Recent News

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/

Debrief: FINDER Start-Up Weekend

The workshop for idea-stage entrepreneurs happened this weekend with 5 start-ups and 7 panelists in attendance. The start-ups were:

  • Sajilopay Payment Services: a payment service provider servicing rural Nepalese communities and facilitating, among other things, the sending of remittances from diasporic communities;
  • Kobopay: a digital bank providing financial services and infrastructure to rural communities in Nigeria and the intention to expand services to broader sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Hato: a start-up in development that improves the house-hunting experience for first-time movers in geographies with advanced public infrastructure;
  • PureValidation: a market data validation service enabled by AI and blockchain technology, bringing modern technologies to the out-of-date data management space within the financial services industry; and
  • Data Origins: a big- and alternative-data-powered platform that provides restauranteurs with near- and mid-term insights based on environmental factors to save on administration costs.
Screenshot taken during the first day’s public session. Founders were asked to pitch their business ideas to the full forum plus non-participating spectators, after which they fielded clarifying questions in advance of the second day’s breakout sessions.

The workshop’s first day was primarily a pitching session, where founders relayed the general functions, marketable intents, and progress of their ideas. During the second day, each founder had her or his own breakout room, through which each panelist rotated in 20-minute increments.

Due to fluctuations and unpredictability regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this event was held virtually. Despite that, attendees were enthusiastic about the opportunity and energetic in sharing ideas as well as advice, challenges, and networking information. According to one attendee:

There is a great demand for events like this, especially for idea-stage startups. Idea-stage startups desperately need an outside and unbiased view of their business ideas to help them gain the confidence of their business

Leona Chen, Founder, PureValidation

Participants discussed this market gap – coaching events catering specifically to idea- and early-stage start-ups – during one of the summary and reflection sessions. For such start-ups, the decisions their founders make this early can be intensely consequential for the futures of their ventures. As a particular example of the challenges bundled in this, founders need to set their scope when starting out to something that is both promising yet realistic, and these two qualities can conflict – especially when appeasing stakeholders such as investors.

However, the nature of the business itself can shift dramatically during this embryonic stage, as constraints and goals are fluid in this stage. While this might frustrate some founders for feeling like the ground beneath them is constantly shifting, it also allows them to quickly and (relatively) easily shift direction in the wake of new information.

From the perspective of an idea-stage entrepreneur, I got valuable feedback on.. how the product I brought to the workshop could bring more value to customers (improvements)… [The workshop also] helped me to realize that there could be more customers than the ones I was thinking of. This increases our market size.

Franco Sanchez Torres, Founder, Hato

Alongside increasing public awareness of the business formation process (facilitated by the inclusion of two non-participating spectators for Friday’s session), the above quote brings forth the type of impact the FINDER Start-Up Weekend was intended to have for the entrepreneurs. In early 2022, the project researchers will reach out to attendees to poll the progress they’ve made as a direct result of the weekend. We’ll write an update around the aggregated results of this inquiry shortly thereafter – stay tuned.

– S. James Ellis, ESR


Neither FINDER, its funding agency, nor their affiliates endorse, sponsor, nor take any responsibility for any present or future actions taken by entities referenced herein nor their agents.

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

COVID-19 recovery in Cities and Regions: lessons from the 4th OECD Roundtable on Cities and Regions for the SDGs

After partaking in the prior OECD Roundtables on Cities and Regions it was a pleasure to be part of the community that comprised the 4th OECD Roundtable on Cities and Regions for the SDGs on the theme of a Framework for COVID-19 recovery in Cities and Regions.

Recovery is high on the agenda after the disrupting forces unleased by the recent COVID pandemic. A challenge that transcends form the individual to the firm level, to the city and regional level and back, introducing a relational complexity that is unprecedented. Hence it is great to see the many initiatives that allow firms, cities and regions veer back from the COVID driven turmoil they went through over the past year. A key takeaway from this roundtable has been the role of digital technologies to facilitate the swift recuperation. Technology allows for the communications and lessons learned and shared during this very OECSD hosted roundtable, but there is more to it.

With digital ecosystems operating beyond organizational and industry boundaries, as facilitator for organizational (firms, cities and regions alike) resilience,  such reorientation comes with advanced interdependencies. The management literature provides for some interesting lessons on this front. Reviewing some of the work that has passed by over the last decade, lessons can be learned. Organizations that find themselves in dire circumstances can improve their situation despite these ecosystem interdependencies, however, for instance by proactively implementing strategic change to stem survival-threatening performance decline. While firms’ propensity to reshape under external and internal pressure has received increasing scholarly attention (e.g. Bowman and Singh, 1993; McKinley and Scherer, 2000; Girod and Whittington, 2015), digital ecosystem dynamics have remained relatively understudied as a mechanism facilitating such organizational transitioning (Pagani, 2013).

Our current understanding of how orgnaizations reshape themselves as part of their digital ecosystems is limited however by the lack of a strong theoretical base to understand the implications of digital technology on extant theories and knowledge of organization restructuring as part of a digitally enabled environment (Adner, 2006; Kane et al., 2015). As firms no longer operate in isolation but operate in digital ecosystems that determine the way and magnitude to which a firm can transform a firm’s core architecture and the way it serves its customers (Tangpong et al. 2021). Though there has been more attention to the dynamic nature of business ecosystems in general terms, several scholars have argued that more work is needed to understand reciprocal relationships, timing and causal effects of these events, calling for further attention for dispositional, behavioral and contextual influences (e.g. Quintane et al., 2014).  Equally, extant research on turnaround management typically focuses on traditional outcomes (e.g., profits), and antecedents, (e.g. time and pace of change) with less emphasis on the technological advancements that may foster or hamper the extent to which organizations manage to individually or collectively reshape. On both fronts surprisingly little is known however about the organizational, temporal, and ambidexterity dimensions in digital ecosystems as they endure exogenous tremor. This challenge has recently infused several members of our Centre to shine new light on the challenges and opportunities posed by digital driven business ecosystem collaboration as firms collaboratively are forced to reinvent themselves. Thank you to the organizers of the 4th OECD Roundtable on Cities and Regions for the SDGs On that note for bringing further inspiration to this initiative.

Dr. Rick (H.L.) Aalbers

European Academy of Management 2021 Conference

Last week, S. James Ellis presented his research on bifurcated legitimization strategies at the European Academy of Management, or EURAM, 2021 Online Conference.

Each year, academic conferences the world over provide opportunities for scholars to meet and discuss their embryonic, in-progress, and fully developed papers as well as to network. At larger ones such as EURAM, the conferences are subdivided into interest groups. This groups like-disciplined academics so that critical feedback and conversations with potential collaborators can start at a higher baseline of understanding. In line with the overall theme of FINDER, James participated in the Innovation strategic interest group and specifically, its track titled “Digital Innovation: Strategies, Competencies, Theories, and Practice.”

After a 15 minute presentation, the small group of track scholars engaged in a fruitful dialogue around how to further refine the theoretical and storytelling layout. The common interest in sessions like this is for each scholar to walk away with tools and recommendations that will ideally improve their paper’s chance of publication when they go on from the conference and submit their work to an academic journal.

S. James Ellis, Dr. Rick Aalbers, Dr. Philipp Tuertscher, and the infamous Lenovo attending EURAM 2021.

The conference was one of several that the FINDERs will present their research at this summer. The next will be the European Group for Organization Studies 2021 Colloquium, where Dr. Rick Aalbers and Dr. Saeed Khanagha of the FINDER project along with Dr. Sotirios Paroutis of the Warwick Business School will convene the track “Collaboration and the (Ir)Rationalities of Decision-making in a Digital Landscape.”