Aline Gatignon

Aline Gatignon
  • Assistant Professor of Management
  • Faculty Affiliate, Wharton Social Impact Initiative & Penn Center for Africana Studies

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2023 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: Cross-sector Partnerships, Emerging Markets, Non-market Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility

Links: CV

Overview

Aline Gatignon is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School. She completed her Ph.D. in Strategic Management at  INSEAD, and previously received a M.A. in Development Economics and a B.A. in Political Science from the Paris Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po).

Aline’s research explains how firms can collaborate with governments and non-profit organizations to solve large-scale socio-environmental and economic problems of mutual concern. She mainly focuses on how these problems can be overcome in emerging markets, where weak formal institutions often make such problems particularly salient.

A central characteristic of Aline’s work is that her analyses draw on both qualitative and quantitative data that she collects from the field, across multiple countries and types of organization. The empirical settings that she studies include cosmetics in Brazil,  healthcare partnerships in Africa, Corporate Social Responsibility in India, global environmental nonprofits as well as last-mile logistics and corporate disaster response worldwide. As a result, she is able to examine her phenomenon of interest from different angles so as to, over time, build a deep understanding of the mechanisms connecting cross-sector partnerships to social and performance outcomes.

Alin’s research and pedagogical case studies on this topic have been recognized with several awards, including the Strategic Management Society Best PhD Paper Award and the European Foundation for Management Development case study competition award. Her work has been listed as part of INSEAD’s “50 Years, 50 Women, 50 Ideas” series. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Strategic Management Journal.

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Research

  • Aline Gatignon and Laurence Capron (2020), The Firm As an Architect of Polycentric Governance: Building Open Institutional Infrastructure in Emerging Markets, Strategic Management Journal.

    Abstract: Research Summary: We apply pattern-matching techniques to contrast qualitative case study data with perspectives from strategic management and institutional economics about how a firm can address voids in market-based institutions. We identify a novel approach whereby the firm builds an open institutional infrastructure (OII) by investing in a pool of resources widely accessible beyond its exchange partners. To collectively govern OII, the firm must empower other actors within multilateral cross-sector partnerships. And it must enforce the resulting rules through relational norms based on alignment between public and private value creation. These findings, achieved by adapting Elinor Ostrom’s principles of polycentric governance to corporate actors who take the lead in building OII, advance our understanding of new organizational forms that transcend the traditional boundaries of firms and markets. Managerial Summary: Emerging markets typically present additional obstacles for business operations, because they lack the necessary underlying institutional infrastructure such as access to capital and labor markets. We introduce a new way for firms to overcome these obstacles— which we call building an open institutional infrastructure (OII)—by investing in such infrastructure themselves and making it available to their commercial partners, local communities and even to competitors. Firms must empower those actors to take the lead in collectively defining the rules for accessing this infrastructure, by orchestrating cross-sector partnerships. This process creates relational norms around the alignment of public and private interests, which ultimately can promote firms’ competitive advantage.

  • Luis Ballesteros and Aline Gatignon (2019), The Relative Value of Firm and Non-Profit Experience: Tackling Large-Scale Social Issues across Institutional Contexts, Strategic Management Journal, 40, pp. 631-657.

    Abstract: Research Summary Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are often identified as a natural vehicle for the engagement of firms in large‐scale social issues. We evaluate this argument by examining the conditions under which NPO experience is more valuable than firm experience in overcoming the key challenges associated with corporate disaster giving. Findings from a quasi‐experiment across the 4,396 natural disasters worldwide between 2003 and 2015 demonstrate that firms could donate more by implementing the aid through NPOs (on their own) in countries with low (high) institutional development, especially where they lack (have) market operations. However, we also observe that firms more frequently than not opted into the allocation mode that yielded comparatively low aid, raising questions about incentive alignment and communication across the business and nonprofit sectors. Managerial Summary Firms are increasingly tackling social issues across the world. Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are often identified as natural channels for facilitating such engagement, but we have no systematic evidence to confirm this. We tackle this question by outlining the conditions under which allocating company aid for disaster relief and recovery through NPOs results in greater donations than when the firms disburse its aid directly to victims. We analyze all major natural disasters that affected the world between 2003 and 2015 and observe that firms would have donated more through an NPO (directly) in countries with low (high) institutional development where they lacked (had) local operations. Yet, firms frequently chose the channel that yielded lower donations.

  • Aline Gatignon (Under Review), The Double-Edged Sword of Learning by Volunteering: When Corporate Volunteers Broker Knowledge from Nonprofit Partners Abroad.

    Abstract: This paper examines under what conditions corporate volunteers to nonprofit partners in developing countries experience identity strain when they return to the firm. Using qualitative data from a ten-year corporate volunteering program between global logistics provider TNT and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), I build theoretical explanations that integrate insights from research on corporate volunteering, multicultural experience and inter-organizational learning. I then conduct an exploratory test of the underlying mechanisms, using survey data from TNT employees who volunteered with WFP in 43 developing countries. Results show that such programs can be a double-edged sword: while greater task interdependence with nonprofit partners drives positive intermediate outcomes in the form of attachment to the volunteer identity and learning, it also indirectly triggers identity strain when volunteers return because the knowledge acquired this way is too distant from the firm’s existing knowledge base.  Under those circumstances, employees retrench themselves in their volunteer identity and ultimately may leave the firm. These negative outcomes can be avoided, however, by fostering perceptions that the firm recognizes volunteer experiences as valuable. Theoretical implications are drawn for research on corporate volunteering but also multicultural experience and inter-organizational learning.

  • Aline Gatignon and H. Gatignon (2011), Transaction Costs in Action: Erin Anderson and the Path-Breaking Work of TCE in New Areas of Business Research, Journal of Retailing, 86 (3), pp. 232-247.

    Abstract: This review article synthesizes Erin Anderson's academic contribution, with an emphasis on two path breaking aspects of her work, namely the operationalization of TCA in different contexts and the refinement of the theory. We review the measures that she developed to reflect key TCE constructs, and identify five contexts in which Erin Anderson's application of TCE concepts broke new paths. These are employee or representative salesforces, choice of foreign entry mode, new market entry and innovation, countertrade, and ethics. We highlight a number of ways in which her research integrates other theories to transaction cost economics, thereby deepening our understanding of key issues involving make or buy decisions. Finally, we draw attention to directions for future research identified through her work.

  • Aline Gatignon, A. Charles, L. N. Van Wassenhove (2010), The Yogyakarta Earthquake: Humanitarian Relief through IFRC’s Decentralized Supply Chain, International Journal of Production Economics, 126 (1), pp. 102-110.

    Abstract: Humanitarian operations rely heavily on logistics in uncertain, risky, and urgent contexts, making them a very different field of application for supply chain management principles than that of traditional businesses. We illustrate how optimal supply chains can be designed and implemented within this sector via a study of the process through which the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) decentralized its supply chain. We examine how the process was implemented through a 10-year retrospective of the organization's evolution. We then evaluate the decentralized supply chain's performance in responding to humanitarian crises through an analysis of the IFRC's operations during the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006. This was the first operation to benefit from the support of Regional Logistics Units (RLUs), the core element of the IFRC's new decentralized supply chain for disaster relief. Our analysis demonstrates the benefits of the decentralized model in humanitarian operations. We find that its implementation requires an alignment between organizational readiness and the adoption of fundamental logistics components, namely standardized tools and processes, traceability through adapted information systems, and appropriate competencies within the organization.

Teaching

Mgmt. 101- Introduction to Management

Organizations are all around you. Some have helped shaped who you are. Others may influence you more indirectly by shaping the world you live in. And you, in turn, have a role to play in shaping them. That role will become increasingly important as you gain professional experience and eventually take on greater leadership responsibilities.

The better you are equipped to take on that role of shaping the organizations around you, the greater an impact you can have through your actions. Management involves helping a group of people within an organization to achieve common goals that they can’t (or wouldn’t want to) accomplish on their own. This course will teach you how to formulate those goals and implement strategies for attaining them.

The course is organized into three modules, each of which covers three key areas of management. In the first module, we study how organizations adapt their strategies to the external, competitive environment, namely through industry positioning, building a competitive advantage and corporate diversification. In the second module, we then look at what goes on inside the organization, in terms of organizational culture, teams, and networks. Finally, the third module explores connections between the internal and external environment, through the lens of three contemporary societal issues that are key to organizational growth and success: innovation, globalization, and corporate social responsibility.

Thus, in the first two modules, we “drill down” from the more macro- to the more micro-level of analysis (in other words, from larger to smaller scale questions and concepts) to better understand the management challenges of each; we then connect issues and concepts across levels of analysis in the third module, to demonstrate the synergies between them. The course will thus provide a roadmap to the different areas within the discipline of management and help you bring them together to solve managerial problems.

Mgmt. 715 – Political and Social Environment of the Multinational Firm

How can you develop cosmetics products using plants located in areas that only local communities can access, when there is no legal framework for employing members of these communities and there are no collective production processes in place? How can you deliver your products when only road transportation is available but experienced truck drivers are succumbing to HIV&AIDS and they don’t have access to healthcare? How can you sell your products when there is no retail infrastructure, capital is hard to come by and potential distributors have had no basic education?

This course will teaches students to manage effectively in challenging political and social environments, specifically (although not limited to) emerging markets – places where the institutional infrastructure (access to capital, labor, talent and vertical intermediaries) is too weak to adequately support firms’ development, but where opportunities to do business abound. The ability to engage diverse groups of stakeholders – not only customers and employees, suppliers and distributors, but also politicians, non-profit organizations, and local communities – is key to navigating these challenges. The class provides students with an integrative perspective towards managing political and social risks through a combination of practical tools and the latest academic thinking on this topic.

Students in this class learn to protect and create value for the firm by engaging with external stakeholders to address critical socio-political challenges in emerging markets. By the end of the course, they will know how to: 1) exercise due diligence to insulate the firm from political risk, 2) engage stakeholders to earn a social license to operate, 3) integrate stakeholder-based initiatives into their financial management and organizational structure, and 4) leverage partnerships with public and non-profit organizations to foster organizational learning.

The format includes lecture, case discussion, in-class debates, Q&A with guest speakers and an integrative computer-based crisis management simulation custom-designed for this course.

 

Past Courses

  • MGMT101 - INTRO TO MANAGEMENT

    We all spend much of our lives in organizations. Most of us are born in organizations, educated in organizations, and work in organizations. Organizations emerge because individuals can't (or don't want to) accomplish their goals alone. Management is the art and science of helping individuals achieve their goals together. Managers in an organization determine where their organization is going and how it gets there. More formally, managers formulate strategies and implement those strategies. This course provides a framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in formulating and implementing strategies by taking a "system" view of organizations,which means that we examine multiple aspects of how managers address their environments, strategy, structure, culture, tasks, people, and outputs, and how managerial decisions made in these various domains interrelate. The course will help you to understand and analyze how managers can formulate and implement strategies effectively. It will be particularly valuable if you are interested in management consulting, investment analysis, or entrepreneurship - but it will help you to better understand and be a more effective contributor to any organizations you join, whether they are large, established firms or startups. This course must be taken for a grade.

  • MGMT715 - POL & SOC ENVIRON OF MM

    All successful firms go global. This course provides a broad introduction to international business. You will learn about who loses and who gains from trade, what are the effects of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, the World Trade Organization (WTO), regional trading blocs, and NAFTA. The course then turns to the international financial architecture, focusing on exchange rate risk. We then move to multinational firm strategies, including a discussion of the reasons for why firms choose to do business globally through trade or FDI, international tax strategy, joint ventures, technology transfer, different ways to be a multinational firm, and ethical dilemmas. The class is a mix of lectures and cases that allow students to synthesize the extensive materials on multinational management, international institutions, economic policies, and politics with a goal towards formulating multinational firm strategy.

Awards and Honors

  • Named to INSEAD’s “50 Years, 50 Women, 50 Ideas” series, 2018 Description

    The ’50 Years, 50 Women, 50 Ideas’ series recognizes the outstanding achievements of INSEAD women leading academic excellence since the school’s founding

  • Strategic Management Journal Outstanding Editorial Review Board Member Award, 2017
  • Finalist, Best PhD Conference Paper Award, Strategic Management Society, 2017
  • Nominated for the Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper Award for ‘Allies or Adversaries: TNGOs’ Strategic Interaction with States’ (w/ Mary-Hunter McDonnell and Kate Odziemkowska), 2016
  • Nominated for the Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper for Practice Implications and Best PhD Conference Paper awards for “The Double-Edged Sword of Public-Private Partnerships: Value Creation and Value Capture across Sector Boundaries”, 2014
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management Annual Conference, 2014
  • Winner of the Strategic Management Society Best Conference PhD Paper Prize for “The Locus of Capabilities in Emerging Markets: The Role of Micro-Macro Resource Grafting by Leading Domestic Firms”, 2013
  • Nominated for Best Paper, Best Student Paper and Best Paper for Managerial Implications Awards of the Strategic Management Society Annual Conference for “A Process Perspective on Institutional Capability Development”, 2012
  • Winner of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) case study competition in the ‘Supply Chain Management’ category, for “The Yogyakarta earthquake: IFRC’s first experiences with the decentralized supply chain”, 2010
  • Winner of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) case study competition in the ‘Public Sector Innovation’ category, for “Safety in Numbers: Reducing road risk with Danida’s multi- sector partnership”, 2009
  • Winner of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) case study competition in the ‘African Business Cases’ category, for “Paving the Road to Healthy Highways: A partnership to Scale up HIV & AIDS Clinics in Africa”, 2009

In the News

  • 50 Years, 50 Women, 50 Ideas, INSEAD - 05/15/2018 Description

    Aline Gatignon named to the “50 Years, 50 Women, 50 Ideas” series recognizing 50 Years of INSEAD Women Leading Academic Excellence

  • How Partnerships Drive Health Care Innovation in Africa, Knowledge@Wharton - 08/19/2016 Description

    North Star Alliance is providing much needed health care to Africa’s mobile workforce, such as truck drivers and sex workers at high risk for HIV infections. Wharton management professor Aline Gatignon recently interviewed Luke Disney, North Star’s executive director, about his work on the continent. Gatignon has done research on creating optimal partnerships to tackle socio-economic problems using data from North Star, in conjunction with Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management.

  • Creating Optimal Partnerships to Tackle Socio-economic Problems, Knowledge@Wharton - 04/21/2016 Description

    When it comes to tackling large-scale socio-economic problems, especially in emerging markets, several entities usually form partnerships to solve these challenges. But what is the optimal configuration of these partnerships and how should they best be coordinated for maximum effect?

  • Maximizing Partnerships: How Employee Learning Impacts the Organization, Knowledge@Wharton - 10/22/2015 Description

    Sending employees to work on a project with a joint partner is a convenient and efficient way for companies to glean outside knowledge and learn new ways of conducting business. But it’s not that simple. Employees who are chosen to work on these projects often have to learn under very unfamiliar conditions, and they must figure out how to integrate that new information into the existing framework of the company when they come back.

Knowledge @ Wharton

Activity

In the News

Confronting COVID-19: Why Firms Need to Tap Nonprofit Partnerships

Firms have an important role to play in the response to COVID-19, but they should leverage the unique ability of the nonprofit sector to serve hard-to-reach populations during disasters, writes Wharton’s Aline Gatignon.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2020/03/19
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