PhD defence of Murat Tarakci on Friday 15 March 2013

On Friday 15 March 2013 Murat Tarakci will defend his PhD thesis entitled 'Behavioral Strategy: Strategic Consensus, Power and Networks'. Supervisors are Professors Patrick Groenen and Daan van Knippenberg. Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Steven Floyd (University of Massachusetts), Lindred Greer (Erasmus University Rotterdam), and Professor Peter Wakker (Erasmus University Rotterdam).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 11.30 hrs.

About the dissertation

How strategically aligned is your organisation? How can you increase alignment and consensus around your organisation’s strategy? In his PhD dissertation entitled Behavioral Strategy: Strategic Consensus, Power and Networks, Murat Tarakci presents a state-of-art method which can comprehensively assess strategic consensus and alignment pertaining to an organisation’s strategy.

An assessment of a firm’s strategic alignment is important because higher consensus and alignment often facilitates strategy execution and engenders higher organisational performance. Tarakci’s methods offer the opportunity to (i) quantify the amount of consensus within a particular organisational group as well as the throughout organisation, (ii) reveal on which strategic priorities the managers agree, (iii) where the consensus is located within the organisation, and (iv) who and how many people participate in it. He also tests whether observed changes in consensus following a strategic intervention are statistically significant. This feature is of high importance as strategic interventions aimed at enhancing consensus are widely practiced in business but are seldom (if ever) quantitatively evaluated for their effectiveness.

Furthermore, Murat Tarakci provides guidelines on how to increase strategic consensus and alignment within the organisation. These recommendations focus on distribution of power and making employees feel safe to speak up their ideas. The dissertation addresses a long-existing question of whether steep hierarchies or egalitarian distributions of power are more beneficial for organisations. Existing power differences within organisations determine the firm’s strategic directions, and Tarakci demonstrates that the choice of power structures depends on whether power is assigned endogenously with respect to individuals’ past performance or not.

Organisations are interconnected within a social structure of ongoing relationships which facilitate, govern or hamper their economic exchanges. Which partners to select from the set of available candidates is, therefore, an important decision because the new partner influences the resources to be accessed, quality signalled to outside, and success of the organisation. Murat Tarakci’s dissertation guides organisations on how to select their network partners. It takes into account both the network structure and an organisation’s network orientation, defining it as the motives for choosing network partners.

About Murat Tarakci

Murat Tarakci obtained his Bachelor’s degree with high honours from Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey in Economics and Mathematics. He received his Master’s degree in Mathematical Economics and Econometrics from University of Toulouse 1, France. Prior to his PhD at Erasmus School of Economics, he gained work experience at the Finance Department of Unilever Turkey.

Following his PhD, he recently joined the Management of Technology and Innovation Department of Rotterdam School of Management as a tenure track Assistant Professor. His main research interests include strategic management and innovation management with a special focus on organisational behavioural elements and processes. He presented his research in several international conferences. In particular, he was a finalist for Best PhD Paper Award at the Strategic Management Society Conference in both 2011 and 2012. His research is currently under review in top management journals. He is a member of the Strategic Management Society and the Academy of Management.

Abstract of 'Behavioral Strategy: Strategic Consensus, Power and Networks'

Organisations are embedded in a network of relationships and make sense of their business environment through the cognitive frames of their employees and executives who constantly experience battles for power. This dissertation integrates strategic management research with organisational behaviour to illuminate managerial cognition, intra-organisational power and inter-firm networks.

The collection of the studies presented in the present dissertation provides further insights into measurement of cognition, consensus formation process, optimal power differences, and social network theory with assumptions grounded on social cognition, behavioural decision theory, psychology and organisational behaviour. These studies offered a new method to measure, visualise and aggregate individual cognition to group and between group level with a strong emphasis on multiple dimensions of cognition, shed light on micro-processes on consensus formation in relation to within-group power differences and psychological safety, a novel model of strategic decision making, and a new behavioural construct that refined existing theories from a behavioural perspective. Each study on its own laid down responses to core research questions of behavioural strategy. Consequently, this dissertation extends strategic management along behavioural lines and equips scholars and practitioners with novel methods and theoretical insights with respect to cognition, power and networks.

More information

Tarakci’s PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme in Business & Management, organised by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

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