Appointed to the Academy of Management BPS Research Committee

Just accepted the invitation of the Business Policy & Strategy (BPS) Division of the Academy of Management (AOM) to join the BPS Research Committee. This two-year appointment entails reviewing and nominating the papers for the various BPS Best Paper Awards at the Annual Meeting each year and selecting the winner of the Annual Dissertation Award.

I look forward to serving the BPS in this capacity!

Article Recognized as 2016 Outstanding Group & Organization Management Paper


Our article “Relational enhancement: How the relational dimension of social capital unlocks the value of network-bridging ties” co-authored with Daniel Levin (Rutgers University), Melissa Appleyard (Portland State University), & Rob Cross (University of Virginia) has been recognized as a 2016 Outstanding Group & Organization Management (GOM) Paper and nominated for a “Best GOM Paper” Award by the GOM Editorial Team.

According to the editor, our paper “exemplifies high quality research that is both informative and engaging and hence makes important contributions to the study and practice of management.”

New Article Forthcoming in Journal of Management

New article forthcoming in Journal of Management:

Experiential Learning, Bargaining Power, and
Exclusivity in Technology Licensing

Theodore A. Khoury*, Erin G. Pleggenkuhle-Miles**, Jorge Walter***

* Portland State University, **University of Nebraska Omaha, ***The George Washington University

Licensing has become the central form of interfirm technology transfer and commercialization in the market for inventions. However, despite the large representation and growth of this business model, the resolution of key contractual provisions is still regarded as idiosyncratic, and little is known about how experience with prior relationships or bargaining power position affects contract outcomes. In an attempt to further understand how these transactions unfold, we present and test a
theoretical framework disentangling experience benefits and transaction costs associated with licensors’ prior involvement in out- versus in-licensing deals and how they affect the important, yet contentious, contractual provision of nonexclusivity. Drawing on transaction cost, experiential learning, and bargaining power theories, we develop new insights explaining when licensors are likely to realize nonexclusive contracts as a function of their prior licensing deals, and when bargaining power moderates the relationships between prior deals and nonexclusivity. Leveraging a
27-year sample of bioscience licensing transactions, this study reveals the dynamic tension between the benefits and transaction costs arising from prior interfirm collaborations, and how a firm’s history of collaborations, alongside its bargaining power position, influences contractual outcomes.

Keywords: transaction costs; bargaining power; technology licensing; interfirm alliances; experiential learning; nonexclusivity; bioscience industry; perspective-taking

2016 Academy of Management Annual Meeting


This year’s Academy of Management Annual Meeting took place from August 5-9 in Anaheim, CA, where we presented our paper:

  • “Before they were ties: Predicting the value of brand–new connections,” co-authored with Daniel Levin (Rutgers University) & J. Keith Murnighan (Northwestern University),

which was also included in the MOC Best Paper Proceedings.

I further received the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) Award of the Organization and Management Theory Division.

For more information, check the AOM Website.

New Article Forthcoming in Strategy Science

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

Paper included in AOM Best Paper Proceedings

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

New Article Published in MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT SMR 2016

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.

Ave Tucker Fellowship

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!

2015 Academy of Management Annual Meeting


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.

Research Talk at City University London

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.

New Article Forthcoming in Organization Science

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

Research Talk at Tilburg University

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).

tilburg (450x298)

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!

Research Talk at Erasmus University Rotterdam

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.

erasmus (450x253)

Thanks to my host, Murat Tarakci, for making this happen and to all the brown bag participants for their great feedback on our study!

Research Talk at University of Lausanne


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!

Sabbatical Abroad


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

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