Broadly, the research agenda of the STOP-group is to better understand the origins of performance differences between firms and industries, and the implications of this for decision makers.
Within this wider research agenda we put particular emphasis on the following topics:
- Strategy and the business cycle: Firms and industries display different vulnerabilities to recessions and economic downturns. What are the properties that determines this vulnerability? There are also systematic differences across and within industries with respect to how the responses to business cycle shocks. What determines these responses? What are the short- and long-term performance consequences of different responses?
- Strategic human capital: Human capital have a special standing among the resource stocks firms deploy in competition. Human capital is a fundamentally important resource in itself, but also a precursor and a complement for acquiring, developing and deploying all other resources. So how do firms build human capital? How is human capital maintained and how does it erode? How and when does it flow between firms? What determines the relative value appropriation by firms and employees?
- The theory of the firm: Some firms are diversified, some are not. Some firms are vertically integrated, some are not. Firms use a wide range of contractual and non-contractual arrangements both within and across firms. Which arrangements are efficient, when are they efficient, and why are they efficient?
- Entrepreneurship: Our focus on entrepreneurship will typically link entrepreneurship with the other focus areas. How is entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial firms affected by business cycles? What are the consequences of entrepreneurs’ human capital, and how do entrepreneurs build human capital beyond that of the entrepreneur? When and how do entrepreneurial firms grow?
As illustrated by the entry on entrepreneurship, we generally seek to combine two or more of the research topics listed above in the work we do. This allows us to combine several strengths in our research efforts.
Theoretically, we consider strategy to be our home discipline, but we are not purists. Most of our work is conducted at the intersection of strategy, economics and finance, and we are fully prepared to draw inspiration elsewhere too,- from whatever field we find offers something useful.
Empirically, most of what we do is large sample quantitative research. Still, we believe that sometimes small sample, high resolution work is the appropriate thing to do. We believe research questions and data availability should drive methods - not dogma.