Research Interests

I am interested in how digitalization transforms existing businesses and makes new businesses possible.

With regard to the transformation of existing businesses, I like the definition offered by McKinsey: “A digital transformation is the fundamental rewiring of how an organization operates, undergirded by technology and increasingly, AI. The goal of a digital transformation is to build a competitive advantage by continuously deploying tech at scale to improve customer experience, lower costs, and improve the company’s tech capabilities and ways of working.

To pursue this interest, I need to understand consumer behavior (how customers think, feel, and act in relation to a value proposition), innovation (the development of new products, services, and experiences), entrepreneurship (wrapping an innovation in a business model and connecting the business model to the market), and strategy (“an integrated set of choices that positions an organization within its environment to achieve its vision over the long term.”) When a business attempts to cross borders and cultures, international cross-cultural management skills and negotiation skills are required. Additionally, I need to follow technological trends.

I conduct research independently and with graduate students.

I am a supporter of the Responsible Research in Business & Management (RRBM) network and a co-signer of the Vision 2030 position paper which means that I believe that management research should produce “useful and credible knowledge that addresses problems important to business and society.”

The way that I live my RRBM-related values is by helping my graduate students to understand that — although their focus as management researchers is on building theory — the data they use to test hypotheses comes from the “real world.” And, although the nature of research ethics demands anonymity, and although the academic journal editors in the management domain value contributions to theory over practice, as researchers — if they choose to do so — in addition to building theory they can also develop a nuanced understanding of the context from which they draw their data enabling them to better understand the “story” their data are telling. This heightened contextual awareness enables my graduate students to better target the communication of their research results to populations that are more likely to benefit from those results.

When working with graduate students, I deliberately reframe the task of designing and conducting a Master’s level research project as part of the process of leader development as a way to keep them motivated and on track to complete their thesis by the deadline. Many of my students go from having zero knowledge about how to conduct a management discipline-related study, to completing a theory-driven, deductive, quantitative, correlational study in eight months, while carrying a full course load. (I use CANVAS LMS, outlines, templates, and Gantt charts to accelerate student learning along the thesis understanding curve).

Skills acquired in the process of completing this learning journey include – but are not limited to – the following:

• Problem finding/Problem framing (i.e. problem definition) skills
• Research skills
• Project-management skills
• The ability to “toggle” between the World of Theory and the World of Phenomena. (This ability is essential for translating theory into practice that fits the context in which the professionals are/will be managing).
• Conceptual thinking skills
• Critical thinking skills
• Skills related to the design and testing of Research Instruments.
• Statistical Analysis skills
• other

Academic Memberships

I am a member of the following academic societies:



  • Hackett, S. M. (2022). A model of cross-institutional alignment and value co-production: Integrating the institution-based view and “tightness-looseness” cultural theory. Aoyama Journal of Business, 57 (2) 91-101.
  • Rodriguez, P., Tuggle, C.S., & Hackett, S.M. (2009). An exploratory study of how ‘household capital’ impacts new venture start-up rates. Family Business Review, 22 (3) 259-272.
  • Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2008). Inside the black box of business incubation: Study B – Scale assessment, model refinement, and incubation outcomes. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 33 (5), 439-471.
  • Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2004). A real options-driven theory of business incubation. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 29 (1), 41-54.
  • Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2004). A systematic review of business incubation research. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 29 (1), 55-82.

Conference Presentations

  • Obieze, O. F. & Hackett, S.M. (2022). Is there a Relationship between Organizational Autonomy and Organizational Effectiveness? Industry Studies Association Annual Conference – The Future of Innovation: New Roles, New Rules, New Responsibilities. June 24-25, 2022. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Cooshneapa, R. & Hackett, S.M. (2019). Testing an Addition to the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management: Understanding the Inclusive Organization. August 9-13, 2019. Boston, MA.
  • Hackett, S.M. (2019). SaaS Industry Ecosystems: The development of global entrepreneurship capabilities outside of Silicon Valley. Industry Studies Association Conference – Walking the Tightrope to Economic Resilience: Balancing Specialization and Diversification. May 30-June 1, 2019. Nashville, TN.
  • Hackett, S. M. & Dilts, D. M. (2009). A business incubation strategy from Thailand. 4th SMU EDGE Conference: Bridging the Gap: Entrepreneurship in Theory & Practice: Singapore, Jul 2009
  • Hackett, Sean M & Dilts, D. M. (2008). Reverse Internationalization. Paper presented at Mason Entrepreneurship Research Conference: Fairfax, VA Mar 2008
  • Hackett, S. M., & De Carolis, D. M. (2006a). Why don’t more ‘Born Globals’ exist? A model for reducing the uncertainty of internationalization for new ventures. Paper presented at the San Francisco-Silicon Valley Global Entrepreneurship Research Conference, San Francisco, CA.
  • Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2006b). Scale development for constructs related to entrepreneurship: Venture selection, assistance intensity, and resource munificence. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2006c). Inside the black box of business incubation: Scale assessment and model refinement. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hackett, S. M., & Dilts, D. M. (2006d). Real options and the option to incubate: An exploratory study of the process of business incubation. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.
  • Hackett, S.M. & Dilts, D. M. (2003). Business incubators: Drivers of innovation processes & entrepreneurial failure cost containment vehicles. Paper presented at the RPI Conference/Special Issue of the Journal of Business Venturing on Science Parks and Incubators, Troy, NY.

Dissertation & Thesis Manuscripts

  • Ph.D. Dissertation (Vanderbilt University): Real Options and the Option to Incubate: An Exploratory Study of the Process of Business Incubation
  • M.S. Thesis (Vanderbilt University): The Degree of Internationalization of U.S.-capitalized E-commerce Companies
  • M.A. Thesis (Sophia University): Cooperating Bilaterally with Japan: Impediments to Inter-organizational Communication for the Implementation of the Bilateral Decision to Cooperate

Applied Research

From September 2005 until June 2011 I led 135 teams of undergraduate student researchers as they conducted business feasibility studies on Single Product New Ventures predicated upon self-generated, new-to-the-world product business concepts. These projects involved rapid-cycle primary and secondary research and resulted in student teams being able to confidently present the results and implications of their research. At the end of the project, each student team was able to articulate whether and why their business concept merited further investment.