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Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Specializing  in  generality:  firm  strategies  when  intermediate  markets  work

Specializing  in  general  purpose  technologies  as  a  firm  long-term  strategy

Raffaele Conti

Our  work  focuses  on  a  strategy  we  label "specialization  in  generality", which  consists  in  investing  in general resources  (that  is,  assets  that  can  be  usefully  applied  to  several  different  markets)  and  trading  with  other  firms  (rather  than  with  final  customers)  the  services/products  deriving  from  such  resources.  IDEO,  a  leading  design  company,  is  the  quintessential  example  of  a  company  pursuing  this  strategy:  it  invested  in  procedural  knowledge  general  enough  to  produce  new  ideas  in  several  different  fields,  and  offered  design  services  to  several  famous  companies  (such  as  Apple,  AT&T,  Samsung,  Philips,  and  Baxter  International)  operating  in  completely  different  downstream  markets.  But  when  does  a  specialization  in  generality  strategy  emerge?  And  is  such  strategy  sustainable  in  the  long-term?  Our  papers  address  these  questions.  In  particular,  the  first  paper (Specializing in  generality:  firm  strategies  when  intermediate  markets  work), clarifies  the  supply  and  demand  conditions  inducing  companies  to  adopt  a  specialization  in  generality  strategy.  The  second  paper (Specializing in  general  purpose  technology  as  a  firm  long-term  strategy) shows  that  specializing  in  generality  might  actually  represent  a  viable  strategy  even  in  the  long-run.  

Conti,  R.,  Gambardella,  A.  &  Novelli,  E.  (2018).  Specializing  in  generality:  firm  strategies  when  intermediate  markets  work.  Organization  Science.

Conti,  R.,  Gambardella,  A.  &  Novelli,  E.  (2018).  Specializing  in  general  purpose  technologies  as  a  firm  long-term  strategy.  Industrial  and  Corporate  Change.  


Drivers and levels of creative leadership: an examination of choreographers as directive and integrative leaders

Céline Abecassis-Moedas

The paper focuses on creative leadership (leading creative individuals) and examines the leadership style of a group of choreographers. Amongst the 2 main types, some choreographers are sole creators (directive leaders) and their decision to not seek dancers input is based upon their perspective, the particular project they are working on, or their personal preference. In contrast, other choreographers solicit and incorporate the input of dancers (integrative leaders) and they value dancers' input in three different ways; occasional, iterative, and continuous. These results allow researchers and practitioners to better understand creative leadership and can be applied to other areas where creative individuals are managed. 

Abecassis-Moedas, C. & Gilson, L. (2018). Drivers and levels of creative leadership: an examination of choreographers as directive and integrative leaders. Innovation: Organization & Management, 20(2), 122-138.


From Protest to Product: Strategic Frame Brokerage in a Commercial Social Movement Organization

Tommaso Ramus

In this paper we investigate how a social enterprise which is part of a social movement can adapt over time its communication strategy to appeal to its customers while remaining consistent with the values and beliefs of the social movement it is part of. We address this issue through a seven-year case study of Addiopizzo Travel, Sicilian social enterprise that attempts to eliminate extortion payments to the Mafia by providing tourism services to support businesses that defy this extortion.

Lee, M., Ramus, T., & Vaccaro, A. (2018). From Protest to Product: Strategic Frame Brokerage in a Commercial Social Movement Organization. Academy of Management Journal.