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Continuity and change in a spin-off venture: the process of reimprinting

  • Simone Ferriani
  • Elizabeth Garnsey
  • Gianni Lorenzoni
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    Because new entrants very often spin off from established firms, their learning and capabilities are closely linked to their organizational and technological heritage. While this may provide an initial advantage, parental influence can generate inertia and resistance to change, unless the new company is able to unlearn inappropriate practices and create its unique competitive identity. The tension between inheritance and search for novelty is the subject of the article. Building on an in-depth case study of Acorn Computers and ARM semiconductors, we present a model of intergenerational learning and spin-off performance. Early parental influence is followed by intense learning, improvisation and response to feedback from the market. This we term reimprinting , to emphasize the enduring competitive and organizational identity established early on by the spin-off, which in this case provided the basis for disruptive innovation. Focus on the parent--progeny dyad as the unit of analysis can reveal micro-processes that reconstitute past experience to make possible both continuity and innovation in the spin-off venture. Copyright 2012 The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Industrial and Corporate Change.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 1011-1048

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:21:y:2012:i:4:p:1011-1048
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