M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentVatnik Dan
SubjectCompetitive Absorptive Capacity, Top Management
Teams and Firm Performance
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors MR Avi Fiegenbaum (Deceased)


This study examines the processes of competitive knowledge absorption in top management teams and how these processes affect firm performance. It extends the theory of absorptive capacity that focuses on the acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation of technological knowledge (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990; Zahra & George, 2002) to address the absorption of competitive knowledge about customers, suppliers and competitors. The study uses a multi-level approach to examine the impact of top management team characteristics (Hambrick & Mason, 1984; 2004) on absorptive capacity and firm performance. Investigated characteristics include the big five personality traits of agreeableness, extroversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience, and the personal creativity profile of each member. Participants were 83 MBA students in a business simulation game.

The results revealed that the creativity of the top management team had a direct and positive impact on performance. Team agreeableness was also found to positively affect perceived knowledge assimilation. Knowledge acquisition did not affect performance, whereas knowledge transformation had a positive and significant effect on it. Perceived knowledge assimilation was found to negatively affect performance - contrary to our expectations. A web site for the management and research of simulation games that was developed parallel to the study is also presented.