Professor Kannan Srikanth’s research concentrates on organisation design with an emphasis on distributed coordination and organising for innovation. He is a participant in large scale research projects on strategic organisation design.
We examine why commercialization of inter-disciplinary research, especially from distant scientific domains, is different from inventions from specialized or proximate domains. We argue that anticipated coordination costs arising from the need to transfer technology to the licensee firms and from the need for the inventor team to work together to further develop the technology significantly impact commercialization outcomes. We use a sample of 3,776 university invention disclosures to test whether the variation, in types of experience of the scientists within a team, influences the likelihood that an invention will be licensed. We proffer evidence to support our hypotheses that the anticipated coordination costs influence whether an invention is licensed, and that specific forms of team experience attenuate such coordination costs. The implications of these findings for theories of coordination, innovation, and entrepreneurship are discussed.
Understanding how to effectively integrate knowledge among the subsidiaries of an MNE is one of the most important research areas in global strategy. However, little research has examined the integration challenges in globally disaggregated value-chains in a complex NPD effort involving cutting-edge technologies or the tools managers use to overcome these challenges. Using an in-depth longitudinal study of the Boeing 787 program, we highlight three distinct integration challenges Boeing faced pertaining to design integration, production integration, and supply-chain integration. It addressed these integration challenges through recourse to partial collocation, establishing a unique IT-enabled centralized integration support center, reintegrating some activities previously performed by suppliers, and using its bargaining power to facilitate changes. We found that the integration tools employed were geared toward two primary objectives: (1) gaining increased visibility of actions, and visibility of knowledge networks across partner firms; and (2) motivating partners to take actions that would improve such visibility. These findings add a level of empirical traction to the theoretical debate around the integration tools and the role of authority in the knowledge-based view of the firm.
The relatively young phenomenon of Business Process Offshoring (BPO) offers an interesting context in which to re-examine a fairly old, but central problem in the study of organizations- how interdependent activities are coordinated (March and Simon, 1958; Thompson, 1967). In BPO, activities that were performed collocated with their connected activities are moved to different locations, typically to lower wage economies. Since several of the linked processes continue to be performed onsite after the focal process is offshored, managing these interdependencies is essential. Yet the communication constraints posed by geographic distance and differences in time zones make this a non-trivial problem (Kraut et al., 2002; Armstrong and Cole, 2002). The purpose of this paper is to understand the mechanisms that enable offshored business processes to be coordinated with those retained on-shore.
To see why an analysis of coordination mechanisms in the BPO context is not only topical but also has immense academic value, it is useful to revisit some basic theoretical generalizations about how coordination takes place in organizations. Successful coordination depends on the creation of reciprocal predictability of action and is necessary whenever actions are interdependent – i.e., when the outcomes of actions taken by A depend in some way on the actions taken by B (Thompson, 1967; Heath and Staudenmayer, 2000; Gulati, Lawrence and Puranam, 2005) . Coordination failures may arise even in the absence of incentive conflict (Camerer and Knez, 1996); indeed incentives meant to foster collaboration may harm rather than help unless coordination problems are accounted for (Kretschmer and Puranam, 2008).
Existing research suggests that in acquisitions of small technology-based firms by large established
firms post-merger integration both enables and hinders acquirers’ efforts to leverage the technology of acquired firms. This apparent paradox can be resolved once we account for
the qualitatively distinct ways in which acquirers leverage technology acquisitions. Integration
helps acquirers use the acquired firm’s existing knowledge as an input to their own innovation
processes (leveraging what they know), but hinders their reliance on the acquired firm as an independent source of ongoing innovation (leveraging what they do). We also show that experienced acquirers are better able to mitigate the disruptive consequences of the loss of autonomy entailed by integration, though we find no evidence that they achieve greater coordination benefits from integration.
While the notion of competence development has featured prominently in the strategy literature,
we have largely overlooked how the organization of competence in decision-making teams may
influence profits. Fundamentally, we develop a kernel of design principles that show how
collective decisions can be organized to increase profits. We address two gaps in the extant
literature. The first is how collective decisions should be organized when agents have
heterogeneous competences. Second, we show how competence should be upgraded in a
decision-team where members have diverse ability to pass judgment. We develop a model and
derive a number of testable propositions that summarize how team-structure, composition and
decision environment interact to affect profitability.
This paper provides an enhanced theoretical framework for studying performance in diverse groups. Specifically, we argue that existing work has largely under-appreciated the coordination challenges posed by group diversity. We propose that diverse groups’ lack of common ground makes them more susceptible to coordination failure, poor performance, and ultimately interpersonal problems (e.g., low trust and poor communication), and that this is a more fundamental reason for poor performance in diverse groups than the motivation losses traditionally emphasized in the group diversity literature.