Winter 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our Winter 2021 Newsletter

About the Leir Research Institute

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Research Institute for Business, Technology, and Society (LRI) creates value by integrating research and education to support economic and policy impacts that foster sustainable economic development, addressing critical global challenges to corporate and business continuity and growth.

The LRI operates in support of the NJIT 2025 four pillars: Diversity, Sustainability, Recognition, and Transformation. In coordination with the NJIT 2025 strategic plan, the LRI seeks to 1) promote collaborative research, 2) foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and 3) promote partnerships.

The vision of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Research Institute for Business, Technology, and Society is to become recognized for business research that inclusively and collaboratively engages our academic, corporate, governmental, and non-profit partners. The Leir Research Institute will be a perpetual legacy honoring the memories of Henry J and Erna D. Leir and will also support the NJIT Martin Tuchman School of Management as it integrates academic research with important societal needs to solve critical societal problems.

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Research Institute for Business, Technology, and Society's research builds upon and leverages decades of NJIT experience and intellectual capital in the fields of sustainability and industrial ecology, environmental science, operations management and decision analytics, organizational behavior, and business data science.

More About Us

Leir Data Observatory

The new Leir Data Observatory was recently completed, a collaborative high-tech space to study data science as it pertains to business and finance. ​

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Research Spotlights

Raja Roy

 Regionalization of R&D activities: (Dis)economies of interdependence and inventive performance ​

This paper examines the impact of the extent of the regionalization of MNEs’ R&D activities on their inventive performance. By joining the regionalization theory with the recombinant view of invention, we challenge the implicit assumption that all foreign knowledge-seeking activities will necessarily offer new knowledge to the firm. We introduce the (dis)economies of interdependence, defined as the (dis)advantages that the firm derives due to the interdependence among countries within a region, as a new theoretical mechanism explaining the benefits and costs of regionalization. Our analysis of global pharmaceutical firms shows that an inverted U-shaped relationship exists between the number of regions in which a firm has R&D activities and its inventive performance. Our results also indicate that a firm’s recombinant capability moderates the inverted U-shaped relationship in such a way that, when a firm’s recombinant capability is high, it reaches its turning point in a larger number of regions and the inverted U-shaped relationship is flatter. These results underscore that recombinant capability significantly influences the firm’s ability to derive benefits and reduce costs from the regionalization of its R&D activities. Our findings suggest that it is through the consideration of the (dis)economies of interdependence that offers the essential reasoning needed to unwind the inferred assumption that all foreign knowledge-seeking activities will offer access to new knowledge.

Kim, M., Lampert, C. M., & Roy, R. (2020). Journal of International Business Studies (2020) 51, 1054–1075.

Entrepreneurial firms and the transformation of lunar and martian spaces to commercial ones​

We seek an answer to the question, “What is commercial space and how is it being shaped by the entrepreneurial firms?” Anecdotal evidence indicates that the transformation of public space—from the domain of scientific pursuit by only national governments till the 1980s to one of entrepreneurial value creation—is occurring through the disaggregation of NASA’s vertically-integrated value chain (VIVC). The VIVC during the 1960s involved NASA’s in-house experts directing the development of not only the systems to access the Moon (through contracts with Boeing and others) but also the complementary systems (such as the Lunar Roving Vehicle) used by the scientists subsequent to reaching the destination. By contrast, NASA’s new business model—also characterized as the ‘Go, Land, Live, and Explore’ (GLLE) model—is designed to create a sustained human presence on Moon and Mars as well as in the cislunar and cismartian spaces. In this business model, NASA’s VIVC for the Apollo lunar explorations has been disaggregated into two parts-- access to Moon and Mars, which includes the launching and landing systems to ‘Go and Land,’ designed independently by the entrepreneurial firms, and the complementary systems for living and exploring, designed under the guidance of NASA’s in-house experts.

Roy, R. & Chaudhury, S. (2021). Entrepreneurial firms and the transformation of lunar and martian spaces to commercial ones. NASA and the Rise of Commercial Space Symposium. March 18-19, 2021. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.

Haisu Zhang

The role of complexity in the Valley of Death and radical innovation performance

Firms invest much of their capital into basic research in order to generate new ideas and technologies. However, converting new technology concepts into marketable products is difficult, and firms struggle with transitioning projects from a knowledge discovery to product development, a gap referred to as the Valley of Death (VoD). While the concept of VoD has been well documented, the literature provides little guidance on how this gap can be overcome within firms and what role broader organizational factors play in this process. Building on the motivation-opportunity-ability (MOA) framework, the authors propose and test a series of hypotheses using a survey of 308 managers in the innovation domain. Specifically, the authors examine how two types of complexity (organizational complexity and product complexity) impact a firm’s ability to apply basic research findings to product development.

The results indicate that while organizational complexity overall does not directly impact a firm's application ability (the ability to overcome the VoD), product complexity has a positive effect. In addition, both organizational complexity and product complexity interact with market turbulence in influencing a firm's application ability. Specifically, market turbulence may attenuate the negative effect of organizational complexity on a firm’s application ability, while it may strengthen the positive effect of product complexity on a firm’s application ability.

Furthermore, there is an inverted-U shape relationship between application ability and radical innovation performance – that is, when an organization starts to use its application ability at a moderate level, the radical innovation performance (measured as launching radically new products in the market) increases, but when the application ability is over-used, the performance may drop.

Our finding of a U-shaped relationship serves as an alert to firms with strong application ability. While having such an ability is critical for firms to cross VoD, firms need to be strategic about when and how many ideas or basic research findings to use for radical innovation development, as working on too many of them simultaneously may hinder radical innovation performance.

Dean, T., Zhang, H. & Xiao, Y. (forthcoming). The role of complexity in the Valley of Death and radical innovation performance. Technovation,


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