Imperial College London

ProfessorMaurizioZollo

Business School

Professor of Strategy and Sustainability
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 2163m.zollo Website CV

 
 
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Location

 

276Business School BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

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52 results found

Brusoni S, Laureiro-Martínez D, Canessa N, Zollo Met al., 2020, Exploring exploration: The role of affective states as forces that hinder change, Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol: 29, Pages: 207-223, ISSN: 0960-6491

© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved. In this article we argue that in order to understand failure or success in adapting to environmental change, we should better understand why people hesitate to pursue novel choices. This article asks: what forces hinder individuals' exploration choices of different alternatives, and hence their ability to learn from them? To answer this question, this article looks to the cognitive sciences to identify a set of plausible mechanisms that hinder people's tendency to explore. So far, "exploration" has been studied as a relatively monolithic behavior. Instead, we propose that exploration can be characterized in terms of some distinctive forces behind it. On one hand, agents experience "attachment" to choices that proved successful in the past, and hence comfort when sticking with them. On the other hand, they also experience concerns about less familiar options, as they lack knowledge about "distant" choices that have not been tried for a long time, or ever. We propose that high attachment is related to anxiety, and high distance to fear. Both these negative affective states hinder exploration. We find and discuss preliminary and tentative evidence of this effect.

Journal article

Dodich A, Zollo M, Crespi C, Cappa SF, Laureiro Martinez D, Falini A, Canessa Net al., 2019, Short-term Sahaja Yoga meditation training modulates brain structure and spontaneous activity in the executive control network, Brain and Behavior, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2162-3279

INTRODUCTION: While cross-sectional studies have shown neural changes in long-term meditators, they might be confounded by self-selection and potential baseline differences between meditators and non meditators. Prospective longitudinal studies of the effects of meditation in naïve subjects are more conclusive with respect to causal inferences, but related evidence is so far limited. METHODS: Here, we assessed the effects of a 4-week Sahaja Yoga meditation training on gray matter density and spontaneous resting-state brain activity in a group of 12 meditation-naïve healthy adults. RESULTS: Compared with 30 control subjects, the participants to meditation training showed increased gray matter density and changes in the coherence of intrinsic brain activity in two adjacent regions of the right inferior frontal gyrus encompassing the anterior component of the executive control network. Both these measures correlated with self-reported well-being scores in the meditation group. CONCLUSIONS: The significant impact of a brief meditation training on brain regions associated with attention, self-control, and self-awareness may reflect the engagement of cognitive control skills in searching for a state of mental silence, a distinctive feature of Sahaja Yoga meditation. The manifold implications of these findings involve both managerial and rehabilitative settings concerned with well-being and emotional state in normal and pathological conditions.

Journal article

Crespi C, Laureiro-Martínez D, Dodich A, Cappa SF, Brusoni S, Zollo M, Falini A, Canessa Net al., 2018, Improving innovative decision-making: Training-induced changes in fronto-parietal networks., Brain Cogn, Vol: 128, Pages: 46-55

Innovative decision-making entails the balance of exploitative and explorative choices, and has been linked to the efficiency of executive functioning, including working-memory and attentional skills, associated with fronto-parietal networks. Based on the notion that such skills can be improved by cognitive training, we assessed whether a cognitive training enhancing basic executive skills might also improve the ability to manage the exploration-exploitation trade-off and its financial consequences, and whether any improvement in training-related performance would be reflected in neurostructural changes within fronto-parietal networks. Eighteen subjects participated in a baseline assessment, a training period and a follow-up measurement, while a matched group of 18 subjects did not undertake the training program. A subgroup of subjects underwent a multimodal MRI study to explore training-related changes in grey-matter volume and white-matter microstructure. After training, increased efficiency of innovative decision-making, related to the improvement of executive control skills, reflected neurostructural changes involving the right fronto-polar cortex and left superior longitudinal fasciculus. The quality of innovative decision-making can be improved by ad-hoc cognitive training procedures focused on executive skills, promoting neurostructural changes in fronto-parietal networks. The manifold implications involve both managerial and rehabilitative settings concerned with the quality of choices in normal and pathological conditions, respectively.

Journal article

Zollo M, 2018, Toward High-Impact Corporate Sustainability Research, Organization and Environment, Vol: 31, Pages: 207-209, ISSN: 1086-0266

Journal article

Castellaneta F, Valentini G, Zollo M, 2018, Learning or inertia? The impact of experience and knowledge codification on post-acquisition integration, Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol: 27, Pages: 577-593, ISSN: 0960-6491

© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved. This article develops and tests a theory on the evolution of complex organizational decisions, such as the decision to integrate (or not) a target company during the post-acquisition management phase. Using a sample of US bank mergers, we show that persistence in-or variation of-integration decisions depends on two key factors: integration experience and related knowledge codification. Integration experience tends to generate persistence in the integration decision, which is associated with poor deal performance. Moreover, we show that when knowledge codification is low, the persistence caused by integration experience further increases. However, when knowledge codification is sufficiently high, the inertial effect of experience diminishes significantly. Hence, high levels of knowledge codification can weaken the effects of decision inertia, which suggests that as knowledge codification increases, the role of knowledge codification switches from strengthening inertia to promoting learning.

Journal article

Zollo M, Minoja M, Coda V, 2018, Toward an integrated theory of strategy, Strategic Management Journal, Vol: 39, Pages: 1753-1778, ISSN: 0143-2095

Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Research summary: We develop an integrative approach to the study of strategic management in a four-step logical sequence. First, we discuss one of the rare conceptual frameworks of integrated firm strategy introduced by Coda (1984). Second, we focus on competitive, growth, and stakeholder strategies and identify four integrative mechanisms underlying the creation of joint outcomes from the combination of different strategic choices. Third, we study how these mechanisms might allow specific binary combinations of strategic choices to create higher levels of value for stakeholders. Lastly, we study the likelihood of alternative three-way bundles of strategies to generate the highest expected value. This analysis identifies two bundles of strategic decisions that can potentially maximize performance outcomes. Managerial summary: Our integrative approach to strategic management can potentially contribute to the improvement of managerial decision making in three main ways. First, by raising managers’ awareness that decisions in different strategic domains—e.g., competitive, growth, and stakeholder strategies —produce joint effects on value created for stakeholders and, thus, should be selected as an internally coherent bundle. Second, by identifying the factors that influence different strategic decisions and the consequent production of joint results. Some of these factors can be directly learned and leveraged by managers to shape a more internally coherent and effective portfolio of strategic decisions. Third, by proposing specific bundles of internally coherent choices that might provide useful reference points within the context of the three strategies considered.

Journal article

Bettinazzi ELM, Zollo M, 2017, Stakeholder Orientation and Acquisition Performance, Strategic Management Journal, Vol: 38, Pages: 2465-2485, ISSN: 0143-2095

Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Research summary: In this article, we study how a firm's stakeholder orientation affects the performance of its corporate acquisitions. We depart from prior literature and suggest that orientations toward employees, customers, suppliers, and local communities will affect long-term acquisition performance both directly and through its interactions with process characteristics, such as preacquisition relatedness and postacquisition integration. Analyses of data on a sample of 1884 acquisitions show overall a positive association between acquirers' stakeholder orientation and acquisition performance. In addition, we find support for a positive moderation of business relatedness on the performance impacts of stakeholder orientation. Structural integration has a similarly positive moderation effect only for some of the stakeholder categories. Managerial summary: Does collaboration with stakeholders during an acquisition pay off in terms of performance? The results of this research show that it is worth engaging stakeholders during the M&A process, but that the efficacy of involvement practices may depend on the type of stakeholders and the characteristics of the acquisition. While acquiring firms that take account of suppliers and local communities consistently overperform in their acquisitions, the inclusion of employees might be not beneficial (and even harmful) when the target firm operates in a dissimilar business or when managers do not plan to maintain it as a separate entity. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal article

Neumann K, Zollo M, 2017, A stakeholder-based view of strategic alliances, Collaborative Strategy: Critical Issues for Alliances and Networks, Pages: 168-175, ISBN: 9781783479573

Book chapter

Zollo M, Bettinazzi ELM, Neumann K, Snoeren Pet al., 2016, Toward a Comprehensive Model of Organizational Evolution: Dynamic Capabilities for Innovation and Adaptation of the Enterprise Model, Global Strategy Journal, Vol: 6, Pages: 225-244, ISSN: 2042-5791

Copyright © 2016 Strategic Management Society Plain language summary: This article argues that the rapid evolution of expectations and influence capacity by corporate stakeholders requires managers in MNCs not only to adapt operating activities, but to rethink the purpose and overarching goal of the business enterprise, adapting it from a shareholder-primacy to a multi-stakeholder enterprise model. This complex adaptation process, however, requires the development of a specific form of competence to be developed and honed, different in kind from the typical capabilities focused on organizational change. With the help of concrete examples of sustainability-driven change initiatives, we discuss how the two enterprise models differ and how the development of this new type of competence facilitates the transition from one to the other. Technical summary: This article argues that the dynamic capabilities framework can be useful to study the evolutionary change processes that MNCs go through as they strive to innovate and adapt to societal pressures related to corporate sustainability. These pressures require MNCs to rethink and adapt core organizational elements and we argue that current dynamic capabilities theory is not sufficiently developed to explain these adaptive efforts. We suggest refining and extending theory in two directions: (1) distinguishing between behavioral, cognitive, and relational organizational elements as objects of the innovation, change, and learning dynamics; and (2) distinguishing between capabilities specific to generative variation and selection of innovative change and adaptation ideas from those specific to their diffusion and retention. Copyright © 2016 Strategic Management Society.

Journal article

Crilly D, Hansen M, Zollo M, 2016, The grammar of decoupling: A cognitive-linguistic perspective on firms' sustainability claims and stakeholders' interpretation, Academy of Management Journal, Vol: 59, Pages: 705-729, ISSN: 0001-4273

© Academy of Management Journal. Can firms deceive their stakeholders, by failing to deliver on their commitments to undertake sustainability practices without being detected? Extant theory posits that, due to information asymmetry, stakeholders struggle to comprehend the actual change in firms' practices. In contrast, we advance a cognitive-linguistic perspective to explain why stakeholders are sometimes misled. Accordingly, we propose that firms' deception does not appear in the content of their communication, but in its linguistic properties, which derive from how managers cognitively construe the sustainability challenge. Thus, firms cover the same points of content in their reports, but firms that practice what they preach use more complex styles of language than do firms that decouple their action from their statements. Moreover, we theorize that generalist stakeholders and stakeholders with conflicts of interest are unable to detect these linguistic nuances, whereas specialist stakeholders can. We find evidence for this cognitive-linguistic perspective in a textual analysis of grammatical structure in 261 interviews conducted in a large field study of 12 multinational corporations and their stakeholders. This lens advances our understanding of how firms deceive and how stakeholders can detect such deception and opens a new and promising avenue for research on firm-stakeholder relations.

Journal article

Lioukas CS, Reuer JJ, Zollo M, 2016, Effects of Information Technology Capabilities on Strategic Alliances: Implications for the Resource-Based View, Journal of Management Studies, Vol: 53, Pages: 161-183, ISSN: 0022-2380

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies. This paper adopts a contingency approach to the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and seeks to establish boundary conditions for the value of certain information technology (IT) capabilities. We first identify inter-organizational alliances as a specific strategy context in which IT capabilities are particularly valuable. We then consider more detailed boundary conditions that can shape the value of these capabilities within the alliance context. Our study shows that firms with better IT capabilities can derive greater value from an alliance, yet this effect also varies across different types of alliances depending on an individual alliance's characteristics. Specifically, IT capabilities are more valuable for alliances with a non-equity governance structure, as well as those involving a high degree of interdependence between partners. We highlight the implications of our findings for opportunities to advance the RBV.

Journal article

Laureiro-Martínez D, Brusoni S, Canessa N, Zollo Met al., 2015, Understanding the exploration-exploitation dilemma: An fMRI study of attention control and decision-making performance, Strategic Management Journal, Vol: 36, Pages: 319-338, ISSN: 0143-2095

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This paper studies the cognitive processes that enable decision makers to switch between exploitation and exploration. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a sample of expert decision makers to make two main contributions. First, we identify and contrast the specific brain regions and cognitive processes associated with exploitation and exploration decisions. Exploitation activates regions associated with reward seeking, which track and evaluate the value of current choices, while exploration relies on regions associated with attentional control, tracking the value of alternative choices. Second, we propose and test the idea that stronger activation of the brain circuits related to attentional control allows individuals to achieve better decision-making performance as a result. We discuss the implications of these results for strategic management research and practice.

Journal article

Castellaneta F, Zollo M, 2015, The Dimensions of Experiential Learning in the Management of Activity Load, ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, Vol: 26, Pages: 140-157, ISSN: 1047-7039

Journal article

Laureiro-Martinez D, Venkatraman V, Cappa S, Zollo M, Brusoni Set al., 2015, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCES AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN TYING THE KNOT, Publisher: EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, ISBN: 978-1-78441-946-2

Book

Zollo M, Minoja M, Coda V, 2015, Toward an integrated theory of strategy, Pages: 1599-1604

We introduce the concepts of customer advantage, stakeholder advantage and economic surplus to develop an integrative approach to the study of strategic management. We develop a conceptual framework to analyze the interdependencies between competitive, growth and stakeholder strategies for the achievement of customer and stakeholder advantage.

Conference paper

Bettinazzi ELM, Zollo M, 2015, Stakeholder engagement and organizational experiential learning: Evidence from M & A, Pages: 545-550

Conference paper

Bettinazzi ELM, Massa L, Neumann K, Zollo Met al., 2015, Macro-economic crises and corporate sustainability, Pages: 858-863

Conference paper

Laureiro-Martinez D, Canessa N, Brusoni S, Zollo M, Hare T, Alemanno F, Cappa SFet al., 2014, Frontopolar cortex and decision-making efficiency: comparing brain activity of experts with different professional background during an exploration-exploitation task, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1662-5161

An optimal balance between efficient exploitation of available resources and creative exploration of alternatives is critical for adaptation and survival. Previous studies associated these behavioral drives with, respectively, the dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic system and frontopolar-intraparietal networks. We study the activation of these systems in two age and gender-matched groups of experienced decision-makers differing in prior professional background, with the aim to understand the neural bases of individual differences in decision-making efficiency (performance divided by response time). We compare brain activity of entrepreneurs (who currently manage the organization they founded based on their venture idea) and managers (who are constantly involved in making strategic decisions but have no venture experience) engaged in a gambling-task assessing exploitative vs. explorative decision-making. Compared with managers, entrepreneurs showed higher decision-making efficiency, and a stronger activation in regions of frontopolar cortex (FPC) previously associated with explorative choice. Moreover, activity across a network of regions previously linked to explore/exploit tradeoffs explained individual differences in choice efficiency. These results suggest new avenues for the study of individual differences in the neural antecedents of efficient decision-making.

Journal article

Zollo M, Cennamo C, Neumann K, 2013, Beyond What and Why: Understanding Organizational Evolution Towards Sustainable Enterprise Models, ORGANIZATION & ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 26, Pages: 241-259, ISSN: 1086-0266

Journal article

Foss NJ, Heimeriks KH, Winter SG, Zollo Met al., 2012, A Hegelian Dialogue on the Micro-Foundations of Organizational Routines and Capabilities, Publisher: WILEY PERIODICALS, INC, Pages: 173-197, ISSN: 1740-4754

Conference paper

Crilly D, Zollo M, Hansen MT, 2012, FAKING IT OR MUDDLING THROUGH? UNDERSTANDING DECOUPLING IN RESPONSE TO STAKEHOLDER PRESSURES, ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, Vol: 55, Pages: 1429-1448, ISSN: 0001-4273

Journal article

Gambardella A, Zollo M, 2011, English reprints of European "management Classics" in native language, European Management Review, Vol: 8, ISSN: 1740-4754

Journal article

Arevalo JA, Castelló I, De Colle S, Lenssen G, Neumann K, Zollo Met al., 2011, Introduction to the special issue: Integrating sustainability in business models, Journal of Management Development, Vol: 30, Pages: 941-954, ISSN: 0262-1711

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to introduce this special issue, conceptualized and realized by a group of scholars engaged in the Global Organizational Learning and Development Network (GOLDEN) for Sustainability programme. It aims to adopt the overarching research question of the GOLDEN research programme “How do firms learn to integrate and manage sustainability in their business models, including their organizational purpose, strategy, processes, systems and culture?” as the guiding principle for case selection. Design/methodology/approach – The paper first presents the key ideas underpinning the previous research question and illustrates the research approach and agenda of GOLDEN for Sustainability. Second, it introduces the eight case studies presented in this special issue. Findings – The cases offer good illustrations of the ongoing transition by both medium-sized and multinational corporations dealing with learning and change challenges posed by the identification and management of sustainability issues. The selected cases represent firms operating in diverse contexts and industries, and are developed by scholars specializing in various fields connected to corporate responsibility and sustainability. Originality/value – The paper presents cases of organizations that have made sense of the sustainability challenge and also the different approaches taken to tackle the challenge, and the results stemming from their efforts. © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Journal article

Zollo M, Freeman E, 2010, Re-thinking the firm in a post-crisis world, EUROPEAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW, Vol: 7, Pages: 191-194, ISSN: 1740-4754

Journal article

Laureiro-Martínez D, Brusoni S, Zollo M, 2010, The Neuroscientific Foundations of the Exploration-Exploitation Dilemma, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, Vol: 3, Pages: 95-115, ISSN: 1937-321X

What are the origins of the ability to continuously explore novel domains of activity while at the same time exploiting the current knowledge base with increasing efficacy? The conflicting objectives of exploration and exploitation compete for scarce resources, among which managerial attention is possibly the most critical. This paper integrates recent findings on the neuromodulation of attention to provide a foundational step in understanding how the mind of the manager handles the exploration-exploitation dilemma. Also, this paper proposes several possible ways to combine research in neuroscience, psychology, and management to advance our knowledge of the microfoundations of managerial decision-making. © 2010 American Psychological Association.

Journal article

Zollo M, Reuer JJ, 2010, Experience Spillovers Across Corporate Development Activities, ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, Vol: 21, Pages: 1195-1212, ISSN: 1047-7039

Journal article

Minoja M, Zollo M, Coda V, 2010, Stakeholder cohesion, innovation, and competitive advantage, Corporate Governance, Vol: 10, Pages: 395-405, ISSN: 1472-0701

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the limits of stakeholder governance and to contribute a better comprehension of the relationships between corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance (CFP) through the development of a dynamic model that links together innovation and change, stakeholder cohesion, and competitive advantage. Design/methodology/approach: The approach takes the form of theory building through the development of eight testable propositions. Findings: Stakeholder cohesion may have a "dark side" to the extent that it results in inertia and resistance to change, thus reducing propensity to innovation and change. The latter, in turn, are vital for both competitive advantage and stakeholder cohesion itself. Therefore, propensity to innovation and change is the pivotal variable that helps to explain the complex, non-linear, often inextricable relationships between CSP and CFP. Furthermore, external (environmental dynamism) and internal (firm culture) variables moderate, respectively, the impact of innovation and change on firm performance and the impact of firm performance on its propensity to innovation and change. Originality/value: The paper represents a first attempt to use system dynamics to improve the comprehension of the relationships between CSP and CFP and, from a practical point of view, to interpret the economic crisis as a consequence of a too high level of stakeholder cohesion. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Journal article

Romme AGL, Zollo M, Berends P, 2010, Dynamic capabilities, deliberate learning and environmental dynamism: a simulation model, INDUSTRIAL AND CORPORATE CHANGE, Vol: 19, Pages: 1271-1299, ISSN: 0960-6491

Journal article

Zollo M, 2009, Superstitious Learning with Rare Strategic Decisions: Theory and Evidence from Corporate Acquisitions, ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, Vol: 20, Pages: 894-908, ISSN: 1047-7039

Journal article

Zollo M, 2009, Taking on board (Cum Grano Salis) Pfeffer's call for relevance in, and renewal of, management scholarship, EUROPEAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW, Vol: 6, Pages: 156-158, ISSN: 1740-4754

Journal article

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