Date of Award

9-23-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Managerial Sciences

First Advisor

William Bogner - Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Pamela Barr - Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Alsli M. Arikan

Abstract

This research develops a real options perspective framework for firms‘ valuation of strategic investments. I propose that a real options perspective can provide an effective means of re-examining and revising firms‘ strategic investment decisions in general, and of making individual, investment-level abandonment decisions in particular. The principal purposes of this research are to explore whether firms make abandonment decisions in accordance with real options theory, and the relative strength of the traditional economic theory, the behavioral theory of the firm and real options theory in explaining firms‘ abandonment decisions. I develop a set of hypotheses in the context of firms‘ R&D investment strategies in the world chemical industry. Using U.S. patent renewal data, I empirically test the hypotheses. The results from the empirical analyses suggest that, 1) firms‘ actual innovation abandonment decisions are consistent with the predictions made from real options theory; and 2) a real options perspective provides better explanation of firms‘ abandonment decisions than traditional economic theory and the behavioral theory of the firm. Therefore, taking such a perspective allows us to better predict abandonment than the other models. In investigating whether insights from real options theory enlighten firm‘s abandonment decisions, this research contributes to the strategic decision making literature, real options research, RBV and dynamic capability research and innovation literature.

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