• Clusters in the biopharmaceutical industry: Toward a new method of analysis

      Erden, Zeynep; von Krogh, Georg (Drug Discovery Today, 2011)
      Clusters are groups of co-located and interconnected firms and institutions linked by commonalities in their strategies and complementarities in their activities and resources. There are several reasons for the geographical clustering of firms in the biopharmaceutical industry. This review unpacks some advantages and disadvantages of cluster participation, and proposes a new method to enable managers and researchers to identify clusters in the biopharmaceutical industry.
    • Coordinating knowlegde creation in multidisciplinary teams: Evidence from early-stage drug discovery

      Ben-Menahem, Shiko; von Krogh, Georg; Erden, Zeynep; Schneider, Andreas (Academy of Management Journal, 2015)
      Based on a multi-year field study of early-stage drug discovery project teams at a global pharmaceutical company, this paper examines how multidisciplinary teams engaged in knowledge creation combine formal and informal coordination mechanisms when faced with unpredictable interdependencies among specialists’ knowledge domains. While multidisciplinary teams are critical for knowledge creation in increasingly specialized work environments, the coordination literature has been divided with respect to the extent to which such teams rely on formal coordination structures and informal coordination practices. Our findings show that when interdependencies among knowledge domains are dynamic and unpredictable, specialists design self-managed (sub-)teams around collectively held assumptions about interdependencies based on incomplete information (conjectural interdependencies). These team structures establish the grounds for informal coordination practices that enable specialists to both manage known interdependencies and reveal new interdependencies. Newly revealed interdependencies among knowledge domains, in turn, promote structural adaptation. Drawing on these findings, we advance an integrative model explaining how team-based knowledge creation relies on the mutual constitution of formal coordination structures and informal coordination practices. The model contributes to theory on organizational design and practice-based research on coordination in cross-disciplinary knowledge creation.
    • Fostering multidisciplinary collaboration in drug discovery

      Erden, Zeynep; Ben-Menahem, Shiko; von Krogh, Georg; Schneider, Andreas; Koch, Guido; Widmer, Hans (Drug Discovery World, 2019)
      Drug discovery teams combine specialists with in-depth knowledge from a variety of scientific disciplines. Such diversity in thought worlds poses a challenging exercise in cross-disciplinary collaboration and project coordination. Based on a longitudinal field study of five projects in a leading pharmaceutical company we present a framework outlining the conditions for effective cross-disciplinary collaboration in drug discovery teams. We show that knowledge creation in multidisciplinary teams relies on a combination of formal team structures and informal co-ordination practices. Formal team structures set the boundary conditions for cross-disciplinary co-ordination. Within their boundaries self-managed sub-teams draw on informal co-ordination practices involving cross-disciplinary anticipation, synchronization and triangulation to overcome knowledge boundaries and high uncertainty. We identify five key insights and two questions which are important for managers to consider for fostering multidisciplinary collaboration in drug discovery.
    • How can we signal the value of our knowledge? Knowledge-based reputation and its impact on firm performance in science-based industries

      Erden, Zeynep; Klang, David; Sydler, Renato; von Krogh, Georg (Long Range Planning, 2015)
      This study shows that the value of a firm's knowledge stocks in a stakeholder group is determined by the rules, values, norms and social evaluations conducted in that group. Based on prior work on the knowledge-based view of the firm and institutional theory, we develop a model of the relationship between the reputation of a firm's knowledge stocks in the scientific and business communities, and the impact of these assets on firm performance. We test the model in a longitudinal research setting with a set of carefully sampled public biopharmaceutical firms. The results indicate that the social evaluations of knowledge stocks by both the scientific and business communities affect firm performance. We indicate the implications of our findings for academic thought and for management practice.
    • Knowledge sharing in an online community of volunteers: The role of community munificence

      Erden, Zeynep; von Krogh, Georg; Kim, Seonwoo (European Management Review, 2012)
      This study examines how perceived benefits, and context in online communities, shape members' intentions to share their knowledge. We build a model of knowledge‐sharing intention and provide empirical evidence using survey data collected from a community in which members voluntarily exchange their experiences, ideas, and questions on photographic equipment via online platforms. We find the perceived benefits and favorable conditions provided by a community (community munificence) – which consists of collective knowledge, experienced interdependence, opportunity structures, and psychological safety – influence individuals' motivation to contribute knowledge. We discuss managerial implications and outline suggestions for future theory building and empirical research.
    • Knowledge-flows and firm performance

      Erden, Zeynep; Klang, David; Sydler, Renato; von Krogh, Georg (Journal of Business Research, 2014)
      This study advances the understanding of how knowledge-flows impact on firm performance. Incorporating recent research on the knowledge-based view of the firm, this paper tests and extends the knowledge flow model by using more fine-grained measures and by proposing a nonlinear effect. This study tests the predicted effects in a longitudinal research design with data on a global sample of public biopharmaceutical firms. The results largely support the expectation that knowledge-flows largely have a nonlinear impact on firm performance. However, one traditional measure of knowledge-flows, geographical location, turns out to have no significant influence in the extended model. The paper explains the implications of these findings for practice and research.
    • Rethinking Leadership in Drug Discovery

      Schneider, Andreas; Erden, Zeynep; Widmer, Hans; Koch, Guido; Billy, Christine; von Krogh, Georg (Drug Discovery Today, 2012)
      Great efforts have been dedicated to rebuilding the engine of pharmaceutical R&D. However, one potential area of improvement has received limited attention in the literature and in practice: namely, leadership. In this article, we enrich the traditional views of leadership, which consider leadership a responsibility of a few centrally placed authorities, with the concept of distributed leadership. Distributed leadership reflects a group-based capability driven by everyday activities and the key scientific questions at hand. We identify three leadership challenges faced by R&D teams that could be addressed by implementing distributed leadership. Furthermore, we provide some suggestions as to how to foster distributed leadership in drug discovery projects.
    • Safeguarding serendipitous creativity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

      Ben-Menahem, Shiko; Erden, Zeynep (California Management Review, 2020)
      How does a firm ensure creative interactions among people within and outside of the organization in pandemic conditions?
    • Strategic groups in the biopharmaceutical industry: Implications for performance

      Erden, Zeynep; von Krogh, Georg; Nytorp, Cecilia; Hultberg, Marcus (Drug Discovery Today, 2009)
      The biopharmaceutical industry is characterized by intense competition, high uncertainty, and strong dependence on scientific knowledge. We show that in order to succeed in this industry, firms need to be positioned along three strategic dimensions: the level of inter-firm R&D partnering, the level of diversification, and the size of the firm. Prior research has revealed that a firm's membership in so-called ‘strategic groups’ impacts strongly on its performance. This study analyzes strategic groups in the biopharmaceutical industry along the strategic dimensions listed. The performance of the groups differs significantly. The best performing groups are the ones that consist of large firms with a high level of in-house diversification across therapeutic areas and the medium-sized firms that pursue partnership with other companies.
    • The multifaceted nature of social practices: A review of the perspectives on practice-based theory building about organizations

      Erden, Zeynep (European Management Journal, 2014)
      A vibrant body of literature on social practices has developed rapidly in recent years. However, a systematic analysis of the underlying perspectives that shape the way practice-based scholars contribute to theory building about organizational phenomena has escaped scholarly attention. It is of pivotal importance to examine the multifaceted nature of social practices and understand the process by which new practice-based knowledge is developed. Our study addresses this gap by disentangling how researchers have adopted the knowledge, materiality, ethics, and politics perspectives that – as past influential work has informed us – are particularly relevant to practice-based theory building. In so doing, we categorize the body of literature into themes that correspond to the organizational phenomena examined by social practice scholars: practice boundaries and coordination of work, technology at work, strategy formation, local particulars structuring everyday work, and transformation of work practices. By uncovering how scholars adopt the four perspectives within each theme, our review shows that scholars (i) predominantly adopt the knowledge perspective, (ii) neglect the politics perspective when looking ‘inside’ a social practice, (iii) strikingly de-emphasize the ethics perspective, and (iv) isolate each of the four perspectives used in theory building. We then examine in detail the implications of our work for future research on social practices and conclude with a number of theoretical and methodological suggestions.
    • The publishing and patenting strategies of successful university spinoffs in the biopharmaceutical industry

      Erden, Zeynep (Drug Discovery Today, 2017)
      Firms in the biopharmaceutical industry send signals to investors about the value of their knowledge by disclosing it in the form of patents and publications. In this way, they can gain reputation even before having products on the market. This paper compares the patenting and publishing activities of university spinoffs with other biopharmaceutical firms. The findings suggest that successful university spinoffs and successful other firms (not university spinoffs) tend to follow different knowledge disclosure strategies. Whereas successful university spinoffs tend to emphasize the scientific value of their knowledge and gain reputation through their high-quality publications, other successful firms tend to emphasize the commercial value of their knowledge and gain reputation through high-quality patents.
    • The quality of group tacit knowledge

      Erden, Zeynep; von Krogh, Georg; Nonaka, Ikujiro (The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 2008)
      Organizational knowledge creation theory explains the process of making available and amplifying knowledge created by individuals as well as crystallizing and connecting it to an organization’s knowledge system. What individuals get to know in their (working) lives benefits their colleagues and, eventually, the wider organization. In this article, we briefly review central elements in organizational knowledge creation theory and show a research gap related to the quality of tacit knowledge in a group. We advance organizational knowledge creation theory by developing the concept of “quality of group tacit knowledge.” Based on this concept, we further develop a comprehensive model explaining different levels of tacit knowledge quality that a group can achieve. Finally, we discuss managerial implications resulting from our model and outline imperatives for future theory building and empirical research.