Lourdes Sosa

Lourdes Sosa

BS (ITESM, Mexico) PhD (MIT)
Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Strategy and Entrepreneurship

I study technology strategy and innovation management.  In particular, I research technological discontinuities, a pervasive phenomenon in which a radical change in technologies disrupts a market.  Such changes are often referred to by practitioners as disruptive technologies and by scholars in other fields (e.g., economists, sociologists) as creative destruction.  Examples include current radical changes, such as the moves to biotechnology, nanotechnology, and photonics, as well as historical ones, such as the transitions from vacuum tubes to transistors or from ice harvesting to refrigeration. 

In my work, I present technological discontinuities as playing a central role in the Strategy field.  By altering the value of the capabilities of incumbent firms, discontinuities allow entry and can alter the distribution of profitability across firms within a market.  Therefore, I see in the study of discontinuities an opportunity to contribute to mainstream strategy's objective of explaining within-market differences in firm performance.  Furthermore, by looking at variation in the ability of incumbent firms to adapt to a radical change in technologies, I also see an opportunity to contribute to research on organizational change.

I am specifically interested in understanding the competitive dynamics of the R&D race that ensues through a technological discontinuity, thus I target an array of research questions: do competence-destroying discontinuities always favor entrants as prior literature has claimed?  If so, why do incumbents engage in such discontinuities?  Furthermore, entrants can be diversifying or de novo firms.  In light of prior literature's claim that diversifying entrants have an advantage over de novo firms, why are de novo firms founded in disrupted markets?  Are there no possible sources of competitive advantage for de novo firms facing diversifying entrants? 

In my current agenda I have contributed to both strategic management and the study of technological discontinuities.  In strategic management, I have identified particular sources of competitive advantage that address the longitudinal question of profitability within a market, that is, I have identified drivers of competitive advantage that can be sustained as the environment changes.  In the study of technological discontinuities, I have offered an explanation for why a priori all groups of firms in competition have an incentive to engage in the R&D race given their different potential sources of competitive advantage.  An implication from my research is that it is the interaction between a specific characteristic of a sub-set of the new technology and a particular feature of a sub-set of all competing firms that ultimately results in competitive advantage in the R&D race.  Furthermore, I have identified features with predictive power for the R&D race, features that grounded in the understanding of R&D capabilities themselves examined prospectively, represent an improved methodology for practitioners to use as they strategize to compete through a discontinuity.

Please find below links to my published papers. For a copy of my CV, click here.


Sosa ML. 2012. Decoupling Market Incumbency from Organizational Prehistory: Locating the Real
Sources of Competitive Advantage in R&D for Radical Innovation. Strategic Management Journal 34(2) 245-255.

Sosa ML. 2011. From Old Competence Destruction to New Competence Access: Evidence from the
Comparison of Two Discontinuities in Anticancer Drug Discovery. Organization Science 22(6) 1500-1516.

Sosa ML. 2009. Application-Specific R&D Capabilities and the Advantage of Incumbents: Evidence from
the Anticancer Drug Market. Management Science 55(8) 1409-1422.

Fernandez RM, Sosa ML. 2005. Gendering the Job: Networks and Recruitment at a Call Center. American Journal of Sociology 111(3) 859-904.

Allen TJ, Sosa ML. 2004. 50 Years of Engineering Management through the Lens of the IEEE
Transactions. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 51(4) 391-395.


PhD Seminar in Macro OB, Spring 2013

Strategic Analysis - Masters in Management Program, Summer 2011-present

Strategic Analysis - Emerging Leaders Program, 2010-2011

International Assignment: India - Executive MBA Program, Summer 2010-present

Strategic Management - MBA Core Course, Autumn 2006-2009

PhD Seminar in Strategy Content, Summer 2007-present

Contact details

Email lsosa@london.edu

Tel +44 (0) 20 7000 8729
Fax +44 (0) 20 7000 8701

School Profile page

Visit Lourdes's Faculty Profile

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