When does Brokerage Matter? Citation Impact of Research Teams in an Emerging Academic Field

StrategicOrganizationThis paper with François Collet of ESADE and Daniela Lup of the LSE analyzes the emergence of the strategic management filed showing the benefits of network brokerage are stronger during the early phase of development and diminish over time.

Through exposure to heterogeneous sources of knowledge, actors who broker between unconnected contacts are more likely to generate valuable output. We contribute to the theory of social capital of brokerage by considering the impact of field maturity. Using longitudinal data from the field of strategic management we find that the benefits of network brokerage are stronger during the early stages of field development and diminish as the field matures. The results of our study call for further research on the interplay between network structures and processes of field emergence.


Topological Isomorphisms of Human Brain and Financial Market Networks

FrontSystNeuroThis paper, published with colleagues from Warwick University and Cambridge University: Petra Vertes, Ruth Nicol, Sandra Chapman, Nicholas Watkins, and Edward Bullmore was the result of inter-disciplinary work funded by the EPSRC – the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant number EP/H02395X/1).  We investigated the similarities in the network structure financial markets and brain networks.

Although metaphorical and conceptual connections between the human brain and the financial markets have often been drawn, rigorous physical or mathematical underpinnings of this analogy remain largely unexplored. Here, we apply a statistical and graph theoretic approach to the study of two datasets – the time series of 90 stocks from the New York stock exchange over a 3-year period, and the fMRI-derived time series acquired from 90 brain regions over the course of a 10-min-long functional MRI scan of resting brain function in healthy volunteers. Despite the many obvious substantive differences between these two datasets, graphical analysis demonstrated striking commonalities in terms of global network topological properties.


The Exponential First

The first class honours degree is the ultimate prize for UK undergraduates.  It is a symbol of being the best of the best.  Undoubtedly, this is the case for some students.  Yet the statistics for the number of first class honours degrees awarded by UK Higher Education Institutions (‘universities’ to most of us) shows, well, things aren’t what they used to be.

There is a competitive problem for universities.  Undoubtedly, awarding first class degrees is attractive to students, their families, and employers.  It is a symbol of perceived quality.  And so, there is an incentive to increase the number of firsts awarded.  Which makes competitors less attractive, which leads them to award more firsts, which… well, you can see the problem.

And the figures say it all.  In the graph below, I have plotted the percentage of firsts awarded in the UK.  Over a 11 year period, this percentage has doubled.  While arguably being not quite exponential growth, the upward trajectory is clear.  Which indicates that this problem isn’t going away.


But what to do?  Put a government imposed limit on the percentage of firsts allowed?  That would work, but universities would argue that they have a better intake so should be allowed to award more.  Scrap the degree classification and report marks?  That would be useful, but there is no comparison between students.  Maybe a rank position would work.  Yes, that may be the best solution.  But then how do you compare between universities?  Self-confident universities need to stand up and take the lead in declaring that their first is not the same as another university’s first.  The question is which ones – and when?

Agent-Based Modeling Toolkits: NetLogo, RePast, and Swarm

AMLEAgent-Based Modeling Toolkits: NetLogo, RePast, and Swarm (2005, Academy of Mangement Learning and Education 4(4), 525–527) sets out a comparison of three widely used agent-based modeling toolkits: RePast, NetLogo, and Swarm.  It shows the differences between the toolkits, setting out the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of each software toolkit.

Agent-Based Models to Manage the Complex

MTCAgent-Based Models to Manage the Complex is a book chapter in Managing Organizational Complexity: Philosophy, Theory and Application: Volume 1 (ISCE Book Series – Managing the Complex) is an introduction to the use of agent-based models in management.  It demonstrates the use of models in Repast, an agent-based modeling toolkit, and links this to complexity science concepts of emergent systems.


Into the Depths of the Freedom of Information Act

FOIAThe Freedom of Information Act is a thing of beauty.  So much so that Tony Blair described the prime minister that introduced the Act as an ‘idiot, a ‘naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop’.

Government departments have now taken it upon themselves to publish a list of requests (although not necessarily refused requests – more of that later).

Take, for instance, the Department for Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs.  Somewhere in the bowels of [redacted], some poor civil servant has to, presumably with a straight face, reply to [redacted]’s request for – long breath – ‘REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED BY MINISTERS, OR THEIR OFFICES, RELATING TO TAKEAWAY COFFEE CUPS SINCE 11 MARCH AND INFORMATION RELATING TO RESPONDING TO MEDIA ENQUIRIES ON THIS TOPIC’.  I am not sure that the request was originally in capitals.  Although I expect it was.

And, lo and behold, we are treated to the delights of the requests made to Rory Stewart OBE MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.  Discussions abound about Guinness (‘And a jolly good drink it is, too’), an 18-point manifesto for cup eradication, something about quality control and Pareto, an offer of free cups together with a very scary disclaimer, and finally a letter with far too many ‘inverted’ commas.

Do give them a read.  Although probably best if you don’t print them out.


A Body in St Catherine’s College, Oxford

A rather unusual sight when walking through St Catherine’s College this morning.  I am told it is something to do with Endeavour.  Apparently not a fellow Fellow.  Although you can never be too sure…Body

The filming for the fourth series of Endeavour started this week, and St Catherine’s College was used for the first day of shooting…

Agent-Based Modeling and Behavioral Operational Research

borBehavioral Operational Research: Theory, Methodology and Practice (Martin Kunc, Jonathan Malpass, Leroy Wright, Eds.) was published by Palgrave Macmillan in September 2016.  My chapter on Agent-Based Modeling and Behavioral Operational Research shows the great potential of using agent-based simulation within BOR, showing how example models can be applied to the field.  More details of the chapter can be found on the Palgrave Macmillan site here (DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-53551-1_7).

xbehavioral-operational-research.jpg.pagespeed.ic.mMtEvplVr7Please click here for the chapter in pdf format.

Updated September 2016 with full text.






The Dynamics of Strategy

The Dynamics of Strategy

The Dynamics of Strategy is a book published by Oxford University Press (Robertson and Caldart 2010) and combines natural science models with strategic management.  Chapters on networks, agent-based modelling, and dynamic economic models are used to show how strategy can be treated analytically.