Davide Marchiori

Learning in Dynamic Environments: How we adapt to change - LEADER - 3 330 327 DKK

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF/FSE), 2017 - 2021


The goal of LEADER is to investigate how experiential learning occurs in dynamic environments. Thus, in LEADER, learning is defined as the processes according to which past experience affects current choice behavior.

Review of the economics and psychology literature shows that we have a fairly rich knowledge about the factors that drive human learning in repeated decision tasks (static decision environments). However, we know little about how learning occurs in dynamic environments, where the values of the environmental variables relevant to the decision making process are affected by shocks over time.

In LEADER, data from laboratory experiments is collected on purely feedback-driven decisions in dynamic environments, and use these data to develop and test new computational models of learning that endogenize the processes of shock detection and adaptation.



Oliver Baumann

Controlling Innovation in Complex Organizations - 3 758 688 DKK

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF/FSE), 2017 - 2021


Many firms have delegated innovation: rather than tasking only a central research and development center, firms seek to harness the creative capacity of the entire organization. When delegating innovation to lower organizational levels,however, corporate managers must coordinate a complex system: multiple units that innovate within their individual purview, but which are interdependent in various ways and thus collectively shape the organization’s behavior.


But how can managers then ensure that the units engage in the “right” innovation efforts –those that are best for the organization as a whole and that balance incremental refinements of existing competencies with the discovery of novel and radically different ones? One lever through which managers direct the collective actions of such complex organizations is through firms’ control systems: managers design goals and strategic plans for lower-level units,provide performance feedback, and adjust goals and plans accordingly.


Our understanding of how to control innovation, however, is limited by two gaps in extant theory: (1) an aggregation problem: how lower-level innovation efforts in response to a control system translate to organization-level outcomes; (2) an adaptation problem: how the control system itself should adapt, given that innovation is often triggered by a changing environment.


Combining work in organization science with insights from management accounting and control theory allows addressing these questions.




Thorbjørn Knudsen

COPE: Change, Organizational Plasticity, and Evolutiong - 10 455 535 DKK

The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF/FSE), 2014 - 2018


The purpose of this project is to establish a research program to address the challenge of organizational adaptation: In an increasingly global and dynamic world, our economic systems, financial institutions and social organizations must adapt,but how?


The scientific knowledge about adaptation in social organizations is in adequate because we lack a basic understanding of the micro-processes that determine adaptive costs as well as the costs of enduring mis-adaptation. This is critical because the empirical evidence indicates an enormous scale of waste associated with both reorganizing social organizations and disposing of existing organizations.


Given alack of scientific knowledge on efficient adaptation – and the fundamental importance of this problem for the long-term viability of firms, financial institutions and other social organizations in an increasingly global and dynamic world – the aim of this project is to understand the determinants of adaptive efficiency in social organizations.


Following a common use in the natural sciences, we label this property of repeated efficient adaptation as plasticity. We leverage recent advances in the mathematics of learning and use them as foundation for our new organizational theory of plasticity.


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