Harbir Singh

Mack Professor at The Wharton School


The Wharton School


PhD, University of Michigan, 1984; MBA, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, 1978; BTech, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, 1975

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1984present (Vice Dean for Global Initiatives, 2008present; Acting Chairperson, Management Department, 20072008; named the Mack Professor, 2005; CoDirector, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, 2001present; Chairperson, Management Department, 19992001; named Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management, 19992005).

Other Positions

Sales Management, Madura Coats, Ltd., 197879; Sales Officer, Philips India, Ltd., 197576

Professional Leadership

Editorial Board, Strategic Management Journal, 1989present; Editorial Board, Academy of Management Review, 1993present

Selected Publications

  • Building Capabilities Through Learning: The Role of the Alliance Learning Process in Alliance Capability and Success, (with P. Kale). Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming.
  • Splitting the Pie: Rent Distribution in Alliances and Networks, (with J. Dyer and P. Kale). Managerial and Decision Economics, forthcoming.
  • Organizing for Innovation: Managing the CoordinationAutonomy Dilemma in Technology Acquisitions, (with P. Puranam and M. Zollo). Academy of Management Journal 49:2, 2006.
  • When to Ally and When to Acquire? (with J. Dyer and P. Kale), Harvard Business Review, 2004.
  • Deliberate Learning in Corporate Acquisitions: PostAcquisition Strategies and Integration Capability in US Bank Mergers, (with M. Zollo), Strategic Management Journal, 25:13, 2004.
  • A Bird in Hand? Integration Tradeoffs in TechnologyGrafting Acquisitions, (with P. Puranam and M. Zollo), European Management Journal, 2003.
  • Interorganizational Routines and Performance in Strategic Alliances, (with J. Reuer and M. Zollo), Organization Science 13:6, 2002.
  • Alliance Capability, Stock Market Response and LongTerm Alliance Success: The Role of the Alliance Function, (with P. Kale and J. Dyer), Strategic Management Journal 23:8, 2002.
  • PostFormation Dynamics in Strategic Alliances, (with M. Zollo and J. Reuer), Organization Science 23:2, 2002.
  • Value Creation and Success in Strategic Alliances: Alliancing Skills and the Role of the Alliance Function and Systems, (with J. Dyer and P. Kale), European Management Journal 19:5, 2001.
  • How To Make Strategic Alliances Work, (with P. Kale and J. Dyer), Sloan Management Review 42:4, 2001.
  • Corporate and Industry Effects on Business Unit Competitive Position, (with S.J. Chang), Strategic Management Journal 21:7, 2000.
  • Acquisition of Physician Group Practices by ForProfit and NotForProfit Organizations, (with R.L. Burns and R.A. DeGraaf), Quarterly Journal of Economics and Finance 39:4, 1999.
  • Complementarity, Status Similarity and Social Capital as Drivers of Alliance Formation, (with S. Chung and K. Lee), Strategic Management Journal, 2000.
  • The Architecture of Cooperation: Coordination Costs and the Governance of Strategic Alliances, (with R. Gulati), Administrative Science Quarterly, 1999.
  • When Does Corporate Restructuring Improve Economic Performance? (with E.H. Bowman, M. Useem and R. Bhadury), California Management Review, 1999.
  • Relational Advantage: Relational Rents and Sources of Interorganizational Advantage, (with J. Dyer). Academy of Management Review 23:4, 1998.
  • National Culture Distance and CrossBorder Acquisition Performance, (with P. Morosini and S. Shane), Journal of International Business Studies, 1998.
  • Asset Redeployment, Acquisitions and Corporate Strategy in Declining Industries, (with J. Anand), Strategic Management Journal, 1997.
  • Corporate Restructuring: A Symptom of Poor Governance or a Solution to Past Managerial Mistakes? (with C. Markides), European Management Journal 15:3, 1997.

Shiva Agarwal, Harbir Singh, Vikas A. Aggarwal (Draft), Partnering in a haze: Interdependence misspecification and firm performance in strategic alliances.

Abstract: We examine the firm performance implications of managers having an incorrect representation of their interfirm task interdependencies in the context of alliance relationships. Although uncertainty regarding interfirm interdependence is common in practice when structuring alliances, prior literature provides limited evidence on the firm performance implications of such “misspecifications.” We employ a computational model to examine firm performance in an alliance context where firms have either under or overspecified views of their interfirm interdependencies. We find that firm performance declines with greater misspecification, with variation in this effect across alliance governance modes and across levels of actual interdependence. In addition, we find that interdependence misspecifications have differing effects on exploration and coordination, leading to tradeoffs between performance and these other nonperformance alliance objectives.

Harbir Singh and Patia McGrath (Under Review), PostAcquisition Management.

Michael Useem, Harbir Singh, Peter Cappelli, Jitendra Singh (2015), Indian Business Leadership: Broad Mission and Creative Value , The Leadership Quarterly .

Vikas Aggarwal, Nicolaj Siggelkow, Harbir Singh (2011), Corporate Development Choices and Interdependence: Strategic Tradeoffs and Performance Implications , Strategic Management Journal, 32: 705730.

Jitendra Singh, Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Michael Useem, The India Way: How India’s Top Business Leaders are Revolutionizing Management, Harvard Business Press (2010)

Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, Michael Useem (2010), Leadership Lessons From India, Harvard Business Review, 9097.

Abstract: The article discusses research on performance management and leadership strategy which resulted in competitive advantages for companies that are based in India. The socalled Indian business model at companies such as Infosys, Reliance Industries, and Aventis Pharma is mentioned. The skills that Indian executives consider most valuable include strategic thinking and communication of an organizational vision. The characteristics of leaders that are considered valuable include being accountable and being an inspirational role model. Organizational transparency, employee empowerment, and investment in training are part of the corporate culture.

P. Puranam, Harbir Singh, Saikat Chaudhuri (2009), Integrating Acquired Capabilities: When Structural Integration is (Un)Necessary, Organization Science.

Abstract: Acquirers who buy small technologybased firms for their technological capabilities often discover that postmerger integration can destroy the very innovative capabilities that made the acquired organization attractive in the first place. Viewing structural integration as a mechanism to achieve coordination between acquirer and target organizations helps explain why structural integration may be necessary in technology acquisitions despite the costs of disruption this imposes, as well as the conditions under which it becomes less (or un) necessary. We show that interdependence motivates structural integration but that preexisting common ground offers acquirers an alternate path to achieving coordination, which may be less disruptive than structural integration.

Harbir Singh, P. Puranam, M. Zollo (2006), Organizing for Innovation: Managing the CoordinationAutonomy Dilemma In Technology Acquisitions, Academy of Management Journal, 49:2.

Abstract: Large, established firms acquiring small, technologybased firms must manage them so as to both exploit their capabilities and technologies in a coordinated way and foster their exploration capacity by preserving their autonomy. We suggest that acquirers can resolve this coordinationautonomy dilemma by recognizing that the effect of structural form on innovation outcomes depends on the developmental stage of acquired firms' innovation trajectories. Structural integration decreases the likelihood of introducing new products for firms that have not launched products before being acquired and for all firms immediately after acquisition, but these effects disappear as innovation trajectories evolve.

Harbir Singh, P. Kale, J. Dyer (2002), Alliance Capability, Stock Market Response and LongTerm Alliance Success: The Role of the Alliance Function, Strategic Management Journal, 23:8.

Abstract: This paper addresses two key questions: (1) what factors influence firms' ability to build alliance capability and enjoy greater alliance success, where firmlevel alliance success is measured in two ways: (a) abnormal stock market gains following alliance announcements and (b) managerial assessments of long term alliance performance; and (2) are the two alternate ways of assessing alliance success correlated? We find that firms with greater alliance experience and, more importantly, those that create a dedicated alliance function (with the intent of strategically coordinating alliance activity and capturing/disseminating alliancerelated knowledge) realize greater success with alliances. More specifically, firms with a dedicated alliance function achieve greater abnormal stock market gains (average of 1.35%) and report that 63 percent of alliances are successful whereas firms without an alliance function achieve much lower stock market gains (average of 0.18%) and only a 50 percent longterm success rate. We also find a positive correlation between stock marketbased measures of alliance success and alliance success measured through managerial assessments. In addition to providing insights into the development of alliance capability among firms, this paper is one of the first to provide empirical support for the efficient markets argument by demonstrating that the initial stock market response to a key event positively correlates to the longterm performance and value of the event.

Harbir Singh and R. Gulati (1999), The Architecture of Cooperation: Coordination Costs and the Governance of Strategic Alliances, Administrative Science Quarterly.

Abstract: This study examines why firms choose different governance structures across their alliances. The authors focus on the coordination costs in alliances that arise from interdependence of tasks across organizational boundaries and the related complexity of ongoing activities to be completed jointly or individually. They use a typology of alliance governance structures that differentiates structures by the magnitude of hierarchical controls to test hypotheses predicting alternative contractual choices. The authors use empirical data on alliance announcements in three worldwide industries over a 20year period to assess which factors explain the choice of alliance types. The findings suggest that the magnitude of hierarchical controls in contractual relationships such as alliances is influenced by the anticipated coordination costs and by expected appropriation concerns.

Knowledge @ Wharton

  • How Chinese Firms Bootstrapped Their Way to Global Dominance, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/15/2017
  • Why Innovation Is Key for India to Surge Ahead, Knowledge @ Wharton 01/13/2017
  • Management 101: The Marriage of Strategy and Leadership, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/11/2016
  • Megamergers Are Back, but Will the Pace Last?, Knowledge @ Wharton 07/20/2015
  • The New Model for Innovation Is Social — and Mobile: But Are Companies Ready?, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/19/2013
  • Wharton’s Harbir Singh: How Indian Firms Can Take Advantage of Global Opportunities, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/20/2011
  • The Problem with Financial Incentives — and What to Do About It, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/30/2011
  • A Groundlevel View of India’s New Opportunities and Challenges, Knowledge @ Wharton 08/26/2010
  • Playing on a Global Stage: Asian Firms See a New Strategy in Acquisitions Abroad and at Home, Knowledge @ Wharton 04/28/2010
  • The Road to China: Fresh Insights into the World’s Fastestgrowing Economy, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/09/2009
  • Innovation: Sometimes It Takes a Village, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/24/2009
  • Big Deal(s): What’s Driving the M&A Frenzy?, Knowledge @ Wharton 01/24/2007
  • Is Indian Business Ready for a Brave New World of Tough Corporate Governance?, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/14/2005
  • R&D in India: The Curtain Rises, The Play Has Begun…, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/21/2005
  • Free Advice from Wharton: Here’s What HewlettPackard’s New CEO Should Do, Knowledge @ Wharton 05/10/2005
  • Why Do So Many Mergers Fail?, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/30/2005
  • The HP Compaq Merger Two Years Out: Still Waiting for the Upside, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/20/2004
  • Oracle and PeopleSoft: In Dubious Battle?, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/06/2004
  • AT&T Wireless: Will Cingular’s Big Bet Pay Off?, Knowledge @ Wharton 03/10/2004
  • M&A Activity: Back with a Whimper, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/17/2003
  • Does Sun, Burned by Competition, Need a New Business Model?, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/22/2003
  • What’s Behind Oracle’s Unwelcome Bid for PeopleSoft?, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/17/2003
  • Learning from Tyco’s Meltdown, Knowledge @ Wharton 06/05/2002
  • Will Mergers & Acquisitions Take Off in Europe?, Knowledge @ Wharton 02/27/2002
  • Family Matters: Are Fords, Hewletts and Packards Right to Exercise Their Clout?, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/21/2001
  • HewlettPackard and Compaq: If It Goes Through, Here’s How to Try and Make It Work, Knowledge @ Wharton 09/13/2001
  • Has Bank Consolidation Been Good for Customers, or Bad?, Knowledge @ Wharton 08/01/2001
  • Thinking of Buying a HighTech Startup? Read This First, Knowledge @ Wharton 05/09/2001
  • Has DaimlerChrysler Hit the Breakdown Lane or Just Stopped to Fill Up?, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/20/2000
  • Creating Internet Strategies for Competitive Advantage, Knowledge @ Wharton 09/28/2000
  • Looney Times at Time Warner and Disney, Knowledge @ Wharton 05/24/2000
  • Will the GlaxoSmithKline Merger Be Good Therapy?, Knowledge @ Wharton 01/20/2000
  • Strategic Alliances Needn’t End Up in Divorce Court, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/10/1999


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Read about executive education

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