We establish prior diversification experience as a key determinant of the relationship between growth of product and international diversification. Prior diversification experience allows firms to overcome short-run constraints on simultaneous diversification growth imposed by the difficulty to transfer tacit knowledge, ambiguous competencies, and limited absorptive capacity. Studying U.S. and European firms, we find a positive relationship between growth in product and international scope for firms with high and a negative one for those with little prior diversification experience. Further, we find that product diversification experience has greater impact than international diversification experience.
This study examines how product innovation contributes to the renewal of the firm through its dynamic and reciprocal relation with the firm's competences. Field research in five high-tech firms of varying age, size, and level of diversification is combined with analysis of existing theory to develop the findings of the study. Based on the notion that new products are created by linking competences relating to technologies and customers, a typology is derived that classifies new product projects based on whether a new product can draw on existing competences, or whether it requires competences the firm does not yet have. Following organizational learning theory, these options are conceptualized as exploitation and exploration. These organizational learning concepts are used to gain a dynamic and path-dependent view of product innovation and firm development, and to reveal the unique nature and challenges of different types of product innovation.
Applications of signaling theory to predict reorganization outcomes are in their infancy. The dynamic integrative framework developed in this study is useful in identifying different types of signals and predicting outcomes of firms in crisis. The results of this study can be useful for various decision makers to predict the turnaround potential of bankrupt firms. Our results show that an increase in alliance partners, institutional investors, and securities analysts following a bankrupt firm predicts the firm's reorganization outcome. Moreover, firms that are able to gain positive attention from key stakeholders will also gain positive interpretations of their strategic efforts. Signals from alliance partners and institutional investors amplify the signaling effect of a firm's de‐diversification effort in predicting its reorganization outcome.
The ability to redeploy resources inside the firm reduces the cost of entry “mistakes.” If a new business turns out to have poor profitability, the ability to redeploy more of its resources back into the firm's other businesses allows recycling of investment and can speed up the retreat. This reduces not only the cost of exit, but also the cost of entry. Managers should therefore be more willing to experiment and take risks in developing businesses that are more related to the firm's existing businesses, whereas if redeployment is likely to be difficult, managers should be cautious about entering. New businesses should be chosen in ways that facilitate redeployment, and managers should consider the implications of redeployment when setting the performance thresholds that justify entry and exit .
Transferring valuable practices within the firm is an important yet difficult task for many firm types, especially multi-unit firms. One way that firms choose to transfer practices is through the use of templates—working examples of the new practice that act as models. Using data from a Fortune 100 retail chain, I show that the use of templates affects the way in which units learn to implement the practice. Because managers face tradeoffs when devoting attention to implementing the new practice, they must balance learning from the template with incorporating their own local experience with the new practice. Overall, my results suggest that choosing many templates is less important than choosing a few templates with superior performance for firms whose units or contexts are similar.
Investors and entrepreneurs face uncertainty when deciding what firms to start and fund. We show that an intermediation effort to make entry easier for entrepreneurs increases the uncertainty that entrepreneurs and investors face. For investors, the enthusiasm for technology firms engendered by the new exchange can motivate investment in marginal firms to maintain as desired deal flow. However, lower firm growth and less liquidity in the future is likely. For entrepreneurs, our results indicate that it is more challenging to manage technology firm growth as well as there is potential opportunity to investigate other industries. Finally, for policy-makers and supporters of the new exchanges, our results imply that investment flows are altered as intended, but unless listing standards remain high, the virtuous cycle of investment upon which a healthy entrepreneurial climate rests may be disrupted, muting the intended effects of the new exchange.