Strategy Cluster Seminar: Alex Eapen
Business groups are a prominent business form in several emerging economies. And not surprisingly, the effect of business group affiliation on firm performance has evoked considerable interest among strategy scholars. Recent studies have pointed to several sources of advantages for group-affiliated firms, one of which is the intra-group network of tightly connected firms. Affiliated firms have access to the diverse resource bases of other affiliated firms, and importantly, the combinatorial opportunities that arise thereof. But is there a downside to this intra-group network advantage? Could the ties between affiliated firms shield them from valuable external sources of knowledge? In particular, given openness to the outside world is critical to benefiting from external knowledge, could the strong social and economic ties that bind together group-affiliated firms insulate them from such externally available benefits? We examine whether business group affiliation hinders affiliated firms in agglomerating and combining knowledge from external sources, in particular, from collocated foreign firms. Our analysis of knowledge spillovers from foreign firms to group-affiliated and standalone firms in India over the period of 2002 - 2011 suggests that while the internal ties between group firms allow for recombination of resources held inside the network, those very ties appear to also shield group affiliated firms -- viz-a-viz their standalone counterparts -- from agglomerating external knowledge.
Dr. Alex Eapen earned his doctoral degree from Tilburg University, The Netherlands in June 2007, and is currently senior lecturer in Strategy and Director of Research at the Research School of Management at ANU.
His current research seeks to better understand the impact of multinational enterprises (MNE) on host country firms and economies. The specific questions his research seeks to answer are (a) what are the conditions that make the presence of foreign MNEs beneficial to host country firms? and (b) empirically, how do we correctly estimate the magnitude of such 'external effects' of foreign MNEs? These issues have far reaching implications, not only theoretically, but also for practice and policy formulation.
His research has been published in journals such as Journal of International Business Studies and Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences.
Dr. Eapen has received several international awards for his research. His doctoral thesis was one of the four finalists for the coveted Gunnar Hedlund prize (2007) given by the Stockholm School of Economics for the best dissertation in International business written at universities around the world. He also won the Verity Award for the most outstanding paper published in the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences in 2009. And most recently, his publication titled 'Social structure and technology spillovers from foreign to domestic firms' was selected and highlighted by the editors of the Journal of International Business Studies as an example of 'groundbreaking scholarship'
In his free time, Alex likes to pretend he can play the guitar, cook (as long as someone else does the cleaning up), and spend time with his wife and two kids.
Australian National University staff profile, here.