Inaugural address: Prof. Tom Mom on strategic management and entrepreneurship

Tom Mom, Professor of Strategic Growth and Implementation at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) will deliver his inaugural address on Friday 22 February at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In Strategic Growth and Implementation: Thriving in a Disruptive Landscape he will address how managers can continuously develop new directions for strategic growth in a competitive and fast changing landscape, and how they can become more proficient in implementing new initiatives to capture value. He will propose three important future avenues for practice and research: understanding ambidexterity as a managerial capability, integration and interactions in the organisation, and the world of scale-ups as an exciting context to understand new practices of growth and implementation.

Tom Mom’s research and executive education is at the crossroads of strategic management and entrepreneurship, including strategic renewal, strategy execution, scale-ups, and ambidexterity. His research output has appeared in journals including the Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, Organization Studies, MIT Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Human Resource Management, and Long Range Planning.

In addition to his research interests within the Department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, Prof. Mom is also the academic director of RSM’s Executive MBA and the director of the Executive Programme in Strategic Management for RSM Executive Education.

A prosperous research agenda

His address on 22 February will sketch out the scientific domains of his professorship, review the recent history of practice and research in the field, discuss the fundamental missing pieces, and lay out an agenda for future practice and research. Prof. Mom asks why it is so difficult for organisations to create and capture new wealth. To comprehend this better, he says we need to understand how executives perceive and make sense of the external environment to spot new opportunities for growth, and how they make decisions to successfully seize the next opportunities. Fundamental insights about how managers identify and develop new opportunities for growth and how they implement them to create and capture new wealth are missing, he says. The essence of his agenda is that integrating entrepreneurship and strategic management – both in practice and research– will offer important opportunities for a prosperous future in a disruptive landscape.

Tom Mom will propose three avenues for improving strategic growth and implementation:

Ambidexterity as a managerial capability

For organisations to become really good at developing and implementing new strategies for growth, they need ambidextrous managers. People who ‘look backward, attending to the products and processes of the past, while also gazing forward, preparing for the innovations that will define the future’. Yet, most of the field focuses not on managerial capability, but on firm-level structures, systems, and processes. Tom will explain how managers can become more ambidextrous and where in the firm such leaders are needed.

Integration and interactions within the organisation

Second, to become better at developing new strategies for growth and implementing them, closer integration and systematic interactions between these two types of activities are needed, as well as among the actors involved. Traditionally, most attention has been devoted to the role of the most senior managers. Yet, close interactions are needed among managers at different levels of the hierarchy and across units. Prof. Mom will argue that the quality of top-down and bottom-up interactions plays a crucial role in new growth and implementation processes. Furthermore, it is a fundamental challenge to understand how to involve people at lower levels as well in these processes.

Scale-ups as an exciting context for practice and research

The third avenue that Prof. Mom will propose is to understand better why only very few young firms grow fast. This is not only a question of macro- and meso-level issues. Scaling-up a company rapidly is full of unique managerial and organisational challenges, which, surprisingly, have hardly been investigated in management and organisation studies, he says. One interesting area of research is about the creation of scalable business models that enable

Inaugural address

Professor Tom Mom’s inaugural address is open to the public, and will take place at 16:00 on Friday, 22 February. The ceremony will start at 16:00 in the Auditorium of the Erasmus Building on Woudestein campus, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam and will be followed by a reception.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

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