IACMR Research Seminar Series #35

Theme: Solutions in Search of Problems? Organizational Learning and the Diffusion of New Technologies
Speaker: Vibha Gaba, INSEAD
When: 9:00- 10:15 am, April 19, 2023 (China Time, UTC+8) 
Language: English

Research on organizational diffusion processes has made significant progress. Still, its focus on successfully diffused organizational practices implies that firms adopt solutions straightforwardly to solve problems rather than adoption being contingent on a problem being recognized in the first place. This paper develops a theory to address two shortcomings resulting from this focus. First, problem recognition is a precondition for adopting a solution, and behaviorally this process is interdependent with solution diffusion. Second, a given problem typically has multiple alternate solutions that compete while also providing legitimacy to each other by fostering recognition of the same problem. Analysis of the diffusion of 211 innovations, addressing eight problems in online newspaper publishing, shows that the heterogeneous adoption of solutions by peers alters an organization’s likelihood of recognizing a problem and adopting a specific solution, as well as alternative solutions. The findings demonstrate that diffusion of organizational innovations as a solution without attention to problem recognition is incomplete, especially if multiple solutions to the same problem exist.

Speaker’s bio

Vibha Gaba, INSEAD

Vibha Gaba is The Berghmans Lhoist Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership Professor at INSEAD, and her core expertise is in corporate entrepreneurship, organizational decision-making, and change. She is broadly interested in how organizations learn and how it impacts their ability to innovate and adapt, especially in disruptive environments. Her recent research focuses on the diffusion of technological innovations and implications of multiple goals and aspirations, organizational structure, and decision-maker attributes on adaptive change. Her work has been published in top academic journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Journal of International Business Studies, and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

Currently, she is serving as the Co-Editor of Strategic Management Journal, a top academic journal, after spending two terms as the Associate Editor there. 

Vibha is also the Chair of the Behavioral Strategy Interest Group for the Strategic Management Society. She has served as the Global Representative-at-Large and a member of the Research Committee for the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) division of the Academy of Management. 

Vibha has lived on three continents – North America, Europe, and Asia. She currently resides in Singapore but teaches on both INSEAD campuses (France and Singapore).