Organizations and their External Context: Impressions across time and space Defended on Thursday, 23 May 2019

Our comprehension of how organizations operate is not complete without accounting for the role of context. While a lot of research has been conducted on how organizations should respond to their environment, we know comparatively little about how the environment affects the behavior and decision making of organizations. In this dissertation, I therefore investigate the interplay between organizations and their context from the perspective of what context means for organizational strategies. Findings from three empirical studies indicate that context has a significant impact on various organizational outcomes, through (dis)-incentivizing one strategic choice over another. In particular, the first study showed that differences in internationalization behavior that we perceive across emerging market firms can partially be explained through heterogeneity in founding conditions. In a similar vein, the second study demonstrated that differences in firm performance can be attributed to the hardship organizations experience during their time of founding and the capabilities they develop because of it. The third study showed how institutions geared towards protecting shareholders reduce not only the number, but also the profitability of mergers and acquisitions. Jointly, the findings in my dissertation emphasize the importance that a proper attribution and analysis of the role context has for the field of management.


Institutions; Imprinting; Cross-national study; Internationalization; Inertia; Firm profitability; Firm survival; Mergers and Acquisitions; Organizational change; Meta-analysis

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