Ramus, T., Vaccaro, A., & Brusoni, S. Forthcoming. Institutional complexity in turbulent times: formalization, collaboration, and the emergence of blended logics. Academy of Management Journal

This paper explores how organizations dealing with institutional complexity manage internal tensions triggered by environmental turbulence. Based on a longitudinal, comparative study, we extend previous research that has identified collaboration and formalization as possible mechanisms to reconcile organizational tensions in such situations. We show that neither of these mechanisms is sufficient in itself to resolve tensions. Rather, it is the structured interaction between collaboration and formalization that allows organizations to successfully blend logics and reconcile their conflicting demands. On the basis of our findings, we develop a process model that explains how organizations change in response to environmental turbulence.


Fredrik Tell, Christian Berggren, Stefano Brusoni,& Andrew Van de Ven. 2017. Managing Knowledge Integration Across Boundaries, 1st Edition, ISBN: 978-0-19-878597-2. Oxford University Press, Oxford

Knowledge integration - the purposeful combination of specialized and complementary knowledge to achieve specific tasks - is becoming increasingly important for organizations facing rapidly changing institutional environments, globalized markets, and fast-paced technological developments. The need for knowledge integration is driven by knowledge specialization and its geographic and organizational distribution in the global economy. The increasing complexity and relevance of the knowledge integration problem is apparent in emerging new fields of research, such as open innovation, or the merging of existing ones, e.g. organizational learning and strategy. In global competition, the successful management of knowledge integration underpins firms' ability to innovate, generate profit, grow and, ultimately, survive. This book provides conceptual contributions as well as empirical studies that examine knowledge integration essentially as a 'boundary' problem. Knowledge integration becomes a problem when boundaries between knowledge fields, and the institutions that preside over those fields, are not clear, or become fluid and contestable. This fluidity, and the competitive pressures this fluidity generates, are persistent and permanent features of the world we live in. This book puts forward a consistent set of ideas, methods and tools useful to interpret, analyze and act upon the processes of knowledge integration across boundaries.

Laureiro - Martinez D., Trujillo CA. & Unda J. 2017. Time perspective and age: a review of age associated differences . Frontiers in Psychology, 8

We investigate the relationship between age and the five dimensions of time perspective measured by the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI) (past negative, past positive, present hedonistic, present fatalistic and future). Time perspective is related to well-being, decision-making, level of development, and many other psychological issues. Hence, the existence of a systematic relationship between time perspective and age should be considered in all studies for which time is a relevant variable. However, no specific research about it has been conducted. Adapting meta-analytical techniques, we collected 407 papers that referenced the ZTPI between 2001 and 2015. From those, 72 studies met our inclusion criteria. They include 29,815 participants from 19 countries whose age spans most phases of adulthood (from 13.5 to 75.5 years, mean 28.7). We found that present hedonistic and past negative dimensions are negatively related to aging with partial eta squared effect sizes of roughly .15. Our results have implications for the design of studies related to time as our findings highlight the importance of taking into account the differences associated with age.

Tata, A., Laureiro Martinez D., Garcia D., Oesch A., Brusoni, S. 2017. The Psycholinguistics of Entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 7 (June 2017): 38 - 44

We compare data across 24,624 Twitter users to examine differences between entrepreneurs and the general population. Our analyses reveal that entrepreneurs manifest more positive and fewer negative emotions than the general population. Entrepreneurs also communicate more about work, and less about aspects related to personal life. Interestingly, during the early phases of a venture, positive emotions and work concerns increase, while negative emotions and life concerns decrease. Counterintuitively, work and negative emotions are negatively associated. Entrepreneurs express negative emotions 2.26 times less, and these negative emotions reduce by 8% after successful fundraising. Our work has implications for the understanding of work-life balance and of emotions in entrepreneurial contexts.

Würmseher, M. 2017. To each his own: Matching different entrepreneurial models to the academic scientist's individual needs. Technovation, 59 (January 2017): 1-17

This paper presents a comparative case study of academic group leaders, active in three different scientific fields at a leading Swiss technical university. It examines the obstacles that prevent scientists from commercializing their technologies and how they can be reduced. Traditional models of technology transfer assume that scientists prefer either to 'go it alone' and become entrepreneurs (the inventor entrepreneur model) or to let go of their technologies to people interested in their commercialization (the surrogate entrepreneur model). The results of qualitative research suggest that these two models capture the extremes of a continuum populated by a variety of intermediate situations where scientists are unwilling completely to let go of their findings, but also do not want to become full time entrepreneurs. This results in considerable commercial potential that is unexploited. The Founding Angels approach might be a solution to this problem; it is designed for academics in these intermediate situations. The study contributes to the literature on university-industry technology transfer and should be useful for practitioners and scientists interested in maximizing the synergies between academia and industry.

Würmseher. M. & Firmin, L. 2017. Nanobiotech in big pharma: a business perspective. Future Medicine: Nanomedicine, 12 (5): 535 - 543

Since the early 2000s, numerous publications have presented major scientific opportunities that can be achieved through integrating insights from the area of nanotech into biotech (nanobiotech). This paper aims to explore the economic significance that nanobiotech has gained in the established pharmaceutical industry (big pharma). The empirical investigation draws on patent data as well as product revenue data; and to put the results into perspective, the amounts are compared with the established/traditional biotech sector. The results indicate that the new technology still plays only a minor role – at least from a commercial perspective.


Brusoni, S. & Vaccaro, A. 2016. Ethics, Technology and Organizational Innovation. Journal of Business Ethics
Bubenzer, P. Identifying with innovations: Antecedents, mechanisms, outcomes. Working paper, 2016
Bubenzer, P. Identifying with the firm: Effects on creativity in open innovation. ISPIM Innovation Forum, 2016
Bubenzer, P. Innovation and Identity: Micro-foundations of an identity-based categorization of innovations. Working paper, 2016
Bubenzer, P., Sluss, D. Shared leadership in teams: Exploring the effect of relational identification on in-role performance. Working paper, 2016
Bubenzer, P., Wales, W.J., Baldegger, R. Reconsidering the performance effects of employee autonomy in the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, BODØ, 2016
Heck, J., Rittiner, F., Steinert, M., & Meboldt M. Quantifying Characteristics of Iterations in the Fuzzy Front End of Product Development Processes. Proceedings of NordDesign 2016, Volume 2, Trondheim, Norway, 10th - 12th August 2016, 2016
Heck, J., Rittiner, F., Steinert, M., & Meboldt, M. Iteration-based Performance Measurement of PDPs in the Fuzzy Front End. Procedia CIRP 26th Design Conference Innovative Product Creation, 2016
Meier, S., Pierce, L., Vaccaro, A., & La Cara, B. 2016. Trust and In-Group Favoritism in a Culture of Crime. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 132 / A: 78-92

We use experiments in high schools in two neighborhoods in the metropolitan area of Palermo, Italy to experimentally support the argument that the historical informal institution of organized crime can undermine current institutions, even in religiously and ethnically homogeneous populations. Using trust and prisoner's dilemma games, we found that students in a neighborhood with high Mafia involvement exhibit lower generalized trust and trustworthiness, but higher in-group favoritism, with punishment norms failing to resolve these deficits. Our study suggests that a culture of organized crime can affect adolescent norms and attitudes that might support a vicious cycle of in-group favoritism and crime that in turn hinders economic development.

Rittiner, F., Heck, J., Meboldt M., & Steinert, M. Space Utilization Patterns and Workshop Furniture – Affordances for New Product Development and Design. Fourth International Conference on Design Creativity, Atlanta, GA, 2016
Rittiner, F., Heck, J., Meboldt M., & Steinert, M. Using Personas in Ideation Workshops. Fourth International Conference on Design Creativity, Atlanta, GA, 2016
Viergutz, S., & Rittiner, F. 2016. Product Development: Lean Management in der Entwicklung, 115–133. Erfolgsfaktor Lean Management 2.0, Heidelberg: Springer


Bubenzer, P., Gregoire, D., Nyfferler, N. . Opportunity identification and identification with opportunities: Expanding the motivational dynamics of entrepreneurial action. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, 2015
Bubenzer, P., Rouse, B., Gregoire, D. Your Idea Is Also Mine (Now)! Psychological Ownership and Identification with Ideas in Organizations. Academy of Management Conference, 2015
Carnabuci, G. & Diószegi, B. 2015. Social networks, cognitive style and innovative performance: A contingency perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 58 (3): 881-905

Integrating insights from cognitive psychology into current network theory on the social capital of brokering and closed networks, we argue that cognitive style is a critical contingency explaining the relation between social network position and innovative performance. Based on a “complementary fit” argument, we posit that a social network rich in structural holes enhances the innovative performance of employees with an Adaptive cognitive style; however, individuals with an Innovative cognitive style are most innovative when embedded in a closed network of densely interconnected contacts. Using data on the individual cognitive style and complete workplace social network of all employees within a small design and manufacturing firm (N=68), we show that our theorized contingency mechanism accounts for a large share of empirical variation in employee innovative performance over and above existing social network explanations.

Coradi, A., Rittiner, F. 2015. Räume für transdisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit schaffen. KMU Magazin, (3): 76-82

Die Entwicklungsprozesse moderner Produkte und Dienstleistungen werden zunehmend komplexer, was die Einbindung von Spezialisten unterschiedlicher Disziplinen aus Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft erfordert. Neben schlanken Prozessen bilden funktionale Arbeitsräumlichkeiten eine wesentliche Grundlage für transdisziplinäres Arbeiten.

Festel, G., Breitenmoser, P., Würmseher, M., Kratzer, J. 2015. Early stage technology investments of pre-seed venture capitalists. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 7/4: 370-395, ISSN: 1742-5360

Although technology transfer offices at universities are widely installed, in many cases, inventions made in academia still struggle to be commercialised. This so-called technology transfer gap can be overcome by professionalised pre-founding activities. Whereas prevailing investment models, like business angels or traditional venture capitalists, usually tie up their business activity on already founded companies, pre-seed venture capitalists (PSVC) attempt to align inventions made at academia with entrepreneurship by founding start-ups. Against this background, this study aims at examining the perceptions of deficiencies of the prevailing investment models and the role of the PSVCs in the pre-founding phase. PSVC companies operating in the biotechnology and nanotechnology area and with a broader technology approach have been analysed within a multi case study research. The results show that based on the technological scope and the financial source of the investment activity, four different types of PSVC business models can be identified and described. Technology transfer offices at universities and research institutions supporting the founding process of start-ups can use the findings to develop and execute specific partnership strategies with these PSVC types.

Heck, J., Rittiner, F., Steinert, M., & Meboldt M. Impact Dimensions of Ideation Workshops on the Innovation Capability of SMEs. Proceedings of Continuous Innovation Network 2015, Stockholm, 2015
Laureiro-Martinez, D., Brusoni, S., & Canessa, N. 2015. Cognition and Emotions in Exploration: A Deeper Look Into the Microfoundations of Strategic Change. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2015(1)
Laureiro-Martínez, D., Brusoni, S., Canessa, N., & Zollo, M. 2015. Understanding the exploration-exploitation dilemma: An fMRI study of attention control and decision-making performance. Strategic Management Journal, 36:3: 319-338

This paper studies the cognitive processes that enable decision makers to switch between exploitation and exploration. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a sample of expert decision makers to make two main contributions. First, we identify and contrast the specific brain regions and cognitive processes associated with exploitation and exploration decisions. Exploitation activates regions associated with reward seeking, which track and evaluate the value of current choices, while exploration relies on regions associated with attentional control, tracking the value of alternative choices. Second, we propose and test the idea that stronger activation of the brain circuits related to attentional control allows individuals to achieve better decision-making performance as a result. We discuss the implications of these results for strategic management research and practice. Video abstract:

Laureiro-Martínez, D., Venkatraman, V., Cappa, S., Zollo, M., & Brusoni, S. 2015. Cognitive Neurosciences and Strategic Management: Challenges and Opportunities in Tying the Knot, 32, 351-370, ISSN: 0742-3322. Advances in Strategic Management: Cognition and Strategy

This chapter discusses the practical challenges and opportunities involved in merging the two fields of cognitive neurosciences and strategic management, starting from the premise that the need to marry them is justified by their complementarities, as opposed to the level of analysis on which they both focus. We discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of using methods borrowed from cognitive neurosciences for management research. First, we argue that there are clear advantages in deploying techniques that enable researchers to observe processes and variables that are central to management research, with the caveat that neuroscientific methods and techniques are not general-purpose technologies. Second, we identify three core issues that specify the boundaries within which management scholars can usefully deploy such methods. Third, we propose a possible research agenda with various areas of synergy between the complementary capabilities of management and neuroscience scholars, aiming to generate valuable knowledge and insight for both disciplines and also for society as a whole.

Lee, S., Rittiner, F., Szulanski, G. 2015. The Past, Present, and Future of Organizational Learning Research A Conversation With Professor Linda Argote. Journal of Management Inquiry, March 2015: 1-8

We share an interview on the past, present, and future of organizational learning research from the perspective of one of the field’s foundational contributors—Professor Linda Argote (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University). This interview was held at the 2013 Strategic Management Society (SMS) annual conference in Atlanta, continuing the emerging tradition of bringing the SMS Knowledge and Innovation Group closer to the people who wrote important, foundational papers at the intersection of strategy, knowledge, and innovation.

Ramus, T., Vaccaro, A., & Brusoni, S. 2015. Addressing Institutional Complexity: The Role of Formalization and Collaboration. Academy of Management proceedings, 2015(1): 11350
Rittiner, F. & Brusoni, S. 2015. The empire strikes back. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2015(1)
Stephan, A., Bubenzer, P., Fauchart, E. Bootlegging in a technology driven corporate – challenges and opportunities to foster radical innovation. AIMS, 2015


Boles, E., Festel, G. and Würmseher, M. 2014. Butalco als Spin-off der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 294-298. in: Schilling, K. (Ed.) Erfinden – Patentieren – Verwerten: Praxisbuch für Erfinder aus Hochschulen. Springer. Heidelberg

Eine Firma, die aus einer Universität oder Hochschule heraus gegründet wird, bezeichnet man als akademisches Spin-off oder auch Start-up. Bei Hochtechnologiegründungen spielen Patente eine außerordentlich wichtige Rolle, sei es für das Einwerben von Beteiligungskapital oder für das Bestehen der Firma gegen die etablierte Konkurrenz. Häufig haben Firmengründer als Angehörige der Hochschule die patentgeschützte, neue Technologie selbst entwickelt und möchten sich nun auch um die Weiterentwicklung und Vermarktung kümmern.

Brusoni, S., & Rosenkranz, N. A. 2014. Reading Between the Lines: Learning as a process between organizational context and individuals’ proclivities. European Management Journal, 32(1): 147-154

Critical firm-level results, such as strategic renewal and sustainable firm performance are recurrently attributed to organizational learning. Yet, many scholars claim that this firm-level phenomenon has not been sufficiently broken down and connected with lower level activities. Consequently, this paper intends to focus on two nascent conceptual bridges for linking macro- and micro-level structures and processes in the organizational learning literature: (organizational) identity and (organizational) attention. We first briefly review these two approaches, trying to show their complementarities. We shall argue that research on identity and attention is delivering results useful to establish suitable foundations to the organizational learning literature; that both can be scaled up from the individual level to do justice to the multilevel nature of learning and finally that both lend themselves to the analysis of the seemingly unsolvable tension between exploitation and exploration in organizational learning.

Bubenzer, P., Foreman, P. Exploring the Effects of Hybrid Product and Organizational Identities on Organizational Identification. Academy of Management Conference, 2014
Bubenzer, P., Weber, K. Who are We Becoming? Consequences of Innovations for Members’ Identification with their Organization. Strategic Management Society Special Conference, Copenhagen, 2014
Festel , G., Bellof, M., Würmseher, M., Rammer, C. and Boles, E. . 2014. Calculation of raw material prices and conversion costs for biofuels, 93-115. in: A.D. Padula, O.I.B. Santos, M.S. dos Santos, D. Borenstein (Eds.), Liquid Biofuels: Emergence, Development and Prospects, Lecture Notes in Energy Bd. 27, London

The current taxation benefits for biofuels are only temporary. Therefore, biofuel production costs need to be able to compete with those of conventional fuels in order to gain market share in the future. However, highly complex influencing factors make a comparison of biofuel production costs with those of fossil fuels challenging. This chapter has three major goals: (1) a projection of future feedstock prices for biofuels based on the development of the price for crude oil, (2) a simulation of the effects of likely economies of scale from scaling-up production size and technological learning on production costs and (3) a scenario analysis comparing different biofuels and fossil fuels. European biofuel production costs for 2015 as well as 2020 are projected based on a calculation model for biofuel production. Our scenarios assume prices for crude oil between Euro 50 and Euro 200 per barrel for both reference years. Our results indicate that mid- to long-term, second-generation biofuels are very likely to achieve competitive production costs, if technological learning and economies of scale are factored in. Bioethanol made from lignocellulosic biomass and biodiesel from waste oil promise the highest cost-saving potential in all crude price scenarios and are capable of outperforming fossil fuels and first-generation biofuels in the future.

Festel , G., Würmseher, M., Rammer, C. 2014. Price Comparison. A Report Looking into Future Biofuels Production Cost Against Fossil Fuels, Focusing Specifically on 2015 and 2020. Biofuels International magazine, Vol. 8, No. 5: 67-68
Festel , G., Würmseher, M., Rammer, C., Boles, E. and Bellof, M. 2014. Modelling Production Cost Scenarios for Biofuels and Fossil Fuels in Europe. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 66: 242-253, ISSN: 0959-6526

Competitive production costs compared to conventional fuels are imperative for biofuels to gain market shares, as current tax advantages for biofuels are only temporary. Comparing production costs of different biofuels with fossil fuels is a challenge due to the complexity of influencing factors. The objective of this research paper is threefold: 1) to project future bio-fuel feedstock prices based on the crude oil price development, the price index for agricultural products, growth in world population, growth in wealth per capita income, and change in energy consumption per capita, 2) to simulate production costs under consideration of likely economies of scale from scaling-up production size and technological learning and 3) to compare different biofuels and fossil fuels by scenario analysis. A calculation model for biofuel production is used to analyse projected production costs for different types of biofuels in Europe for 2015 and 2020. Unlike engineering oriented bottom–up approaches that are often used in other biofuel studies, the macro-economic top–down approach applied in this study enables an economic comparison and discussion of various fuel types based on reference scenarios of crude oil prices of €50, €100, €150 and €200 per barrel. Depending on the specific raw material prices as well as the conversion costs, the analysis delivered a differentiated view on the production costs and thus on the competitiveness of each individual type of fuel. The results show that 2nd generation biofuels are most likely to achieve competitive production costs mid- to long-term when taking into account the effects from technological learning and production scale size as well as crude oil price scenarios between €50 and €200 per barrel for both reference years. In all crude oil price scenarios, bioethanol from lignocellulosic raw materials as well as biodiesel from waste oil are associated with high cost saving potentials which enable them to outperform fossil fuels and 1st generation biofuels.

Festel, G. and Würmseher, M. 2014. Benchmarking of energy and utility infrastructures in industrial parks. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 70: 15-26, ISSN: 0959-6526

Based on technological progress in conjunction with globalisation, the role of industrial sites has been changing and a cost competitive infrastructure is decisive for a company's long-term success. This article will introduce an innovative approach to benchmark maintenance and electric energy costs to produce and distribute electric energy, steam, industrial and drinking water and compressed air by an empirical examination. In this study, a benchmarking evaluation within 9 chemical parks and chemical related industrial parks was performed. In total, 23 key performance indicators in the area of maintenance and electric energy costs of production and distribution were defined and calculated based on data collected from the participants. To compare the different infrastructures, the most important key performance indicators were adjusted by correction factors. Thus, the correction factors, which have to be very specifically defined for each area, increase the acceptance and applicability of the benchmarking methodology. In consequence, the benchmarking, using correction factors, enabled the comparison of different infrastructures and a justified discussion based on comparable and comprehensible figures. Here, the benchmarking results showed large differences in performance levels, indicating that there are still significant cost saving potentials in some industrial parks. In practice, this new approach provides a robust guideline for practitioners in analysing and advancing the competitiveness of infrastructures on a solid theoretical foundation and also supplies a valuable contribution to policymakers and academics.

Festel, G. and Würmseher, M. 2014. Benchmarking of industrial park infrastructures in Germany. Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 21, No. 6: 854-883, ISSN: 1463-5771

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the operational performance of industrial park infrastructures in Germany to find first indications for cost saving potentials. Design/methodology/approach – Between 2006 and 2007, six chemical parks and chemical related industrial parks in Germany participated in a benchmarking study with focus on operation and maintenance of buildings, communication infrastructures and traffic infrastructures. Based on data analysis in combination with workshops, numerous key performance indicators were defined and calculated. Findings – To compare the different complexities of the analysed infrastructures, the most important key performance indicators were adjusted using correction factors defined and verified during the workshops. This made a discussion based on comparable and comprehensible figures possible which increased the acceptance and applicability of the benchmarking methodology. The benchmarking results showed large differences in performance levels, indicating that there are significant cost saving potentials in some industrial parks. Research limitations/implications – The comparability may remain limited due to the partly insufficient availability of data from the participants. Other limitations are due to the small number of investigated industrial parks and the focus of the benchmarking study on Germany. Originality/value – The developed benchmark and best practice methodology is well suited to evaluate best practice in the field of industrial park infrastructures. It is important for industrial parks to understand the individual performance level and to adapt best practice in all areas.

Festel, G., Würmseher, M. and Rammer, C. . 2014. Scaling and Learning Effects of Biofuels Conversion Technologies. Energy Technology, Vol. 2, No. 7: 612-617

The convergence in production costs between biofuels and fossil fuels may be driven by an increase of the market price for crude oil on the one hand and by a decrease of the production costs for alternative fuels on the other. Whereas the price for fossil fuels mainly depends on the price of crude oil, the conversion costs often have a decisive impact on fuels produced from biomass. This study shows that the total conversion costs can be primarily reduced by scaling effects. Therefore, for all discussed types of biofuels, the total conversion costs can be reduced by a factor of ten, solely through scale economies associated with upscaling of the production plant size from 10 kt to 500 kt. In contrast, between 2005 and 2020, the expected reduction of the conversion costs attributable to learning effects is approximately one half, resulting from the learning curve factors during this time period. Although 2nd generation biofuels have been closely linked to higher conversion costs in comparison to 1st generation biofuels, this gap is expected to almost vanish over the next decade.

Förster, S., Tuna, S. 2014. How Japanese companies transform and utilize their employees’ knowledge. KMU Magazin, 5: 95-99
Laureiro-Martínez, D. 2014. Cognitive Control Capabilities, Routinization Propensity and Decision-Making Performance. Organization Science, 25 / 4: 1111 - 1133

This paper examines the cognitive and behavioral foundations of decision making at the individual level. It is based on a study conducted with 86 graduate students and a model that combines the highly mindful cognitive control capabilities and the less-mindful routinization propensity to explain decision-making performance. The paper offers three contributions. First, I introduce and empirically observe cognitive control capabilities, i.e., the supervisory cognitive mechanisms through which individuals monitor and control their own attention processes. Second, I introduce and operationalize the concept of routinization propensity. This is an individual-difference variable capturing the tendency to develop and enact a behavioral repertoire of standard solutions. Third, I propose and test a model in which routinization propensity mediates the impact of cognitive control capabilities on decision-making performance. I show that both high and low levels of mindfulness are essential to maximize performance in strategic decision making. Counterintuitively, however, higher cognitive control capabilities are connected to higher levels of routinization propensity, which in turn enhance performance. These findings contribute to the development of an integrated theory of cognition, decision making, and learning.

Schulze, A., Brojerdi, G., & Krogh, G. 2014. Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach. Disseminative capability and knowledge transfer in the automotive industry. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(1): 79-97

Innovations in the automotive industry are increasingly building on contributions from different technological fields. Correspondingly, firms in this industry more than ever tend to form research and development (R&D) alliances that aim at innovating new products through integrating separate fields and transferring knowledge. While, in symmetrical R&D alliances, each partner intends to ultimately maintain their distinctive and specialized knowledge base, overlapping knowledge facilitates cooperation and ultimately alliance success. Thus, the capability for knowledge transfer between partners is crucial in such R&D alliances. The literature provides ample evidence that such knowledge transfer is more likely to succeed if the recipient firm has absorptive capability. However, whereas the characteristics of the knowledge transfer process and the recipient firm are well understood, limited attention has so far been given to the issue of the knowledge source firm's ability to transfer knowledge to R&D alliance partners. This study focuses on the impact of source firm capability on successful knowledge transfer in R&D alliances. The study develops a theoretical framework of disseminative capability consisting of five dimensions and tests it on a sample of 59 projects in R&D alliances in the automotive industry. To ensure content validity and avoid common source bias, data were collected from both alliance partners. To test the hypotheses, multiple regression analyses were performed. The results reveal that the source firm's disseminative capability including the attainment of expert knowledge, assessing the recipient firm's knowledge base, and encoding knowledge are positively related to knowledge transfer success, while, surprisingly, detaching knowledge and support of knowledge application in the recipient firm are negatively related. Intentionally or unintentionally, disseminating knowledge across firm boundaries is widely perceived as detrimental to a firm's competitive advantage. Accordingly, the literature tends to downplay disseminative capability as an important means of exploiting external knowledge in collaborative settings. By demonstrating potential benefits for the source firm to transfer knowledge to the allying R&D partner firm, this paper reinvigorates the collaborative dimension in knowledge transfer. Further, the paper is the first of this kind to theoretically explain and empirically show that dimensions of disseminative capability of collaborators in R&D alliances are important for knowledge transfer, whereas disseminative capability is the complementary inverse of an organization's absorptive capacity.

Tuna, S. and Windisch, G. 2014. Efficient Front-loading through Knowledge Integration. International Journal of Product Development, Vol. 19 (5/6): 286 - 306

'Front-loading', proficiency in new product development (NPD) early planning, is commonly acknowledged to improve performance. However, there is little empirical evidence on the micro-processes that improve NPD-specific efficiency outcomes. This paper analyses the specific front-loading capabilities needed to reduce waste in NPD. We investigate 53 NPD projects pursued between 2007 to 2012 by a company in the factory automation and control industry. Archival project documents are used to identify front-loading activities and efficiency outcomes; interviews were conducted with project managers and engineers. The results show that projects with systematic knowledge integration at the front-end show significantly better schedule attainment than projects with no systematic knowledge integration at the front-end. Front-loading capabilities are best described as knowledge transfer from past projects. There is also evidence that knowledge integration from downstream functions and testing has a joint impact on time efficiency.

Vaccaro, A., Ramus, T., & La Cara, B. 2014. Addiopizzo Travel – Teaching Note: Fighting mafia through market-based strategies. IESE Case Studies: BET-14-E.
Vaccaro, A., Ramus, T., & La Cara, B. 2014. Addiopizzo Travel. Fighting mafia through market-based strategies. IESE Case Studies: BE-188-E.


Cirillo, B., Brusoni, S., & Valentini, G. 2013. The Rejuvenation of Inventors Through Corporate Spinouts. Organization Science

This article focuses on corporate spinouts as a strategy that can rejuvenate the inventive efforts of inventors with a long tenure in the same company. We rely on an unbalanced panel of 5,604 inventor-year observations to study a matched sample of 431 inventors employed by the Xerox Corporation and find evidence in support of three predictions. First, inventors who join a spinout increase the extent of exploration in their inventive activities. Second, they decrease the extent to which they rely on the parent organization's knowledge. Third, because long-tenured employees, through socialization, tend to progressively adopt more exploitative behavior than short-tenured members, they benefit relatively more from the spinout experience. These results are robust to several econometric specifications that try to account for the endogeneity of the inventors' decision to join the spinout, for the fact that spinouts' inventive activity may be intrinsically different from that of the parent company, and for the possible presence of novel external stimuli for those who join spinouts. The data provide large-sample evidence consistent with the idea that socialization reduces opportunities for organizational learning; we discuss the implications for theory and practice.

Festel , G., Würmseher, M., Rammer, C., Boles, E. and Bellof, M. 2013. Modelling Production Cost Scenarios for Biofuels and Fossil Fuels in Europe. ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 13-075 (September 15, 2013)

This paper presents the results of a calculation model for biofuel production costs in 2015 and 2020 based on raw material price projections and considering scale and learning effects. Distinguishing six types of biofuels, the paper finds that scale economies and learning effects are critical for 2nd generation biofuels to become competitive. In case these effects can be utilized, cost saving potentials for 2nd generation biofuels are significant.

Festel, G. and Würmseher, M. 2013. Challenges and Strategies for Chemical/Industrial Parks in Europe. Journal of Business Chemistry, Vol. 10, No. 2: 59-66

Festel, G., Würmseher, M. and Cattaneo, G. 2013. Valuation of Early Stage High-tech Start-up Companies. International Journal of Business, Vol. 18, No. 3: 216-231

Valuating start-ups, especially at early stages, is a challenge given the lack of historical data and many uncertain factors about the future. This article presents a methodology for the valuation of early stage start-ups that we have proven in practice. The risk linked To a start-up is expressed through an individual beta coefficient as important component of the discounting factor within a discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation based on the data in a business plan. Core of this methodology is the development of an evaluation framework for the individual adjustment of the beta coefficient that is applicable to early stage start-ups. This was shown by applying the methodology to 16 early stage start-ups in the fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology, medical technology and clean technology, which provided an easy-to-handle and comprehensible comparison of different investment options for early stage investors

Laureiro-Martínez, D., Canessa, N., Brusoni, S., Zollo, M., Hare, T., Alemanno, F., & Cappa, S. F. 2013. Frontopolar cortex and decision-making efficiency: comparing brain activity of experts with different professional background during an exploration-exploitation task. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7: 1-10

An optimal balance between efficient exploitation of available resources and creative exploration of alternatives is critical for adaptation and survival. Previous studies associated these behavioral drives with, respectively, the dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic system and frontopolar-intraparietal networks. We study the activation of these systems in two age and gender-matched groups of experienced decision-makers differing in prior professional background, with the aim to understand the neural bases of individual differences in decision-making efficiency (performance divided by response time). We compare brain activity of entrepreneurs (who currently manage the organization they founded based on their venture idea) and managers (who are constantly involved in making strategic decisions but have no venture experience) engaged in a gambling-task assessing exploitative vs. explorative decision-making. Compared with managers, entrepreneurs showed higher decision-making efficiency, and a stronger activation in regions of frontopolar cortex (FPC) previously associated with explorative choice. Moreover, activity across a network of regions previously linked to explore/exploit tradeoffs explained individual differences in choice efficiency. These results suggest new avenues for the study of individual differences in the neural antecedents of efficient decision-making.

Rittiner, F., & Brusoni, S. 2013. Out of the garbage can? How continuous improvement facilitators match solutions to problems, 114. Towards Organizational Knowledge: The Pioneering Work of Ikujiro Nonaka

This chapter builds upon and extends the discussion about knowledge management processes in New Product Development (NPD). We refine Nonaka’s (1994) SECI model by focusing on what and – more specifically – who triggers the transition across the different learning modes, i.e., socialization, externalization, combination and internalization. To do so, this study integrates Nonaka’s distinction between different forms of knowledge – tacit vs. explicit – with Davenport’s (1993) distinction in terms of knowledge content – process knowledge (the knowledge of how to develop products) vs. improvement knowledge (the knowledge of how to improve business processes). To oversimplify a bit, we look at process knowledge as the stock of ‘problems’ waiting for a ‘solution’, stored in improvement knowledge. Process knowledge provides the specific issues, imbalances or errors, which enable engineers to focus their attention on specific problems and start looking for a possible solution that fits their needs. Improvement knowledge provides a stock of possible solutions to such problems. Both process and the improvement knowledge exist in different forms at different places within the organization, or outside. Both can be partly stored and made available in explicit forms through manuals and checklists, and partly mastered in tacit form by the employees or memorized in organizational routines (Nonaka & Toyama, 2003). While the explicit forms of knowledge are typically available to most organizational members, tacit knowledge is managed by heterogeneous and often distant actors. Improvement knowledge is very often available in codified forms through external sources of knowledge: consultants, academics, or professional associations.

Schulze, A, Angstmann, F., Förster, S., Schwärzler, S., Shekari, O., Tata, A., Zimmermann, N. 2013. The Automotive Industry in Switzerland: Industry Analysis 2013 . ETH Zürich
Schulze, A., & Brusoni, S. 2013. How to switch from idea generation to materialization: A case study of set based concurrent engineering. APROS - Asia Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies
Schulze, A., Schmitt, P., Heinzen, M., Mayrl, P., Heller, D., & Boutellier, R. 2013. Exploring the 4I framework of organizational learning in product development: Value stream mapping as a facilitator. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 26(12): 1136-1150

Organisational learning (OL) that enhances efficiency and the continuous improvement of processes is a key objective of lean product development and has become an important principle of new product development (NPD). Therefore, it is critical for an organisation to capture individuals’ and groups’ knowledge and learning about processes, institutionalise it, and deploy it organisation-wide. Since OL is more likely to occur if it is supported systematically, NPD scholars and practitioners recognise the importance of investigating facilitators’ effect on OL. However, there is no shared understanding of OL among existing studies. This disparity makes it hard to assess, compare, and integrate prior findings into studies. Our article addresses this gap. We investigate how value stream mapping (VSM) and its implementation in NPD affect OL in development processes. Therefore, we operationalise OL on the basis of Crossan et al .'s 4I framework, which is comprehensive and widely recognised (Crossan, M., Lane, H. and White, R., 1999. An organizational learning framework: from intuition to institution. The Academy of Management Review, 24(3), 522–537). We analysed the approach to VSM and its implementation in four longitudinal, comparative case studies in the German-speaking car supplier industry. Using the 4I framework, we captured VSM's effects on the various OL dimensions. We provide valuable insights for R&D managers who seek to improve their processes and want to implement VSM.

Tuna, S., & Rittiner, F. 2013. Schlanke Innovation durch eine alternativenorientierte Entwicklung. KMU Magazin: 100-104


Forero-Pineda, C., Laureiro-Martínez, D., & Marín, A. 2012. Patrones de innovación y propiedad intelectual en las PYMES de un país en desarrollo, 65. SIGLO XXI EDITORES ed: Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Xochimilco
Rittiner, F., Schulze, A., & Brusoni, S. Process management from a knowledge brokering perspective. ETH Zürich – YNU Research Seminar, 2012
Rosenkranz, N.A. 2012. Connecting the dots: Studies on boundary-spanning ambidexterity at the individual, project, firm and alliance level. Diss. University of St. Gallen
Schulze, A., & Brojerdi, G. J. C. 2012. The Effect of the Distance between Partners' Knowledge Components on Collaborative Innovation. European Management Review, 9(2): 85-98

The alliance literature has recognized distance between partners' knowledge as important for innovation. However, theoretical reasoning as well as empirical results differ concerning the relationship of partners' knowledge base distance and innovation performance. We assume that the mixed results are caused by neglecting the role of relevant knowledge types. In this study, we examine the effect of technological and managerial knowledge distance on collaborative innovation performance. We examined 53 collaborative development projects and we find an inverse U-shaped relationship between technological knowledge distance and innovation performance, explained by the knowledge-based view and absorptive capacity. Our results also reveal that a short managerial knowledge distance is beneficial for innovation, which can be explained by transaction cost theory. Overall, our research helps to better explain knowledge distance's effect on collaborative innovation performance.

Schulze, A., & Brusoni, S. 2012. Knowledge integration within firms: modular and set based strategies to organize for New Product Development, in: Symposium Integrating Knowledge about Knowledge Integration. Panelist with Robert Grant, Stefano Brusoni, Fredrik Tell . SMS 2012 Conference
Schulze, A., & Brusoni., S. 2012. Knowledge integration across parallel projects: A case study of set based concurrent engineering. 3rd Advanced KITE Workshop on Knowledge Integration and Innovation
Schulze, A., & Störmer, T. 2012. Lean Product Development – Enabling management factors for waste elimination. International Journal of Technology Management, 57(1): pp. 71-91

Lean development is a promising approach in new product development (NPD). However, despite the successful application of lean thinking and its principles to manufacturing, the adoption of the lean approach to product development is a quite novel undertaking. In this paper, we develop and test hypotheses pertaining to the elimination of waste, which is one of the major objectives of lean management. In particular, our study focuses on the question: What management factors are enablers for the elimination of waste in the context of NPD? We identified: 1) employee training; 2) coaching; 3) constructive failure treatment as effective means. Furthermore, implications for management practice are considered. Testing our hypotheses, we refer to data from 108 firms in the automotive supplier industry in German-speaking countries, i.e., Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Schulze, A., Brojerdi, G., & von Krogh. G. 2012. The effect of disseminative capacity on knowledge transfer: R&D alliances in the automotive industry. 5th International Supply Chain Management Symposium and Workshop
Täube, F., & Schulze, A. 2012. Symposium Innovation and strategy in the global automotive industry. Academy of International Business


Adams, P., Brusoni, S., & Malerba, F. 2011. Knowledge, Supply and Demand in Industrial Development: A sectoral system perspective. Innovation and Development, 1(2): 167–185

Economic development is centered around the learning processes of firms, the mastering of knowledge, and the accumulation of capabilities. This article builds upon these core elements by looking at how the knowledge boundaries of firms, the division of innovative and productive labor, and the governance of knowledge have evolved over time in the advanced industrialized countries in order to provide a historical and evolutionary context to the patterns of knowledge dynamics and innovation that are present in economic development and in emerging markets nowadays. It adopts the theoretical lenses of the sectoral system literature to discuss how the interplay of the supply and the demand side affects firm boundaries. The article shows that, over time, the knowledge boundaries for innovation, production and commercialization have greatly expanded, often to reach beyond the legal boundaries of firms or even the conventional definition of industries. The division between production and innovative labor has also increased. At the same time, the role of industrial users and of consumers as a source of useful knowledge has grown significantly. As a consequence, knowledge integration capabilities have increasingly become core competences for firms competing on world markets. These trends will have important implications for leading companies in emerging economies.

Brusoni, S., & Prencipe, A. 2011. Patterns of modularization: The dynamics of product architecture in complex systems. European Management Review, 8(2): 67–80

Building on the research tradition that understands organizations as problem solving institutions, this paper focuses on the micro processes that underlie problem framing and solving. The paper compares the developmental efforts of the three world's leading aircraft engine manufacturers, and their suppliers, to single out the strategic and organizational elements that may – or may not – lead firms to identify the critical interdependencies underlying a technical problem. We argue that firms that are able to frame and re-frame problems successfully are those equipped with systems integration capabilities, namely, a set of routines and heuristics that enable firms to explore and experiment alternative patterns of problem decomposition.

Forero-Pineda, C., Laureiro-Martínez, D., & Marín, A. 2011. Colombian Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Innovation Model. In J. Aboites and J. M. Corona, Innovation and Developmental Economics: A comparison between Brazil and Mexico. UN - ECLAC Editions, Mexico
Heinzen, M., Mayrl, P., & Boutellier, R. 2011. Der Einfluss von offenen, flexiblen und Multi-Space Bürokonzepten auf die Produktivität in F&E: Drei Fallbeispiele. KMU Magazin, 9(1): 83-90
Mayrl P., Mareike, H., & Uparela Acosta, C. 2011. Lean Management - Was Schweizer Unternehmen von Japan lernen können. KMU Magazin/Innovation Management, 9(10): 38-41
Mayrl, P., & Boutellier, R. 2011. Wertschöpfung in F&E: Wie kann eine konsequente Kundenorientierung in der Produktentwicklung umgesetzt werden?. io management, 80(10): 4-8
Rittiner, F., & Haller, N. 2011. Optimale Entwicklung mit steter Verbesserung. io management, 80(6): 68-71
Schmitt, P., Schulze, A., & Boutellier, R. 2011. Flexible und günstige Entwicklungsprojekte. io new management, 80(11): 5
Schmitt, P., Tahar, S., & Boutellier, R. 2011. Gestaltungsansätze für eine prozessbasierte Leistungsmessung bei KMU im kundenspezifischen Geschäft (Engineer-to-Order). ZfKE-Zeitschrift fur KMU und Entrepreneurship , 59(1): 41-61
Schulze, A. 2011. Trends und Chancen der Europäischen Automobilindustrie. Vernetzt im Einkauf: Wege aus der Krise, 221-248. Edited by Roman Boutellier, Stephan M. Wagner unter Mitarbeit von RubenJönke, MikkoDeNardo. Schweizerischer Verband für Materialwirtschaft und Einkauf SVME
Schulze, A., & Rittiner, F. Continuous Improvement Facilitators and their Relation to Efficiency in New Product Development. R&D Management Conference, Norrköping, Sweden, 2011
Schulze, A., & Rittiner, F. Towards a conceptual role model for efficient continuous improvement activities in new product development. ETH Zürich – YNU Research Seminar, 2011
Schulze, A., & Schmitt, P. 2011. How set based design fosters development flexibility: Parallelism, Delaying, Coordination & Communication. ETH Zürich – YNU Research Seminar
Vaccaro, A., Brusoni, S., & Veloso, F. M. 2011. Virtual Design, Problem Framing, and Innovation: An Empirical Study in the Automotive Industry. Journal of Management Studies, 48(1): 99-122

This paper studies how problem framing by research and development groups, in particular the extent of problem decomposition, impacts knowledge replication processes conducted through the use of virtual simulation tools (VSTs). It presents the results of a comparative study of two research and development groups working on the design of hybrid propulsion systems. The research contributes to the literature on strategy and innovation in four ways. First, we identify three organizational and strategic factors affecting the problem framing decision. Second, we analyse the impact of problem framing on the use of VSTs and the related effect on knowledge replication processes. Third, we show the emergence of a new VST-driven knowledge replication process, i.e. functional replication. Fourth, we explain how VST-driven knowledge replication processes can attenuate the dangers related to the adoption of modular design strategies and address the replication vs. imitation dilemma.


Laureiro-Martínez, D., Brusoni, S., Zollo, M.,. 2010. The Neuroscientific Foundations of the Exploration-Exploitation Dilemma. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics., 3(2): 95-115
Rosenkranz, N., Enkel, E., & Foltin, E. 2010. Bayer MaterialSciences Market-Pull und Technology-Push Prozesse durch Open Innovation. Symposion Publishing GmbH: Düsseldorf.