Business and Economics

Phd defences Faculty of Business and Economics

Forthcoming PhD defences and past PhD defences in the archive

Forthcoming PhD defences

11 October 2023 - Tùng Thanh Phan (Department of Management)

Tùng Thanh Phan

  • Wednesday 11 October 2023 1.30 pm
  • Supervisors: Johanna Vanderstraeten & Hendrik Slabbinck
  • The defence will take place at the Prentenkabinet, Hof Van Liere, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Please contact Tùng Thanh Phan ( to inform him whether you wish to attend the PhD defence before Friday 6 October 2023

The motivational drivers of nascent SME internationalization

International entrepreneurship is a large research topic, which consists of two separate streams of literature. First is the research branch on entrepreneurial internationalization, which focuses on the cross-border operation of entrepreneurial firms. Second is the comparative international entrepreneurship research, which concerns the cross-country comparison of entrepreneurial activities.
The new conditions of the modern era, such as the advancements in technology and communication, pose new challenges and opportunities to international entrepreneurship research. The rise of early-internationalization or born-global firms in recent decades asks for knowledge on the entrepreneurs’ pre-foundation intention to internationalize – namely international entrepreneurial intention. Meanwhile, the increased collaboration of academic endeavours allows comparative international entrepreneurship researchers to have large-scale and fine-grain international studies to complement the existing comparative studies that are limited to using country aggregate statistics.
Through three essays in this dissertation, we address these emerging research inquiries in the international entrepreneurship research domain. First, we add to the literature on international entrepreneurial intention by exploring its individual-level antecedents, such as personal values and cultural intelligence. We also study how the impact of these concepts can be moderated by environmental factors, such as education, surrounding role models, or experiences with intercultural situations. Based on our findings, educational organizations and policymakers can also utilize our findings to stimulate international entrepreneurial intention and consequently foster increased international entrepreneurship
Second, we contribute to the comparative international entrepreneurship literature by calling for revisiting the consensus that was constructed using country-level values, such as the relationship between national culture and entrepreneurship. Using the international dataset collected by the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students’ Survey (GUESSS) with over 100,000 responses from 39 countries, we could conduct the study on a global scale, while still being able to look at the fine-grain, individual-level relationship between national culture and entrepreneurial activities.

20 October 2023 - Jovana Cadenovic (Department of Accountancy and Finance)

Jovana Cadenovic

  • Friday 20 October 2023 5.00 pm
  • Supervisor: Ine Paeleman
  • The defence will take place at the Promotiezaal, Grauwzusters Cloister, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Please contact Jovana Cadenovi ( to inform her whether you wish to attend the PhD defence before Tuesday 17 October 2023

Dividend policies of privately held firms

Dividend policy is one of the most important firm decisions that to a high degree interacts with other financing decisions, making it crucial in the overall decision process within a firm. The amount firms distribute to their shareholders and the method they choose for cash distribution can influence their valuation, impact investment choices, affect the tax obligations of investors, and convey information to the market regarding the firm's relative performance compared to its peers. Firms revaluate their capital structure, financing options, and investment decisions before they would change their dividend policy. For example, they would sometimes forgo profitable investment opportunities before cutting dividends. Hence, their importance lies in the fact that once dividend decision is made they tend to be sticky, tied to long-term sustainable earnings, and smoothed from year to year. In privately held firms dividends play a crucial role in attracting more investors, and as a conflict reducing tool between different shareholders. Firms appear to establish trust successfully, with minority shareholders showing a greater inclination to invest more in the same firm at a later stage. Moreover, privately held firms that pay dividends regularly cultivate a reputation for fair treatment of external shareholders . A thorough examination of the important corporate finance phenomenon of dividend policy requires a comprehensive assessment of both the interests and requirements of investors, as well as the firm's ability to maintain a steady flow of dividends. This PhD dissertation fills the gap in the understanding of privately held firm dividend policy. Firstly, I provide an evidence that dividend policy of privately held firms follows a predictable pattern of the life cycle. Next, I shed more light on the most important drivers of dividend policy of SMEs. Finally, I identify and investigate the link between slack resources and dividend policy of privately held firms.

24 October 2023 - Tristan De Blick (Department of Accountancy and Finance)

Tristan De Blick

  • Tuesday 24 October 2023, 5 pm
  • Supervisors: Eddy Laveren & Ine Paeleman
  • The defence will take place in room R.112, Rodestraat 14, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Please contact Tristan De Blick  ( to inform him whether you wish to attend the PhD defence before Thursday 19 October 2023

The role and availability of financing resources to implement strategic changes in SMEs

Resources are the building blocks of firm behavior. Consequently, they are important determinants of firm performance, growth, and survival. It is, therefore, of vital importance to have a good understanding of how firm resources affect firm behavior. In order to study how a firm’s resource profile affects its behavior, this Ph.D. dissertation focuses on financial resources on the one hand and strategic changes on the other. 

If resources are the building blocks of firm behavior, financial resources are the ingredients of those blocks. They can be freely allocated towards any purpose, and can also be used to acquire other resources. Strategic changes are actions that a firm has decided upon at the strategic level, such as exporting or acquisitions. They can be insightful to study firm behavior as they are a departure from the firm’s current behavior. Indeed, while a firm’s current behavior reflects the cumulation of all managerial decisions in the past, strategic changes only reflect the latest managerial decisions. As such, strategic changes allow us to study in a direct way how firms’ financial resources affect their behavior. The topic of this dissertation, therefore, is the study of the role of firms’ financial resources as antecedents for strategic changes.

27 November 2023 - Sahar Salehi (Department of Accountancy and Finance)

Sahar Salehi

  • Monday 27 November 2023 5.00 pm
  • Supervisors: Ann Jorissen & Ine Paeleman
  • The defence will take place at the Promotiezaal, Grauwzusters Cloister, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Please contact Sahar Salehi ( to inform her whether you wish to attend the PhD defence before Thursday 23 November 2023

A firm’s Absorptive Capacity: the role of management controls

15 December 2023 - Han Cui (Department of Transport and Regional Economics​)

Han Cui

  • Friday 15 December 2023 4.30 pm
  • Supervisor: Theo Notteboom
  • The defence will take place at the Tassis and Dürer Room, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Please contact Han Cui ( to inform him whether you wish to attend the PhD defence before Monday 11 December 2023

Essays on competition and cooperation in the port and shipping industry

Past PhD defences 2023

An environmental economic impact assessment of a plasma based CCU technology, given market and technical uncertainty - Hanne Lamberts-Van Assche (27/09/2023)

Hanne Lamberts-Van Assche

  • Wednesday 27 September 2023 5.00 pm
  • Supervisor: Tine Compernolle

An environmental economic impact assessment of a plasma based CCU technology, given market and technical uncertainty 

While the effects of climate change are becoming more and more obvious each year, our efforts to reduce these CO2 emissions have increased as well. In the chemical, cement and steel industries, however, CO2 emissions are proven much harder to reduce. For these so-called ‘hard-to-abate’ CO2 emissions, other solutions need to be found.
The capture of CO2 emissions is part of the EU’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) aims to capture, transport and permanently store CO2 in deep geological formations. However, storing the CO2 underground does not generate any revenues for the firm. The absence of an attractive business case has raised the attention of Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU). Instead of storing the CO2 underground, the captured CO2 is now utilized as an input to produce other valuable products. Hence, CCU indeed offers a way to valorise the captured CO2.
However, one major problem arises: CO2 is a very stable molecule, which means that it is challenging to transform the molecule into something else. This is where plasma catalysis enters the story.
Plasma is a very reactive chemical mixture, that allows us to break the chemical bonds in the CO2 molecule. Catalysis helps us to steer the reactions towards the desired end-products. The combination of reactivity and selectivity makes plasma catalysis a promising candidate for the conversion of CO2. As the technology is still under development in the laboratory, the question arises whether plasma catalysis can indeed become an economically and environmentally beneficial CCU technology.
In this thesis, a Techno-Economic Assessment is performed, to translate the results from the laboratory, where the conversion of CO2 into chemicals in plasma catalysis is tested, into economic cashflows.
In addition, an environmental Life Cycle Assessment is carried out, to calculate the environmental impacts that are produced by the whole CCU value chain.
Finally, the potential complementary investment decisions in CCS and CCU technologies are analyzed in a Real Options Analysis. Here, the uncertainty about the CO2 price (in the EU Emissions Trading System) and the uncertainty about the technology readiness of CCU are taken into account.
This thesis finds that the conversion of CO2 into chemicals in a plasma-catalytic environment is not yet economically feasible or environmentally desirable. To make the commercialization of the plasma-catalytic conversion of CO2 acceptable, the energy efficiency and the selectivity of the technology should be improved extensively. The insights from this thesis help to continue the quest for the right catalyst.

International Personal Taxation and Country Characteristics - Pedro Moraya Barros (11/09/2023)

Pedro Moraya Barros

  • Monday 11 September 2023 4.00 pm
  • Supervisors: Ann Jorissen & Anne Van de Vijver

International Personal Taxation and Country Characteristics

The increase in capital mobility in the last couple of decades, along with the rise in popularity of offshore investments, tax havens, and foreign taxation strategies, gave prominence to the importance of international taxation in domestic politics. Although income taxation often represents more than half of states’ revenue and has been positively correlated with economic development, 51 fiscally sovereign jurisdictions (which represent about 25% of the countries, 15% of the FDI, and 5% of the GDP of the world) chose to not tax their residents in foreign and/or domestic source income. The large divergence between personal income tax systems that exist today leads significant amounts of capital to flow from high to low tax jurisdictions, while potentially increasing wealth inequality. Thus, what are the country's characteristics related to the choice of personal income tax and related policies? To contribute to the answer to this question, I develop a 3-article dissertation divided between: (Chapter 2) What are the characteristics related to a country (not) having personal income taxation? (Chapter 3) What are the characteristics related to a country taxing residents on domestic-source income and not on foreign-source (i.e. personal territorial taxation)? (Chapter 4) What are the characteristics related to a country having policies potentially used by individuals to avoid or evade tax duties, i.e. the official selling of passports and visas? To test the theoretical models underlining these relationships based on Institutional Theory, Median Voter Theorem, Modernization Theory, and Bellicist Theories, I created several novel datasets that cover all sovereign jurisdictions in the world often through a long time series. Using these datasets, I employ a series of quantitative methods (e.g. ordinary least squares, maximum likelihood estimations, event analysis, error correction models, and instrumental variable approaches) that find significant empirical results for the fields of personal taxation, institutions, and foreign investment. This dissertation also has implications for broader questions in the literature.

Counterfactual explanations for real-world applications - Dieter Brughmans (08/09/2023)

Dieter Brughmans

  • Friday 8 September 2023 4.00 p.m.
  • Supervisors: David Martens & Bruno Peeters

Counterfactual explanations for real-world applications

We first introduce NICE, a novel algorithm for tabular data that specifically takes into account algorithmic requirements that are often overlooked. NICE exploits information from the training data to speed up the search process of finding an explanation. Our extensive benchmarking study indicates that NICE’s explanations have desirable properties compared to the current state-of-the-art. Next, we study the implementation of NICE within the risk management system at the Belgian Customs Agency. Our research identified four stakeholders: data scientists, targeting officers, domain experts, and decision subjects. For each of the stakeholders, we investigate how they can benefit from local explanation
methods and what their requirements are regarding the form of these explanations. Broadening the scope of our research beyond tabular data, we introduce SEDC and SEDC-T, two counterfactual algorithms for image classification. We experiment with various segmentation methods to find meaningful counterfactual explanations. Finally, this work tackles the ethical issue of disagreement among counterfactual explanations, revealing how their diversity can potentially be exploited to fairwash ML models by hiding sensitive features. Our study finds alarmingly high disagreement levels between the tested methods.

Heuristics for warehouse replenishment & order picking: inspired by solution methods for vehicle routing - Babiche Aerts (22/08/2023)

Babiche Aerts

  • Tuesday 22 August 2023 4.00 pm
  • Supervisors: Trijntje Cornelissens & Kenneth Sörensen 

Heuristics for warehouse replenishment & order picking: inspired by solution methods for vehicle routing

Due to globalisation, e-commerce and increasing customer requirements, warehouses are faced with the challenge of organising their activities in an effective and efficient way. Notwithstanding the vast amount of research found in the literature to enhance warehouse efficiency, the field is characterised by a continuous stream of relevant research topics and new optimization problems that arise from technological developments, as well as legal, social and economic external circumstances.

In this thesis we address two warehouse activities: the order picking and replenishment operation. The optimization problems related to the picking operation have been addressed extensively over the past decades. The replenishment operation, on the other hand, received far less attention despite the fact that timely replenishment of the warehouse is needed to meet the predetermined service level. This thesis elaborates on the joint order batching & picker routing problem and introduces the internal warehouse replenishment problem; the latter being a new optimization problem in the warehouse literature that we study at a tactical and operational level.

Both the joint order batching & picker routing problem as well as the internal warehouse replenishment problem are approached as variants of existing vehicle routing problems, motivated by former similarities that have been stressed in the literature between the vehicle routing and warehousing field. Performant results for both optimization problems are obtained when solved with heuristics inspired by their vehicle routing counterpart. These observations stress the structural resemblances between the warehousing and vehicle routing field, though adaptations are recommended to maintain a proper fit with the warehousing environment and the problem context.

Analysing the supply-side dynamics of the shared mobility transition - The shared mobility market and potential role for mobility hubs - Elnert Coenegrachts (07/07/2023)

Elnert Coenegrachts

  • Friday 7 July 2023 4.00 pm
  • Supervisors: Thierry Vanelslander & Joris Beckers

Analysing the supply-side dynamics of the shared mobility transition - The shared mobility market and potential role for mobility hubs

​The increasing urbanisation and population growth have accelerated the pressure that the current urban mobility system encounters. This intensifies the challenges that cities face in terms of sustainability, liveability and accessibility. The upcoming electrification of the car fleet will partly mitigate the environmental impact. Still, it increases the risk of growing ‘sustainable’ congestion while occupying a large part of the public space. Shared mobility is considered an important contributor to the required transition away from the private car.

There are certain opportunities to stimulate the utility of shared mobility and thus enhance its capability to increase the number of situations where people do not require their car. These are related to (i) the provision of dedicated transport infrastructure, (ii) the development of policy frameworks that facilitate shared mobility and discourage private car-use (i.e. carrot-and-stick interventions), (iii) a better integration with public transport and (iv) a better and more adequate offer of different shared mobility services and models.

This dissertation considers this last aspect, studying the provision of shared mobility in European cities and the dynamics behind it. For this objective, it creates a dataset of shared mobility services present in European cities. To discover structure in this dataset, a cluster analysis is performed. It seems that the economic attractivity of an urban area is related to the extensiveness of the shared mobility supply. However, it is delicate to only assign economic potential as a driver for attracting shared mobility services. In this regard, the importance of various location decision factors for shared mobility providers is uncovered using an analytic hierarchy process analysis. Providers assign relevance to (i) the local policy framework, such as the type of procurement procedure and requirements with regard to redistribution efforts and parking compliance, (ii) the transportation infrastructure that is available for shared mobility (e.g. parking infrastructure) and active mobility (e.g. dedicated bicycle lanes), (iii) the socio-demographics and (iv) the competition and cooperation potential in the local mobility market, where public transport is on the one hand considered as the main competitor, while on the other hand is considered as a potentially valuable partner.

Appropriate interventions should further enhance the aforementioned opportunities for shared mobility. In this regard,  this dissertation also considers the potential of a shared mobility hub network. Using a business model design approach, the potential value propositions of different networks are defined. The business models depict various pathways to how shared mobility can be integrated into the current transportation system while addressing certain opportunities and decision factors of the providers.

Analysing the shared mobility market from a supply-side perspective enhances the understanding of how policies can enable a further integrated shared mobility supply, which contributes to a transportation system away from car-centricity. The synergies lay in a carrot-and-stick policy framework, a reallocation of public space away from private cars to extensive transportation infrastructure for active and shared mobility and a governance framework stipulating the agreements between shared mobility and public transport to achieve a more profound and better integration.

Essays on Corporate Bonds in History - Kevin Van Mencxel (03/07/2023)

Kevin Van Mencxel

  • Monday 3 July 2023 5.00 pm
  • Supervisors: Marc Deloof & Jan Annaert

Essays on Corporate Bonds in History

This dissertation is located at the intersection of three research areas: Credit markets, risk and return tradeoffs, and quantitative economic history. While covering quite different contexts in nineteenth and early twentieth century Belgium, the three chapters, above all, are united in dealing with various aspects of the corporate bond market - either exploring market development and investment performance over the long run (Chapter 1), the existence of credit market anomalies (Chapter 2), or possible consequences of major default clusterings (Chapter 3).

In the first chapter, we present a new dataset and try to understand how the early Belgian corporate bond market developed and what investment performance it generated for investors. Specifically, we focus on the Brussels corporate bond market over the course of its first centennial from 1838 through 1939. We find that Belgium housed one of the most developed corporate bond markets in the world on a relative basis, showcasing new evidence of Belgium’s leading role as an important financial center. In terms of performance, we find that the value-weighted annualized rate of return is much lower than estimates obtained from recent decades for the modern-day credit market. Yet, corporate bonds outperformed equities in terms of average rate of return and reward-to-risk ratio during the entire nineteenth century. Overall, the findings make a case for corporate bonds as best performing asset class over the “longue durée” within early financial market history.

The second chapter assesses whether credit market anomalies are a robust feature. In general anomalies are interesting because they should not exist. Employing a fully quantitative (systematic) approach to managing credit portfolios has gained significant traction in recent years. The interest comes from both quant equity shops looking to replicate their offering in credit and from discretionary credit investors who want to adopt a more systematic approach to managing their portfolios. I show that the overall majority of claimed anomalies are a robust feature of corporate bond returns rather than the result of data mining. Moreover, in the case of financial markets, returns should be a reward for risk. Empirically I find that is not the case for the corporate bond market. Hence my results showcase evidence of anomalous returns in the credit market.

The third chapter explores the default risk and risk premium of the Belgian corporate bond market. Using novel default data based on the application of Moody’s definition of corporate bond default within a historical setting, we find evidence that the Belgian credit market exhibited major clusterings to the like experienced in the US market. This novel result allows for refutation of previous claims made by financial historians that the US was to be seen as a “Wild West” bond market while outside international markets were “safe.” Connecting default events with price information, we find that the Belgian corporate bond market exhibits a comparable credit risk premium to both long-run and more modern US evidence. This evidence reflects that the pricing of default risk is consistent over time.

Family Influence on Organizational Ambidexterity in Family Firms - Fernanda Canale Segovia (29/06/2023)

Fernanda Canale Segovia

  • Thursday 29 June 2023, 10.00 am,
  • Supervisors: Eddy Laveren & Bart Cambré

Family Influence on Organizational Ambidexterity in Family Firms

Organizational ambidexterity - the ability to simultaneously engage in exploration and exploitation - is essential for family firms (FFs) interested in pursuing long-term continuity and successful performance. As FFs are the backbone of economies worldwide, ambidexterity's academic and managerial relevance is gigantic, and there is a growing interest in the family business field in understanding the factors that promote it. There is still a limited understanding regarding the heterogeneous proficiency of FFs aiming at organizational ambidexterity, how different family factors influence it, and under which conditions (i.e., the role of the context) such factors come into play.

In this dissertation, we studied how family and contextual factors influence organizational ambidexterity and the underlying mechanisms through which they do so. We first offer a systematic literature review that considered over 5,700 articles to synthesize existing knowledge on the topic, shed light on the ongoing academic debate, and provide several avenues for future research. Subsequently, we conducted multiple case study research with twenty-one Latin American FFs, addressing the effect of family antecedents on firms’ ambidextrous orientation in a context of low institutional quality. Next, we measured the extent to which the qualitative study findings were held in a larger sample of Mexican FFs, thus confirming most of our suggestions. The dissertation offers relevant academic and managerial contributions and outlines recommendations for family business owners and practitioners.

Essays on the linkage between informal employment and household poverty, labour transition and short-term earnings in Vietnam - Ngoc Duc Nguyen (27/06/2023)

Ngoc Nguyen

  • Tuesday 27 June 2023, 10.00 am,
  • Supervisors: Guido Erreygers & George Mavrotas

Essays on the linkage between informal employment and household poverty, labour transition and short-term earnings in Vietnam

It is well documented that the informal sector in many developing countries is an important part of the economy and the labour market as well (International Labour Organization, 2018). The incidence of the informal sector has a significant impact on job creation, production and income generate activities. Thus, informal jobs offer a necessary survival strategy in many lower-income and developing countries with limited social safety nets (Hart, 1973; Sethuraman, 1976). However, a widespread informal sector is a major challenge to a country’s sustainable development. According to various studies, informality has negative impacts on workers’ welfare, social protection, and decent working conditions. Moreover, it limits investment of size-constrained firms, reduces tax collection and creates unfair competition in national and international markets.
Like other developing countries, labour-intensive sectors remain the primary driver of Vietnam’s economic development. The advantage of a high labour force participation rate (about 77% in 2014) plays an important role in the national output. Although labour productivity has gradually increased, it is currently at the lowest ladder among ASEAN countries. The labour market is segmented between a few higher-productivity jobs and a majority of informal income-generating activities (International Labour Organization, 2019), which is currently limiting the productivity growth rates of Vietnam. Workers in informal employment have been observed significantly, which account for more than 18 million persons, occupying 57.2% of non-agricultural workers nationwide. If including agricultural activities, the rate would rise up to 78.6%. Moreover, it is important to notice that around 71.9% of informal workers have no technical/professional qualifications (Vietnam General Statistics Office, 2016). Recently, albeit the share of informal employment is slowly decrease due to the process of economic structural adjustments, with a shift of employment out of agriculture and into higher productivity sectors (manufacturing or services). Still, two-thirds of workers remain in informal employment (International Labour Organization, 2021).
Utilizing the available data from the Vietnam Household Living Standard Surveys 2012-2014 (VHLSS 2012-2014), the study follows a worker-based approach and the concept of informal employment recommended by the International Labour Organization (1993, 2003) to distinguish between wage workers and self-employed workers broken down by formal and informal statuses. The main objective of this thesis is to investigate the link between informality and household poverty, labour mobility patterns and short-term earnings mobility in the Vietnam labour market.

Essays on causes of hate crime - Joel Carr (12/06/2023)

Joel Carr

  • Monday 12 June 2023, 4 pm
  • Supervisors: Sunčica Vujić & Jonathan G. James 

Essays on causes of hate crime

Over the recent years the EU referendum in the UK and global shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 Black Lives Matter protests have raised the saliency of racial or ethnic minority groups. This thesis looks at how these events impacted racial hate crime, including the magnitude and persistence of the shocks and the mechanisms driving the observed changes. With this information policy makers will better be able to prevent or respond to hate crime shocks. Hate crime is of particular concern to society due to the detrimental effects on the direct victim and the broader targeted community, such as high mental health costs, reduced assimilation, and changes in appearance and mobility to prevent future victimization.

The first chapter studies the effect of the EU Referendum on racial and religious hate crime in England and Wales. We find that hate crime increased by 20 percent in June 2016. The shock, however, was temporary due to the announcement of an increase in sentencing and public outcry to the reported hate crime spike. In chapter 2, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on hate crime in the UK is analyzed. Here we find a persistent increase in hate crime against East Asians in 2020 beginning with the first UK COVID cases. Hate crimes against other ethnic groups increased following the end of the first national lockdown. Lockdown appears to be the driving force as the shock was predominately in London. Chapter 3 examines the effect of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests on racial hate crime in the US. Immediately following the death of George Floyd there was a large and persistent increase in anti-Black and anti-White hate crime. The spread of the protests to areas without a history of BLM protests drove the increase in hate crime as did the saliency of police violence against protestors and opposition to BLM.

The public response to the events and resultant shocks seems to be a critical determinant of the level and duration of the hate crime increase. With Brexit there was a consensus among those with authority across the political spectrum and a clear denouncement of hate crime compounded with an increase in criminal justice consequences. In comparison, race played an enduring and contentious role in the latter two events which sustained a long-lasting hate crime surge. This thesis has two important implications for research on hate crime. First, just as non-biased crime, hate crime is at least partially determined by society and therefore there is scope for public policy as an instrument to reduce its occurrence. Finally, reliable and rich hate crime data from more countries is required to have a deeper understanding of the causes of hate crime and how to prevent it.

Dynamics of cooperative and competitive interactions: Review, Conception, and Evidence from the European Banking Industry - Sameer Chinchanikar (07/06/2023)

Sameer Chinchanikar

  • Wednesday 7 June 2023, 6.30 pm,
  • Supervisors: Sascha Albers & Johanna Vanderstraeten

Dynamics of cooperative and competitive interactions: Review, Conception, and Evidence from the European Banking Industry

The European banking industry is currently facing serious challenges. Traditional commercial banks are struggling with old and complicated legacy systems. Banks are increasingly challenged by new entrants (fintechs) in several niches with low pricing and fast service. Banking regulators are faced with the challenge of designing new regulations, which will encourage innovation yet control systemic risks and avoid any new crisis. These developments are complex and involve high stakes with important risks and uncertain outcomes for all stakeholders.

Banks are grappling with their competitive responses towards the highly innovative and fast-growing fintech companies. Many banks are, however, also forging collaborative partnerships with fintechs. This leads to simultaneous cooperative as well as competitive interactions between incumbents and challengers, often termed as coopetition. A better understanding of this duality of competitive and cooperative interactions is crucial for academics and managers confronted with designing and adapting strategies in rapidly changing industry contexts.

In this dissertation, I highlight the partial interdependencies involved in the continual reconfiguring of the relationships, surface the role of subordination tensions, build on concurrent logics involving core and peripheral fields, and present an interaction perspective that can serve as a complementary and contrasting perspective to the existing dominant relationship perspective to coopetition. The dissertation highlights various complexities involving multiple partially congruent and partially incompatible interactions and interdependencies, thereby providing a fresh perspective to view micro-dynamics of coopetition. Overall, this dissertation helps build a stronger foundation of coopetitive dynamics, fills several existing research gaps, and identifies various avenues for future research. Additionally, this knowledge can help practising managers to better understand and anticipate the complex issues at play during coopetitive interactions and design better strategies to cope in a fast-changing business environment.

The Role and Impact of Employees’ Professional Profiles, Content, and Networks on Social Media in Building Personal and Corporate Brands - Tracy Nickl (01/06/2023)

Tracy Nickl

  • Thursday 1 June 2023 - 5:00 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Nathalie Dens & Annouk Lievens

The Role and Impact of Employees’ Professional Profiles, Content, and Networks on Social Media in Building Personal and Corporate Brands

The purpose of this thesis is to study the role and impact of employees' professional profiles, content, and networks on Social Media in building personal and corporate brands. We consider this from four perspectives: personal branding, professional personal branding, co-branding, and the intersection of personal and corporate branding. Motivated by rapid social media growth, specifically LinkedIn, with over 800 million users (DMR, 2022) coupled with the nascent research in these areas in general, this thesis focuses on assessing these areas on LinkedIn. The first study investigates if personal brands on LinkedIn are an asset or a liability for employees and their firms through an exploratory analysis of service employees’ professional profiles and activities. We found nearly 25% of employees had no profile, only 3% met the base criteria for having a professional personal brand on social media, and the firm's 6,127 followers paled in comparison to the estimated reach of the employees’ networks to 334,170 individuals. The second study utilizes an experimental design to zoom in on a key LinkedIn profile variable, the profile picture, to examine how attire in LinkedIn profile pictures potentially influences perceptions of source credibility, authenticity, and the likelihood of being engaged for services. We initially found that formal business attire did not impact perceptions of source credibility, authenticity, or a viewer's willingness to engage a profile owner's services, as well as there was no moderation by gender. However, follow-up analyses found women in formal business attire were perceived as having more expertise, and when compared to women in casual business attire and men in either formal or casual business attire, they were chosen as the preferred wealth manager. Building on the first two studies, this thesis concludes with a third study in which we implement participatory action research (PAR) to work in real-time with an action researcher, management, firm stakeholders, and client-facing employees to further examine the role and potential impact of employees on corporate branding in social media. This process resulted in the employees’ personal brand status on LinkedIn growing by 330%, and their usage of corporate logos, content, and other corporate branding elements growing by 429%. This expanded the reach of the corporate content from 4,300 people to 371,000 people. These studies are the first to our knowledge to develop a structured conceptual framework that firms can use to proactively engage employees on social media, demonstrating the power of employee brands using actual data from a case study. It also provides processes to direct firms seeking a more collaborative, aligned, and proactive social media approach. In addition, it provides additional research on the potential role of LinkedIn in developing personal and corporate brands and extends the overall research on social media, personal, professional, and corporate branding, and co-branding.

A Platform Perspective on Ecosystem Development, Value Co-creation and Upscaling - Leeya Hendricks (31/05/2023)

Leeya Hendricks

  • Wednesday 31 May 2023 - 10.30 a.m.
  • Supervisor: Paul Matthyssens

A Platform Perspective on Ecosystem Development, Value Co-creation and Upscaling 

In this thesis, the research focuses on the ‘platform business model’ which is a recent, relevant, and timely phenomenon. We explore the topic through an approach by outlining the context, process, and content on platforms, with the aim of highlighting how to build a platform from the foundation, to the engine and then the growth of a platform. The thesis delves into the business-to-business platform development, ecosystems, networks, and value co-creation practices as part of the platform approach for driving innovation, and highlights how this is executed from a strategic perspective.

With many platform business model literature focused on business-to-consumer often including examples by PayPal, Uber and Facebook, where fewer literature looks at the business-to-business platform business model. We look at the platform business model as a strategic direction for business-to-business firms within financial services, and particularly on asset management and financial technology initiatives and observe its development over time. We highlight specifically how the platform-as-a-service business model can be utilized to break the industry recipe. 

Towards the Goldilocks Zone of demand-responsive bus services - Bryan Galarza Montenegro (15/05/2023)

Bryan Galarza Montenegro

  • Monday 15 May 2023 - 10 a.m.
  • Supervisors: Kenneth Sörensen & Pieter Vansteenwegen

Towards the Goldilocks Zone of demand-responsive bus services

With the rise of smart cities, relevant passenger data can be collected to improve the quality of transport services. Feeder services in particular can connect isolated areas to well-connected transportation hubs, such as city centers and train stations. This, in turn, helps to reduce overfull parking lots and congestion, among other things. On the one hand, flexible demand-responsive feeder services can meet passengers’ needs efficiently. However, these services are typically costly and only work with online reservations. On the other hand, traditional feeder services with predetermined routes and timetables provide predictability and are often cost-effective. However, these services do not deal well with sparse or ever-changing demand for transportation.

In this thesis, we propose semi-flexible demand-responsive feeder services, which combine positive characteristics of both traditional services as well as fully flexible services. These feeder services are able to increase the service quality when compared to traditional services, while at the same time providing transportation options for passengers without an online reservation.

Enhancing the competitiveness of inland waterway transport: A multi-methodological approach applied to port barge congestion and urban areas - Peter Shobayo (15 /05/2023)

Peter Shobayo

  • Monday 15 May 2023 - 4 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Edwin Van Hassel & Thierry Vanelslander

Enhancing the competitiveness of inland waterway transport: A multi-methodological approach applied to port barge congestion and urban areas

Inland shipping could provide a competitive and more sustainable mode of transport in Europe, as it could take advantage of this region's large and dense inland waterway network. However, this is not the case due to the different challenges faced in the Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) sector. Furthermore, there have been growing concerns about the negative societal impact of road transport within dense cities and urban areas. This brings an opportunity for inland shipping to utilize the dense IWT networks that connect to the city centers to use last-mile transport to the urban areas. By doing this, inland shipping can offer a better alternative to road transport and take over some urban freight flows, enhancing its competitiveness and maximizing its underutilized capacities.

The rationale of this thesis stems from the need to enhance and strengthen the competitiveness of IWT. IWT competitiveness in this research is a multifaceted concept involving a range of factors that affect the ability to transport cargo to shippers efficiently and effectively. This includes the ability of IWT to provide reliable, efficient, and cost-effective transportation services compared to other transport modes (mainly road transport). Thus, enhancing competitiveness is examined in two stages: the IWT port-hinterland container transport (specifically focusing on port barge operations) and the IWT urban freight transport. These two stages are examined due to the significant issues they generate in the hinterland supply chain between the seaports and urban areas, such as barge congestion in seaport operations and the increasing negative externalities of urban freight delivery with trucks.

Based on this, three main research questions were identified and addressed in the thesis. The first question identifies the main challenges of container barge operations in seaports in North-Western Europe. The second question analyzes how these challenges can be addressed. The third question addresses the economic feasibility of implementing (small) inland vessels for urban freight use from a private and welfare viewpoint. These questions were addressed through a multi-methodological approach. A quantitative survey was used to answer the first research question. In contrast, multiple quantitative techniques, such as the agent-based and economic assessment models, answered the second research question. Finally, a social cost-benefit (SCBA) model answered the third research question.

The multi-methodological approach developed in the thesis offers some added value for research in container IWT competitiveness. Firstly, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and challenges of container IWT. This is achieved by exploring different research approaches, such as quantitative surveys, data modeling, and data analysis. With this, the thesis ensures more accurate and reliable findings and recommendations for improving container IWT competitiveness. Secondly, by using multiple approaches, the thesis ensures a cross-validation of results from each method. This helps to increase result confidence and reduces the limitations of the individual approaches to provide an overall robust analysis. In addition, the thesis helps to address the perspective of different actors in the container IWT. This helps to ensure inclusiveness in the research and ensures the recognition of the needs and preferences of the stakeholders.

Furthermore, by employing a multi-methodological approach, the thesis enhances creativity in research design, which leads to new insights and perspectives that are not apparent through a single method. Finally, the thesis facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration between transport economics and engineering. This makes the research more holistic and integrated into analyzing how container IWT competitiveness can be enhanced.

Novel algorithms and applications for counterfactual explanations - Raphaël Mazzine Barbosa De Oliveira (02/05/2023)

Raphael Mazzine Barbosa De Oliveira

  • Tuesday 2 May 2023 - 3 p.m.
  • Supervisor: David Martens

Novel algorithms and applications for counterfactual explanations

We are currently witnessing the far-reaching impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in fields like marketing, engineering, and medicine. However, as AI systems become more complex and autonomous, understanding their decision-making processes is critical to avoiding potentially harmful consequences, especially in sensitive areas that can affect individuals or entire groups. This concern has led to the emergence of eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI), which seeks to make AI systems more transparent and understandable to humans. Counterfactual explanations can be highlighted as one increasingly popular XAI approach that, in simpler terms, shows the minimum change required to alter a decision outcome. Despite its apparent simplicity, generating reliable counterfactuals is challenging due to the diverse factors involved in a machine learning system.

This thesis addresses various open questions about counterfactual explanations: their definition, evaluation, generation, visualization, and application in a real-world scenario. The first paper characterizes different types of counterfactual explanations, discussing their differences in terms of constraints. It also benchmarks counterfactual generation algorithms and introduces a methodological framework for evaluating them. The second paper develops a novel algorithm called CFNOW, consisting of a three-stage approach that allows data-independent, model-agnostic, and flexible counterfactual generation. The algorithm works with tabular, image, and textual data types, surpassing all current state-of-art methods. The third paper deals with a substantial flaw of counterfactual explanations, which potentially hinder its application in a broader sense: their way of representing the feature changes. As a solution for this issue, the paper introduces Counterfactual Feature importance (CFi) methods to assign importance values to each counterfactual change and presents plotting strategies to enhance informative value. The fourth paper focuses on the application side of counterfactual explanations. Employment data from a Flemish public institution (VDAB) is used to showcase counterfactuals' potential, going beyond the explanation objective where, for example, it can foster individual guidance paths to promote better employability chances.

Overall, the thesis contributes to the XAI field by proposing open-source algorithms to generate, assess, and visualize counterfactual explanations and better understand how they can be effectively created and used to make complex model decisions understandable.

An empirical investigation into the effect of patent quality on its value - Srinivasan Ananthraman (19/04/2023)

Srinivasan Ananthraman

  • Wednesday 19 April 2023 - 4.30 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Bart Cambré & Henry Delcamp

An empirical investigation into the effect of patent quality on its value

Patents are intangible intellectual property rights that enable innovators to obtain returns from their investments in the research and development of industrial products or processes. The core concerns of this thesis are the concepts of patent quality and patent value and the relationship between them.

The thesis is executed in three studies. In the first study, a systematic literature review (SLR) is conducted to consolidate the findings from a burgeoning body of empirical literature on the concepts of patent value and patent quality. The SLR delineates four dimensions of regulatory patent quality — subject matter, utility, non-obviousness or inventive step, and sufficiency of disclosure — and links them to patent value (private or social). In the second and third studies, using panel data of several millions of patents from the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO), based on the findings from the first study, the relationship between certain unexplored (yet important) aspects of patent quality and patent value is investigated. The second study advances a novel dimension of patent scope based on the meaning of certain scope-related words in the patent claims; using a text mining method, this study explicates a complementary and valid measure of patent scope. Using a text mining method, the third study tests and validates the hypothesized positive association between the disclosure quality of patents and the private value of patents in the markets for technology and finance.

The thesis makes a theoretical contribution by (a) advancing the emergent ex-ante theory of patent value by elaborating a conceptual model that relates the different dimensions of patent quality and patent value and (b) testing certain relationships proposed by the elaborated ex-ante theory in an empirical setting. The thesis contributes to practice by informing on the substantivity of the effect of certain dimensions of patent quality on patent value. The thesis contributes to policy by suggesting that (a) innovators can be incentivized to file patent applications with high disclosure quality, which would improve the efficiency and reputation of the patent office which is often criticized for granting too many patents of poor quality, and (b) there are systemic problems in the USPTO which legally authorizes patents of poor quality (or overly broad scope) in the first place.

Age Differences in Wealth Accumulation and Retirement Saving Behavior of Wageworkers: A Study of the Northeastern Region of Thailand - Chavis Ketkaew (18/04/2023)

Chavis Ketkaew

  • Tuesday 18 April 2023 - 2 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Ann Jorissen & Martine Van Wouwe

Age Differences in Wealth Accumulation and Retirement Saving Behavior of Wageworkers: A Study of the Northeastern Region of Thailand

Thailand has now become an aging society. However, the fact that the majority of Thai wageworkers do not effectively save for their retirement may result in several elderly living below the poverty threshold during retirement. The objectives of this research project were 1) to identify the relationships among variables that explain the wealth accumulation behavior and retirement contribution of Thai wageworkers, 2) to explore demographic characteristics influencing retirement preparedness and perform behavioral segmentation of Thai wageworkers based on their traits, 3) to explore in-depth retirement planning obstacles of Thai wageworkers based on the segments.
A total of 794 wageworkers from the Northeastern Region of Thailand were recruited to participate in 3 episodes of this research project [chapter 2) n=350, 3) n= 398, and 4) n=46]. The theoretical framework of this research is based on the theory of Life-cycle Hypothesis. This thesis employed several methods: a statistical analysis using the Structural Equation Modeling approach (SEM) using age as a moderator, cross-tabulation and cluster analyses, and qualitative analysis using in-depth interviews, thematic analysis, and Lean Entrepreneur approaches.

We found that expected income, wealth accumulation, career status, and health status were the main constructs influencing an individual’s ability to contribute to his or her retirement. We also found that the most common obstacles for young workers are urgent health and emergency issues that cost money. However, the absence of financial knowledge is the most crucial barrier for young and low-income workers. Nevertheless, low financial literacy is a big problem for old and low-income workers. In contrast, high consumption expense is the main problem for old and high-income workers.

This paper suggested that a wageworker should first provide his/her income through wealth accumulation schemes such as investment in financial assets, e.g., stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and properties, investment in other businesses as a second job, and cash deposit. The results suggested that wealth accumulation was the essential mediator allowing a wageworker to contribute to retirement effectively in the long term. This paper recommended that the government and authorized bodies (e.g., the Bank of Thailand and the Stock Exchange of Thailand) should provide more investment alternatives and improve the investment knowledge of the citizens.

Heterogeneity in social networks and implications for economic outcomes - Patrick Allmis (27/03/2023)

Patrick Allmis

  • Monday 27 March 2023 - 4 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Bruno De Borger & Luca Merlino

Heterogeneity in social networks and implications for economic outcomes

Social and economic networks are omnipresent in daily life. Individuals use social media to collect information and argue with others on various societal issues. In other contexts, the social environment influences agents’ decision making and thus their economic outcomes. Typically, economic agents are heterogeneous. Individuals like certain types of news more than others or differ in their views on societal issues. This type of heterogeneity is due to individual preferences. Preferences determine the value of connections and hence equilibrium interactions when connections form strategically. However, economic agents may also differ in their endowments. Such differences arise for reasons beyond their immediate influence and possibly even despite of homogenous preferences.

This thesis addresses how the different types of heterogeneity influence economic behavior and outcomes when social ties determine the payoff of agents. Some types are prone to provide large amounts of information, whereas others typically free ride. When agents gain sufficiently confident in their views through their connections, they form echo chambers. Encouraging socialization can thus increase polarization when moderate contributors of information become free riders, or when ties within echo chambers strengthen. Moreover, existing economic disparities may amplify through the network.

​Scattered storage assignment optimization: towards more efficient order fulfillment in e-commerce warehouses - Mauricio Gamez (20/03/2023)

Mauricio Gamez 

  • Monday 20 March 2023 - 4 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Trijntje Cornelissens & Kenneth Sörensen

Scattered storage assignment optimization: towards more efficient order fulfillment in e-commerce warehouses

Various retail and e-commerce companies face the challenge of picking a large number of time-sensitive customer orders that include both a small number of items and multiple order lines. To reduce the unproductive walking time of order pickers, several storage assignment policies have been proposed in the literature and in practice. In case of scattered storage assignment (SSA), items of the same type are intentionally distributed to multiple locations in the picking area to increase the likelihood that items belonging to the same order can be picked at nearby positions.

In this thesis, we propose a scattered storage policy that, when determining the location where each item should be stored, minimizes the sum of pairwise distances (SPD) between all items belonging to the same (recently picked) orders, including a drop-off point. Results show that the SSA-SPD strategy helps reduce picking distances significantly and performs better in an e-commerce warehouse than a random scatter strategy or a traditional volume-based strategy.

Cultural policy and emotional clusters in the post-global context. Performing arts and emotions between top-down and bottom-up negotiations - Giuliana Ciancio (20/02/2023)

Giuliana Ciancio 

  • Monday 20 February 2023 - 3 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Annick Schramme & Pascal Gielen

Cultural policy and emotional clusters in the post-global context. Performing arts and emotions between top-down and bottom-up negotiations

This dissertation focuses on the role that emotions play in the negotiations between top-down cultural policymaking and bottom-up cultural practices. The two key case studies are The EU Creative Europe programme, with its Audience Development (AD) priority, and the city of Naples, with its season of the commons. In both these settings, various forms of cultural participation and civil engagement are scrutinized. Starting from the performing arts sector, I explore the mutations of these participatory practices within a heterogeneous cultural ecosystem during the period of significant global change from 2008 to 2020.

An abductive methodology (by also adopting qualitative research techniques such as autoethnography) was used, which gradually enabled the close observation of the cultural, policy, and political actors’ behaviours in the field of inquiry. It revealed the key social, political, and transformative function of emotions in power relations; in formal and informal spaces of policy negotiations; in decision-making procedures, and in the transversal alliances between top-down and bottom-up actors. I have opted to call emotional clusters these temporary informal value-driven groupings I witnessed throughout my journey, where personal issues converge, aiming to critically react to the regeneration of neoliberalism and to co-imagine the pluralistic development of cultural policy or political programmes. Emotional clusters look like a form of social adaptation which constitutes the bases of unknown and renewed spaces of resistance that perform between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic realms. Emotional clusters have demonstrated the extent to which emotions can provide us with an innovative key to analyse cultural, policy and political processes. They can be seen as a symptom of a new phase, i.e., a post-global condition which I addressed through an empirical lens, focusing on the friction between global interconnections and hyper-localisms.

This thesis is divided into four main chapters and has been inspired by, and dedicated to, all those who still believe that battles over the ‘quality of (daily) life’ are necessary, timely, and unavoidable. This means re-politicizing the public realm, to actively collaborate in the co-creation of pluralistic democratic narratives and conceiving the cultural policy process as a lively and political matter. This dissertation shows that emotions are an intrinsic part of these processes.

Determining financial viability of railway undertakings under open access regulatory environments - Daniel Behr (31/01/2023)

Daniel Behr

  • Tuesday 31 January 2023 - 4 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Thierry Vanelslander & Eddy Van de Voorde

In North America, railway deregulation has lowered the entry barrieetermining financial viability of railway undertakings under open access regulatory environmentsrs and opened opportunities for private sector small to medium sized business entities (SMEs) to
participate in the railway sector. This has resulted in the upward spiraling success of the “shortline” railway subsector of rail transportation in North America, which operates
mostly as a closed access system. The liberalized system of open access railways in many non-North American countries has similarly opened prospects for participation in the railway sector that were previously unavailable to the private sector. Though there are vast differences in the characteristics of how the two systems operate, there are common elements, but careful analysis is required to determine financial and operational viability.

In this dissertation, the process of exploring European candidate routes and analyzing their financial prospects using traditional investment metrics is demonstrated by a cost
simulation model, based on real costs, realistic sample revenues per loading unit and a range of operating scenarios, to understand the financial performance under a broad
range of parameters.

Going beyond the financial performance of each of the eight scenarios depicted, through a combination of sensitivity analyses and detailed analyses of the costs, this dissertation identifies the most influential parameters and cost elements contributing to the financial success of a railway undertaking.

While the financial performance and influential factors contributing to profitability are identified, deficiencies and weaknesses over the railway network and indeed, the entire sector, are also recognized to determine what conditions can be optimized for overall financial and system performance to facilitate the shift of cargo from road to rail. A comprehensive analysis of tangible and intangible factors affecting railway network performance is explored and recommendations are made.

Expanding social heath protection in the Kingdom of Cambodia - Robert John Kolesar (25/01/2023)

Robert John Kolesar

  • Wednesday 25 January 2023 - 5 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Guido Erryegers & Wim Van Damme

Expanding social heath protection in the Kingdom of Cambodia

Social health protection and the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) directly contribute to Cambodia’s highest-level strategic goals of sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Advancing reforms that promote UHC is the smart thing to do to achieve economic prosperity. Moreover, economists have called on policy makers to prioritize a pro-poor pathway to UHC as an essential pillar of development.
Over the past several years, Cambodia has made substantial progress with increasing enrollment in its social health protection schemes. However, major gaps remain along the three dimensions of UHC, particularly among vulnerable groups. Coverage of the non-poor informal sector population remains a serious challenge. In addition, user fees constitute a barrier to access; and, coverage by a social health protection scheme does not necessarily result in financial risk protection as most people seek care from private providers. This contributes to large gaps in financial risk protection for health as out-of-pocket spending accounts for at least two-thirds of total health spending. This thesis focuses on supporting an evidence-to-action process to inform and advance decision making and policy to expand social health protection and advance UHC in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Optimization methods for on-demand planning of public buses - Ying Lian (24/01/2023)

Ying Lian

  • Tuesday 24 January 2023 - 2 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Kenneth Sörensen & Flavien Lucas

Optimization methods for on-demand planning of public buses

One possible trend of the public bus services is a large-scale shift to on-demand transport. That is, instead of passengers adapting to the fixed routes and schedules, buses travel along routes that are completely determined by passengers' demand. Owing to the development of smartphones and their applications, it is possible and common for people accessing services in daily life. Account-based ticketing, global positioning system and communication system via the mobile devices make it effortless for passengers to send in their travel requests, including their origins and destinations, preferred departure and/or arrival time. In addition, the advanced development in automatic vehicle location and internet of vehicles contribute to more intelligent management of a bus fleet, as well as real-time communication between buses and passengers. In this way, the aforementioned mismatch of demand and supply in public bus transport can be reduced. To achieve this, optimization algorithms are required to determine the bus routes and schedules such that passengers are served with high quality. This is the primal aim of this thesis.

The impact of a company’s (big) data analytics capability on firm performance, decision-making and management control - Pieter De Rijck (23/01/2023)

Pieter De Rijck

  • Monday 23 January 2023 - 5 p.m.
  • Supervisors: Ann Jorissen & Eddy Laveren

The impact of a company’s (big) data analytics capability on firm performance, decision-making and management control

Today's business environment is characterized by increased uncertainty as well as an explosion in data creation. It has increased the adoption of (big) data analytics which has been a top priority for CIOs for the last two decades. However, neither the exponential growth of data availability nor the purchase of information technologies ensures success because data has no intrinsic value without context or analysis and IT (infrastructure) can easily be copied by competitors. (Big) data analytics implementations are associated with an enormous complexity posing a variety of challenges to companies. We propose the development of an organization-wide (big) data analytics capability (BDAC) as a solution to bridge the gap between all data analytics-related challenges and the value that an effective data analytics-driven organization could bring. A company's BDAC refers to a unique blend of its tangible, human, and intangible resources that result in a unique – difficult to match – capability.
In this dissertation, we studied the impact of a company's (big) data analytics capability on performance, management control, and decision-making. We explored this overall research purpose throughout four empirical chapters (chapters 3 – 6). We did so using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. In chapter 3, we studied the entanglement of BDAC resources. We found that BDAC resource complementarity is critical in maintaining BDAC strength. In chapter 4, we unraveled the relationship between a company's BDAC and financial performance. We found both a positive direct and an indirect effect through the performance of a company's operations management process. Aside from a few methodological contributions, we primarily contributed to the BDAC value chain literature. In chapter 5, we studied the impact of BDAC improvements on decision-making and management control (both design and use) through an information quality lens. We found that information quality (across multiple dimensions) can be a powerful catalyst in both domains. We primarily contributed to previous traditional ERP studies. In chapter 6, we showed that dashboard adoption increases the presentation quality of a company's Performance Measurement System (PMS). We showed a positive association between PMS presentation quality and both diagnostic and interactive PMS information use. We observed a subsequent positive effect of interactive PMS information use on strategic performance. We introduced PMS presentation quality as a new PMS design characteristic and primarily contributed to the broader literature on the antecedents and outcomes of PMS information use.

The Governance of Organizational Networks - Steven van den Oord (18/01/2023)

  • Wednesday 18 January 2023 - 4.30  p.m.​
  • Supervisors: Bart Cambré and Patrick Kenis

The Governance of Organizational Networks

In my dissertation, I study how organizational networks govern themselves and what conditions explain the governance of organizational networks. Organizational networks are groups of three or more organizations working together to achieve not only their own goals but also a collective goal. As an organizational form, they have become pivotal in various sectors because an organizational network provides policy planners and managers with an alternative strategy to deal with issues, solve problems, or produce products and services that are too broad in scope and too complex for any organization to handle. For organizational networks to be an effective organizational form, however, some mode of governance is imperative to ensure that they act as a goal-directed system of coordinated action. Despite their rising popularity, we still need more theoretical understanding and empirical evidence on under what conditions a mode of network governance varies and how networks use institutions and structures of authority and collaboration to govern themselves. This dissertation aims to help remedy the mismatch between practice and theory by enhancing the contingency theory of network governance by Keith Provan and Patrick Kenis. The findings show that organizational networks govern themselves differently, considering that they vary regarding environmental conditions and their structural pattern of relations. Furthermore, the results indicate that organizational networks use a range of institutions and structures of authority and collaboration to allocate resources and coordinate and control joint action across the network. Based on leveraging insights from a systematic literature review, two single case studies, and a network game simulation—network governance is explained, and the need to rethink its dimensions, perspectives, and research methods on the governance of organizational networks is addressed.