• Absorptive capacity, socially enabling mechanisms, and the role of learning from trial and error experiments: A tribute to Dan Levinthal’s contribution to international business research

      Lewin, Arie Y.; Massini, Silvia; Peeters, Carine (Journal of International Business Studies, 2020)
      The concept of absorptive capacity (AC) of firms (Cohen and Levinthal 1989 and 1990) is a foundational feature of organizational learning and adaptation that has had enormous influence in international business (IB), and innovation studies and management research in general. In this tribute to Dan Levinthal, we discuss the close connection between AC and learning – two areas central to Dan Levinthal’s research – in relation to different contexts where AC comes into play in extant IB research. We discuss four specific aspects of the nexus of AC and learning in the context of IB: (1) bridging between intra- and inter-firm learning; (2) a routine-based framing of AC that emphasizes processes and capabilities underlying seeking, assimilating, and innovation in a global setting; (3) the role of socially enabling mechanisms, and (4) the logic of learning through trial and error experiments within firms and countries.
    • Microfoundations of internal and external absorptive capacity routines

      Lewin, Arie Y.; Massini, Silvia; Peeters, Carine (Organization Science, 2011)
    • Sources of variation in the efficiency of management innovation processes: The role of absorptive capacity routines, managerial attention and organizational legitimacy

      Peeters, Carine; Massini, Silvia; Lewin, Arie Y. (Organization Studies, 2014)
      Drawing on two in-depth case studies, this paper develops a conceptual model of how absorptive capacity routines and their underlying processes of evolution influence the efficiency of management innovation adaptation processes. The model highlights three important relations. First, although different configurations of absorptive capacity routines can lead to the successful implementation of the same management innovation – namely the reconfiguration of firms’ value chains through sourcing of business services from offshore countries – the sequence of developing routines, their adequacy, and the interdependencies fit between routines partly explain how rapidly and seamlessly a firm is able to implement a management innovation. Second, we identify managerial attention and organizational legitimacy as two critical and interrelated sources of variation of the efficiency in the process of adopting and adapting management innovations. Finally, attention direction by a top-level internal change agent is more effective than local problemistic search to foster managerial attention and organizational legitimacy to both the management innovation to be adopted, and the need to develop and put into practice an appropriate set of absorptive capacity routines.
    • The changing rationale for governance choices: Early vs. late adopters of global services sourcing

      Manning, Stephan; Massini, Silvia; Peeters, Carine; Lewin, Arie (Strategic Management Journal, 2018)
      This paper studies how the logic of firm governance choices varies as a function of the time of adoption of particular sourcing practices. Using data on the diffusion of global business services sourcing as a management practice from early experiments in the 1980s through 2011, we show that the extent to which governance choices are affected by process commoditization, availability of external service capabilities, and past governance choices depends on whether firms are early or late adopters. Findings inform research on governance choice dynamics specifically in highly diverse and evolving firm populations.
    • The underexplored role of managing interdependencies fit in organization design and performance

      Caspin-Wagner, Keren; Lewin, Arie Y.; Massini, Silvia; Peeters, Carine (Journal of Organizational Design, 2013)
      We argue that research on interdependence fit is an underexplored variable in strategy and organization research and is the missing variable that differentiates the performance of “built to last” organizations from the rest. Interdependence fit relates to how well activities and processes within the organization or between the organization and its environment mutually reinforce one another. We suggest that the major reason underlying variation in firm performance may be rooted in differences of whether and how firms manage interdependencies within and across an organization’s strategic activities. Progress on researching interdependence fit could be realized by focusing on strategically important activities, and the research challenge is to identify the unobservable processes and routines that underlie interdependence fit.
    • Why are companies offshoring innovation? The emerging global race for talent

      Lewin, Arie Y.; Massini, Silvia; Peeters, Carine (Journal of International Business Studies, 2009)
      This paper empirically studies determinants of decision by companies to offshore innovation activities. It uses survey data from the international Offshoring Research Network project to estimate the impact of managerial intentionality, past experience, and environmental factors on the probability of offshoring innovation projects. The results show that the emerging shortage of highly skilled science and engineering talent in the US and, more generally, the need to access qualified personnel are important explanatory factors for offshoring innovation decisions. Moreover, contrary to drivers of many other functions, labor arbitrage is less important than other forms of cost savings. The paper concludes with a discussion of the changing dynamics underlying offshoring of innovation activities, suggesting that companies are entering a global race for talent.