Sail Better or Make Waves? How Performance Benchmarks Affect Technology Strategy Choice

Past event — 10 January 2018

Kühne Logistics University
Grosser Grasbrook 17, 20457 Hamburg, Room EE Lecture 2

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Prof. Murat Tarakci

Rotterdam School of Management

Erasmus University, NL


Why do some firms strive for adapting to the existing technology landscape whereas other firms for changing it? We build a simulation model of co-evolutionary search to address this question. We propose that firms which benchmark against their past performance (i.e., performance-oriented firms) prefer adapting to the given landscape. In contrast, firms which benchmark against their competitors' performances (i.e., competitor-oriented firms) envision and search on a new landscape aiming to disrupt the given landscape. Moreover, our analyses suggest that performance-oriented firms favor changing the landscape when the intensity of envisioned change decreases, and that competitor-oriented firms reduce efforts directed to disrupting the landscape as complexity decreases. Overall, the emerging theory explains firms' diverging technology strategy choices emanating from heterogeneous performance benchmarks, and offers managerial guidelines on how to strategize when facing various competitive environments.
Co-author: Prof. Fabian Sting


Murat Tarakci is an Associate Professor of Innovation Management at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He obtained his PhD degree from Erasmus School of Economics. Murat's research aims at creating more innovative organizations. He integrates micro and macro perspectives and uses multiple methods. In particular, he examines what motivates managers’ search for new strategic initiatives, and how managerial power and leadership affect generating novel ideas. His research has been published or accepted for publication in the Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Operations Management, and has been featured in popular media outlets including Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. He regularly collaborates with several multinational corporations such as Unilever, Deloitte and Philips.

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Birgit Kappert

Program Manager