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April 1, 2017 to June 7, 2017

Social Science and Technology Seminar Spring 2017

Social Science and Technology Seminar Spring 2017

Seminars take place on Tuesdays 4-5:30pm in the 3rd Floor Conference Room, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building at 366 Galvez Street unless otherwise noted.

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3rd Floor Conference Room, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building at 366 Galvez Street unless otherwise noted.

April 11, 2017

4:00pm to 5:30pm
Presenter(s) : 

Maxim Sytch (Ross School of Business, University of Michigan)

Abstract: In this study, we explore how organizations can exercise a significant degree of agency when interacting with the law. Specifically, we investigate how social structures among corporate plaintiffs’ lawyers and federal judges enable plaintiffs to choose a favorable legal venue to initiate legal proceedings and gain an ensuing legal advantage. Our study explores the effects of social structures that arise from the mere geographical proximity among corporate lawyers and judges, as well as those that stem from the common educational and professional affiliations. We document the effects of these social structures on the choice of the federal district court for litigation and litigation outcomes using data on patent infringement litigation in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals from 1990 to 2014. We find that corporate actors are up to fourteen times more likely to file a lawsuit in the federal district court in which their lawyers share a common affiliation with the judges. Furthermore, our results document that companies can benefit in verdicts and in the stock market from such affiliations, but only when these affiliations facilitate the transfer of tacit knowledge. We discuss the implications of these findings for studies of social capital, embeddedness, as well as law and organizations.

April 25, 2017

4:00pm to 5:30pm
The Group Dynamics of Interorganizational Relationships: Collaborating with Multiple Partners in Innovation Ecosystems
Presenter(s) : 

Jason Davis (INSEAD)

This paper examines how organizations collaborate with multiple partners, such as when they develop innovative and complex product platforms like smartphones, servers, and MRI machines that rely on technologies developed by organizations in three or more sectors. Research on multipartner alliances often treats them as a collection of independent dyads, neglecting the possibility of third-party influence and interference in dyads that can inhibit innovation. Using a multiple-case, inductive study of six groups, each composed of three organizations engaged in technology and product development in the computer industry, I examine the collaborative forms and processes that organizations use to innovate with multiple partners in groups. Groups that used the collaborative forms of independent parallel dyads or single unified triads generated mistrust and conflict that stemmed from expectations about third-party participation and overlapping roles and thus had low innovation performance and weaker ties. Other groups avoided these problems by using a dynamic collaboration process that I call “group cycling,” in which managers viewed their triad as a small group, decomposed innovative activities into a series of interlinked dyads between different pairs of partners, and managed third-party interests across time. By temporarily restricting participation to pairs, managers chose which ideas, technologies, and resources to incorporate from third parties into single dyads and ensured that the outputs of multiple dyads were combined into a broader innovative whole.


May 30, 2017

4:00pm to 5:30pm
How Do Complementors Respond to the Threat of Platform Owner Entry? Evidence from the Mobile App Market*
Presenter(s) : 

Feng Zhu (Harvard Business School)


How do complementors respond to the threat of platform owner entry, and how do such responses differ from the responses to actual entry? We examine how app developers on the mobile platform Android adjust their rate and direction of innovation efforts and prices in response to Google’s entry threat and actual entry into to the app markets. We find that developers affected by Google’s entry reduce innovation efforts on their affected apps and increase these apps’ prices after entry threats increase. They reduce innovation efforts and increase prices further on affected apps after Google’s actual entry. Affected developers, however, do not withdraw from the platform completely—once the threats increase, they shift innovation efforts from affected apps to updating other unaffected apps and to developing new apps.

Full paper: