The article «Focus in Searching Core-Periphery-Structures» co-authored by Professor Keil together with Assistant Professor Dirk Martignoni (USI Lugano) and Dr Markus Lang (UZH) has been accepted for publication in Organization Science, one of the top journals in Management. The article focuses on how attention in organizational search enables organizations to adapt in complex environments.
Specifically, prior research has been inconclusive, regarding whether organizations when faced with complex search problems (e.g. the design of a new business model) should focus their search efforts on core or peripheral choices in these problems. The article reconciles contradictory arguments and suggest that the efficacy of a search focus depends on the time horizon, nature of environmental change, and how the core and periphery interact. With the help of a simulation model the article demonstrates that the optimal focus depends in particular on the structure of the underlying problem the organization is facing, specifically the directionality of interdependence and whether interdependencies occur mostly within the core or between the core and periphery. The arguments developed in the article have important implications for theories of organizational change and inertia as well as for business model innovation.