Luis A. Rios

Luis A. Rios
  • Assistant Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2019 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links: CV



PhD, Business Administration, 2016
Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
Dissertation: “Internal Capital, External Knowledge, and Random Draws: Three Drivers of Organizational Structure”
Committee:  Ashish Arora/Sharon Belenzon (co-chairs), Aaron Chatterji, Wesley M. Cohen, Daniel A. Levinthal

MBA 2005
University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

AB 1999
Harvard University
English and American Literature and Language

Research Interests

Professor Rios’ research draws on strategy, organizational theory, and the economics of innovation, to study the dynamics of organizational structure. It explores how formal and informal mechanisms interact dynamically within and across firm boundaries. Formal and informal types of structures interact with each other and are often not in harmony. Thus, his research often uses network analysis methodology to explore how interpersonal or inter-unit interactions aggregate into different types of structure in relation to the firm’s formal structure.

A secondary and related research stream looks at the interaction between the internal structure and the external environment. Firms decide whether to organize activities around the internal generation of knowledge or to seek this in the markets. These decisions should be logically interdependent. However, there remains little integration among the respective research streams that explore these channels. Thus, Professor Rios’ research explores how organizational structure within firm boundaries interacts with elements outside the boundaries of the firm. These external factors include the economic and institutional context, as well as the market for mergers and acquisitions. These projects explore how important the external environment can be in shaping internal structure and ongoing strategy, how these two are often path-dependent, as well as conditions under which organizations impact their environment.

His work has been published in top-ranked journals, including Strategic Management Journal and Management Science. Prior to academia, Professor Rios held a number of positions which inform his research, such as Managing Director for a diversified investment group, entrepreneur, and literary agent.

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  • Luis A. Rios (2019), On the origin of technological acquisition strategy: The interaction between organizational plasticity and environmental munificence, Strategic Management Journal.

    Abstract: Why do some firms routinely acquire more than others? I add to extant theory on technological acquisitions and M&A learning by documenting how the interaction between organizational plasticity and environmental munificence can create one demarcation point for some technology firms to become more acquisitive than others. Using a novel dataset on 1,201 firms that went public between 1983 and 2007 I find evidence of a persistent divergence even twenty years after IPO. Additional tests rule out alternative explanations and explore potential mechanisms.

  • Argyres, N. Luis A. Rios, B. Silverman (2019), Organizational change and the dynamics of innovation: Formal R&D structure and intrafirm inventor networks, Strategic Management Journal.

    Abstract: Prior research has argued and shown that firms with centralized R&D organization structures produce broader-impact innovations relative to more decentralized firms. The organizational mechanisms underlying this relationship, however, are underexplored. A better understanding of these mechanisms is needed in order understand whether and how formal R&D structure can be used as a lever to influence research outcomes in the firm. To address these questions, we study the relationship between formal R&D structure, internal inventor networks, and innovative behavior and outcomes. We find that centralization of R&D budget authority increases the connectedness of internal inventor networks, which in turn increases the breadth of impact of innovations and the breadth of technological search. Our results suggest that changes in structure influence innovation outcomes through changes in inventor networks, with a lag reflecting organizational inertia.

  • Luis A. Rios, D. Rachinskii, R. Cross (2017), A model of hysteresis arising from social interaction within a firm, Journal of Physics, Conference Series 811 (1).

    Abstract: This paper subscribes to the view that a key distinguishing feature of a firm is its social nature. We present a model in which hysteresis arises from the social interactions between employees. Employees have a simple response to incentives in the form of the pay available outside the firm relative to that available within the firm. Allowing for social interaction, whereby employees are influenced by the effort levels of fellow employees, leads to the distinctive effects, such as lazy relay responses to incentives, associated with hysteresis.

  • Luis A. Rios, D. Rachinskii, R. Cross (2017), On the rationale for hysteresis in economic decisions, Journal of Physics, Conference Series 811 (1).

    Abstract: In the social sciences there are plausible reasons to postulate that hysteresis effects are important. The available evidence, however, is predominantly at the macro level. In this paper we review the evidence regarding hysteresis in the neural processes underlying human behavior. We argue that there is a need for experimental and neuroimaging studies to fill the gap in knowledge about hysteresis processes at the micro level in the social sciences.

  • A. Arora, S. Belenzon, Luis A. Rios (2014), Make, buy, organize: The interplay between research, external knowledge, and firm structure, Strategic Management Journal, 35 (3).

    Abstract: We bridge current streams of innovation research to explore the interplay between R&D, external knowledge, and organizational structure—three elements of a firm's innovation strategy, which we argue should logically be studied together. Using within-firm patent assignment patterns, we develop a novel measure of structure for a large sample of American firms. We find that centralized firms invest more in research, and patent more per R&D dollar, than decentralized firms. Both types access technology via mergers and acquisitions, but their acquisitions differ in terms of frequency, size, and integration. Consistent with our framework, their sources of value creation differ: while centralized firms derive more value from internal R&D, decentralized firms rely more on external knowledge. We discuss how these findings should stimulate more integrative work on theories of innovation. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  • S. Belenzon, T. Berkowitz, Luis A. Rios (2013), Capital markets and firm organization: How financial development shapes European corporate groups, Management Science, 59 (6).

    Abstract: We investigate the effect of financial development on the formation of European corporate groups. Because cross-country regressions are hard to interpret in a causal sense, we exploit exogenous industry measures to investigate a specific channel through which financial development may affect group affiliation: internal capital markets. Using a comprehensive firm-level data set on European corporate groups in 15 countries, we find that countries with less developed financial markets have a higher percentage of group affiliates in more capital-intensive industries. This relationship is more pronounced for young and small firms and for affiliates of large and diversified groups. Our findings are consistent with the view that internal capital markets may, under some conditions, be more efficient than prevailing external markets, and that this may drive group affiliation even in developed economies.

  • N. Argyres, B. Silverman, Luis A. Rios, Interplay between internal inventor networks and external knowledge networks.

    Description: [Title redacted for submission]. Preparing for submission to Organization Science

  • Luis A. Rios, D. Rachinskii, R. Cross (Working), A lab-based test of hysteresis arising from social interactions.

    Description: [Title redacted for submission].

  • Luis A. Rios, D. Jena, P. McGrath (Work In Progress), Persistent deal diversity strategy and performance after downturns.

  • Luis A. Rios, M. Lawrence, M. Workiewicz (Work In Progress), A Simulation-based exploration of interplay between organizational structure, knowledge, and the performance of human capital employees.


Past Courses


    This course encourages students to analyze the problems of managing the total enterprise in the domestic and international setting. The focus is on the competitive strategy of the firm, examining issues central to its long- and short-term competitive position. Students act in the roles of key decision-makers or their advisors and solve problems related to the development or maintenance of the competitive advantage of the firm in a given market. The first module of the course develops an understanding of key strategic frameworks using theoretical readings and case-based discussions. Students will learn concepts and tools for analyzing the competitive environment, strategic position and firm-specific capabilities in order to understand the sources of a firm's competitive advantage. In addition, students will address corporate strategy issues such as the economic logic and administrative challenges associated with diversification choices about horizontal and vertical integration. The second module will be conducted as a multi-session, computer-based simulation in which students will have the opportunity to apply the concepts and tools from module 1 to make strategic decisions. The goal of the course is for students to develop an analytical tool kit for understanding strategic issues and to enrich their appreciation for the thought processes essential to incisive strategic analysis. This course offers students the opportunity to develop a general management perspective by combining their knowledge of specific functional areas with an appreciation for the requirements posed by the need to integrate all functions into a coherent whole. Students will develop skills in structuring and solving complex business problems.


    Emerging enterprises, the focus in this course, are small, new, fast-growing organizations. Their founders and managers face multifaceted challenges: how to assess the competitive position of their business model and develop a strategy; how to develop the internal organizational structure, culture, and policies for selecting and managing employees; and how to pursue global opportunities. We cover these challenges in separate modules on strategy, human and social capital, and global issues. The human and social capital module covers classic management challenges of aligning interests of the individual and the organization; managing individual psychological needs and social influences; and developing employee capabilities that provide competitive advantage. Also covered are unique challenges that yound organizations face, i.e. building an effective culture; recruiting, selecting, and retaining talent; building systematic approaches to motivating employees; coping with the stresses of rapid growth; and leveraging the benefits (and avoiding the liabilities) of the founder's powerful imprint. The strategy module covers fundamental issues central to the competitiveness of the enterprise. Because the strategy field is broad, MGMT 612 emphasizes topics and frameworks that are most relevant for younger firms, such as innovation, disruption, managing resource constraints, and building capabilities. However, a key insight of the module is the importance of seeing the playing field from the perspective of the competition. Thus, by the end of this section, students will have a robust grounding in strategy that will allow them to succeed, whether their career path leads to a Fortune 100 firm or a garage start up. The global module covers the emerging firm's decision about when (and whether) to internationalize. This decision must address which foreign markets to enter; the mode of entry; the sequence of moves to develop capabilities; what organizational form to choose; where to establish HQ; and how to adapt to the unique economic and institutional features of different markets. In all these issues, the emphasis is on how young, resource-constrained firms can position themselves profitably in globally competitive markets. For the final project, student teams provide integrated analysis across the modules for an emerging enterprise of their choice.

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