IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Business Unit Reorganization and Innovation in New Product Markets

  • Samina Karim


    (School of Management, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215)

Registered author(s):

    This paper empirically examines how business unit reorganization affects innovation, and explores how the learning process may mediate this relationship. Unit reorganization is the creation, deletion, or recombination of business units within a firm. Innovation is radical and involves product market entry by a firm into markets in which it was not previously active. I test competing hypotheses that predict either a U-shape or inverted U-shape relationship between reorganization and innovation to determine whether and how learning occurs in the presence of unit-level structural change. Theoretical support is drawn from literature on dynamic capabilities and organizational learning. The sample studied is 250 medical firms belonging to the pharmaceutical, healthcare-service, and medical-device industries, studied over a 20-year period. The findings are twofold. First, reorganization is found to exhibit a U-shape relationship with innovation, supporting learning arguments that stress the importance of experiencing a cohort of multiple events. Second, only reorganization experiences within a current period affect future innovation; past experiences do not impact future innovation, implying that firms may face constraints in organizational memory. The study concludes by exploring the structural origin (i.e., from internal, acquired, or recombined units) of innovative activity within firms.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 55 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 1237-1254

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:7:p:1237-1254
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:7:p:1237-1254. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.