Track #3, study #2: Extending the pipieline

I am starting off 2023 with a new project. Step by step last year’s projects come closer to version 1.0, gold status. After the realization of the joint Gaia-X whitepaper with TQ folks (see here) I’m happy to announce to be close to completing the teaching case to be published by Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. And finally, the first working paper (at the same time being the first dissertation chapter) has been submitted for this year’s conferences. Fingers crossed. With further dissemination comes more iterations to arrive at a well-rounded paper, step by step.

And most of this from Frankfurt am Main for a large part of the year. There I was kindly “adopted” by TechQuartier for my secondment abroad Radboud’s campus in Nijmegen. Besides the academic “ivory tower”, a bit of “boots-to-the-ground” business life. In the TQ workspace, I had the pleasure of meeting fascinating people who worked either at TQ or at one of the start-ups based there. This environment helped me gain various insights relevant to my work. On the one hand, being physically present at TQ enabled me to co-author the ecosystem white paper and facilitated progress on the teaching case. On the other hand, I was sitting directly among all these different entrepreneurs gaining further insights into the development of high technology (in high technology industries). From small chats to more in-depth discussions, I was able to gain glimpses of the entrepreneurs’ work, their mindset and the way they develop (new) business models to take advantage of the opportunities created by technological developments.

Overall, I appreciate this enjoyable experience and am grateful for the open and warm welcome I received.

Being excited to start work on the second paper, we (my supervisory team and me) aim to expand the previous portfolio perspective with its focus on temporality transforming it into a ‘more holistic’ perspective of corporate reconfiguration. A small insight into what will come:

Practically that means:

Deep-dive data. Crunching ahead.

Deep-dive theory. Reading, reading, reading.

I am definitely looking forward to these tasks. Even though it sometimes feels like gazing into the abyss, it is an immensely interesting task.

Jonas Geisen, ESR

Track #3, study #1: ’Dancing to the Rhythm: the Dynamics of Acquisition Motive on Acquisition Programmes’

After successfully defending my research proposal titled ’The influence of temporality on exogenous growth strategies – Alternative business models in digital ecosystems’ in October 2021 I have been putting my focus on the first chapter of my dissertation.

Since then, under the title ’Dancing to the Rhythm: the Dynamics of Acquisition Motive on Acquisition Programmes’, I have been working on my first paper with Dr. Rick Aalbers (Radboud University) and Dr. Killian J. McCarthy (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), both from the Centre for Strategic Organizational Restructuring. After 5 months of theoretical build-up, data gathering, learning to work with the statistical software R to crunch numbers, and crunching said numbers I thus was more than happy to present our paper under the umbrella of the strategy underlying corporate development. Zooming in one specific aspect of corporate development, we investigate firms’ acquisitive behaviour, a mean to pair firms of selected high-tech industries with not only incumbent players but also fintechs.

Acquisitions keep being a major governance mode for high-tech organizations despite being both risky (measured by the high rate of failure) as well as resource-consuming over longer periods. However, if successful this strategic activity is a bedrock to evolve the firm’s portfolio or even business model while shaking up digital ecosystems. Therefore, the effect on repetitive acquirers’ financial performance ensures survivability in their fast-paced industries. As our paper unravels the underlying dynamics of serial acquisition programmes it provides a crucial new perspective for strategic management scholarship’s understanding.

Given this thematic embeddedness, it was more than fitting to invite the Strategy Department of the Nijmegen School of Management as well as the Hotspot Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Business Ecosystems of Radboud University as the audience to premiere our work. Jointly, we deep-dived into the paper, investigating the theoretical framework, the concepts, and their interrelated mechanisms as well as their methodological operationalization for the analysis. Finishing up with our results, our work was discussed with a positive prospect as well as focused feedback making the session both a pleasure as well as a helpful perspective on how to further flesh out our piece. We thank all participants who made this lively session a fruitful next step in our development.

Jonas Geisen, ESR

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

First Teaching Experience for FINDER Fellows

S. James Ellis and Jonas Röttger, FINDER research fellows, delivered an interactive lecture to Master’s students in Dr. Rick Aalbers’ Corporate Strategy class at Radboud University. The lecture revolved around a case study authored by the FINDER team that examines the various corporate strategies employed by Atos as well as its strategic partnerships with technology hubs. Students were given roles from various actors highlighted in the case study and played them adjacent to their peers, simulating the behaviors of different corporations in an inter-organizational setting and advancing their understanding of what factors contribute to the creation and destruction of partnerships.

S. James Ellis (left) and Jonas Röttger providing input for the debate in class

The session enabled students to immerse themselves in a real-world business situation learning about the diverging interests of parties involved in hubs and their need to manage both competitive and collaborative relations with various stakeholders. Leading the discussion, the FINDER research fellows stimulated the engaged group with input from the academic perspective and insights from the market of digitized financial services. The underlying case study will be further developed alongside the FINDER project trajectory, allowing students to be exposed to current business challenges and the corresponding academic perspectives.