ICOA Seminar by Ginaluca Carnabuci

Good for one but bad for most? How intra-organizational networks impact innovative performance at the inventor and firm level

2017.12.04 | Merete Elmann

8 December at 9:00-10:30 in building 2610, room S530 (S-Building), Associate Professor Ginaluca Carnabuci from ESMT Berlin will give a seminar entitled:

Good for one but bad for most? How intra-organizational networks impact innovative performance at the inventor and firm level


Everyone is welcome!


Innovation research suggests that being central within a firm’s intra-organizational collaboration network enhances inventors’ ability to generate impactful innovations. Does this imply that a firm’s overall innovative performance would increase if it encouraged its inventors to pursue increasingly central network positions? We address this question using a multi-level panel dataset describing the evolving intra-organizational networks of 140 semiconductor firms, as well as the individual network position of each of their inventors. We proceed in three steps. First, we confirm that network centrality does enhance inventors’ innovative performance within our empirical sample, even after controlling for unobserved individual- and firm-level differences. Second, we simulate how the overall intra-organizational network of a firm would change if the firm enacted two distinct norms of collaboration, each encouraging inventors to increase their network centrality. We find that norms of “diffuse” collaboration increase network cohesion, whereas “star-centric” ones increase network centralization. Third, we study how these network-level properties affect innovative performance among our semiconductor firms. We find that network cohesion enhances firm-level innovative performance only under conditions of high knowledge diversity, while network centralization always reduces it. These findings show that inventors’ pursuit of network centrality may have opposite performance effects at the individual- and firm-level. A counterintuitive normative implication is that, under quite broad conditions, firms would enhance their innovative performance by discouraging (rather than encouraging) inventors from pursuing increasingly central positions within the intra-organizational network.


Gianluca is an associate professor (with tenure) of organizational behavior who joined ESMT Berlin in 2016. Previously he was an associate professor of organization and management at the University of Lugano and an assistant professor at Bocconi University. He holds a PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Amsterdam.

His research interests revolve around the analysis of inter- and intra-organizational networks, with particular regard to the generation and recombination of technological knowledge.

He has taught or teaches courses in Organization Theory, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Design and Change, Networks and Organizations, Knowledge and Organization, Human Resource Management, Negotiation, and Leadership.