Susan K. Cohen

Associate Professor of Business Administration
Organizations and Entrepreneurship
Office: 
252 Mervis Hall
Phone: 
412-648-1707

Degrees

PhD in Strategic Management, University of Minnesota, 1998
BS in Management Information Systems, Clarkson University, 1986

MBA Courses Recently Taught

Technology Strategy (MBA)
International Research (MBA)
Strategic Management (MBA)
Foundations of Strategy (PhD)

 

Profile

1997 to present: Assistant Professor, Katz Graduate School of Business

1988-91: Product Manager, Sage Software (Intersolv).
Work experience in France, Spain, Sweden, and Germany.

1986-88: Consultant, Andersen Consulting.

1985: Intern for Xerox Corporation.

My research examines how firms enhance their performance (innovation output and quality, survival, and profitability) through research and development activities.  I am particularly interested in how firms manage tensions between acquiring, protecting, and leveraging their technological knowledge by structuring internal and external capabilities.  My research shows that the complexity, specificity, and tacitness of a firm's technological knowledge may protect radical product innovations from imitation but not incremental innovations.  Further, the extent to which a firm's complementary assets help it to profit from innovation depend on the degree to which they are exploratory or exploitative.  I have identified trade-offs between learning and knowledge diffusion inherent in using modular design practices in the automobile industry.  I am studying the implications of knowledge architectures for organizational architectures.  My research also suggests that particular attributes of a firm's technological knowledge enable it to exploit certain positions in alliance networks better than others, has implications for a firm's vertical scope, and affects how incumbents can best respond to disruptive innovation.  I draw on theories of innovation, technological change, modularity, organizational learning and adaptation, ecology, and social networks to investigate these issues.  My work extends resource-based theory and the dynamic capabilities perspective by exploring the imitation and substitution, and their effects on sustainable performance advantages. 

Publications

"Executing Corporate Renewal" with Bala Chakravarthy. Handbook of the Knowledge-based Management and Organization. Eds. Nonaka Ikujiro and Kazuo Ichijo. Oxford University Press. 2005.

"The Global Acquisition, Protection, and Leverage of Scientific and Technological Competences" with Kathleen Eisenhardt and John Prescott. Strategic Management Journal, 2004, 25(8-9, August-September Special Issue): 713-722.

"Incumbent Survival During Market Fusion in Matured Industries: The Influence of Component and Architectural Capabilities on the Survival of U.S. Machine Tool Manufacturers During 1975-1995" with Raja Roy. Advances in Strategic Management, vol 21, edited by Anita McGahan and Joel Baum, 2004.

"The Persistence of Knowledge-based Advantage: An Empirical Test for Product Performance and Technological Knowledge" with Bala Chakravarthy. Strategic Management Journal, 2002, 23(4): 285-306.

"Knowledge, Learning, and Strategic Advantage" with Bala Chakravarthy, Yves Doz, Devaki Rau. Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge. (Eds) Mark Easterby-Smith and Marjorie A, Lyles. Blackwell Publishers, 2002.

Awards and Honors

Best dissertation nominations by Informs, and the Strategic Management Society for Emery Yao's thesis (2003), and by the Business Policy & Strategy Division of the Academy of Management for Raja Roy (2004)

National Science Foundation, grant to support Emery Yao's thesis: A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Absorptive Capacity and Alliance Networks on Innovation in the Global Pharmaceutical Industry, received May 2003 ($7,500).

National Science Foundation, grant to support the project A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Absorptive Capacity and Alliance Networks on Innovation in the Global Pharmaceutical Industry, received August 2002 ($69,754).

Small Grants/Junior Faculty Grants program, University of Pittsburgh, to examine how the breadth and depth of a firm's absorptive capacity interact with its network position and attributes of its alliance structure to affect its innovation performance; received May 2002 ($13,818).

National Science Foundation, grant to support the project Incumbent Resurgence Strategies: Evidence from the Machine Tool Industry, 1975-1995; received April 2001 ($59,772).

Small Grants/Junior Faculty Grants program, University of Pittsburgh, to support a series of projects on R&D alliances, network structures, and the value of a firm's intellectual capital; received April 2001 ($10,363).

International Business Center grant, Katz Graduate School of Business, to support research on incumbent resurgence strategies in the machine tool industry, 1975-1995; received January 2001 ($3,000).

Institute on Industrial Competitiveness, Katz Graduate School of Business, to support research on incumbent resurgence strategies in the machine tool industry, 1975-1995; received January 2001 ($2,500).

Carnegie Bosch Institute grant to organize a conference on global R&D; received October 2000 ($50,000).

International Business Center ($5,000) and the Institute on Industrial Competitiveness ($5,000), Katz Graduate School of Business, to support the conference on global R&D; received January 2001.

Runner-up for Strategic Management Society's Best Paper Award, 1999, 2001.

Winner of the Technology and Innovation Management, Division of the Academy of Management, Best Paper Award, 1999.

External Service and Assignments

Faculty Participant in the BPS Doctoral Consortium, August 2004, Academy of Management, New Orleans, La.

Board representative for Strategic Management Society's Knowledge and Innovation interest group.

Editor, with John E. Prescott (University of Pittsburgh) and Kathleen Eisenhardt (Stanford University), for a Special Issue of Strategic Management Journal on The Global Acquisition, Protection, and Leveraging of Technological Competencies, 2003.

Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Management

Consulting Activities

(Non-paid)Working with Magee-Womens Research Institute and local biotech firms to identify business models for commercializing the technologies from particular research projects.

Personal Interests

My hobbies include running, rowing, soccer, hiking, travel, books and movies, and volunteer work for childrens' organizations (e.g. Make-A-Wish).