Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2008 BYU-University of Utah Winter Strategy Conference

The BYU-University of Utah Winter Strategy Conference 2008 ended a couple of days ago in Sundance, Utah. Several papers have incorporated organizational economics reasoning into the analysis of business strategy, see here and here. In the final session, Jay Barney, Jackson Nickerson and Joel Baum discussed the methods related to the past and current strategy research. Many other papers can also be downloaded from the webpage.

Update: Nicolai Foss of Organizations and Markets blog offers his impressions and highlights of this conference:
  • Michael Tushman (HBS) did a nice and interesting piece of advertising for his notion of organizational “ambidexterity.”
  • Evan Rawley (Wharton) presented an excellent paper on ownership arrangements in the taxi industry, concentrating on deregulation (that allows taxi companies to offer limo services) has resulted in an increase of drivers' ownership of taxis.
  • Lyda Bigelow (UUtah) presented some fascinating current work with Nick Argyres on how economic organization varies over the industry life cycle (extending their recent Management Science paper on the same subject by including considerations of competitive positioning).
  • Jay Barney, Jackson Nickerson and Joel Baum made three excellent presentations in a panel on “Research Methods Opportunities and Challenges in Strategy.” Jay pointed that the key idea of strategic management of successfully matching idiosyncratic capabilities to opportunities is at conflict with the dominant empirical approach of predicting means. Theorizing about individual firm-level effects while estimating an average can be highly misleading, a point he illustrated by discussing the diversification-discount literature. He argued that hierarchical Bayesian methods may help solve the conundrum. Jackson concentrated on the endogeneity problem, pointing out that only 10 years ago most empirical strategy researcher essentially didn’t know about endogeneity. However, strategy had clearly catched up since then, and in general empirical strategy scholars (meaning 98% of strategy scholars) were now approaching economists in econometric sophistication. Joel Baum linked up with Barney by arguing that because strategic management is taken up with extreme events, scholars should take much more of an interest in Extreme Statistics, looking at Paretian rather than Gaussian distributions).

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