PhD defence S. (Somendra) Narayan

On Thursday 28 May 2020, S. Narayan will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Essays on Managerial Cognition, Diversity and Business Model Innovation’.
Prof.dr. H.W. Volberda
Dr. J.S. Sidhu
Start date

Thursday 28 May 2020, 13:30

End date

Thursday 28 May 2020, 15:00

S. Narayan will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Essays on Managerial Cognition, Diversity and Business Model Innovation’.

Modern organizations function in increasingly dynamic and continually evolving environs. Along with technological evolution, disruptive societal changes, such as generational shifts in career trajectories, aging populations, and mass migration patterns continue to facilitate a more diverse workplace. These alterations in the workplace also bring together strategic teams composed of colleagues with different educational, professional, cultural, ideological, and socio-economic backgrounds. But what does this amplified diversity mean for teams of executives tasked with running organizations in a constantly evolving business environment? How does diversity among executives influence the way firms engage in strategic change or respond to conditions of change?

This doctoral dissertation titled, ‘Essays on Managerial Cognition, Diversity, and Business Model Innovation’ addresses this question in an anthology comprising four empirical studies. The first empirical study in this anthology investigates the process of business model innovation and digital transformation in the North American publishing and printing industry in the wake of technological disruption brought about by Amazon. The ensuing chapter (chapter 2), illustrates the similarities as well as differences among innovation opportunity identification and implementation processes. Using computer-aided text analysis to develop a measure for business model innovation this study shows that top management teams’ attention-scope increases with cognitive diversity, while remaining unaffected by teams’ ideological diversity. This study also shows that distinct from the scope of managerial attention, companies’ business model innovation intensity increases initially with ideological diversity, but decreases as ideological diversity becomes greater. The second study, elaborated upon in chapter 3 of this dissertation, utilizes dimension reduction and clustering techniques to identify two distinct paths adopted by publishing firms on their digital transformation trajectory. Further, this study elaborates upon the contrasting effects of top management team cognitive diversity on these two paths, innovative versus imitative digital transformation. Together, these two studies result in a nuanced conceptual model for the role of diversity in strategic decision-making in western professional contexts. However, the role and effect of diversity are contingent on a myriad of cultural and socio-political factors. To further clarify this, the third study (chapter 4) of this anthology focuses on the effects of socio-economic separation and sub-cultural diversity on the performance of co-creative initiatives for joint social and environmental impact in the context of sustainable forest management in India. In the fourth and the final study, a cognitive perspective is adopted to explore in detail the differences among managers’ visualization of their business models arising from the differences in their cognitive conditioning. To achieve this, this study maps managers’ cognitive schemas of their business models based on interview data to examine the effect of their outsider status on their organizations’ business model innovation. The result is a systematic elaboration of the differences in managers’ opportunity recognition, value framing, expertise perception, business model innovation trajectory, and prioritization of certain business model types over others. Overall, this dissertation explores the nuances of the relationship between diversity (cognitive, ideological, socio-economic, and cultural) and organizational change processes (such as business model innovation, digital transformation, incubation of social enterprises, and evolution of a new industry). The dissertation concludes with a summary of the findings and their contextual interpretation.

The PhD defences will not take place publicly in the Senate Hall or Professor Andries Queridoroom due to the coronavirus. The candidates will defend their thesis online.