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Title: Novel Pursuits: The Interactive Role of CEO’s Scientific Knowledge and Scientist’s Business Knowledge
ABSTRACT: While pursuit of novel innovation requires both business and scientific knowledge, often in an iterative manner, these two bodies of knowledge or their sources are not necessarily compatible. With a focus on such science-business tension, we examine how prior experience and background of CEOs and scientists impact their firms’ pursuit of novel innovations. We argue that scientists’ business knowledge and CEOs’ scientific knowledge help them mitigate the inherent tension between science and business and in turn helps firms in their pursuits of novel innovations. We test our hypotheses using a sample from an emerging industry—small satellite industry—and using the text-analysis technique of topic modeling. Somewhat contrary to our expectations, our results show that the likelihood of novel pursuits is greater when CEOs have scientific knowledge but scientists have no business knowledge or scientists have business knowledge but CEOs do not have scientific knowledge than when none or both of them have those prior knowledge and experiences. Our paper explicates tension between science and business and raises some very interesting new questions.
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