This is a photo of Prof. Linus Dahlander, ESMT Berlin.

Linus Dahlander

Journal Article
Forthcoming

Idea rejected, tie formed: Organizations' feedback on crowdsourced ideas

Academy of Management Journal
2018 EBS-SITE Best Paper Award Innovation Management
Henning Piezunka, Linus Dahlander
Abstract:
Subject(s): Strategy and general management, Technology, R&D management

When organizations crowdsource ideas, they ultimately select only a small share of the submitted ideas for implementation. Organizations generally provide no feedback on ideas they do not select. Contributors whose ideas are not selected for implementation tend to forego submitting ideas in the future. We suggest that organizations can increase contributors’ willingness to submit ideas in the future by giving a thus far understudied form of feedback: rejections. Drawing on social network theory, we develop the overarching argument that rejections lead contributors to bond with the organization, increasing their willingness to continue to interact with the organization. While it may be counterintuitive to associate rejections with bonding, we hypothesize that rejections indicate to contributors that the organization is interested both in receiving their ideas and in developing a relationship with them. This effect, we argue, is particularly pronounced when rejections provide newcomers with explanations that suggest to them that they and the organization are a good match. To test our theory, we examine the crowdsourcing efforts of 70, 159 organizations that receive ideas from 1,336,154 contributors. Using large-scale content analysis, we examine differences in how rejections are written in order to disentangle the mechanisms through which rejections affect contributors’ willingness to continue to interact with an organization. We find that getting a rejection has a positive effect on a newcomer’s willingness to submit idea in the future. The effect is stronger if the rejection includes an explanation, and is particularly pronounced if the explanation accompanying the rejection matches the original idea in terms of linguistic style.

With permission of the Academy of Management


Journal Article

The barriers to recruiting and employing digital talent

Harvard Business Review
Linus Dahlander, Martin Wallin (2018)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior, Strategy and general management
ISSN 0017-8012 (Print)

Journal Article

Superstars in the making? The broad effects of interdisciplinary centers

Research Policy 47 (3): 543–557
Susan Biancani, Linus Dahlander, Daniel A. McFarland, Sanne Smith (2018)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Organizations, universities, knowledge, networks, interdisciplinarity, centers

Many universities have developed large-scale interdisciplinary research centers to address societal challenges and to attract the attention of private philanthropists and federal agencies. However, prior studies have mostly shown that interdisciplinary centers relate to a narrow band of outcomes such as publishing and grants. Therefore, we shift attention to include outcomes that have been the centers mandate to influence - namely outreach to the media and private industry, as well as broader research endeavors and securing external funding. Using data covering Stanford University between 1993 and 2014, we study if being weakly and strongly affiliated with interdisciplinary centers in one year relates to and increases (1) knowledge production (publications, grants, and inventions), (2) instruction (numbers of students taught, PhDs, and postdocs advised), (3) intellectual prominence (media mentions, awards won and centrality within the larger collaboration network), and (4) the acquisition of various sources of funding in the next year. Our results indicate that interdisciplinary centers select productive faculty and increase their activity on a broad range of outcomes further, and in ways greater than departments and traditional interdisciplinary memberships, such as courtesy and joint appointments.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 47
Issue 3
Pages 543–557

Journal Article

A study shows how to find new ideas inside and outside the company

Harvard Business Review July
Linus Dahlander, Siobhan O’Mahony (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship, Technology, R&D management
Issue July
ISSN 0017-8012 (Print)

Journal Article

Evaluating novelty: The role of panels in the selection of R&D projects

Academy of Management Journal 60 (2): 433–460
2016 TIE / VHB 2016 Jürgen Hauschildt Award best research publication in innovation management, 2016 EBS Best-Paper-Award “Innovation Management” 2016
Paola Criscuolo, Linus Dahlander, Thorsten Grohsjean, Ammon J. Salter (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): innovation search, novelty, professional services firms, R&D project selection, selection panels

Building on a unique, multi-source, and multi-method study of R&D projects in a leading professional service firm, we develop the argument that organizations are more likely to fund projects with intermediate levels of novelty. That is, some project novelty increases the share of requested funds received, but too much novelty is difficult to appreciate and is selected against. While prior research has considered the characteristics of the individuals generating project ideas, we shift the focus to panel selectors and explore how they shape the evaluation of novelty. We theorize that a high panel workload reduces panel preference for novelty in selection, whereas a diversity of panel expertise and a shared location between panel and applicant increase preference for novelty. We explore the implications of these findings for theories of innovation search, organizational selection, and managerial practice.

With permission of the Academy of Management

Volume 60
Issue 2
Pages 433–460

Journal Article

The biases that keep good R&D projects from getting funded

Harvard Business Review
Paola Criscuolo, Linus Dahlander, Thorsten Grohsjean, Ammon Salter (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management

The researchers explored how organizations decide to invest in different innovations by studying a large professional service firm with offices in 37 countries. They analyzed all of the R&D project proposals submitted by its staff, including information about which projects received funding, and found that managers don’t always carefully weigh the pros and cons of each project and that biases can creep into the decision-making process. They found that there is a sweet spot of novelty that makes R&D committees more likely to fund a project, and that certain characteristics of the R&D selection committee can also influence funding decisions.

ISSN 0017-8012 (Print)

Journal Article

Why some crowdsourcing efforts work and others don't

Harvard Business Review
Linus Dahlander, Henning Piezunka (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Economics, politics and business environment, Finance, accounting and corporate governance
Keyword(s): Crowd sourcing, open innovation, attention, suggestions, ideation, openness, user innovation, success bias, social media
JEL Code(s): O00

Organizations strive to tap into the potential of crowdsourcing by asking people around the world to come up with ideas. But what makes crowdsourcing work? We conducted a large-scale research project to understand why some organizations succeed to attract crowds and others fail.

ISSN 0017-8012 (Print)

Journal Article

The open innovation research landscape: Established perspectives and emerging themes across different levels of analysis

Industry and Innovation 24 (1): 8–40
Marcel Bogers, Ann-Kristin Zobel, Allan Afuah, Esteve Almirall, Sabine Brunswicker, Linus Dahlander, Lars Frederiksen et al. (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Information technology and systems, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): open innovation, review, research, theory, contingencies, knowledge, collaboration
JEL Code(s): D83, O30

This paper provides an overview of the main perspectives and themes emerging in research on open innovation (OI). The paper is the result of a collaborative process among several OI scholars – having a common basis in the recurrent Professional Development Workshop on “Researching Open Innovatio” at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. In this paper, we present opportunities for future research on OI, organised at different levels of analysis. We discuss some of the contingencies at these different levels, and argue that future research needs to study OI – originally an organisational-level phenomenon – across multiple levels of analysis. While our integrative framework allows comparing, contrasting and integrating various perspectives at different levels of analysis, further theorising will be needed to advance OI research. On this basis, we propose some new research categories as well as questions for future research – particularly those that span across research domains that have so far developed in isolation.

Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 8–40

Journal Article

One foot in, one foot out: How does individuals' external search breadth affect innovation outcomes?

Strategic Management Journal 37 (2): 280–302
An abridged version of this article was earlier published in the AOM Best Paper Proceedings
Linus Dahlander, Siobhan O'Mahony, David Gann (2016)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Search, innovation, individuals, attention, scientists, boundary-spanning

The “variance hypothesis” predicts that external search breadth leads to innovation outcomes, but people have limited attention for search and cultivating breadth consumes attention. How does individuals' search breadth affect innovation outcomes? How does individuals' allocation of attention affect the efficacy of search breadth? We matched survey data with complete patent records, to examine the search behaviors of elite boundary spanners at IBM. Surprisingly, individuals who allocated attention to people inside the firm were more innovative. Individuals with high external search breadth were more innovative only when they allocated more attention to those sources. Our research identifies limits to the “variance hypothesis” and reveals two successful approaches to innovation search: “cosmopolitans” who cultivate and attend to external people and “locals” who draw upon internal people.

© 2014 The Authors. Strategic Management Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Volume 37
Issue 2
Pages 280–302

Journal Article

Distant search, narrow attention: How crowding alters organizations' filtering of suggestions in crowdsourcing

Academy of Management Journal 58 (3): 856–880
2016 Highly cited paper (Web of Knowledge) , 2015 Darmstadt Innovation Research Best Paper Award
Henning Piezunka, Linus Dahlander (2015)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Selection, evaluation, user-based innovation, crowd sourcing

When organizations reach out to their users for ideas, users take on a considerable role in the innovation process. Including users expands the number of participants and potential ideas from which an organization can select. But how do organizations select some user suggestions while rejecting or ignoring others? We analyze the selection processes at 24,067 organizations that collectively received 702,729 suggestions. Our findings suggest that organizations filter the suggestions they receive by focusing on suggestions that inspire feedback from the user community.
Despite receiving contributions from a diverse pool of users, organizations quickly settle into a pattern of attending to only a few. To our surprise, collective user preferences only matter as a filter mechanism when crowding is high. In contrast, the debate among users about a suggestion strongly increases the likelihood of it being selected by the organization. Our illustration of the screening criteria organizations use to winnow suggestions has broad implications for the selection literature. We also bring insight to the literature on user-driven innovation processes by studying all suggestions that were considered, rather than only those organizations select and implement.

With permission of the Academy of Management


As of May/June 2016, this highly cited paper received enough citations to place it in the top 1% of the academic field of Economics & Business based on a highly cited threshold for the field and publication year. – Data from Essential Science Indicators℠

Volume 58
Issue 3
Pages 856–880

Journal Article

Streams of thought: Knowledge flows and intellectual cohesion in a multidisciplinary era

Social Forces 93 (4): 1687–1722
Craig Rawlings, Daniel A. McFarland, Linus Dahlander, Dan Wang (2015)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): social networks
Volume 93
Issue 4
Pages 1687–1722

Journal Article

The semiformal organization

Organization Science 25 (5): 1306–1324
Susan Biancani, Daniel A. McFarland, Linus Dahlander (2014)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): social networks; organizational form; organizational structure; innovation; network analysis; sociology of science

This paper draws attention to a new dimension of organization, the semiformal organization, and it reveals how the allocation of different membership forms can render knowledge-intensive organizations more flexible and exploratory in their knowledge creation efforts without sacrificing the functions stably enacted via the formal organization. Most knowledge-intensive organizations seek to create new spaces for collaborations through formally prescribed departments and divisions or through serendipitous, emergent, informal associations (i.e., the formal and informal organization). However, organizations also strategically manage what we call the “semiformal organization” to guide the creation of new work relations and encourage innovation. These secondary memberships are organizationally sponsored and directly related to the organizations’ core research functions, but they are voluntarily joined. As such, they are distinct from formal and informal memberships. On the basis of extensive longitudinal analyses of research initiatives at Stanford University, we find that the semiformal organization provides a compelling channel through which organizations can shape employees’ collaborations and overall productivity.

© 2014 INFORMS

Volume 25
Issue 5
Pages 1306–1324

Journal Article

Open to suggestions: How organizations elicit suggestions through proactive and reactive attention

Research Policy 43 (5): 812–827
Linus Dahlander, Henning Piezunka (2014)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Open innovation, attention, suggestions, ideation, openness, user innovation, success bias, social media

This paper analyzes organizations’ attempts to entice external contributors to submit suggestions for future organizational action. While earlier work has elaborated on the advantages of leveraging the knowledge of external contributors, our findings show that organizational attempts to attract such involvement are more likely to wither or die. We develop arguments about what increases the likelihood of getting suggestions from externals in the future, namely through (1) proactive attention (submitting internally developed suggestions to externals to stimulate debate); and (2) reactive attention (paying attention to suggestions from externals to signal they are being listened to), particularly when those suggestions are submitted by newcomers. Findings from an analysis of about 24,000 initiatives by organizations to involve external contributors suggest these actions are crucial for receiving suggestions from external contributors. Our results are contingent upon the stage of the initiative because organizations’ actions exert more influence in initiatives that lack a history of prior suggestions. Our work has implications for scholars of open innovation because it highlights the importance of considering failures as well successes: focusing exclusively on initiatives that reach a certain stage can lead to partial or erroneous conclusions about why some organizations engage external contributors while others fail.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 43
Issue 5
Pages 812–827

Journal Article

Information exposure, opportunity evaluation and entrepreneurial action: An investigation of an online user community

Academy of Management Journal 56 (5): 1348–1371
Erkko Autio, Linus Dahlander, Lars Frederiksen (2013)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): entrepreneurial action, information exposure, opportunity recognition, opportunity evaluation, user entrepreneurship

We study how an individual's exposure to external information regulates the evaluation of entrepreneurial opportunities and entrepreneurial action. Combining data from interviews, a survey, and a comprehensive web log of an online user community spanning eight years, we find that technical information shaped opportunity evaluation and that social information about user needs drove individuals to entrepreneurial action. Our empirical findings suggest that reducing demand uncertainty is a central factor regulating entrepreneurial action, an insight that received theories of entrepreneurial action have so far overlooked.

With permission of the Academy of Management

Volume 56
Issue 5
Pages 1348–1371

Journal Article

Geben und nehmen [Give and take]

Harvard Business Manager 10: 12–13
Linus Dahlander, Henning Piezunka (2013)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship
Issue 10
Pages 12–13

Journal Article

Collaborative benefits and coordination costs: Learning and capability development in science

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 7 (2): 122–137
Onal Vural, Linus Dahlander, Gerard George (2013)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship
Keyword(s): scientific teams, collaboration, university, invention, knowledge

We examine the effects of team structure and experience on the impact of inventions produced by scientific teams. Whereas multidisciplinary, collaborative teams have become the norm in scientific production, there are coordination costs commensurate with managing such teams. We use patent citation analysis to examine the effect of prior collaboration and patenting experience on invention impact of 282 patents granted in Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) research between 1998 and 2010. Our results reveal that team experience outside the domain may be detrimental to project performance in a setting where the underlying knowledge changes. In stem cell science, we show that interdepartmental collaboration has a negative effect on invention impact. Scientific proximity between members of the team has a curvilinear relationship, suggesting that teams consisting of members with moderate proximity get the highest impact. We elaborate on these findings for theories of collaboration and coordination, and its implications for radical scientific discoveries.

© 2013 Strategic Management Society

Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 122–137

Journal Article

Ties that last: Tie formation and persistence in research collaborations over time

Administrative Science Quarterly 58 (1): 69–110
Linus Dahlander, Daniel A. McFarland (2013)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): research collaborations, network ties, tie formation, tie persistence, long-term ties, task relationships

Using a longitudinal dataset of research collaborations over 15 years at Stanford University, we build a theory of intraorganizational task relationships that distinguishes the different factors associated with the formation and persistence of network ties. We highlight six factors: shared organizational foci, shared traits and interests, tie advantages from popularity, tie reinforcement from third parties, tie strength and multiplexity, and the instrumental returns from the products of ties. Findings suggest that ties form when unfamiliar people identify desirable and matching traits in potential partners. By contrast, ties persist when familiar people reflect on the quality of their relationship and shared experiences. The former calls for shallow, short-term strategies for assessing a broad array of potential ties; the latter calls for long-term strategies and substantive assessments of a relationship’s worth so as to draw extended rewards from the association. This suggests that organizational activities geared toward sustaining persistent intraorganizational task relationships need to be different from activities aimed at forging new ones.

With permission of Sage

Volume 58
Issue 1
Pages 69–110

Journal Article

The core and cosmopolitans: A relational view of innovation in user communities

Organization Science 23 (4): 988–1007
Linus Dahlander, Lars Frederiksen (2012)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Strategy and general management, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): collaboration, innovation, user, communities, online

Users often interact and help each other solve problems in communities, but few scholars have explored how these relationships provide opportunities to innovate. We analyze the extent to which people positioned within the core of a community as well as people that are cosmopolitans positioned across multiple external communities affect innovation. Using a multimethod approach, including a survey, a complete database of interactions in an online community, content coding of interactions and contributions, and 36 interviews, we specify the types of positions that have the strongest effect on innovation. Our study shows that dispositional explanations for user innovation should be complemented by a relational view that emphasizes how these communities differ from other organizations, the types of behaviors this enables, and the effects on innovation.

© 2012 INFORMS

Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 988–1007

Journal Article

Progressing to the center: Coordinating project work

Organization Science 22 (4): 961–979
Linus Dahlander, Siobhan O'Mahony (2011)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Strategy and general management
Keyword(s): coordination, project work, knowledge work, technical work, open source software, lateral authority, communities of practice, community project, technical community, community forms

Project forms of organizing are theorized to rely upon horizontal as opposed to vertical lines of authority, but few have examined how this shift affects progression-how people advance in an organization. We argue that progression without hierarchy unfolds when people assume lateral authority over project tasks without managing people. With a longitudinal study of a mature, collectively managed open source software project, we predict the individual behaviors that enable progression to lateral authority roles at two different stages. Although technical contributions are initially important, coordination work is more critical at a subsequent stage. We then explore how lateral authority roles affect subsequent behavior-after gaining authority, individuals spend significantly more time coordinating project work. Our research shows how people progress to the center as opposed to up a hierarchy, and how progression differs by stage and specifies the theoretical relationship between lateral authority roles and the coordination of project work.

© 2011 INFORMS

Volume 22
Issue 4
Pages 961–979

Journal Article

How open is innovation?

Research Policy 39 (6): 699–709
2016 Highly cited paper (Web of Knowledge)
Linus Dahlander, David M. Gann (2010)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): appropriability; complementary assets; openness; innovation; open innovation; review; content analysis

This paper is motivated by a desire to clarify the definition of 'openness' as currently used in the literature on open innovation, and to re-conceptualize the idea for future research on the topic. We combine bibliographic analysis of all papers on the topic published in Thomson's ISI Web of Knowledge (ISI) with a systematic content analysis of the field to develop a deeper understanding of earlier work. Our review indicates two inbound processes: sourcing and acquiring, and two outbound processes, revealing and selling. We analyze the advantages and disadvantages of these different forms of openness. The paper concludes with implications for theory and practice, charting several promising areas for future research.

With permission of Elsevier


As of May/June 2016, this highly cited paper received enough citations to place it in the top 1% of the academic field of Social Sciences, general based on a highly cited threshold for the field and publication year. – Data from Essential Science Indicators℠

Volume 39
Issue 6
Pages 699–709

Journal Article

How do firms make use of open source communities?

Long Range Planning 41 (6): 629–649
Linus Dahlander, Mats G. Magnusson (2008)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): case studies; communities of practice; organizations; research and development; Scandinavia; technology-led strategy

Relying on four in-depth case studies of firms involved with open source software, we
investigate how firms make use of open source communities, and how that use is associated
with their business models. Three themes - accessing, aligning and assimilating -
are inductively developed for how the firms relate to the external knowledge created in
the communities. For each theme, we make an argument about the tactics associated with
each theme and their positive and negative consequences. The findings are related to the
literature on the open and distributed nature of innovation, and various theoretical and
managerial implications are discussed.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 41
Issue 6
Pages 629–649

Journal Article

Penguin in a new suit: A tale of how de novo entrants emerged to harness free and open source software communities

Industrial and Corporate Change 16 (5): 913–943
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Communities; commons; innovation; science; open source software
Volume 16
Issue 5
Pages 913–943

Journal Article

Developing capabilities: An analysis of biotechnology in two regions in Australia and Sweden

European Planning Studies 15 (6): 727–751
Johan Brink, Linus Dahlander, Maureen McKelvey (2007)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Economics, politics and business environment
Keyword(s): regional development; specialization; biotechnology
Volume 15
Issue 6
Pages 727–751

Journal Article

A man on the inside: Unlocking communities as complementary assets

Research Policy 35 (8): 1243–1259
Linus Dahlander, Martin W. Wallin (2006)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): complementary assets; open innovation; free and open source software; social network theory

Since Teece's seminal paper explaining who were the gainers from technological innovation, increased globalization and the
information and communication technology revolution have brought newways for firms to organize and appropriate from innovation. A new more open model of innovation suggests that firms can benefit from sources of innovation that stem from outside the firm. The central theme of this paper is how firms try to unlock communities as complementary assets. These communities exist outside firm boundaries beyond ownership or hierarchical control. Because of practices developed by communities to protect their work, firms need to assign individuals to work in these communities in order to gain access to developments and, to an extent, influence the direction of the community. Using network analysis we show that some software firms sponsor individuals to act strategically within a free and open source software (FOSS) community. Firm sponsored individuals interact with more individuals than interact with them, and also they seek to interact with central individuals in the community. However, we can see differences in how individuals interact, depending on whether their affiliation is with a dedicated FOSS firm or an incumbent in the software industry. Apparently, some firm managers believe they need 'a man on the inside' to be able to gain access to communities.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 35
Issue 8
Pages 1243–1259

Journal Article

The occurrence and spatial distribution of collaboration: Biotech firms in Gothenburg, Sweden

Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 17 (4): 409–431
Linus Dahlander, Maureen Mckelvey (2005)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): relations; collaboration occurrence; spatial distribution; innovation; biotechnology; networks
Volume 17
Issue 4
Pages 409–431

Journal Article

Who's not developing open source software? Non-users, users, and developers

Economics of Innovation and New Technology 14 (7): 617–635
Linus Dahlander, Maureen Mckelvey (2005)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): opportunity cost; motivation; diffusion; knowledge development; public goods; open source software
Volume 14
Issue 7
Pages 617–635

Journal Article

Appropriation and appropriability in open source software

International Journal of Innovation Management 9 (3): 259–285
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): appropriating returns; appropriability regimes; private-collective innovation; open source software.
Volume 9
Issue 3
Pages 259–285

Journal Article

Relationships between open source software companies and communities: Observations from Nordic firms

Research Policy 34 (4): 481–493
Linus Dahlander, Mats G. Magnusson (2005)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): communities; relationships; open source software

This paper deals with the relationships between firms and communities in open source software (OSS). A particular feature of OSS is that important resources are not directly controlled by firms, but partly reside within communities that co-exist with the firms. Despite this, firms explicitly try to utilize the resources within these communities in order to create and appropriate value. Consequently, the relationships that firms have to these communities influence their way of doing business. Based on case studies of Nordic OSS firms, a typology consisting of symbiotic, commensalistic, and parasitic approaches to handle the firm-community relationship is developed. Depending on the chosen approach, firms encounter different managerial issues and also use different operational means of subtle control. While firms relying on a symbiotic approach have greater possibility to influence the community through subtle means of control, they are also confronted with more challenging managerial issues.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 34
Issue 4
Pages 481–493