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Bocconi Assembly for Innovation and Cooperation (BAIC) Webinar Series

This virtual seminar series, organized by the Department of Management & Technology, is part of a wider program of events that includes the Bocconi Assembly for Innovation and Cooperation (BAIC) conference. In the face of geopolitical changes, societal and environmental concerns, shifting industry boundaries, evolving technological ecosystems, increasing uncertainty, and competitive pressures, the aim of the Assembly is to serve as a forum for discussing and exchanging new ideas across disciplines and developing a research agenda on innovation and cooperation. A changing reality demands new insights. With the assembly meeting and this seminar series involving leading scholars in the field of management and related disciplines, we aspire to advance this agenda and promote research projects that facilitate our understanding of these two fundamental drivers of economic growth and prosperity.


Scheduled webinars for 2021


Wednesday 9th June 5pm-6.30pm (Central European Time)  

Cooperating in an Era of Divide


  • Paul Adler, Professor and Harold Quinton Chair in Business Policy at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
  • Rajshree Agarwal, Rudolph Lamone Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
  • Anita McGahan, Professor and Rotman Chair in Management at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Moderator: Giada Di Stefano, Associate Professor at Bocconi University

Panelists’ biographies

Paul S. Adler is Professor of Management and Organization, of Sociology, and of Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California. He holds the Marshall Business School's Harold Quinton Chair in Business Policy. He began his education in Australia and moved to France in 1974, where he received his doctorate in Economics and Management while working as a Research Economist for the French government. He came to the USA in 1981, and before arriving at USC in 1991, he was affiliated with the Brookings Institution, Columbia University, Harvard Business School, and Stanford's School of Engineering. His most recent book is The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism (2019).

Rajshree Agarwal is the Rudolph Lamone Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy and Director of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets at the University of Maryland. Rajshree studies the evolution of industries, firms and individual careers, as fostered by the twin engines of innovation and enterprise. Her scholarship uses an interdisciplinary lens to provide insights on strategic innovation for new venture creation and for firm renewal. She routinely publishes in leading journals in strategy and entrepreneurship. An author of more than 60 studies, her research has been cited more than 10,000 times, received numerous best paper awards, and funded by grants from various foundations, including the Kauffman Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Science Foundation. She is currently the co-editor of the Strategic Management Journal and has previously served in co-editor and senior editor roles at Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and Organization Science respectively.

Anita M. McGahan is Professor and Rotman Chair in Management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.  She is cross appointed to the Munk School of Global Affairs; is a Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard University; and is Chief Economist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Division for Global Health and Human Rights. McGahan's research has focused on models of industry evolution and the evolution of competitive advantage. Her current research emphasizes entrepreneurship in the public interest and innovative collaboration between public and private organizations. Her credits include two books and over 100 articles, case studies, notes and other published material on competitive advantage, industry evolution, and financial performance.  McGahan is an Area Editor at the Strategic Management Journal and Management Science and is on the Boards of the Academy of Management Review and Strategic Organization.

Abstract and Video

In recent years we have witnessed increased segregation, separation, and divide in societies, countries, organizations, and groups. Against this backdrop, we are often mesmerized to observe collaboration efforts emerge. To understand this phenomenon, scholars have developed theories on the roles of individuals and their behavioral traits, institutions and social norms, incentives and control systems, and structures that foster coopetition, just to name a few. As our societies become increasingly polarized and divided, we cannot help but wonder whether these theories are still informative and applicable, how they can shed light on the current phenomenon, and to what extent they should be revisited and adapted.

In this panel, we bring together three prominent scholars whose expertise speaks to different aspects of this apparent dilemma between our tendency to cooperate and our instinct to polarize. The goal is to discuss these issues from a variety of perspectives by incorporating economics, sociology, and strategy research, bringing practical insights, and examining these issues at multiple levels of analysis.

The panelists will address questions, such as: What explains the success of collaborations in an era of divide? How has this changed compared to traditional cooperation? How can cooperation be sustained when public policy conflicts with personal interest? Where do current theories fail and where do we need new perspectives to better understand the emerging reality of cooperation? How do these dynamics impact the very role of the firm and managers in our society? And finally, is there anything we can do to reverse this tendency towards segregation, separation, and divide?

Thursday 17th June 5pm-6pm (Central European Time)

Ideology and Innovation

Speaker: Brian Silverman, Professor and J.R.S. Prichard and Ann Wilson Chair in Management at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

(Presenting research with John M. de Figueiredo & Trijeet Sethi)


Brian Silverman is Professor of Strategic Management at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and holds the J.R.S. Prichard and Ann Wilson Chair in Management . His research focuses on the interaction between a firm’s competitive strategy and organizational structure to affect its performance – in particular, its ability to access and exploit technological capabilities. He studies diverse industries including biotechnology, information processing, consumer electronics, and transportation. He has served in numerous roles in varied academic organizations. He is a Co-Editor at Strategic Management Journal, serves on the editorial boards of California Management Review, Organization Science, Research Policy, and Strategic Organization, and is a former Series Editor of Advances in Strategic Management.

Abstract  and Video

Political polarization has been increasing in the United States and across the globe over the past 25 years.  The schism between Democrats and Republicans, Labor and Conservatives, and Likud and Blue and White, bring into focus the tension that exists between political parties and citizens with different political preferences.  While much has been written about how individuals of various political persuasions interact (or don’t interact, as the case may be) in a range of social and work-related settings, there has been no research exploring whether/how political affiliations of individuals affect the composition of inventor teams and, consequently, innovation.  In this study we examine how the political affiliations of inventors in the United States affect the teams they form, the technologies they pursue, and the productivity and success of their innovative efforts.

Thursday 24th June 5pm-6pm (Central European Time)

Evolutionary Processes and Organizational Adaptation: A Mendelian Perspective on Strategic Management

Speaker: Dan Levinthal, Reginald H. Jones Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania


Daniel Levinthal is the Reginald H. Jones Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Levinthal has published extensively on questions of organizational adaptation and industry evolution, particularly in the context of technological change with 70 articles and book chapters that have received over 20,000 citations. He is a Fellow of both the Strategic Management Society, the Academy of Management, and the Academy of International Business. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Strategy Science and has previously served as Editor-in-chief of Organization Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the London Business School, University of Southern Denmark, Tilburg University, and the University of Warwick.

Abstract and Video

A “Mendelian” executive is proposed as an image of strategy making that lies intermediate between the grand strategist suggested by rational choice approaches and a Darwinian process of random variation and market-based differential selection. The Mendelian executive is capable of intentional design efforts in order to explore possible adjacent strategic spaces, with path-dependence both constraining and enabling what is possible. Furthermore, the argument developed here highlights the role of intentionality with respect to selection processes within the organization, the culling and amplification of strategic initiatives. The firm is viewed as operating an “artificial selection” environment in contrast to selection as the direct consequence of the outcome of competitive processes. Examining the nature of the processes generating these experimental variants and the bases of internal selection, and how these selection criteria may themselves change, is argued to be central to understanding the challenge of organizational adaptation in dynami

Thursday 1st July 5pm-6pm (Central European Time)  

Impact Investing and the Fostering of Business Ventures’ Financial Performance and Social Impact in Disadvantaged Urban Areas

Speaker: Caroline Flammer, Associate Professor at Questrom School of Business, Boston University

(Presenting research with Romain Boulongne & Rodolphe Durand)


Caroline Flammer is an Associate Professor and Dean’s Research Scholar at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Her research interests are in competitive strategy at the intersection of corporate governance, impact investing, corporate social responsibility, climate change, and innovation. In particular, her research examines how, and under which conditions, firms can enhance their competitiveness and long-term profitability while strengthening—instead of undermining—the very system in which they operate and hereby play a critical role in addressing climate change, inequality, global health, and other grand challenges related to society and the natural environment. Caroline has published in leading academic journals (such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Financial Economics, Management Science, and Strategic Management Journal), and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. She serves as Associate Editor for both the Strategic Management Journal and Management Science. Caroline also serves as Chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the largest network of responsible investors to date. At Boston University, she serves as the Academic Director of both the Social Impact MBA program and the university-wide Minor in Sustainable Energy. For further information: http://sites.bu.edu/cflammer/


We examine whether impact investing is more effective in fostering business venture success and social impact when directed toward ventures located in vs. outside disadvantaged urban areas (i.e., areas with high crime, unemployment, and poverty). We explore this question in the context of loans made to business ventures located in French “banlieues” vs. “non-banlieues.” We find that loans issued to banlieue ventures, compared to non-banlieue ventures, yield greater improvements in financial performance, as well as greater social impact in terms of the creation of local employment opportunities, quality jobs, and jobs for minorities—all of which contribute to the social inclusion of marginalized communities and the development of sustainable cities.

Last modified 01/07/2021 - 15:14:48
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