Junior Management Science, Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2024

How Sustainable Is Private Equity? Unlocking the Impact of Private Equity on Asset-Level Sustainability: An Empirical Investigation

Paul Sunzenauer, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1100-1122

The debate over the broader impact of the private equity industry has been a contentious topic in the academic literature. While recently, private equity investors have endorsed sustainability in their investment strategies, little is known whether the industry promotes sustainable transformation. This research uses data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the emission and handling of toxic chemicals in U.S. factories from 1991 to 2021 as a proxy for facility sustainability. The study reveals that, compared to the overall peer group facilities involved in a private equity takeover reduce pollution by 1.55 %-points less and reduce production waste by 1.1 %-points more in the two years after takeover. Further analysis indicates, that with a higher environmental hazard of the underlying chemicals, both the increase in pollution and the decrease in production waste become more pronounced. The study reveals that private equity ownership does not result in enhanced ecological sustainability. Further, the concurrence of the found trends with generally rising costs of both pollution control and raw materials of higher hazards suggest that the private equity business model is only effective in achieving sustainability goals if those are well aligned with financial objectives.

Keywords: impact of private equity; private equity; SRI; sustainability; sustainable finance.

How Do Companies Communicate Sustainability: A Semantic Analysis of German Automotive Manufacturers

Fabienne Le, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Bachelorarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1123-1139

CSR is increasingly becoming an integral part of a company´s business operation. To successfully implement a CSR strategy, companies must address their CSR actions to their stakeholders. This paper examines how companies communicate sustainability to their stakeholders through various communication channels. This paper supports the novel strand of research applying computer-aided quantitative analysis methods as an alternative to qualitative methods, commonly used in business ethics and sustainability research. With the application of a latent semantic analysis, four automotive companies were examined for their sustainability communication. The paper offers new insights into the use of different communication channels, highlighting that companies address specific aspects of their CSR actions depending on what stakeholder group they want to address.

Keywords: communication channels; computer-aided quantitative analysis; CSR; latent semantic analysis; sustainability; triple bottom line.

Flipping the Switch – The Role of Activity Load in Temporal Acquisition Patterns of Acquiring Firms

Frédéric Herold, Universität St.Gallen (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1140-1177

This study presents evidence on the effect of a firm’s activity load from acquisitions on its temporal acquisition pattern. Exploiting a panel of the 300 largest Fortune Global 500 firms over the 1990-2010 period, I use a hybrid logit model in which I regress momentum on activity load. I find that increases in the activity load from acquisitions, on average, reduce a firm’s likelihood to maintain acquisition momentum. That is, the increase in acquisition activity created by acquisition routines and cognitive maps of managers translates into a higher activity load until firms face a situation of information overload. Rational acquirers neutralize this pressure by reducing their acquisition volume which, in turn, decreases the activity load burden. Moreover, my results reveal that acquirers can switch from targets in a higher-complexity target firm category to targets in a lower-complexity target firm category to reduce their activity load burden while maintaining overall momentum. Yet, I obtain ambiguous results when examining heterogeneity in acquirer responses arising from differences in absorptive capacity. With these findings, my study adds to prior literature on acquisition patterns, strategic momentum, and the interplay between a firm’s activity load and absorptive capacity.

Keywords: activity load; M&A; momentum; switching behavior; temporal acquisition patterns.

Decarbonizing Travel Decisions by Using Digital Nudges

Patrick Riedlsperger, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1178-1210

The current climate crisis was caused by our everyday, individual decision-making. People have the opportunity to decide between options that contain more or less greenhouse gases. This is particularly relevant for the travel industry which has historically been a major contributor to global emissions. The nudging concept introduced by Sunstein and Thaler (2021) can help people enhance their decision-making to promote environmental stewardship. Every consumption decision in travel is an opportunity as it can be ‘decarbonized’ to a greener outcome. This thesis provides evidence that the intervention technique is effective to lead to more sustainable decision-making in a digital travel booking process. This research project used a simulated booking process to compare the effectiveness of different digital nudges. Users could choose different options in their booking in the realm of transport, accommodation and restaurants. Overall, 456 online participants completed the process. The digital experiment used one regular booking process, which was used as a reference group, and 9 different types of digital nudges. The effectiveness of the nudges was analyzed by using a binary logistic regression model. Of the 9 experiments which included digital nudging interventions, 6 produced statistically significant results. The most effective nudge in the experiment used a social norm intervention. After its application to the process, odds were more than 4 times higher that users chose the most sustainable option that contained the least amount of greenhouse gases. In general, all regression coefficients (B) were positive, with odds ratios Exp(B) between 2.471 and 4.419. The results of this thesis support the view that nudges are an effective tool to drive more sustainable behavior. The results showed that digital nudges led to the booking of the most sustainable travel offers. User interface designers and other choice architects can use the findings of this thesis to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in travel as one of the many steps we must undertake to fight global warming and its drastic impacts on our economy and society.

Keywords: choice intervention; digital nudging; nudge theory; sustainability; travel.

Depolarizing Innovation: Dynamic Policy Implications for Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Second-Tier European Regions

Jan Keim, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1211-1240

Entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) research has mainly focused on metropolitan regions and neglected second-tier (European) regions. I use a comparative case study approach with a focus on regional public policy to analyze two second-tier European regions: Uppsala and Galway. The results show that EEs can emerge as a by-product of attracting foreign direct investment or investment in higher education and research. In both cases, the R&D activities of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and universities contribute to the emergence and growth of EEs by enabling the creation of spin-offs. Given the limited resources in second-tier regions, EE initially focus on specific industry clusters to maximize resource efficiency. Later diversification increases ecosystem resilience and mitigates cluster risks. However, limited access to growth capital in second-tier EEs leads to increased acquisition activity by MNEs or the relocation of high-growth ventures to metropolitan areas. Policy measures that support second-tier regions’ efforts to create local EEs initially focus on promoting R&D, knowledge spillovers, and research commercialization, later include the creation of supportive infrastructure, and finally enable the attraction of growth capital to the region.

Keywords: economic geography; entrepreneurial ecosystems; public policy; second-tier regions; spatial context.

Cost Allocation in Vehicle Routing Problems with Time Windows

Federico Arroyo, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1241-1268

The estimation of costs allocated to each customer when serving them in a collaborative logistic operation is a complex problem whose solution is computationally very expensive. In this work the case of central horizontal collaboration for vehicle routing problems with time windows and a central depot is studied. An approximation to the Shapley value method via structured random sampling is used to calculate the cost associated with customers in Solomon instances. Such costs are regressed to a linear model with a set of defined features. The results show that cost can be predicted with considerable accuracy with few features. Moreover, the extent to which vehicles’ capacity, customers’ demand and distance, the degree of customer clustering and time window horizons affect cost and potential savings from carriers in collaboration is assessed. Additionally, individual regression models of different set of instances show how various pricing strategies for customers can be fitted to their classification when grouping them.

Keywords: collaborative vehicle routing; cost allocation; Shapley value method; structured random sampling; time windows.

Rewarding Creativity: The Moderating Role of Personality

Maryam Rassouli-Baghi, Universität Amsterdam (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1269-1285

The aim of this paper is to find out if Openness to Experience and Extraversion have an interacting effect on the relationship between monetary rewards and originality. Therefore, in an online experiment which was set up in two parts – the first part measured participants personality level whereas the second part included a divergent thinking task, where the originality of ideas was measured – I find that Openness to Experience and Extraversion positively influence creativity. Further, it is assumed, that monetary rewards positively influence an individual’s creativity, as those individuals being rewarded for creativity performed more creative. However, analysis indicates that there is no interaction effect as assumed. As the ability of creative thinking is essential for companies and can even lead to a competitive advantage, the findings of this study provide useful insights about the relevance of personality on creativity for theory and practice.

Keywords: creativity; divergent thinking, performance; personality; reward sensitivity.

The Effect of Carbon Taxes on Directed Technological Innovation: A Case Study of Sweden

Paolo Oppelt, Technische Universität München (Masterarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1286-1305

A carbon tax is widely seen as an effective climate policy instrument for discouraging the emission of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. According to the economic theory of the Porter hypothesis, a carbon tax can induce directed technological change toward innovation in clean technologies. Nevertheless, empirical research on the effects of a carbon tax on clean innovation, especially concerning recent periods, is sparse. This paper uses a quasi-experimental approach, in the form of the synthetic control method, to estimate the effect of carbon taxes on climate change mitigating technologies. I conduct a case study of the introduction of the carbon tax in 1990/1991 in Sweden and its effect on clean technology in the transportation sector. Sweden is chosen as it was the first country, next to Finland, to implement a carbon tax, and that at a significant price. I find that the introduction of the carbon tax in 1990/1991 has a positive effect with an economically meaningful magnitude on driving innovation in climate change mitigating technologies. The significant and strong effect of the carbon tax on clean innovation can provide important policy insights for other governments, which did not yet introduce a carbon tax or did not do so at an insignificant rate.

Keywords: carbon taxation; clean technology innovation; Sweden; synthetic control method; transportation sector.

How to Measure the Success of Technology-Based Start-Ups – A Comprehensive Overview of the Perspectives of Academics & Practitioners

Faris Ben Saad, Technische Universität München (Bachelorarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1306-1340

Successful technology start-ups can be a significant driver of a country’s economic development and could transform entire industries with new technological innovations. For this reason, in research and practice, special attention is always paid to one particular type of start-up: a successful one. To date, however, little research has been done on how to measure a start-up’s success. To advance the knowledge about start-up success measurement in academic research, this thesis investigates what academics and practitioners understand by a successful start-up and what they consider to be reliable measures of success. Several scientific studies dedicated to the examination of start-up success were analyzed and seven semi-structured expert interviews with venture capitalists from the early-stage investment sector were conducted. The results show that in both the academic and practical world, start-up success is perceived as a complex, multidimensional phenomenon whose measurement depends on a variety of different factors that may change over time. It is therefore concluded that a meaningful measurement of start-up success requires the use of a combination of different metrics to address this multidimensional nature of success.

Keywords: new venture performance; new ventures; startup success; startups; venture capital.

Mit Selbstoptimierung zum individuellen Glück?

Lea Krähenmann, Universität St.Gallen (Bachelorarbeit)
Junior Management Science 9(1), 2024, 1341-1383

In unserer säkularen Gesellschaft sind Menschen trotz begrenzter Möglichkeiten aufgefordert, ihrem Leben Sinn zu geben. Während innere Heldenreisen ein Gefühl von Sinn, Tiefe und Zugehörigkeit vermitteln, gewinnen scheinbare Glücksversprechen wie Selbstoptimierung zunehmend an Bedeutung. Diese explorative Studie zielt darauf ab zu untersuchen, ob Studierende Selbstoptimierung als Weg zum erfüllten Leben betrachten und wie sich dies zu transformativen Entwicklungsgeschichten verhält. Mithilfe von semistrukturierten Interviews und einem quantitativ ausgewerteten Fragebogen werden das Gesellschaftsbild der Studierenden, ihre Selbstoptimierungspraktiken und -motive, Vorstellungen eines gelungenen Lebens sowie Zusammenhänge erforscht. In der postheroischen, säkularen und leistungsorientierten Gesellschaft erwartet die Mehrheit der befragten Studierenden von sich selbst, an sich zu arbeiten. Die Auswertung zeigt, dass nur wenige Befragte transformative Entwicklungsgeschichten erleben, während andere in vermeintlich transformativen Entwicklungen wie Selbstoptimierung oder anderen Lebensprojekten nach Glück streben. Die These, dass dieses strebende Glück auf unvollständigem Sinn- und Selbstkenntnisverständnis beruht, sollte in weiterführenden Studien überprüft werden.

Keywords: finding meaning; good life; self-improvement; self-optimization; transformative hero journey.