My primary research agenda is to study coordination in high-technology industries, with a particular focus on how networks of relations—between people and organizations—affect industry dynamics.
In my doctoral dissertation at INSEAD, I studied how firms in innovation ecosystems use alliance networks to coordinate their technology strategies. The term “innovation ecosystems” refers to industries built on technologies that require multiple complementary elements to be coordinated to create value for customers. Prior research has shed light on how this coordination is achieved, but it has not yet addressed the differential effects of ties between different types of industry participants. My dissertation studied how the interorganizational relationships between a focal firm and its suppliers, competitors, and complementors influence its investment behavior and competitive performance in a new technology generation. The empirical setting for the dissertation is the global mobile telecommunications industry. Phil Anderson chaired my dissertation committee. I have presented this research at various international academic conferences and I am now preparing this work for submission to academic journals.
Alongside my dissertation I have a stream of research co-authored with Henning Piezunka, in which we examine the interplay of vertical supply relationships and organizational learning in the context of Formula 1 motor racing. In a paper that is forthcoming at Administrative Science Quarterly, we study how managers cope with the uncertainty over what factors contribute to their team’s performance. In particular, we study how managers evaluate their component suppliers by vicariously observing the performances of other teams that work with the same supplier. When a competing team who use the same engine supplier does poorly (compared to their recent track record), this leads managers to attribute their own team’s poor performance to that supplier, raising the likelihood that their exchange tie with the supplier will be dissolved. You can read the journal article, which is open access, here. (The accepted article version can be accessed here).
Additionally, I am interested in how entrepreneurs mobilize diverse types of resources as part of the process of founding a venture. My co-authors Tommy Pan Fang, Bala Vissa, and Andy Wu and I have published an article in the Academy of Management Annals reviewing prior literature on this topic and providing suggestions for future work (preprint available here.)
In other joint work with Bala Vissa, I consider the question of entrepreneurial team formation: how does a founder go about finding and selecting co-founders (working paper online here)? Jointly with Andy Wu, I have organized sessions at the Academy of Management exploring themes of entrepreneurial networks (2014) and resource mobilization (2015). Since 2016 Andy and I, together with Sourobh Ghosh, have organized a popular Academy of Management workshop on the Lean Startup as an innovation strategy (2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019).