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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Wilfred Dolfsma and Rene Van der Eijk

The purpose of this paper is to review and assess the different strategies that what we call Info-firms can deploy in the markets that they serve. In many markets, a firm’s…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review and assess the different strategies that what we call Info-firms can deploy in the markets that they serve. In many markets, a firm’s competitive advantage is derived from its information position. Firms that actively and extensively collect customer information may develop a number of strategies to increase their competitiveness. We refer to such firms as info-firms – for some firms, this is all that they do: collect and sell data about consumers. Info-firms can target either customers or other firms, and they target either existing or adjacent markets. A 2 × 2 matrix characterizing strategies is introduced. Some strategies are known, but their effects are more pronounced on online markets because of the overwhelming amount of data available, while other strategies that are discussed are new. The strategies that info-firms develop and use change the dynamics in value chains substantially. The strategies adopted affect the market and value chain dynamics and determine which parties in the market are likely to benefit (most).

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper.

Findings

The strategies that info-firms develop and use change their dynamics in value chains substantially. Some strategies are known, but their effects are more pronounced on online markets because of the overwhelming amount of data available, while other strategies are new.

Research limitations/implications

Drawing on an economic theory, an evaluation of the strategies that info-firms develop is offered, identifying which parties stands to gain the most.

Practical implications

The effects of the use of strategies used by info-firms have been largely overlooked, and yet, strategies adopted affect the market and value chain dynamics and determine which parties in a market are likely to benefit (most).

Originality/value

The classification of strategies that info-firms can develop, and the likely effects on the market dynamics and economic prospects of different market players has not been discussed in the literature so far. A comprehensive and novel perspective is offered.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 January 2018

Miriam Wilhelm and Wilfred Dolfsma

The rising need to innovate and obtain knowledge from more distant knowledge sources calls for new innovation strategies and a better integration of other external actors who lie…

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Abstract

Purpose

The rising need to innovate and obtain knowledge from more distant knowledge sources calls for new innovation strategies and a better integration of other external actors who lie outside the traditional automotive supply chain. Such an open innovation strategy challenges organizational boundaries both on the firm and supply chain level, yet our understanding of the functioning of such boundaries and how they can be managed to allow for purposive knowledge flows is limited. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In a longitudinal case study, the authors trace the development of the first open innovation network in the German automotive industry over a period of five years based on archival data, semi-structured interviews, and field observations.

Findings

While the automotive industry is advanced in collaborating with suppliers for innovation, routines for assessing and integrating ideas from sources outside the supply chain are still underdeveloped. The authors show which current knowledge boundaries pose obstacles for open innovation initiatives in this industry, and how they could be mediated through the involvement of gatekeepers.

Originality/value

The authors challenge and clarify the notion of the “permeability of organizational boundaries” in the open innovation literature and investigate the role of gatekeepers for open innovation.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 March 2022

Maral Mahdad, Mustafa Hasanov, Gohar Isakhanyan and Wilfred Dolfsma

All firms' business models are based on their interdependencies with other parties in their ecosystems. The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to fundamentally disrupt the…

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Abstract

Purpose

All firms' business models are based on their interdependencies with other parties in their ecosystems. The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to fundamentally disrupt the agri-food industry, forcing the ecosystem to change. When an ecosystem is transforming, the interdependencies among its actors can create friction. Technology providers and core actors should consider these interdependencies as they update their strategies for value creation and capture. The purpose of the present research is to consider what it might take for agri-food firms to capitalize on these interdependencies by moving from traditional business models to business models based on collaboration and open innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The present paper draws on data from four online focus groups that we created to discuss how to co-create the business models agri-food firms need in a constantly changing environment. The paper presents an application of phenomenon-driven research (PDR), an engaged methodology. The study method enables novel pathways to develop and implement innovative solutions. This study draws on the interaction of theory and practice and involves multiple stakeholders with varying roles in the agri-food ecosystem.

Findings

The authors found that any open innovation setup in agri-food needs to constantly reconfigure itself to balance the needs of farmers and the needs of the market. This interplay can only support the IoT-enabled ecosystem if continuous interaction and negotiation occur among various stakeholders of the food system. When the farmers' needs and the market's needs are aligned, the space for developing a collaborative and open business model is prepared.

Originality/value

The insights gained from this study inspire action and commitment to common goals when developing collaboration-based business models (CBMs). The paper offers insights for players in the agri-food industry who are considering CBMs in the course of digital transformation.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 124 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2004

Wilfred Dolfsma

In this article, contrary to popular belief, it is argued on the basis of transaction cost economics that consumers will become subcontractors on electronic markets. The effects…

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Abstract

In this article, contrary to popular belief, it is argued on the basis of transaction cost economics that consumers will become subcontractors on electronic markets. The effects of this tendency counter the benefits that might accrue to them as a result of product differentiation and price discrimination by firms, and is in actual fact an inescapable part of electronic markets, given the nature of the products and market mechanisms one should expect. Consumers invest time and effort building up a relation with an e‐tailer; an investment that is idiosyncratic. The e‐tailer only needs to invest in generic assets that enable him to automate the process of collecting and processing customer information needed in order to differentiate between products and discriminate between prices. The consumer becomes a dependent subcontractor.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 31 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 April 2016

Jeanelle Midavaine, Wilfred Dolfsma and Rick Aalbers

– The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of board diversity on the extent to which firms invest in R & D.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of board diversity on the extent to which firms invest in R & D.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on data collected about the composition of the board of directors, the authors determine statistically if the characteristics of directors predicts the extent to which firms invest more in R & D.

Findings

The authors find, unexpectedly, that tenure diversity lead firms to invest less in R & D, while education diversity and gender diversity makes firms invest more. Gender diversity positively moderates education diversity as well, strengthening the effect found.

Research limitations/implications

The sample of firms the authors include in the paper is restricted due to the overwhelming difficulty in collecting data about the composition of boards of directors, and their backgrounds.

Practical implications

The paper offers insights into how boards of directors might need to be composed in order to try have firms invest more in R & D.

Social implications

Innovative firms are more competitive and more sustainable. Knowing what contributes to a firm’s investment in R & D is thus of great social value.

Originality/value

The authors include a much larger set of diversity measures than any previously published study, and provide counter-intuitive findings that have implications for practice, society, as well as theory about team composition.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 54 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2002

Wilfred Dolfsma

Understanding how individuals learn is of great importance to economists to understand economic phenomena as well as their own position in society. The idea that holds that people…

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Abstract

Understanding how individuals learn is of great importance to economists to understand economic phenomena as well as their own position in society. The idea that holds that people hold those views that best suit their own interest is untenable. Bayesian views on learning also miss an important point – including the Denzau and North version of Bayesian learning they call a punctuated equilibria view. The important point is that information needs to be interpreted, given meaning. What meaning people give to the information they receive depends on their experience in the past. Past experience take the form of interrelated rules of conduct. In this paper the whole of these interrelated rules is called “the mountain of experience”. This perspective allows a perception on humans in economics that combines reason, adaptation and volition. Some implications of this perspective for economics are explored.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 29 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 April 2011

Wilfred Dolfsma

The purpose of this paper is to further the development of strategic thinking, relevant for both academics and practitioners, about a key asset in the knowledge economy: patents.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to further the development of strategic thinking, relevant for both academics and practitioners, about a key asset in the knowledge economy: patents.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on existing insights on the strategic use of patents, presenting them in a coherent framework.

Findings

The paper discusses the different aspects to patent strategizing that need dedicated management attention, and discusses the key considerations to be taken into account. The paper also indicates at which levels in the organization patent strategizing needs to take place.

Practical implications

Practitioners will be much more aware of the strategic options for using patents to further a firm's competitive position.

Originality/value

The paper draws to some extent on existing knowledge about patents. Such knowledge has, however, been scattered across different domains. The strategic options for a firm of using patents have not been discussed at length or in the context of a comprehensive framework either in the academic literature or in that for practitioners.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 September 2008

Wilfred Dolfsma and Loet Leydesdorff

This paper aims to provide a view and analysis of the immediate field of journals that surround a number of key heterodox economics journals.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a view and analysis of the immediate field of journals that surround a number of key heterodox economics journals.

Design/methodology/approach

Using citation data from the Science and Social Science Citation Index, the individual and collective networks of a number of journals in this field are analyzed.

Findings

The size and shape of the citation networks of journals can differ substantially, even if in a broadly similar category. Heterodox economics cannot (yet) be considered as an integrated specialty: authors in several journals in heterodox economics cite more from mainstream economics than from other heterodox journals. There are also strong links with other disciplinary fields such as geography, development studies, women studies, etc.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is limited by its reliance on citation data in the Science and Social Science Citation Indexes provided by Thomson‐Reuters.

Practical implications

The analysis shows not only whence journals draw their strengths, but also how knowledge between journals and neighboring sub‐fields is diffused. This can be important for editors, authors, and others.

Originality/value

A network analysis not just focusing on a single journal as a focal point, but combining several journals in a single analysis enables one to visualize structural properties of the field of heterodox economics which otherwise remain latent. This study provides a structural approach to citation analysis as a tool for the study of scientific specialties.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 May 2014

Rick Aalbers and Wilfred Dolfsma

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how to nourish innovation during the course of a downsizing event. Drawing from an array of intra-organizational network studies, we…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how to nourish innovation during the course of a downsizing event. Drawing from an array of intra-organizational network studies, we show how management can use its understanding of the existing formal and informal networks to rewire connections between employees. Downsizing always leaves scars. Yet tough choices need to be made in tough times. In such times, innovation efforts are easiest to cut since their returns are uncertain and will only arrive in the future. Innovation is known to suffer. Cutting on innovation however may simply postpone the inevitable by poorly equipping a firm for future survival let alone competitive positioning.

Design/methodology/approach

The insights presented in this article are based on research and consulting work over the past years with a number of leading companies in industries varying from financial and information technology services, to engineering, trading and professional service firms (a.o. Atos Origin, Equens, Siemens, Deloitte, ING, Academia, DSM, Friesland Campina, Shell, Philips). This work centered on understanding how to orchestrate downsizing without hampering the interpersonal network of relations that constitutes the innovative DNA of the firm. To examine this process, we used organization network analysis techniques to visualize the networks that facilitate the transfer of innovative knowledge at a variety of organizations. Through a series of interviews in combination with analysis of the innovation networks pre- and post-downsizing, deeper understanding of the characteristics of the guardians of innovation was gained. Personal innovation activity and value of inputs were measured and these were correlated with the network position prior and post-downsizing.

Findings

Orchestration of downsizing is a delicate and crucial task for management. There is a natural tendency, when deciding who to retain, to mostly look at the knowledge and capabilities that an individual holds. Without connections to others in the firm, however, even if the knowledge someone holds is relevant, it will not be developed further. In this paper, it is argued that a crucial ingredient of downsizing is for management to use its understanding of the existing formal and informal networks so it can rewire connections between employees keeping our findings in mind.

Research limitations/implications

Downsizing requires managerial agility. While typically of strategic nature, the consequences of downsizing may have considerable negative operational consequences, disrupting organizational routines, when management does not tread carefully. When deciding on who to retain and who to let go, value attributed to individual knowledge and capabilities commonly play a leading role in guiding these managerial decisions. The true value of these knowledge and capabilities however, will not flourish without a supportive social infrastructure to leverage them within the organization. Without connections to others in the firm even the brightest idea will not be developed further. Successfully managing a downsizing even requires management to use insight in the existing formal and informal networks present within the organization to actively rewire connections between employees bearing our findings in mind. Without attention to properly retaining some wires and rewiring other social contacts, and particularly the ones that nourish innovation, downsizing becomes self-defeating.

Practical implications

Managers need to take an end-to-end view of their innovation efforts, spotting firm-specific strengths and weaknesses and tailoring innovation efforts in a way that is appropriate to their firm. In times of downsizing, innovation efforts are easiest to cut, as their returns are uncertain and will only arrive in the future. Innovation is known to suffer. At the same time, however, cutting on innovation may simply postpone the inevitable by poorly equipping a firm for future survival, let alone competitive positioning. In this contribution, what innovation efforts should be cut and which should be maintained have been pointed out, and how innovation efforts can be maintained at lower cost has been shown.

Social implications

Selecting among innovation efforts is important in good times, but it becomes a life-saving exercise in times of crisis. Not only profitability but also job security and long-term employability are at stake. In these times, investing in the development of new knowledge that may only be relevant in a distant future is no longer an option. What managers need to realize is, however, that innovation thrives on employees closely cooperating in fine-grained social interactions. With this consideration in mind, a firm can make better choices to continue to nourish innovation despite downsizing.

Originality/value

Although the explicit desire to investigate network evolution is not a recent one (Burt, 2000; McPherson et al., 2001), it only recently has found its way toward the field of organizational network studies (Van de Bunt et al., 2005). We follow up earlier research by Shah (2000), as we shed light on the network effects of downsizing, which surprisingly has remained particularly rare in this line of research to date. These findings might prove useful to start up much needed studies on tie formation strategies (Hallen and Eisenhardt, 2011) which, at the intraorganizational level, have not been carried out to date.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 February 2009

Hugo van Driel and Wilfred Dolfsma

The purpose of this paper is to disentangle and elaborate on the constitutive elements of the concept of path dependence (initial conditions and lock‐in) for a concerted and…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to disentangle and elaborate on the constitutive elements of the concept of path dependence (initial conditions and lock‐in) for a concerted and in‐depth application to the study of organizational change.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a combination of a longitudinal and a comparative case‐study, based on secondary literature.

Findings

External initial conditions acted less as “imprinting” forces than is suggested in the literature on the genesis of the Toyota production system (TPS); a firm‐specific philosophy in combination with a critical sequence of events mainly shaped and locked‐in TPS.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical sources are limited to publications in English, so relevant factors explaining the path taken may not all have been included. The importance of a salient meta‐routine might be firm‐specific.

Practical implications

The study contributes to understanding the factors underlying corporate performance by a critical re‐examination of a much heralded production system (TPS).

Originality/value

The paper highlights the use of the concept of meta‐routines to connect the core elements of path dependence, that is, sensitivity to initial conditions and lock‐in mechanisms.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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