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EI Previous Seminars in 2013-14

EI Seminar - 20 May 2014

Speaker: Dr Antoine Vernet, Research Associate, Imperial College London

Title: Tripping yourself up? Team formation and effective teams by Antoine Vernet and Tore Opsahl

Abstract: Recruiting key members in project-teams is a complex decision-making process difficult to unpack. For project-teams finding the right match is critical. Project stakeholders choose individuals they believe are the best fit for their project. To choose a new member, incumbents have to rely on heuristics. This might lead them to pick individuals that will not be the best suited to help the project succeed. We uncover the criteria and behavioural patterns incumbents use while hiring new team members. We explore more specifically the effects of similarity and fit. Our contribution highlights discrepancies between the heuristics used to make hiring decisions and characteristics of team members that lead to better performance for the project. More specifically, we show that similarity has a u-shaped relationship with the likelihood of a newcomer being hired but no relationship with future performance of the team formed. Project specific expertise has negative impact on the likelihood of being hired despite having a strong positive impact on future performance of the team. We test our theory in the French film industry. We explore the implications beyond this industry for high-stake matching decisions of skilled labor to projects, and for managers involved in recruiting decisions.

Biography: Antoine Vernet is a research associate in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship department at Imperial College Business School. His research revolves around social networks and innovation. He is interested in understanding how networks of relations emerge over time and how those relations influence individual behaviour. He currently works on a project on innovation and online communities in collaboration with Professor Ammon Salter (Imperial) and Professor Martin Kilduff (UCL). This project focuses on how collaboration networks (such as affiliation or communication networks) enable innovation. He is also involved on a project on how micro-grids, to deliver electricity to rural communities in Africa, influence business development and entrepreneurship in those communities, a collaboration with Professor Gerry George (Imperial). Dr Vernet received his PhD in Sociology from Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense in December 2010. His PhD dissertation looked at how people found job on a fluid labour-market and how social networks influenced both the search for a job and its outcome (finding a job or not). He focused on technicians working in the French and American movie industries.

EI/SIB Joint Seminar 8 April 2014

Speaker: Dr. Samuel Macaulay, Research Associate in the Department of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Imperial College London

Title: The search environment is not benign: Reassessing the social risks of intra-organizational search


This paper brings a long overlooked assumption about organizational learning back to the attention of organizational scholars. March and Simon’s (1958, p. 50) assumption that search happens within a “benign environment” has become taken-for-granted in organizational studies. The implications of making this assumption are not widely theorized, investigated or even discussed and yet it often appears to have been unwittingly imported into explanations of organizational learning. March and Simon acknowledged that this assumption was not realistic, and we build on their work by investigating the origins and implications of a nonbenign search environment. We draw on in-depth qualitative research, produced through two years of fieldwork studying intra-organizational learning at a Fortune 500 mining firm, to show how perceptions of social risk problematize the assumption of a benign search environment. Causal links are drawn between role equivalence, resource scarcity and status competition to explain how social risk is generated and why it can lead actors to view the intra-organizational search environment as non-benign. We argue that competition in the local environment can generate social risk that leads people to perceive the search environment as non-benign and motivates them to search for non-local solutions. This causal logic provides a new way of understanding the phenomena of non-local search and complements explanations non-local search founded on myopia in organizational learning. In doing so, our study contributes to recent scholarship that seeks to improve behavioral explanations of search and organizational learning by bringing the notion of intra-organizational conflict back to the heart of organizational theory.


Sam MacAulay is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Imperial College London’s Business School. He studies the organisation of innovation, particularly the manner in which patterns of cooperation, competition and conflict shape the innovation process. Recently, when not caught up in all this, he's been spending his time fretting about how Australia will get past Chile, Spain, and the Netherlands in the group stage at this year's World Cup. For more information, see here for his Imperial College profile.

EI/SIB Joint Seminar 18 Feb 2014

Speaker: Professor Vangelis Souitaris, Cass Business School, City University London

Time: 12.00

Date: Tuesday 18th of February 2014

Venue: Meeting Room E2.02, Warwick Business School, Social Science Building D/E Block.

Title: When Is Broader Not Better? An Examination of Patent Scope

Abstract: Extant literature has demonstrated the ‘halo effect’ of a good reputation for the core organizational activity on the outcome of an emerging or peripheral activity. We contribute to the literature on organizational reputation by illustrating a halo-effect in the opposite direction, from the periphery to the core. We show that developing a reputation for capabilities in new and emerging areas (in our context social impact via spinoffs) can generate positive spillovers for core organizational activities (in our context research). We call this phenomenon the ‘peripheral halo effect’. We also contribute to the academic entrepreneurship literature by demonstrating that spinoff portfolios generate income for universities indirectly, via reputational benefits. Keywords: organizational reputation; halo effect; spinoffs; academic entrepreneurship; university funding.

Biography: Vangelis Souitaris is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London since 2004. Before Cass, Vangelis spent 6 years at Imperial College London. Vangelis also held visiting appointments at Wharton (2008-09), Bologna (2007-08), and Vlerick (2005). In 2011, he was recognized as one of the top 40 business school professors under 40, by the online business education magazine “Poets and Quants”. He is the subject leader for entrepreneurship at Cass and the PhD director for the management pathway.

Vangelis specialises in technology entrepreneurship. He has studied multiple aspects of the phenomenon, namely the creation, financing, innovation, and strategy of new technology ventures. Currently he focuses on 3 specific areas: 1) Strategic decision making in new ventures, 2) Corporate Venture Capital and 3) Academic entrepreneurship. His work was published in top-tier journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, Research Policy, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Harvard Business Review

22 January 2014

Speaker: Dr Elena Novelli, Cass Business School, City University London

Time: 2.00 pm

Place: B0.09, Scarman Road Building, Warwick Business School

Title: When Is Broader Not Better? An Examination of Patent Scope

Abstract: This paper investigates the concept of patent scope. Patent scope refers to the inventive space covered by a patent. A patent’s scope essentially defines the boundaries of the area of knowledge that is excluded from public use. Building on research that suggests that expanding the scope of a patent corresponds to identifying possible variations that can be made to the invention ‘best mode’ to adapt it for different uses (e.g. Merges and Nelson, 1994), this paper makes two main contributions to existing research in this area. First, it offers a renewed investigation of the concept of patent scope recognizing that, in addition to studying the number of variations to the invention “best mode”, investigating the dispersion of such variations in the inventive space is also important and affects the effectiveness of protection granted by the patent. While identifying a higher number of variations to the invention leads to an increase in the amount of knowledge spilling over from the patent that is internalized by the firm itself, the dispersion of such variations across technological areas leads to an increase in the amount of knowledge spillovers to other entities. Second, having shown that the dispersion of variations across technological classes plays an important role in affecting patent protection, in the second part of the paper I investigate the determinants of patent scope. Drawing on research on the role of scientific knowledge in the inventive process (e.g Narin, 1994; Narin et al. 1997; Fleming and Sorenson, 2004) and on analogical processes (e.g. Gavetti, Levinthal and Rivkin, 2005; Gick and Holyoak, 1980; Hofstadter, 1999), I identify the level of scientific knowledge and of related inventive experience in the firm’s knowledge-base as two important determinants affecting the scope of their patents. The empirical analysis based on a longitudinal sample of firms support these predictions.

Biography: Elena Novelli is a Lecturer in Management at Cass Business School. Before joining Cass, she was a Lecturer at the University of Bath, where she also served as a member of the School of Management Research Committee. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Management and a B.A. and M.Sc, cum laude, in Business Administration from Bocconi University, Milan. She also studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at Universitad Carlos III in Madrid.

Elena’s research interests lie at the intersection of strategy and technology studies and focus on the strategic management of knowledge, technology and innovation and the implications of these for firm performance. She started developing this research agenda in the context of her Ph.D. dissertation, which was selected as the Finalist for the Best Dissertation Award from the Academy of Management (BPS Division) and the Danish Research Unit on Industrial Dynamics (DRUID). Her research pipeline includes published and forthcoming articles in journals (The Academy of Management Review; The Academy of Management Annals); books (The Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management; Handbook of Innovation Management- Oxford University Press), and entries in Management dictionaries (The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management). In 2012 Elena was awarded a three year ESRC Future Research Leaders grant.

26 November 2013

Speaker: Dr. Dawn R. DeTienne, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado

Title: Entrepreneurial Exit

Venue: Meeting Room E2.02, Warwick Business School, Social Science Building D/E Wing (building no. 69 on the campus map).

Time: 12.30 Hrs.


According to PrivCo[1] private worldwide middle-market exits – those between 2M and 500M (USD) – reached 805B (USD) in 2011. In addition, due to a latent supply of businesses coming into the market, the improving economic climate, increased buyer demand due to recovering stock portfolios, and the slowly improving lending situation, there will be a significant increase in the number of exit transactions over the next decade. Yet, as scholars, our understanding of this phenomenon is clearly deficient. Entrepreneurship research has examined such topics as opportunity recognition, new venture creation, and firm growth, but little research has examined entrepreneurial exit, even though it has implications for multiple levels of analyses ranging from macro-institutions to the individual founder. In this presentation I will examine the extant research, levels of analyses, appropriate theoretical perspectives, and then propose research streams that will impact scholarly research, educational pedagogy, and practitioner-oriented outcomes.
[1] Privco is a primary source for business and financial data on major, non-publicly traded corporations



Dawn R. DeTienne is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her research focuses upon entrepreneurial exit, gender and entrepreneurship, effectuation, and opportunity identification. DeTienne’ s research has appeared in Academy of Management Learning & Education, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Small Business Economics, Journal of High Technology Management, and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. Professor DeTienne is a 6 year Dean’s Scholar and in 2009 was awarded the Colorado State University College of Business Researcher of the Year. In 2013, DeTienne received the J. William Fulbright Scholarship to Dublin, Ireland where she currently resides. She is currently co-editing a special issue on Entrepreneurial Exit for the International Small Business Journal, editing a Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Exit for Edward Elgar, and completing an entrepreneurial exit project for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Dr. DeTienne exclusively teaches entrepreneurship courses and in 2011 she was awarded the Colorado State University Excellence in Teaching Award. She serves as Faculty Director for the Institute for Entrepreneurship. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., DeTienne founded, co-owned, and successfully exited a small business venture. Professor DeTienne is an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Learning & Education Journal and serves on the editorial boards of Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice and Journal of Business Venturing. Most recently, she was a Representative at Large in the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management and Chair of the Entrepreneurship Division Communications Committee.

EI Seminar 12 November 2013

Speaker: Dr Jean S. Clarke, Associate Professor at Leeds University Business School

The language and body language of entrepreneurs: How verbal and non-verbal metaphors are used to persuade investors

to fund new ventures


Accessing adequate financial, material, and human resources is regarded as central to the process of entrepreneurship given that the vast majority of entrepreneurs are likely at some point to be faced with the challenge of obtaining external investment to initiate or expand their entrepreneurial venture (Aldrich & Fiol, 1994; Starr & MacMillan, 1990; Zahra, 2010; Zott & Huy, 2007). In the absence of prior indicators of success entrepreneurs must depend on their ability to communicate and persuade investors of the feasibility of their entrepreneurial venture in order to gain early stage investment. Recent studies in the entrepreneurship literature have also been increasingly suggesting the importance of the non-verbal aspects of entrepreneurial persuasion (Baron and Markman, 2003; Clarke, 2011). Chen et al (2009) in particular focus on the extent to which entrepreneurs who use animated facial and body movements are more successful in gaining venture capital, although they do not specify what types of body movements are effective and how this relates to their verbal communication. In this study we examine a sub-set of manual gestures (coordinated movements of the arms and hands that spontaneously accompany speech) known as iconic, or metaphoric, gesture which co-occur with metaphoric speech. Like their verbal equivalent this type of gesture represents ideas that are conceptual and abstract, but are expressed through manual movements (Cienki, 2005). This study systematically investigated entrepreneurs’ use of gesture and body language in business plan presentations to investors and their impact on investors funding decisions. We found use of metaphorical gesture and metaphorical language to be positively related to investor funding decision. While entrepreneurs who used metaphorical language alone were rated as moderately effective by investors, entrepreneurs who were rated as highly effective at pitching their business propositions to investors were those who used high levels of metaphorical language accompanied by high levels metaphorical gesture.


Jean S. Clarke ( is an associate professor at Leeds University Business School. Jean completed a BSc in psychology in Queen’s University, Belfast, followed by an MSc in occupational psychology in the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Work Psychology. She completed her PhD in 2006 in the University of Leeds and has stayed on at Leeds as a member of staff since then.

Her research focuses on how entrepreneurs use visual cues in interactions with relevant stakeholders such as investors, customers, employees to develop legitimacy for their new venture. This work divides into two main streams. One focus is on understanding how entrepreneurs use and manipulate visual symbols (dress, props, settings etc.) and the second is a focus on how entrepreneurs use body language and in particular hand gestures to communicate. She uses a variety of visual methodologies in my research including visual ethnographic work, micro-analysis of body language and gesture and more recently vide-based experimental studies.

Her research has been published in leading international journals such as Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Ethics and Journal of Management Inquiry. Drawing on her research she is also working with Connect Yorkshire to develop training materials for use throughout the UK which aim to train entrepreneurs in effective pitching and negotiations. Jean has recently been awarded a grant (£250, 000) from the Economic Social Research Council to continue her research into the body language of entrepreneurs

This seminar is part of the EI group's "brown bag" seminar series where colleagues present research ideas in their early stages.

Speaker: Professor Ruth McDonald, Professor of Governance & Public Management, Warwick Business School.

Tuesday 15th October 2013


Increasingly in health care contexts policy makers are seeking innovative ways of improving health outcomes. Financial incentive schemes are attractive since they appear to offer simple solutions, but they often fail to deliver and produce unintended consequences. This talk presents early stage musings from a 5 year evaluation of a hospital incentive initiative that appears to save lives. In the US, a similar scheme had no impact on outcomes.

Whilst the ideal in terms of implementing such large scale change is to win hearts and minds, the NHS is far from ideal. This talk describes what happens when winning hearts and minds is not possible and contrasts what happened with orthodox quality management theory. In a context of Lean and efficiency savings inside of NHS organisations, a virtual and subversive organisation was created to provide organisational slack and emotional support to those charged with implementing innovative practice. Additionally, far from driving out collaborative behaviour, competition acted to spur hospitals to improve at the same time as they collaborated to enhance mutual learning.


Ruth McDonald joined WBS in September 2013 and has held posts at the Universities of Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool. She also spent one year as a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research concerns change in health care organisations and much of this in recent years has concerned financial incentives for quality (‘Pay for Performance’) in the UK and beyond. She has also provided advice to a range of bodies including the Department of Health and The Health Foundation in the UK, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Research Council of Norway. Prior to embarking on an academic career, Ruth was an NHS finance director.