As part of our profiles of TIM people, let us introduce Emily Cox Pahnke of the Foster School of Business which is part of the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington, USA. Emily, so…

What are your research interests right now?

I find myself most interested in research questions which are at the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship and inter-organizational relationships. In the past, a major focus of my research has been how different kinds of funding (and the relationships that are formed to obtain funding) can help or impede startup innovation. I’ve recently started on new research that touches on related themes. For example, I’ve become interested in how startups and established firms differ in how they use innovation to compete with each other. As part of this research I’ve been looking at how these firms conceive of competition differently and how their ability (or inability) to avoid indirect ties with competitors impacts their innovation. I’ve also begun studying why successful collaborations are terminated and why unsuccessful collaborations may persist. In that research I’ve been trying to understand how success and failures alter the relationship between partners and what this means for their future interactions.

What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?

It’s difficult to say what about my research others find exciting. One aspect of my research that I find especially interesting (and that appeals to the contrarian part of my nature) is that I show that sometimes things that are “supposed to be good for you” (such as network ties or venture capital funding) can actually be bad. In particular, my research indicates that although inter-organizational relationships can provide vital resources for startups, the same relationships can also put startup’s innovation at great peril. My findings in this area have practical importance for entrepreneurs as they are selecting partners to help them achieve their innovation goals.

Tell us something personal about yourself.

I studied Art History in college and studied abroad in Italy as part of the program. One of the great perks of academia for me is traveling as I usually find time to visit an art museum or gallery (or two) at conferences and meetings I attend. I recently realized that thanks to my travels, I have been able to see almost all of the major artists and works that I studied in school. This is no mean feat when I recall hours of sitting in darkened classrooms looking at slides of artworks in college. A few art-related highlights at recent AoM meetings for me were going to the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia (after watching the “Art of the Steal” a few years back) and trekking to the Broad Museum (when AoM was in Anaheim) to view contemporary art. Currently, I’m looking forward to  going to the Art Institute in Chicago and plotting ways to see a few more items on my art bucket list. In particular, I’d like to view more art in the places it was created (e.g. the antiquities at the British Museum and the Met are fantastic, but I’d love to visit Greece and Egypt to see some more art from those countries in context).

Thanks Emily!

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