Rotman School of Management

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Initiative on Business Formation in Emerging Markets

This project is led by Anita McGahan and Will Mitchell and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

We study business formation and innovation in emerging markets, with a focus on the health sector

We are interested both in activities within countries that are undergoing rapid transformation and, in turn, how Canada and other developed countries benefit from ideas, business models, and other innovations that originate in emerging markets.  The approach is designed to yield a novel understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation in and from emerging markets.  We believe that prosperity ultimately rests on unique combinations of insights generated by innovators in both emerging and developed economies. 

Our research is conducted in four streams:

  1. Business formation in emerging markets.  What mechanisms facilitate the co-creation of market infrastructure and business capabilities in resource-limited settings?  What innovative businesses and business models are arising in emerging markets? 
  2. Business innovation and market growth in resource-limited settings.  How do institutions such as business incubators enable the creation of markets?  What are the implications of business innovation in resource-limited settings for the development of emerging markets and for the emergence of new capabilities in developed countries?
  3. Business expansion and innovation from emerging markets.  How do innovative businesses in resource-limited settings interact with and compete against established multinational companies with roots in developed markets?  How does business innovation in emerging markets affect the global value chain? 
  4. Disruptions from emerging markets and developed-market responses.  Do business innovations from emerging markets—particularly models that emphasize low-cost manufacturing, product development, and marketing approaches—carry the potential to disrupt established business practices in developed countries?  How do businesses in developed markets respond to innovative mechanisms of value creation that originate in resource-limited settings?  How do firms innovate collaboratively across the boundaries between developed and emerging markets?

 For more detail, please see our research publications and working papers.

We pursue four streams of interrelated research

A. Business formation in emerging markets

B. Business innovation within emerging markets

  • “Accessing Healthcare with Information Technology” (2013) John A. MacDonald, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, and the T-HOPE team at the University of Toronto: Ilan Shahin, John Ginther, Leigh Hayden, Kathryn Mossman, Himanshu Parikh, Raman Sohal & Onil Bhattacharyya, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall: 49-54.
  • Innovation for inclusive growth: towards a theoretical framework and a research agenda” (2012) Gerard George, Anita McGahan & Jaideep Prabhu. Journal of Management Studies 49 (4): 661-683
  • Innovative drugs and vaccines in China, India and Brazil” (2012) Rahim Rezaie, Anita McGahan, Abdallah Daar & Peter Singer.  Nature Biotechnology 30 (10): 923-926.
  • “Biopharmaceutical Innovation in China, India, Brazil and South Africa:  Implications for the United States,” Rahim Rezaie, Anita McGahan, Sarah Frew, Abdallah Daar & Peter Singer.  Working paper.
  • “Fiocruz:  Public-Private Partnerships in Medicine,” Sandro Cabral, Peter Klein, Sergio Lazzarini & Anita McGahan.  Working paper.
  • “How merger evaluation methods in Korea differ as Knightian uncertainty and controversy vary” (2013) Hyoung Goo Kang, Wonseok Woo, Richard Burton & Will Mitchell.  Working paper.
  • “Buffering and enabling: The impact of interlocking political ties on firm survival and sales growth in China” Zheng Weiting, Kulwant Singh & Will Mitchell. Working paper.
  • “Reported Outcomes, Strategy and Performance Measurement: Analysis of the Centre for Health Market Innovations Database” (2012) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Raman Sohal, John Ginther, Himanshu Parikh, Leigh Hayden. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2012 February 28
  • “Comprehensiveness of Program Reporting in the CHMI Dataset.” (2012) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, John A. MacDonald, Ilan Shahin, Leigh Hayden, Himanshu Parikh, Raman Sohal, John Ginther. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2012 April 30.
  • A Review of Best Practices in Performance Reporting: Developing a Broad Hierarchy of Performance Measures.” (2012) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell  Kate Mossman, Raman Sohal, John Ginther, Jieun Cha, Ameya Bopardikar, John A. MacDonald, Leigh Hayden, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2012 July 15.
  • “Performance Measurement for Innovative Health Programs: Understanding Efficiency, Quality, and Scale.” (2012) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, Raman Sohal, John Ginther, Jieun Cha, Ameya Bopardikar, John A. MacDonald, Leigh Hayden, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2012 August 15.
  • “Describing Practices of Innovative Health Care Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.” (2012) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, John Ginther, Raman Sohal, Leigh Hayden, John A. MacDonald, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2012 September 30.
  •  “Performance of Innovative Health Organizations Framework: Developing a Comprehensive, Credible, and Feasible Performance Measurement Framework for Health Organizations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.” (2012) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, John Ginther, Raman Sohal, Leigh Hayden, John A. MacDonald, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2012 December 7.
  • Health Window on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH)” (2013) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, Leigh Hayden, John Ginther, Raman Sohal, John A. MacDonald, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2013 January 7.
  • Tuberculosis Health Window” (2013) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, David Leung, Leigh Hayden, John Ginther, Raman Sohal, Aaron Chatterji, John A. MacDonald, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2013 February 1.
  • Malaria Health Window.” (2013) Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, Kate Mossman, Leigh Hayden, John Ginther, Raman Sohal, Aaron Chatterji, David Leung, John A. MacDonald, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin. Center for Health Market Innovations. 2013 February 22.

C. Expansion and innovation from emerging markets

  • “Innovation by business groups in Taiwan, 1981-2000: The impact of buyer-supplier density on patenting as market development increase” (2013) Chung Chi-Nien, Ishtiaq Mahmood & Will Mitchell. Management Science, Forthcoming.
  • “Value Creation, Value Capture, Access, Scaling Up and Sustainability:  Insights from Health Delivery in Resource-Limited Settings,” Yu-Ling Cheng, Ryan Hum, Anita McGahan, Murray Metcalfe, Peter Singer, Dilip Soman, Janice Stein, Joseph Wong & Stanley Zlotkin.  Working paper.
  • "Caught in the crossfire: How conflict of interests among domestic and international large shareholders affects employment risk of senior executives in Taiwan" Will Mitchell & Li Shu-Ping. Working paper.
  • An International Comparative Public Health Analysis of Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Eight Cities: Achieving a More Effective Health Sector Response,” (forthcoming) Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, Roy Ahn, Elaine J. Alpert, Elizabeth Cafferty, Anita McGahan, Timothy P. Williams, Judith Palmer Castor, Nadya Wolferstan & Thomas F. Burke, Journal of Urban Health 
  • Human Trafficking Educational Resources for Health Professionals: Review and Recommendations,” Roy Ahn, Elaine J Alpert, Genevieve Purcell, Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, Anita McGahan, Elizabeth Cafferty, Melody Eckardt, Kathryn Conn, Kate Cappetta & Thomas F Burke, American Journal of Preventive Medicine 44:3 (March 2013), pp. 283-289
  • Global Divergence in Critical Income for Adult and Childhood Survival 2007: Analyses of Mortality using Michaelis-Menten,” Ryan J. Hum, Prabhat Jha, Anita M McGahan & Yu-Ling Cheng, eLife 1 (2012), no pps.
  • Innovative Health Service Delivery Models in Low and Middle Income Countries – What can we learn from the private sector?,” Onil Bhattacharyya, Anita M McGahan, Sara Khor, David Dunne, Abdullah Daar & Peter Singer, Health Research Policy and Systems 8:24 (2010)
  • ’Sustainability’ in Global Health,” Alice Yang, Anita M McGahan, & Paul E. Farmer, Global Public Health Vol. 5, No. 2 (March 2010), pp. 129-135, reprinted inMunk Monitor (Spring 2013)
  • “Economic Valuations in Global Health,” Anita M McGahan and Gerald Keusch,Global Public Health Vol. 5, No. 2 (March 2010), pp. 136-142
  • The Future of Health Care Access,” John A. MacDonald, Will Mitchell, John Ginther, Leigh Hayden, Kathryn Mossman, Himanshu Parikh, Ilan Shahin, Raman Sohal, Anita McGahan, Onil Bhattacharyya, Stanford Social Innovation Review (Fall 2013), pp. 48-54
  •  “Paradoxes of Innovation in Health and their Resolution in Embedded Innovation,” (2012) Anita McGahan,  Munk Monitor 2 (Fall), pp. 14-17.
  •  “Embedded Innovation in Health.” Forthcoming. Anita M McGahan, Rahim Rezaie & Donald C. Cole in Innovating for the Global South: Towards an Inclusive Innovation Agenda (Dilip Soman, Janice Gross Stein, and Joseph Wong, eds.), Rotman-UTP Publishing.
  • "Inclusive innovation." Forthcoming. Anita McGahan & Will Mitchell in Innovating for the Global South: Towards an Inclusive Innovation Agenda (Dilip Soman, Janice Gross Stein, and Joseph Wong, eds.), Rotman-UTP Publishing.  
  • Multi-market innovations arising in emerging markets. Thesis work under development by Raman Sohal.

D. Disruptions from emerging markets and developed-market responses

Our scholars span the fields of management, life sciences, and engineering

Principal investigators

Anita McGahan
Anita McGahan is Associate Dean (Research), Director of the PhD Program and Professor of Strategic Management at Rotman (with a cross-appointment to the Munk School of Global Affairs). Her research is focused on industry change, sustainable competitive advantage and the establishment of new fields. An area of particular interest to her is in global health and the diffusion of knowledge across international boundaries.

Will Mitchell
Will Mitchell is the J. Rex Fuqua Professor of International Management at Duke University and serves as a Visiting Professor of Strategic Management at Rotman, where he holds the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialization. Will studies business dynamics in developed and emerging markets, investigating how businesses change as their competitive environments change and, in turn, how business changes contribute to ongoing corporate and social performance. Will teaches courses in corporate strategy, emerging market strategy, entrepreneurial strategy, and pharmaceutical and other health sector strategy. He serves as a board member of Neuland Laboratories, Ltd. (Hyderabad).


Joel A.C. BaumOnil BhattacharyyaRichard BurtonSandro CabralAaron ChatterjiYu-Ling ChengWilbur ChungAbdallah DaarMercedes Delgado | Greg DistelhorstNel DuttGlobal Business School Network (GBSN)Alfonso GambardellaOlga HawnRyan HumHyoung-Goo KangAldas KriauciuniasMargaret KyleSergio Lazzarini | Ishtiaq MahmoodPatricia McCarneyRebecca ReuberRahim RezaieKulwant SinghDilip Soman | Janice SteinKeyvan VakiliGiovanni ValentiniElena VidalJoseph WongWeiting Zheng | Stanley Zlotkin

Courses in 2013-14 are taught at the University of Toronto and Boston University

Pharmaceutical Strategy in Developed and Emerging Markets

RSM2017HF (University of Toronto)

Instructor: Will Mitchell

Overview. This course examines strategy and policy issues concerning product commercialization, competition, and regulation in the global pharmaceutical industry. We concentrate on factors that are critically important for pharmaceutical firms, including their strong research intensity, extensive and complex marketing investments, close ties to the health care system, and the critical role of government regulations and policy.

Audience. This course is for students aspiring to work in the pharmaceutical sector, whether in a large established firm, a start-up, or in an academic setting. The course is also directly relevant for students who are considering consulting in the industry, working with health providers who interact with the industry, or undertaking policy positions involving the pharmaceutical industry and the life sciences sector more broadly. We will discuss case studies of pharmaceutical companies in multiple countries and market segments throughout the term and gain insights into what drives superior corporate and social performance in this industry in this country and globally.

Educational objectives. Pharmaceutical products are experiencing a boom period of growth due to surging innovation from a wide variety of players, including academic researchers, start-up firms, and very large corporations throughout the world. Although the public discourse often highlights challenges to the industry due to patent expirations and slowing growth in established markets, the underlying drivers of the industry are very strong. The viewpoint of this course is that managing innovation and commercialization at multiple points along a complex value chain that involves both industry and policy players is the key to growth and sustained competitive advantage. This multi-faceted challenge can only be addressed by a solid understanding of corporate strategy, the regulatory environment, finance, product development, customer needs, and other related issues. We will draw on core concepts from strategic management and other business disciplines, while refining and applying those general management concepts in the context of the pharmaceutical sector.

Topics. The course begins with an introduction to pharmaceutical pipelines. We next examine key aspects of the pharmaceutical commercialization process, including pricing, reimbursement, promotion, differences among market segments, and competition between generics and proprietary products. We conclude by considering the management of inter-firm relationships such as pharmaceutical alliances and acquisitions. Throughout the course, we will consider the industry's strategic responses to recent developments including the growth of managed care, global competitiveness, proposed regulatory reform policies, increasing government cost containment policies in this country and abroad, and competition and growth in emerging markets.

Intellectual Property Strategies in Life Sciences and Technology

SI814 (Boston University)

Instructor: Anita McGahan

This course investigates the nature and consequences of intellectual property rights:  What does it mean to claim as property knowledge of any sort?  What is the philosophy behind the idea of knowledge as property?   We then will consider how organizations use intellectual property rights to protect their investments in knowledge assets, shape competition, and realize value from innovation.  Patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets have become important business tools throughout the knowledge-based economy, nowhere more so than in the life sciences and related sectors such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and health care delivery.  Indeed, by many accounts, the 21st century is the era in which knowledge capital and the interpretation of the rights arising from intellectual property shape value creation and profit opportunities.  As a result, a good understanding of what IP is and how it works has become essential knowledge for managers in almost any industry.

This is not a law course, nor a “how-to” manual—rather it is intended to develop your analytical understanding of the economic underpinnings of intellectual property systems around the world, and how they drive value creation, competition, business strategy, and the emergence of profit opportunity.  The course begins by reviewing the fundamentals of different forms of legal protection of intellectual property, and how they work in the Life Sciences industries.  It then moves on to look at the role played by IP in some difficult public policy issues such as gene patents , global access to medicines, and university-industry relationships, before turning to the economics and strategy of realizing returns from innovation and knowledge assets.  IP plays a central role here, either as a way to create and defend competitive advantage, or through its use in complex contractual arrangements for extracting value such as licensing and strategic partnerships. 

After taking this course you should have an appreciation of the critical role of IP in the Life Sciences industries, the strategic value of IP, how IP is used to control, defend and define knowledge assets, and the effective use of IP in licensing and partnership strategies.  The course is taught using a combination of lectures, exercises, visiting speakers, and independent reading.  The course is designed as a small-group learning environment in which students develop and explore their individual interests as well as interact in the classroom.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Challenges

JCR1000Y (University of Toronto)

Instructors: Yu-Ling Cheng (coordinator), Suzanne Jackson, Will Mitchell, Joseph Wong

Cross-listed by the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto Centre for Global Engineering, Munk School of Government, and Dalla Lana School of Public Health

In order to create sustainable solutions to the world’s most important challenges, global development professionals must reach beyond the traditional boundaries of their field of expertise combining scientific/technological, business, and social ideas in an approach known as integrated innovation.   In this project-based course, students from multiple disciplines (engineering, management, health and social sciences) will work together – using participatory methods with an international partner – to address a locally relevant challenge.  Students will be expected to communicate with and understand team members from other disciplines, integrate their knowledge and experience of global issues in order to:

(a)   identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches to addressing the challenge,

(b)   analyze the characteristics of existing social frameworks (ethical, cultural, business, political)

(c)    identify gaps and needs

(d)   propose an appropriate integrated solution approach that incorporates an analysis of the challenge through these disparate lenses.

The final deliverables for addressing the challenge at the end of the school year will include:  a proposal for an integrative innovative solution to address the challenge and a presentation of the key elements.

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