Call for Proposals

You can read the most salient portions of the call for proposals below.

To see the complete version, please download the PDF document to the right.

Micro-Foundations for Strategic Research:
Embracing Individuals


Microfoundations have become increasingly influential in strategic management research. The basic argument is that individuals and their interaction matter fundamentally to strategic issues. However, if a micro-foundations project is to become viable it needs to grapple with important questions of theory development, operationalization, aggregation, empirical measurement, data collection, and statistical implementation that are currently unresolved. Microfoundations have to make a substantive difference in the way we teach and research strategic management.

We are gathering a range of established scholars and practitioners and we hope that you will join them in Copenhagen. We mix specialist tracks on "strategic decision-making", "top-management teams", "entrepreneurship", "strategic human resources", "methodological issues", with panels keynote talks to create an excellent opportunity to examine the challenges to strategic management theory, empirics and teaching represented by microfoundations.

What's more, you'll experience Wonderful Copenhagen. Note also that the Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics (DRUID) begins its annual conference the day after this special conference ends.

The conference invites research that deepens our understanding of the micro- foundation of strategic management. Key questions include the following:

Value-added issues: In which ways do micro-foundations add scientific value-added? While there may be strong philosophical reasons for pursuing micro-foundations, such value-added has to be demonstrated. How does furnishing micro-foundations for, for example, capabilities and absorptive capacity advance strategic management research? How is the understanding of value creation and value furthered by a micro- foundational perspective? How is our understanding of sustained competitive advantage and competitive heterogeneity advanced by this lense?

Disciplinary issues: Two of the source disciplines for strategic management, namely economics and psychology, are inherently micro-foundational. However, the micro- foundations they offer are very different and in many ways difficult to reconcile. How is to be handled? May behavioral economics be useful micro-foundations? Sociological network research has become influential in strategic management research over the past decade. What are the micro-foundational issues that this approach presents researchers with (e.g., the role of cognition and motivation in structural networks)?

Relations to other management fields: A traditional divide in management research is between micro and macro perspectives. Do our established micro fields, notably organizational behavior and human resource management, offer useful micro- foundations for (macro) strategic management research?

Modeling issues: Micro-foundations inherently involve multilevel issues. What does this imply for strategic management research practice in terms of theory building? Are there modeling approaches that are inherently suited to micro-foundational issues? For example, simulation methods allow the analyst to deal with the interaction of entities at different level in a longitudinal perspective; should such an approach be pursued in connection with the understanding of the emergence and change of, for example, firm- level capabilities

Empirical research issues: Micro-foundational research offers several empirical challenges related to data gathering. Often, collecting data on more than one level is highly difficult and costly. What are the alternatives to costly multilevel sampling? Do micro-foundations provide a new role for longitudinal small-N research, as this approach may be particularly well suited for the actual observation of behaviors and their interaction over time?

There will be several distinguished thought leaders offering their insights on the conference theme. In addition, Conference Co-Chairs and Track Chairs invite submissions from a around four sub-themes:

Theme A: Decision Making and Managers

Track Chair: Udo Zander, Stockholm School of Economics

picture of Udo Zander

Udo Zander

Recognizing that top managers play a significant role as strategists of firms there is ample research on the link between top management team characteristics and performance. However, at the same time the role of the middle manager and the inclusive decision-making in delivering performance has grown significantly. This raises questions about the appropriate decision-making processes e.g. is decision making power allocated to those that have the knowledge to make the right decisions? And what is the role of middle managers in the effectiveness of strategic planning e.g. are the knowledge of middle managers properly channeled into the decision-making process?

Theme B: Entrepreneurship

Track Chair: Rajshree Agarwal, University of Maryland

picture of Rajshree Agarwal

Rajshree Agarwal

The strategy literature has emphasized how entrepreneurship can be fostered by a pro-entrepreneurial culture and organizational design and how it may result in the creation of competitive advantages. Less attention has been paid to entrepreneurial individuals. How do individual and organizational characteristics interact in giving rise to entrepreneurial opportunities?

Theme C: Strategic Human Resources

Track Chair: Russell Coff, University of Wisconsin-Madison

picture of Russell Coff

Russell Coff

While the early definition of strategic HRM research highlighted the human capital or people it has shifted to focus on the practices that impacted the human capital rather than the human capital itself. More recent research has rediscovered human capital with human capital conceptualized as a mediator in the relationship between HR practices and performance. The focus is on motivation, perceptions and behavior of the individuals and how it links back to firm performance.

Theme D: Methodology

Track Chair: Teppo Felin, University of Oxford

picture of Teppo Felin

Teppo Felin

Microfoundations raise serious methodological challenges. For example, what are the principles for aggregating from individuals to collective outcomes? Are these context dependent? Can firms influence aggregation by deploying administrative apparatus for this purpose? Microfoundations also raise important measurement, sampling and statistical challenges. For example, pursuing microfoundations empirically seem to necessitate sampling on at least two levels (individuals and firms), which in a large-N context involves the use of multilevel statistics.

Submission Guidelines And Requirements

Proposals (5-7 pages, for paper and panel sessions) relating to the conference theme are invited. Only original, unpublished work is sought. Deadline for Submission of Proposals: December 5, 2013.



Strategic Management Society

Copenhagen