S. Karim Publishes Lead Article in Strategic Organization on Product Market Activities

in Emerging Research, Faculty, News, Strategy & Innovation
January 3rd, 2013

Karim, Samina (2012). Exploring structural embeddedness of product market activities and resources within business units. Strategic Organization 10(4): 333-365.

Strategic Organization JournalThe lead article in the November 2012 issue of Strategic Organization is Samina Karim‘s study “Exploring structural embeddedness of product market activities and resources within business units.”

Karim is an assistant professor in strategy and innovation at Boston University School of Management.

This paper defines “embeddedness” as the dependence on routines and coordination mechanisms within one’s own business unit, and explores the degree to which embeddedness impacts the success of product market activities (PMA). Karim focuses on which alternative better supports the longevity of a product market within the firm:  1) moving a PMA out of one unit and into another, or 2) moving the entire unit with its PMA into another unit (so that the PMA is still managed in its original organizational context, even though it is now “housed” in another, bigger unit).

Among Karim’s findings:

  • If activities and resources are highly embedded in their business units, then “reconfiguring” a unit (by adding to it, trimming it down, or recombining it with another unit) may have consequences on how successful the firm is at its product market activities.
  • Moving an entire unit with its PMA into another unit leads to a greater likelihood of retaining the PMA (i.e. the PMA will not be not divested or shut down).

For managers within PMA units, the practical insights of Karim’s study include:

  • If managers are going to move a PMA from one unit to another, they are better off recombining the entire unit into the other than simply moving the PMA from one to the other.
  • If managers are going to move a PMA from one unit to another, they should be less worried about whether the PMA was acquired or not, and more focused on whether, during the move, they can keep intact the PMA’s former unit’s routines and processes.