Research traditionally uses experiential learning arguments to explain the existence of a positive relationship between repetition of an activity and performance. We propose an additional interpretation of this relationship in the context of discrete corporate development activities. We argue that firms choose to repeat successful activities, thereby accumulating high experience with them. Data on 437 aircraft projects introduced through three governance modes show that the positive performance effect of the firm’s experience with the focal mode becomes insignificant after accounting for experience endogeneity. We suggest that in a general case, experience with corporate development activities may be tinged with both learning as well as selection effects. Therefore, omitting to account for experience endogeneity may lead to incorrect conclusions from an “empirically observed” positive experience-performance relationship.
Dr. Ren’s research interests include competitive strategy, innovation management, entrepreneurship, and organizational learning. Her research covers a number of industries including retail, aircraft, hard disk drives, computer workstations, and charter schools. She is published in the field’s leading academic journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, and Journal of Management.
Dr. Ren teaches courses at the undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. levels on strategy, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation management, and cross-sector collaboration. Also a social entrepreneur herself, she launched Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP), an innovative initiative geared towards helping formerly incarcerated individuals become socially responsible entrepreneurs, and served as its faculty director from 2013 to 2016.