Scale, Scope and Firm Boundaries in Technology-Based Industries

21 02 2016

Are the ideas of the late Alfred Chandler coming back into fashion? In a 2015 blog post about Google’s transformation into a  conglomerate called Alphabet, Richard Langlois speculated that such a trend might be underway.  The title of an upcoming event at Cass Business School in London also suggests that Chandlerian ideas are making a comeback, as the title of the event is a clearly a reference to Chandler’s magnum opus Scale and Scope.

Scale, Scope and Firm Boundaries in Technology-Based Industries: Novel Reflections and Directions for Future Research
25th- 26th February 2016

Cass Business School, City University London

Organizer: Dr. Elena Novelli, Cass Business School, ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow
Event funded by the ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant

#scaleandscope

In the last few decades technological change has led to a substantial reduction in the costs of transacting and to a massive increase in connectivity and reach, stimulating a parallel reconfiguration in the architecture of many industries. Firms have been exhibiting very divergent diversification and integration patterns. Some firms have been expanding their scope considerably (e.g. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple) sometimes in vertical and sometimes in complementary or horizontal directions; others have been expanding in some directions (e.g. horizontal), but contracting in others (e.g. vertical). Some firms have even emerged as “virtual corporations”.

These patterns raise many questions that revitalize the lively debate on the knowledge and market boundaries of technology-based firms and the trade-offs that different scale and scope configurations impose to them:

Is internal innovation still a feasible strategy in today’s complex technological and product environment? To what extent can knowledge be effectively acquired through external sources and what are the costs of using this strategy for firms’ economic and innovative performance?

To what extent has technological change really reduced within-firm coordination costs and hence expanded the optimal scope of the firm? Under what conditions, instead, does technology reduce transaction costs across markets even more than within firms, so that the optimal scope of the firm is now reduced?

Which organizational forms and related business models are likely to be the most successful in the current environment and which industry configurations are likely to emerge in equilibrium?

This workshop will bring together leading scholars that have contributed to research on knowledge and market boundaries of firms for the purpose of stimulating an interactive discussion on the topic and reflecting on new avenues for future research.

Agenda

Feb 25th
6pm – 830 pm. Pre-workshop panel event.
How Important Are a Company Size and Its Business Scope to Succeed in Today’s Business and Technological Environment?

The event is free but places are limited, please register via Eventbrite or contact faculty.administration@city.ac.uk

Feb 26th
9am-5pm. Research workshop.
Scale, Scope and Firm Boundaries in Technology-Based Industries: Novel Reflections and Directions for Future Research.

The event is free but places are limited, please register here or contact faculty.administration@city.ac.uk

0915 Welcome and Introduction

Gianvito Lanzolla, Cass Business School, Head of the Faculty of Management, Project Mentor

Gautam Ahuja, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Project Mentor
Elena Novelli, Cass Business School, ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow
0945 Session 1: The Knowledge Boundaries of Firms

Chair: Stefan Haefliger, Cass Business School

Keld Laursen, Copenhagen Business School

Gary Dushnitsky, London Business School

Dovev Lavie, Technion

Paola Criscuolo, Imperial College Business School

Carliss Baldwin, Harvard Business School

1100 Coffee break

1130 Session 2: Firm Scope, Competition and Performance

Chair: Gianvito Lanzolla, Cass Business School

Lourdes Sosa, London School of Economics

Bart Clarysse, Imperial College Business School

Stefano Brusoni, ETH Zurich

Jerker Denrell, Warwick Business School

1245 Lunch

1400 Session 3: Organizational Structure and Firm Boundaries

Chair: Costas Andriopoulos, Cass Business School

Nicholas Argyres, Olin Business School

Aseem Kaul, Carlson School of Management

Evan Rawley, Columbia Business School

Erkko Autio, Imperial College Business School

Martin Kilduff, University College London School of Management

1515 Coffee break

1545 Panel debate: Scale, Scope and Firm Boundaries : Reflections and Novel Research directions

Chair: Elena Novelli, Cass Business School

Gautam Ahuja, Ross School of Business

Nicholas Argyres, Olin Business School

Carliss Baldwin, Harvard Business School

Marianne Lewis, Cass Business School, Dean

Wrap-up and Conclusions

1700 Wine reception

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