or professional relationships has focused on ties that already exist. We ask if it is possible to predict in advance—before people ever meet—which brand-new ties will yield more value in the form of useful work-related knowledge. We examine this question using three perspectives: the resource (actor) perspective, the relational (tie) perspective, and the network (structure) perspective. To test our predictions, we asked 150 executives to reach out for work-related advice from someone they had never met, and to complete a survey of their thoughts and judgments of the other person both before and after making a connection. Controlling for the effects of homophily, we find support for all three perspectives after a connection has been made, i.e., once there is already an existing tie. However, before tie formation—our focus in this paper—we find evidence only for the network perspective, in the form of either bonding or bridging. Our results suggest that the lack of reliable information about strangers—especially their likely relational or resource qualities—makes it difficult to predict which ties will turn out to be more valuable, but that an existing network structure remains a reliable predictor of value, even for brand-new ties.
Keywords: Social networks, social capital, new ties, tie formation, knowledge transfer, advice seeking
I have just received notice from the GWSB Doctoral Student Association that I have been nominated for this year’s Peter B. Vaill Outstanding Doctoral Educator Award!
This represents my fourth nomination in the six years I’ve been here at GW (including winning this award in 2014). Thanks to our doctoral students for nominating me again!
Happy to share that our new article on reconnecting dormant ties has just appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review.
While our previous research has found that rekindling dormant professional relationships can offer tremendous career benefits to executives, our new study shows that some reconnections are more beneficial than others — and that executives often don’t select the best reconnection choices.
In particular, reconnecting with long-lost or dormant contacts can be very valuable — both professionally and personally. But choosing from among hundreds of former contacts can be challenging. We find that executives, when left to their own devices, don’t take full advantage of their opportunities to reconnect. And when they do reconnect, they tend to focus on comfort and not on re-connections that might offer the best advice.
To get the most out of reconnecting, however, you have to seek out former contacts who are likely to engage with you and to provide you with novelty. To achieve more novelty, this may mean going outside your usual comfort zone and reaching out to higher-status people or to people you didn’t know very well to begin with. But these are exactly the kinds of reconnections that can best point you in a new direction, tell you something you don’t already know, and help you make the most of dormant connections in your network.
Read the full article here.
Thrilled to share that I have recently been awarded a two-year Ave Tucker Fellowship at George Washington University’s School of Business.
Named after George Washington University’s Board of Trustee member Avram S. Tucker, this fellowship recognizes faculty members who “displayed good teaching performance, as well as recent scholarly productivity, prospects for continued publications in top outlets, and records of research leadership and mentoring of junior scholars.”
Thanks to the GWSB Executive Committee for bestowing this great honor on me!
This year’s Strategic Management Society’s Annual International Conference took place in Denver, CO, and Stefan Haefliger and I chaired a Professional Development Workshop titled “Innovation & network strategy junior faculty and paper development workshop.”
For more information, check the SMS Website.
This year’s Academy of Management Annual Meeting took place from August 7-11 in Vancouver, BC, where I presented our paper:
- “Antecedents and outcomes of peer control: A multi-level analysis,” co-authored with Markus Kreutzer (University of St. Gallen and EBS Business School) & Karin Kreutzer (EBS Business School).
For the second year in a row, I also received the Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management.
For more information, check the AOM Website.
This week, I also accepted an invitation to present our paper “Antecedents and outcomes of peer control: A multi-level analysis” (co-authored with Markus & Karin Kreutzer) at Cass Business School, City University London.
Thanks to Stefan Haefliger for his kind invitation and for hosting me in this fantastic city, and to the Cass faculty members and doctoral students for their helpful comments on our paper.
This week, I accepted Markus Kreutzer’s kind invitation to join him and his colleagues for the European Business School’s Annual Off-Site Doctoral Workshop at Kloster Johannisberg in the beautiful Rhine Valley.
Besides the inevitable sightseeing and wine tasting, I learned a lot about the impressive research the EBS doctoral students are conducting. So thanks for having me!
The back end of my sabbatical in Europe is getting busier: I just spent the last two days in St. Gallen to attend a Special Conference of the Strategic Management Society on the topic “Rethinking Corporate Headquarters: Innovative Approaches for Managing the Multi-Divisional Firm.” I also served as a panel member for the doctoral/junior faculty workshop organized by Matthias Brauer & Tina Ambos.
New Article provisionally accepted in Organization Science:
Reconnection choices: Selecting the most valuable (vs. most preferred) dormant ties
Jorge Walter*, Daniel Z. Levin**, & J. Keith Murnighan***
* The George Washington University, ** Rutgers University, *** Northwestern University
Recent research has shown that reconnecting long-lost, dormant ties can yield tremendous value, often more than active ties. Yet two key research questions remain unanswered: which of a person’s many dormant ties provide the most value, and which are advice seekers most inclined to choose as reconnection targets? In the current study, we asked executives to seek advice on an important work project from two dormant ties (their first, most preferred choice plus one selected randomly from their next nine most preferred choices) and to respond to surveys before and after their reconnections. This two-stage design allowed us to make causal inferences about the executives’ advice-seeking preferences and the value of reconnecting certain types of dormant ties. Our results show that the most valuable reconnections are to people who provide novelty (by not having spent much time together in the past and being higher status) as well as engagement (by being trustworthy and willing to help). Our executive participants, however, preferred neither novelty nor engagement. Rather, the prospect of reconnecting can make people feel anxious. To avoid this discomfort, executives preferred contacts with whom they had spent a lot of time together in the past, thereby actually reducing novelty. Thus, our findings identify critical biases in executives’ reconnection preferences as well as insights into how to make more effective reconnections. Our discussion presents broader implications of these findings for advice seeking and social networks.
Keywords: Knowledge transfer, interpersonal ties, social exchange
This week, I also visited Tilburg University to present our paper “Prior experience, bargaining power, and exclusivity in technology licensing agreements” (co-authored with Ted Khoury & Erin Pleggenkuhle-Miles).
My gratitude to Nufer Ates for kindly hosting me during my visit and to all faculty members and doctoral students for their insightful feedback on our study!
Just came back from a visit to Rotterdam, where I presented our new working paper on “Antecedents and outcomes of peer control: A multi-level analysis” (co-authored with Markus & Karin Kreutzer) at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University.
Thanks to my host, Murat Tarakci, for making this happen and to all the brown bag participants for their great feedback on our study!
Today, I gave an invited research talk on our paper “Prior experience, bargaining power, and exclusivity in technology licensing agreements” (with Ted Khoury and Erin Pleggenkuhle-Miles) to the Faculty of Business and Economics (HEC) at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
I had a great time in this beautiful part of Switzerland and also received some very insightful feedback on our paper.
Thanks to Xavier Castañer for his kind invitation and to Déborah Philippe who kindly hosted me during my visit!
Very excited to start my six-months sabbatical, particularly since it brings me and my family to Europe. For the next four months, we will be based in Munich, Germany, from where I will travel throughout Europe to visit universities, meet with colleagues, and present my current and develop new research projects, while the kids learn German and get immersed in the local culture and lifestyle…
New Article Forthcoming in Group & Organization Management:
Relational enhancement: How the relational dimension of social capital unlocks the value of network-bridging ties
Daniel Z. Levin*, Jorge Walter**, Melissa M. Appleyard***, & Rob Cross****
* Rutgers University, ** The George Washington University, *** Portland State University, **** University of Virginia
We propose and test a novel approach to the dilemma that the very network-bridging structure most likely to provide access to novel knowledge may be ill-suited for the cooperation needed to successfully transfer that knowledge. We theorize that the relational dimension of social capital (e.g., tie strength) can act as a substitute for the structural benefits of network closure, and so a network-bridging tie yields more value when it is also strong. We further investigate if it is emotional closeness, interaction frequency, or trust that underlies this “relational enhancement” effect; our results identify the key mechanism as trust.
Keywords: Knowledge transfer, social capital, structural holes, tie strength, trust
Thanks to the members of the Strategy Process Interest Group (IG) of the Strategic Management Society (SMS) for electing me as one of three new Representatives-at-Large!
For more information on the Strategy Process IG, click here.
This year’s Strategic Management Society’s Annual International Conference took place in Madrid, Spain, and we presented our paper
- “Formal and informal controls as complements or substitutes? The role of the task environment” with Markus Kreutzer (University of St. Gallen),
which was also nominated for the Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper Price Award, the Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper for Practice Implications Award, and was a Finalist for the Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper of the Strategy Process Interest Group. For more information, check the SMS Website.
This year’s Academy of Management Annual Meeting took place from August 1-5 in Philadelphia, PA. Under the conference theme “The Power of Words,” my colleagues and I presented our paper (which was also included in the BPS Best Paper Proceedings):
- “Formal and informal controls as complements or substitutes? The role of the task environment,” with Markus Kreutzer (University of St. Gallen) & Laura Cardinal (University of Houston).
Moreover, I received the Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management.
For more information, check the AOM Website.
New Article Forthcoming in the Strategic Management Journal:
Organizational control as antidote to politics in the pursuit of strategic initiatives
Markus Kreutzer*, Jorge Walter**, & Laura B. Cardinal***
* University of St. Gallen, ** The George Washington University, *** University of Houston
In contrast to the contingency approach advanced by most prior work, we suggest a complementary perspective on organizational control and its relationship with performance. We argue that the simultaneous use of behavior and outcome control capitalizes on their respective advantages, and is therefore more effective than a sole reliance on either control. Moreover, with organizational control seeking alignment between individual and organizational goals, the benefits of such a complementary approach may be more pronounced in a context characterized by high levels of organizational politics, or the pursuit of individual at the expense of organizational goals. Our analysis of strategic initiatives pursued by 184 European corporations provides support for both a complementary approach to organizational control and a contingency effect of organizational politics.
Keywords: Control theory, organizational control, organizational politics, strategic initiatives, strategy process
For a copy of this article, please see here.
New Article Forthcoming in Personnel Psychology:
Deeds that help and words that hurt: Helping and gossip as moderators of the relationship between leader-member exchange and advice network centrality
Berrin Erdogan*, Talya Bauer*, & Jorge Walter**
* Portland State University, ** The George Washington University
We examine the relationship between leader-member exchange (LMX) quality and advice network centrality using multi-source data from a sample of 250 retail employees and their respective managers in Turkey to test our hypothesized model of value and costs of being sought out for advice. Drawing upon the tenets of Network Generation Theory (Nebus, 2006), we predict that the tendency of focal actors to help others and their own tendency to gossip would be behavioral moderators of the relationship between LMX quality and their advice network centrality. Consistent with Network Generation Theory, our results reveal that LMX quality is positively related to centrality only for those actors with a high tendency to help coworkers and a low tendency to gossip about coworkers, suggesting that behaviors indicating helpfulness and discretion are necessary for high LMX members to maintain a central position in their work group’s advice network. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Keywords: Leader-member exchange (LMX), advice network centrality, helping behaviors, gossip
For a copy of this article, see here.
I thankfully accepted the invitation by Prof. Mike Wright to join the new editorial board of the Journal of Management (JOM).
Judging from my experience on the previous JOM board, I look forward to working with the new editorial team.
This year’s Strategic Management Society’s Annual International Conference took place in Atlanta, GA, and my colleagues and I presented our paper
- “Experience, negotiation leverage, and their effects on exclusivity in technology licensing agreements” with Ted Khoury (Portland State University) & Erin Pleggenkuhle-Miles (University of Nebraska at Omaha),
which was also nominated for the Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper Price. For more information, check the SMS Website.
New Article Forthcoming in the Journal of Management:
Learning activities, exploration, and the performance of strategic initiatives
Jorge Walter*, Christoph Lechner**, Franz W. Kellermanns***
* The George Washington University, ** University of St. Gallen, *** University of North Carolina at Charlotte
This study examines the contingent effect of the degree of exploration characterizing strategic initiatives on the relationship between group-level organizational learning activities (i.e., searching, processing, codifying, and practicing) and the performance of strategic initiatives. Results from a sample of 96 strategic initiatives conducted by three large European insurance corporations provide broad, albeit not unanimous, support for our prediction that the four learning activities are more beneficial when the degree of exploration is high. Moreover, for initiatives with lower degrees of exploration, we found no significant association of searching, processing, codifying, or practicing with initiative performance. These findings suggest that effective organizational learning depends not only on investments in learning activities, but also on the alignment between these investments and the degree of exploration inherent in the learning task.
Keywords: Strategic initiatives; group-level organizational learning; degree of exploration
For a copy of this article, please see here.