Mercator Innovation Competition

We are proud to announce that members of the FINDER project team reached the semi-finals in the Mercator Innovation Competition with their idea of improving Fintech scouting for banks.

Mercator Launch is a pre-incubator for early phase entrepreneurship. The Mercator Innovation Competition comprises of an evaluation committee installed with representatives of Radboud Innovation / Valorisation Radboudumc.

This evaluation committee will select 6 finalists, who get to pitch their idea in front of an independent jury and their peers. The winner will receive a cash prize of €10.000 to spend on further development of their innovation, business coaching, and a free working space at Mercator Launch for one year.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Moving motives: How past and present strategy influence the market

We are very proud to announce that PLOS ONE published a research article by members of the FINDER team: Rick Aalbers and Jonas Röttger, who joined forces with Killian McCarthy and Menno Huisman, resulting into:

Moving motives: How past and present strategy influence the market

In the article the authors discuss how research often only considers the performance of a single acquisition, or the effects of a single acquisition on the performance of the acquiring firm, showing that acquisition motive matters. However, firms often make multiple acquisitions and research recognizes that firms must both explore and exploit to sustain their competitiveness. There is evidence too to suggest that firms use some acquisitions to explore and others to exploit.

This raises a number of interesting questions. For example, do investors take the ’portfolio’ of acquisitions into account when reacting to an announcement of an acquisition? Does the market react to the switch in strategy from exploration to exploitation? And if it does, does the market prefer a switch to exploration or exploitation?

Read the full article in which Rick, Kilian, Jonas and Menno investigate the market’s reactions to serial acquirers that switch strategy here.

Online symposium digital entrepreneurship in the financial sector – reflecting on strategic reorganizations effect on collaborative innovation

In the FINDER project, with a broader scope, we investigate how the continuously increasing pace of digitalization shapes the collaborative innovation of firms. Such innovative trajectories do not necessarily pan out in a linear fashion. In fact, they can even hold the potential to induce strategic reorganization of firms’ organizational form (The Centre for Organization Restructuring hosted by Radbouds’ Institute for Management Research bundles expertise on this field). Such change can have different antecedents either originating in an approach of long-range planning or a firm’s threat of survival. In all cases, however, one needs to acknowledge that such a strategic reorganization holds advanced interdependencies to their collaborative networks.

FINDER, as a project by Radboud University & Atos, therefore hosted a two-day symposium to examine the influence of Atos’ strategic reorganization of its vertical Financial Services & Insurances (FS&I) on its innovative collaboration network.

In order to make full use of the intersection between academia and practice, the symposium was divided into two days to provide the necessary space to explore both perspectives. The first day provided various intra-organizational angles onto Atos transformation to transmit a holistic picture. Connecting the inputs of the first day with the ESRs focal points of research on the second day delivered new perspectives rooted in research on said transformation.



Together with members of the Atos Scientific Community, the Atos Scaler program, and the FS&I leadership team we fruitfully discussed how digital technologies necessitate an intra- and entrepreneurial handling of digital technologies. The focus was on the combination of large (corporates) and small (FinTechs) organizations in the Financial Services Industry and upper management’s role as policy-makers to facilitate new ventures. More specifically there were four different topics discussed on the second day:



Jonas Röttger:
Firms communication in M&As and its effect on the stock market

Jonas Geisen: 
Dancing to the rhythm: the dynamics of acquisition motive on serial acquisition

S. James Ellis:
Ecosystem dominance – three approaches to emerge on top

Ami X. Wang:
Incumbents and Entrepreneurial ventures In The Digital Era


Highlighted by the interest of the participants in the insights it becomes apparent that there is a demand for diffusion and direct application of scientific knowledge. This symposium and FINDER, due to its unique feature of intersecting academia and industry, serve this purpose through research that provides meaningful insights to understand and foster innovation for and applicable by practitioners. We are happy to share that this symposium, with its collaborative format and fruitful discussions with Atos, successfully delivered on FINDERs purpose of an ambilateral diffusion of knowledge achieving an incremental impact for both academia and practice. This becomes more visible in its outcome as the practitioners provided the ESRs with hands-on input for their research while the ESRs presented new perspectives derived from research for Atos practitioners.

– Jonas Geisen, ESR

Dynamics of interpersonal trust: a social network perspective

It is not uncommon for organizations that endure restructuring to experience trust decay amongst the work force. How does responsible restructuring come about? What are the antecedents that drive an organization forward in a responsible manner, also when trust is hampered and uncertainty arises within the boundaries of the firm?

This month, FINDER friend and Member of the Radboud Centre for Organization Restructuring, Jinhan Jiao will defend her dissertation related to this behavioral theme at Radboud University, titled “Dynamics of Interpersonal Trust: A Social Network Perspective”.

 The project supervised by Prof. Dr. Allard van Riel of Hasselt University, Dr. Zuzana Sasovova of VU and Dr. Rick Aalbers of Radboud University, pivots around the interesting behavioral concept of trust repair as a mechanism that may help organizations to stay afloat also as trust get hampered in the course of managerial action. Building on previous research, two issues remain on the research agenda of Jinhan’s dissertation work. One is the dynamics of trust, and the other is the social nature of trust. To address these issues, this thesis investigates interpersonal trust dynamics, including trust formation and trust repair, from a social network perspective. The various projects reported on in this work aim to answer the main research question: How do social networks influence the dynamics of interpersonal trust? Best of luck with the defence Jinhan – great to see this line of social-behavioral work being carried forwards. Details on the defense venue and date can be found here: https://www.ru.nl/nsm/imr/@1324056/dynamics-interpersonal-trust-social-network/

Sign up now! Start-Up Weekend on digital entrepreneurship for entrepreneurs and academics

This Fall, the FINDER Project team, in collaboration with Radboud Centre for Organization Restructuring and Atos will host a Start-Up Weekend on digital entrepreneurship, which will be of interest to both entrepreneurs and academics. Sign up here.

This Start-Up Weekend is a public event to help individuals with creative ideas for digital entrepreneurship start their innovation journey. This event intends to surround entrepreneurs with smart and passionate people, with the best tools and approaches that will help move towards creating their own business and connecting with the right people and resources. A wonderful opportunity for idea-stage start-ups with an eye towards a partnered, invested, or acquired future to workshop their ideas opposite a panel of industry experts and a group of the general public. Equally a great opening to provide for an academic perspective on the theme of collaboration for responsible innovation.

We foresee inspiring sessions and lively discussions with panelists/speakers from amongst others Philips, ING, TechQuartier Frankfurt and Atos.

Scheduled for the Fall, this Start-Up Weekend is especially geared towards those with a keen interest in entrepreneurship in the (fin)tech domain, and is organized with the intent to lower the hurdle to early career entrepreneurial activity. As part of a series of events to further tie in academia and business practice, the Start-Up Weekend will be another exciting opportunity to exchange ideas between practice and academia. Cementing for future collaborations in the domain of responsible innovation. In this series the FINDER Project Team and the Radboud Centre for Organization Restructuring prior hosted the Inclusive Digital Innovation Week in FS&I together with our project partner Atos.

Designed as an event that builds an innovative collaborative arrangement among established tech firms and start up enthusiasts, we highly encourage startups, university faculty members and students to sign on if interested.

We are currently looking into the possibility of hosting the Start-Up Weekend on site. However, pending further developments of the coronavirus pandemic, the workshop might be virtually hosted.

Details for the sign on procedure can be found here.

Additional information for students:

The panel of 5 general public members will have a unique opportunity to peer into the process of business creation, and this may be of scholarly interest for Master’s level students. Especially students who have it in mind to focus on entrepreneurial themes or business innovation as a topic in their thesis, this could be a valuable networking opportunity and a research flashpoint.

Interested applicants will need to stay keyed in to the group dialogues for the duration of the workshop and pitch in when they have ideas or when things don’t make sense to them, as their primary function is to keep the workshop grounded and from getting disconnected from consumer reality. Akin to product testing research, no specific expertise is required, and it’s not in the interest of the workshop for the general public members to emulate being professionals at something: just be your regular self.

Issue selling to different managerial personalities – How MBA cases could benefit from incorporating behavioral factors to prepare students for company politics

Solving an MBA business case requires creating a balanced analysis of the situation and developing suitable strategic recommendations. However, in real life, analysts present their data and conclusions to managers with individual preferences. Having students consider these preferences might make them more successful.

Strategy development: top-down and bottom-up

Strategy can be developed top-down and bottom-up. For instance, a new CEO can set out a vision that implies strategic change (top-down). However, the vision could have also been strongly inspired by employees that achieved to bring their preferred topics to the management’s attention (bottom-up). The latter often involves a phenomenon known as issue selling: the process by which individuals within an organization bring ideas or concerns, solutions, and opportunities together in ways that focus others’ attention and invite action.[1]

Issue selling at different levels within a company

Issue selling can take place at many levels within a company. Employees can try to build compelling cases to change the routines and processes within their team. Presenting these cases to their respective leader can support getting the so-called managerial buy-in and following a mandate for change. Even more so, at higher levels of a company, issue selling plays a crucial role. To convince top management of the importance of strategic considerations needs to be backed up by solid arguments. However, while there are widely shared interpretations of arguments, managers also hold idiosyncratic preferences for specific information.

Different strategic preferences of different managerial personalities

Since the development of the upper echelons theory by Hambrick and Mason, strategic scholars have investigated which role executive characteristics play in processing information and influencing the firm’s strategic actions.[2] Researchers have paid attention to demographic characteristics like age and tenure, but also to more psychologically sound constructs like narcissism, overconfidence, and temporal and regulatory focus.

The example of CEO regulatory focus

Regulatory focus theory describes that decision-making can either occur through a promotion focus (a sensitivity to gains) or through a prevention focus (a sensitivity to losses). Managerial scholars have found that the regulatory foci of CEOs influence their preferences for strategic actions.[3] Knowing whether a CEO is more likely to consider the opportunities or risks of choices that are presented to him or her can help analysts to structure their arguments to make their case more compelling.

How to implement managerial personalities in MBA business cases?

Oftentimes, MBA students implicitly incorporate their audience’s personality in their case solutions by thinking about the professor’s preferences. However, students first need to learn to separate between a solution supported by the case’s data and the audience’s preferences. Hence, the task is not to present the assumed best-liked solution but to present the solution they consider the best in a way that the audience likes. Therefore, adding a hypothetical manager’s personality to an MBA case as the target audience sharpens the students’ view of the need for issue selling and will help them empathically draw on managers’ characteristics when presenting their arguments.


[1] https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/strategy-issue-selling-in-the-organization/

[2] Hambrick, D. C., & Mason, P. A. (1984). Upper echelons: The organization as a reflection of its top managers. Academy of management review9(2), 193-206.

[3] Gamache, D. L., McNamara, G., Mannor, M. J., & Johnson, R. E. (2015). Motivated to acquire? The impact of CEO regulatory focus on firm acquisitions. Academy of Management Journal58(4), 1261-1282.

Money 20/20 conference – EUROPE’S BIGGEST FINTECH SHOW with Sebastian Schäfer

Sebastian Schäfer – Managing Director TechQuartier Frankfurt – FINDER partner, mentor of amongst others Jonas, as well as co-author on Jonas’s whitepaper, features amongst the 2021 Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam: “Fintech, let’s get back to business”.

The FINDER team is very proud to have Sebastian amongst our crew.

Want to find out more about the conference? Click here.

Start-Up Weekend on digital entrepreneurship for entrepreneurs and academics

This Fall, the FINDER Project team, in collaboration with Radboud Centre for Organization Restructuring and Atos will host a Start-Up Weekend on digital entrepreneurship, which will be of interest to both entrepreneurs and academics.

This Start-Up Weekend is a public event to help individuals with creative ideas for digital entrepreneurship start their innovation journey. This event intends to surround entrepreneurs with smart and passionate people, with the best tools and approaches that will help move towards creating their own business and connecting with the right people and resources. A wonderful opportunity for idea-stage start-ups with an eye towards a partnered, invested, or acquired future to workshop their ideas opposite a panel of industry experts and a group of the general public. Equally a great opening to provide for an academic perspective on the theme of collaboration for responsible innovation.

We foresee inspiring sessions and lively discussions with panelists/speakers from amongst others Philips, ING, TechQuartier Frankfurt and Atos.

Scheduled for the Fall, this Start-Up Weekend is especially geared towards those with a keen interest in entrepreneurship in the (fin)tech domain, and is organized with the intent to lower the hurdle to early career entrepreneurial activity. As part of a series of events to further tie in academia and business practice, the Start-Up Weekend will be another exciting opportunity to exchange ideas between practice and academia. Cementing for future collaborations in the domain of responsible innovation. In this series the FINDER Project Team and the Radboud Centre for Organization Restructuring prior hosted the Inclusive Digital Innovation Week in FS&I together with our project partner Atos.

Designed as an event that builds an innovative collaborative arrangement among established tech firms and start up enthusiasts, we highly encourage startups, university faculty members and students to sign on if interested.

We are currently looking into the possibility of hosting the Start-Up Weekend on site. However, pending further developments of the coronavirus pandemic, the workshop might be virtually hosted. 

Details for the sign on procedure and further event specifics will be shared shortly.

Additional information for students:

The panel of 5 general public members will have a unique opportunity to peer into the process of business creation, and this may be of scholarly interest for Master’s level students. Especially students who have it in mind to focus on entrepreneurial themes or business innovation as a topic in their thesis, this could be a valuable networking opportunity and a research flashpoint.

Interested applicants will need to stay keyed in to the group dialogues for the duration of the workshop and pitch in when they have ideas or when things don’t make sense to them, as their primary function is to keep the workshop grounded and from getting disconnected from consumer reality. Akin to product testing research, no specific expertise is required, and it’s not in the interest of the workshop for the general public members to emulate being professionals at something: just be your regular self.

WHEN ACADEMIA AND PRACTICE COME TOGETHER

Recently Jonas Röttger was invited by the Atos Scientific Community to present his research on CEO personality trades and how they influence strategic choices of firms. His presentation entitled “Loud moves, bold CEOs: The signal interaction effect of CEO overconfidence and deal-specific confidence in M&A announcements“ received one of the highest appreciating ratings during the Atos Scientific Community meeting.

During his presentation Jonas addressed the CEO personality which influences the strategic choices of firms. He investigated whether investors can see through firm actions as a manifestation of CEO personality by analyzing the firm’s M&A communication. In the case of overconfident CEOs, firms can receive more positive M&A announcement stock returns by releasing press statements with a less positive linguistic tone.

The FINDER output was very well received at upper echelon level, the Atos scientific community (approx. 140 people) and included a general discussion revolving around the topic of CEO personality and firm-level outcomes.

A great example of academia-to-practice transitioning – a gap stone point to this ITN program.

Egos Colloquium 2021 sub-theme 19 “Collaboration and the (Ir)Rationalities of Decision-making in a Digital Landscape”

Plenty of (ir)rational decision making commonalities on offer during an inter-disciplinary EGOS subtheme on Collaboration and Decision-making in a Digital Landscape, that kicked off today #EGOS2021

Thanks to presenters and discussants from across the continent (and England of course) we had a lively discussion.

Thank you Yuliia Yehorova, Erik Hanel, Zahra Kashanizadeh, David Langley, Werner Hoffmann, Alexander Engelmann, Renate Kratochvil, Sotirios Paroutis, Daniel Stedjan Svendsrud, Jin Xu, Linda Buis, Marjukka Klippi, Saeed Khanagha, Uli Meyer, James Ellis, Johan Buchholz,  Jonas Röttger, Maryia Zaitsava, Matthew Knight, Szyman Wiercinski, Henk Volberda, Dimitar Krastev and others.

Looking forwards to day 2: this round starting with a session on digital collaboration and its perils and troubles ….


Dr. Rick Aalbers