Strategy Citations


MTW1 What is Strategy? - Porter, 1996

  • Operational effectiveness is essential but not sufficient as a strategy
  • Managers are starting to let OE overcome strategy => homogeneity of firms.
  • 3 sources of strategic positions =Strategic competition = finding new positions to draw customers away from established system or pull new customer into the market. To be sustainable a strategic position requires trade offs
    • Value-based positioning (producing subset of industry's product's),
    • Needs-based positioning (target customer group with different needs,
    • Access-based Positioning (e.g customer geography or scale. Anything that means a different set of activities is needed to supply)

Example: Ikea - clear strategy  = focus on young (want style and low cost) - set of unique activities to allows this.(Self-service with clear displays in stores; Room-like Displays; Sells roof racks that you can return; Low cost positions (arises from customers doing it themselves), and Additional services like childcare and extended hours which fit customers’ needs.

Critque: Denrell (2005): High performance is often a signal of luck and risk taking (not strategy) and even sustained performance is a result of chance as often success is based on a cumulative series of events. Even exceptional success can be a result of of exploration and experimentation AND risk! – not always good strategy

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MTW1 What is Strategy? - Whittington, 2001

Not one definition of strategy but 4 generic approaches to strategy: differ along two scales: outcomes (profit maximising to plural) and processes (deliberate to emergent)

  • Classical approach is rational planning methods  using calculation and analysis to maximise long term performance– oldest and most dominant and in most textbooks.(E.g. Porter)
  • Evolutionary approach – fatalistic approach using metaphor of biological evolution (E.g. Hannan and Freeman)
    • To unpredictable to effectively plan. Managers can only respond to current circumstances – markets have more influence over survival not managers. Successful strategy only seen in hindsight
  • Processual approach – Incremental adjustment and learning = steady development of core competences
    • Evolutionist and classical = too perfect to represent real markets.
    • Difficult to plan something all will follow. Plans often forgotten as circumstances change. Strategy is built from learning and compromises over time. Emergent strategy is unlikely to be optimal but firm may still succeed
  • Systemic approach = Means and ends of strategy depend on society and socials structures.
    • Assumes people can, to some extent, stick to a rational plan and identify strategies separate from market forces.
    • Doesn’t assume that profit maximisation is the main aim because Classical rules don’t fit every industry (deviation from classical = still rational).  - Depends on the social systems, for example class and country.
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MTW1 What is Strategy? - Waring, 1996

  • Used annual S&P data from 20 years (1970-1989) of over more than 12000 large firms– to show differences in profitability across industries do exist and are dependent on industry economic structure
  • Rents are more persistent in some industries than others (shown using data)
  • Factors such as EOS, sunk costs, informational impediments to imitation, rivalry, switching costs (for customers), expropriation, business cycle/excess capacity, and diversification all impact persistence

Critique: Axtell (2001) - many data samples do not include the very small firms despite the fact that these firms actually make up a vast proportion of firms in our economies.

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MTW1 What is Strategy? - Kohli and Sah, 2006

  • Data on firm performance and market shares suggests that managers place too much emphasis on market share. (NB may be justifiable in case of high-share brands).
  • There are large jumps in values of marker share. They don’t increase incrementally in response to changes in advertising, promotion and pricing.
  • Incremental changes only produce short-term changes in market share –will average out over time
  • If next highest market share is a lot higher than the current, it could take several years of invested resources to gain that market share

Critique: Johnson et al, (2011) Industry life cycle means that market share is vital when industries reach maturity stages

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MTW2 Competitive Advantage - Porter, 1979

5 forces = threat of new entrants, bargaining power of customers, bargaining power of suppliers, threat of substitute products and rivalry among firms


  • Firms need to understand forces and choose how to act.
  • Collective strength of forces – important and affects profits levels in idnisutry – weaker forces = higher probability
  • Strongest force dominates and must be tackled as a priority – Approaches (can be any of these or all) =
    • Positioning of company so capabilities provide best defence (e.g. Dr pepper = 1 distinct flavour at a low cost)
    • Influencing balance of forces => improving position
    • anticipating shifts in factors underlying forces and responding first


  • Baden-Fuller & Stoppford, 1994: - Strategy > industry - no one single approach, environment is a symptom of firms' behaviour and industries are always changing
  • Rumelt 1991: 8.3% profits attributable to the choice of industry
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MTW2 Competitive Advantage - Peteraf, 1993

  • 4 Cornerstones = Hetrogentity, ex post limits to comp, imperfect resource mobility and ex ante limits to comp)
  • Single business strategy: differentiating useful and less useful assets = focuses mangers on leveraging them 
  • Concerned with internal asset accumulation, asset specificity and, subtly, TCs
  • RBV has been used to analyse firm scope and boundry issues (e.g
  •  broad (useful) resources => diversification) 
  • Goes further than other theories; explains differences in profitability within industry and why firms may not pursue strategies offering highest profits (Instead adopt strategies which their resources can support )
  • Needs further work but is a robust and integrative tool. 


  •  McGuinness & Morgan, 2000: trivializing the property rights issues, exaggerating the extent to which managers can control resources or predict their future value
  • Barney, 2002: In unpredictable environments, in which new technologies and/or new markets emerge and the value of resources can drastically change
  • Dierickx and Cool (1989):  Firms can purchase imperfect substitutions and then adapt them at a cost (e.g. hiring generic labour then training it so it acquires firm specific skill and knowledge)
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MTW2 Competitive Advantage - Besanko et al 2007

Viewing firm as collection of activities, each with set of influential cost drivers, => 2 main paths to cost advantage: Exploit activities' key cost drivers better than competitors OR Process re-engineering = Fundamentally alter activities 

  • Benefit advantage depends on consumers value—i.e. benefit drivers:Competitive advantage = ability of a firm to outperform its industry (i.e. higher than average profit)
    • Product’s physical characteristics
    • Quantity and characteristics of services or complementary goods (esp. post-sale services),
    • Characteristics associated with sale or delivery of the good,
    • Characteristics that shape consumer perceptions of product’s performance or its cost to use
  • CA may take years to build but can be quickly eroded by imitators or innovators (e.g. FedEx overnight delivery service copied by UPS (at lower cost) by literally following of drivers and observing processes in 80s)
  • Must create superior value using resources and distinctive capabilities. 
  • 2 methods to prevent imitation (via legal restrictions, limited market scale advantages, superior access to inputs/customers), or intangible barriers (e.g.causal ambiguity, historical or socical circumstances)

Critique: Demsetz (1973): Imitation not always = competitive advantage. Superior performances may be unique to firm May be due factors such as reputation or goodwill (difficult to separate from firm) – not related to cost.

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MTW2 Competitive Advantage - Porter, 1985

  • Differentiation advantage = business provides better products and services as its competitors.
  • Porter recommended making those goods or services attractive to stand out from their competitors.
  • Business will need strong R&D and design thinking to create innovative ideas.
  • Cost leadership = ability to produce a product or service that will be at a lower cost than other competitors.
  • Lower costs  result in higher profits as businesses are still making a reasonable profit on each good or service sold.
  • If businesses are not making a large enough profit, find a lower-cost base such as labour, materials, and facilities.

Critique: Teece et al 1997,

  • Dynamic capabilities: firm’s ability to adapt competences to the changing business environment, the reflect how good the organisation is at innovating to create and adapt competitive advantages
  • Firms are distinctive because competences/capabilities cannot be organised by market forces. What is distinctive to the firm can’t be bought and sold with out selling the firm itself or subunits.
  • Replication can occur, but takes time and often environment will  change before imitator manages to replicate
  • Are strategic/industry analysis and resource based analysis conflicting or complementary? Both have value, but particular frameworks should be selected depending on their suitability to solving the problem faced
  • Should focus on distinctive capabilities, focusing too much on product may = neglect of core competencies
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MTW3 CA Sustainability Barney, 1986

Strategic Factor Markets =  market for resources needed to implement strategy

(E.g. market for market share = strategic factor for implementing cost leadership approach)

  • Imperfections in SFMs = superior performanceImplication = firms should focus analysis on their unique skills and resources not their environment
    • E.g In an imperfect SFM  firms may have different expectations about the future value of a strategic asset = higher than normal returns to the firm with superior information

Critique: Dierickx and Cool (1989):

  • Assumed all assets can be bought and sold - E.g Corporate reputations - are they for quality, toughness? Can they really be bought?
  • Some strategy implementation requires non-appropriable assets and firm-specific assets
  • Firms can purchase imperfect substitutions and then adapt them at a costBarneys concept is useful for evaluation of cost of assets bought and sold in factor markets, but the use of these assets does not lead to a sustainable competitive advantage.
    • E.G.hiring generic labour then training it so it acquires firm specific skill and knowledge
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MTW3 CA Sustainability - Dierickx and Cool 1989

  • “strategic asset stocks are accumulated by choosing appropriate time paths of flows over a period of time” – P.1506
  • Key point = Flows can be adjusted instantly whereas stocks cannot
  • Key to strategy formulation =  choosing expenditure (e.g. advertising) to accumulate resources (e.g. brand loyalty)
  • Firms need to be viewed from resource AND product perspective. 

Sustainability of Privileged asset positions: Sustainability of asset position depends on replicability. Imitability of asset stock depends on  characteristics of accumulation process.

  • Time Compression Diseconomies: Early-mover advantage from ‘law of diminishing returns’ when time =constant.
    • Maintaining R&D spending rate over period -> larger R&D sock growth than 2x rate of spending in half the time
  • Asset Mass Efficiencies: Sustainability enhanced to where incrementally increasing stock is facilitated by already owning high levels of that’s stock  - Success breeds success
  • Interconnectedness of Asset Stocks: Accumulation of  stock may also depend level of other stocks
    • E.g. new products often stem from customer suggestions (stock = broad service network)
  • Asset Erosion: Asset stocks will ‘decay’ if they aren’t maintained (e.g. R&D value falls as tech becomes obsolete)
  • Causal ambiguity: processes of asset stock accumulation in uncertain imitability. 
    • E.g. pharmaceutical industry is more discontinuous and stochastic.  – High cost high risk R&D
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MTW3 CA Sustainability - Pavitt, 1990

  • UK productivity has made some improvements but tech activities and competitiveness = not satisfactory 
  • Concern in other countries due to “dynamism of Japanese firms” => in 80s interest on tech in Strategic managment Previous focus on tech  (e.g. 19th century growth of large chemical and electrical companies in Germany & US.
  • 4 key characteristics of innovative activities in firms = Collaborative, uncertain, cumulative and highly differentiated 
  • Innovating small firms use specialised tech strategy focus =production innovation in specific goods.
  • Large innovating firms = broad in tech activities and divisionalised in terms of organisation
  • Not always clear who’s in innovation race or what ‘start’ and ‘finish’ are. No easy generic recipe for success
    • Being first = good if trong property rights of cumulative learning but 2nd can learn from leaders errors
  • Implementation of Technology Strategy
    • In market system ability to meet user needs better than rivals = ultimate measure of success and profitability
    • Choice or error successful innovating firms develop ‘routines’ - Given high uncertainty trial and error =  inevitable
    • Ability to learn from experience = very important
    • Training = important for effective use of tech esp. in large firm (communication between specialists is important)

Critique: Lipman and Rumelt (1982):Technology investment is not always why firms are more productive. Some lasting efficiency differences can be explained by uncertain imitability. When  there is causal ambiguity or property rights between actions and results imitation may be may prevented

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MTW3 CA Sustainability - Rothaermel, 2001

  • Incumbents often find it difficult to adapt to rapid technological change“radical innovations often initiate a Schumpeterian process of creative destruction, leading to the replacement of incumbents by new entrants” – P.687
    • E.g.  introduction of PC destroyed demand for wide rage of produces such as typewriters and word-processing systems 
  • BUT not every tech breakthrough => creative destruction with a new entrant gaining dominance
  • If incumbents have the necessary financial and management resources, they may be able to adapt,The incumbents don’t have to develop tech as they can access it via licensing agreements, strategic alliances, joint venture and acquisitions
    • E.g. Internet => radical innovation in computing industry but dominant software pe-internet (Microsoft) was able to embrace technological change and incorporate it

Critique: Lippman and Rumelt 1982: Uncertain imitability

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MTW3 CA Sustainability - Example of Coopetition

Samsung and Sony

  • Despite being fierce rivals  collaborated to develop and produce 7th gen LCD panels for TVs in 2003
  • When companies deepened resource commitments to the joint venture, and got lots of success
    •  LCD tech developments helped to grow market and increased market share of both in the ‘large’ TV market
  • Samsung has technological strengths in LCD tech (in smaller devices) and Sony its strengths in TV and consumer electronics (then market-leadership in TVs)
  • Attractive for both because: Samsung needed help from established players in TV market to learn about forces in market and Sony wasn’t doing great due to neglected investments in flat panel TV sets
  • Samsung employees were able to learn finer details – Sony engineers believed that these techniques would eventually come out so they iht as well benefit.
  • But they have countries that pride tech innovation nationally, so the public didn’t take it very well
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MTW3 CA Sustainability - Gynawali et al, 2008

  • Co-opetition = competing and cooperating 
  • Examples as early as 1976 Japanese semiconductor and electronics companies Fujitsu and Toshiba worked together on the ‘Very Large-Scale Integrated Technology Research Project’ 
  • Important if tech-intensive. Co-opetition's power increases with complex products and wide competition.
  • Complementary products increase value of main product so resource complementarity is key
  • Coopetition important for creating and accessing other capabilities based on intensive exploitation of existing ones and acquiring new tech knowledge and skills. => tech diversity in industry.
  • Conflicts can be severe for those in same value chain stage/location and time, so this type of coopetition is rare
  • Framework to help understand coopetition defined using 4 dimensions: 
    • Axis of Business Relationship - vertical and horizontal (not collusion creates not illegally appropriates value) 
    • Number of Actors  - More players = more complex as bilateral relationships within group can form 
    • Level of Analysis  - Can have coopetition at multiple levels of analysis (friendships among employees in competitors (formally) = cooperation at individual level but competition at organisational level.
    • Locus of Competition and Cooperation  - Separation reduces confusion from simultaneously competing and co-operating (e.g. Sony-Samsung = horizontal bilateral relationship that is temporally and spatially separate)

Critique: Porter, 1998: Cluster – Location based, this contrasts the idea that close in location firms can cooperate: (Proximity of companies in one location leads to better coordination and trust)

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MTW3 CA Sustainability - Porter, 1998

  • Clusters = are “critical masses - in one place - of unusual competitive success in particular fields” – p. 78
  • Theory = location doesn’t matter due to open global markets and technology, but it does – e.g Auto companies in southern Germany, shoe companies in Northern Italy and financial services on Wall st.
  • Clusters reveal immediate business environment = vital role in how they create a competitive advantage.
  • Can consist of any interconnected companies and institutions, not just direct competitors
    • e.g.  Italian shoe company cluster includes other types of leather goods and non-leather shoes
  • Increase the productivity/performance of companies based in the area via
    • Better access to employees and information
    • Lower transaction costs (as local suppliers) +  Improved communication
    • Reputational/marketing advantages also exist from complementarity
    • Access to Institutions - Government investments in a specific location or educational programs
    • Better motivation and measurement - Pride and the desire to look good in the local community
  • Most prosper for decades at least but once external and internal forces begin to take a toll on competitive edge, many of their once advantages can become irrelevant (asset bases, supplier bases etc.)
    • E.g Technological discontinuities cause many to decline, shift in buyer needs, something slows productivity...
  •  Strategy needs to address what happens outside company too - 4 things clustering adds to strategic agenda: Choosing Location -> Engaging Locally -> Upgrading the Cluster - > Working Collectively
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MTW4 CA & Value System - Hotelling, 1929

  • Hotelling’s Law, there’s an ‘undue tendency for competitors to imitate each other in quality of goods, in location, and in other essential ways’ (Hotelling, 1929: 41).
    •  AKA the principle of minimum differentiation or Hotelling’s linear city model. 
  • Explains why retailers/restaurant often locate near others. (Classic example= ice cream vendors on beach)
  • Prevailing economic thought: duopoly = fragile, as a small price cut by a firm => capture whole market
  • BUT Hotelling stated people buy from both sellers despite moderate price differences
  • The Model: Consumers are evenly dispersed along a line and buy from the nearest firm. The two firms choose to locate at the mid‐point of the line.
    •  A firm that unilaterally moves away from the mid‐point loses market share and profit. 
    • While price competition intensifies when firms co‐locate, the intensity can be diminished by differentiation of product characteristics


  • Chamberlin, 1933:  There’s no equilibrium when a third firm is added to the market. If there are three firms clustered at the mid‐point, the firm in the middle has an incentive to move away.
  • D’Aspremont et al, 1979: Basic Hotelling model fails to account for strategic pricing. When firms choose both price and location, firms move apart to decrease price competition
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MTW4 CA & Value System - Deephouse, 1999

  • Strategy = firm’s ‘realised position in its competitive market’  - Wernerfelt’s coin approach to strategy
  • Organisational field is made up of a network of suppliers, competitors, regulators etc

Strategic Balance Theory examines differentiation and conformity trade-off = Strategic differentiation reduces competition increases performance; but strategic conformity increase legitimacy which also increases performance

  • A firm should be different:  Less competition – resources are divided between competitors (assumed market has finite level of resources). Conforming to strategies limits performance and increase failure rates 
  • A firms should be the same: Strategies outside what is considered acceptable in the field – risks legitimacy and reliability. Legitimacy challenges reduce ability for firm to acquire resources from within organisational field. 
    • E.g. Commercial banking – strategies not dictated by regulators but emerge via iterative isomorphic process - regular interactions among banks, regulators, borrowers and depositor + close media scrutiny 
  • Mimetic behaviour is likely when in uncertain conditions - Successful strategies imitated
  • A firm should be balance between differential and conformity: Particularly in markets with strong competitive and institutional forces firms should aim for balance. 
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MTW4 CA & Value System - DiMaggio & Powell, 1983

  • Some decisions aren't based on efficiency but fitting towards being or appearing more legitimate
  • Initially, new organizational fields = fairly diverse but become more homogenous – e.g. textbooks used to be produced in dozens of ways – now there are two
  • First organizations = only respond to need, but eventually respond to other organizations and environment
    • E.g Early civil service reforms were related to govt need, but later were related to institutional definitions of what a legitimate government agency looks like
  • Organizations compete for resources and customers – but also compete for legitimacy, political power, and social fitness - The more organizations transact with governments, the more similar they will be
  • Coercive Isomorphism – Homogeneity stems from political influence and desire for legitimacy. 
  • Mimetic Isomorphism – Homogeneity stems from similar responses to uncertainty. Copying other organizations seems to be an easy way out of this complexity
  • Normative Pressures - Stem primarily from professionalization
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MTW4 CA & V System - Brandenburger et al, 1995

  • Companies can succeed without others needing to lose. Also a firm can fail if playing well but wrong game.
  • Rules-based games = players interact according to rules of engagement (specified)
    • Could come from contracts, loan agreements, or trade covenants etc. In game theory, every action has a reaction in this type of game (not necessarily opposite as Newton’s Law)—must map out all reactions as far ahead as possible to analyse how players will react
  • Freewheeling games = players interact without constraints. A player cannot take away more value than they add to the overall game. (e.g. buyers and sellers interacting in an unstructured way)
  • Business = complex mix  - Primary insight of game theory = focus on others, look forward and reason backward 
  • Rewards from changing a game (and designing one right for firm) can be much greater 
    • e.g. Nintendo and Sega both succeeded by changing the video game business - Successful business strategy = actively shaping game, not just playing game you find
  • Value Net = schematic map that represent all players and their interdependence 
  • 2 fundamental symmetries in business game - Firms often miss coopetition part of horizontal dimension
  • 2 dimensions for interactions with resources and money flowing opposite vertical directions a (NB no horizontal)
  • Players can hold 2 roles e.g. American and United = complementors in the supplier relationship (only worth is for Boeing to design new plane if many want) but also substitutors for customers
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MTW4 CA and the Value System - Khurana, 2002

  • Jeff skilling (ex-Enron CEO) was every charismatic => blind obedience. Even board bent to his will – suspending ethic code for high level execs who ended up destroying the firm.
  • Charismatic CEO do = awe and hope in troubled firms but often have little positive impact on performance
  • The Pull of Charisma: Pre-1980 most CEO = organisation men – worked their way up but after drop in corporate profits the demand for CEO to “shake things up” increased which lead to the desire for charisma
  • At the same time there was a “Quasi-religious conception of business” emerging: Lots of buzzwords like mission and vision + Ordinary US citizens began participating in the stock market 
    • This all lead to one type of corporate leader that had: Radical new vison
  • Overvaluation of CEO’s impact on performance – performance is affected by many complex relations that cannot just be controlled by one person
  • Crises = usually worst time to look for a charismatic leader during these times
  • Charismatic leaders often oppose tradition and remove obstructions to ‘vision’ = destabilisation may result

Critique: Ghoshal, 1999 – Hiring a manager that is innovation, implements new ideas can be positive – e.g Unipart

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MTW4 EXAMPLE - Hiring CEO when things are bad

  • Kodak had issues with performance in the early 90s
  • Fired Kay Whitmore and appointed Motorola president George Fisher.
  • This didn’t solve problem as the issue was not being able to adapt to new technology no an ineffective leader.
  • Kodak still a “horse-and-buggy” operation in a digital-photography world
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MTW4 CA and the Value System - Ghoshal et al 1999

  • Problem: Corporation = powerful social and economic institution but suffer from social ambivalence. symptomatic of unrealistically pessimistic assumptions that underlie current literature.
  • Possible Cause: 80s managers focus on efficiency increased shareholder returns but broke implicit & explicit contracts with employees & suppliers => no confidence managers create rather than cut.  Managers unable to succeed via old Sloan 3S's so aimed to make firms like machines. (E.g. Ford/Taylor and Harold Ganeen’s Monkey)
  • New environment: Today converging techn, turbulent competition and rapid innovation = established industry structures can be made obsolete almost overnight  - 
  • The old approach reduces creativity, initiative and diversity – which was their aim. 
  • Academic prescriptions have restricted managers and companies = part of the problem
  • New Philosophy: Most value from collective work not individual + change focus (value appropriation to creation)
  • Static efficiency may suggest that something is inefficinent due to lack of consideration of long-term
    • E.g. Would suggest 15% of time 3M encourages employees to spend on own projects is wasted. 
  • Example: Motorola IDE – all supervisors discuss on a quarterly basis the 6 questions where if there is a Negative employee response = quality failure to be redressed in following principles of TQM.
    • Already invested more in people than most – still reported moe than 70% failures at first but addressed them.

Critique: Deephouse, 1999 - this approach might not be suited to all businesses particularly ones where legitimacy is vital. E.g. Commercial banking

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MTW4 EXAMPLE - contrating old and new managment

  • Westinghouse managers used traditional management theory – Purchase companies with new attractive markets and sold the company when it became to competitive
  • ABB rejuvenated the same power equipment business Westinghouse abandoned as unattractive. ABB uses investments in productivity and new tech to improve functionality and appropriateness to new markets
  • Westinghouse acted like independent agent in a market (only have atomistic concern for own interests)
  • Westinghouse strategy was based only on productivity improvement and cost cutting, structure focused on controlling behaviour and rewarded autonomy and systems for monitoring performance focused on removing even tiny amounts of waste
    • But they couldn’t create any new value – they only focus on efficient of exiting activities
  • ABB’s purpose = “to make economic growth and improved living standards a reality for all nations”
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MTW4 EXAMPLE - Focus on Value Creation

Unipart transformed itself from struggling auto parts manufacturer to the only UK company to meet world-class quality standards + high profits ($1.6bn)

“Unipart suffered a two-to-one handicap vis-à-vis Japanese auto parts companies in terms of its costs and an astonishing hundred-to-one gap in quality,”

CEO John Neill – absolute commitment to “shared destiny relationships” – focused on creating SDRs will all stakeholders “not altruism; it is commercial self-interest

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MTW4 CA and the Value System - Mintzberg, 1975

  • Classical view (like a conductor) misses interpersonal, information and decisional roles played by managers – important for both scholars and managers to understand these aspects
  • Interpersonal Roles (Figurehead, Leader and Liason)
  • Informational Roles - know more than other organizational members (Monitor, Disseminator, Spokesman) 
  • Leader Roles: direct exercises (e.g. hiring) and indirect (e.g. motivation) – most influence
  • Decisional Roles - information used here (Entrepreneur, Disturbance Handler, Resource Allocator and Negotiator)

Folklore and Fact:

  • “The manager is a reflective, systematic planner” - Managers work at unrelenting pace, activities are varied and discontinuous and managers often dislike reflective activities 
  •  “The effective manager has no regular duties to perform” - Does involve some regular duties - ritual and ceremony, negotiations, and processing soft information (linking firm to environment)
  • “The senior manager needs aggregated information, which a formal management information system best provides” - evident that managers are not uses MISs as they are not working – prefer verbal media
  • “Management is, or at least is quickly becoming, a science and a profession” - False by almost all definitions of science and profession–cannot describe what info they use 
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MTW4 CA and the Value System - Abrahamson, 1996

  • Management fashions are not cosmetic and trivial - shape techniques used by thousands of managers and can have a massive impact on organization and their stakeholders
  • Should be studied to explore when/ how it fails stakeholders, and to make it more useful
  • Current theories focus on fashions in aesthetic forms = unmodified to explain fashions in technical (i.e focusing on socio-psychological factors, not technical and environmental)
  • Defines management fashion setting = process of management fashion setters continuously redefine followers’ collective beliefs about rational management progress (social norm creation) 
  • Managers that follow fashion appear rational – if the don’t stakeholders may withdraw
  • Fashions are influenced by economic, political and organizational factors
  • Example: Quality circles (QCs) = early 80s management fashions setters promoted idea that QCs = forefront of management progress. Rhetoric still in popular management press articles and in minds of setters who promoted it. More than 80% of Fortune 500 companies that adopted them in 80s had ditched by ’87

Critique: Hannan and Freeman, 1997 – Manager decisions have limited long term effect

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MTW5 EXAMPLE - Issue Framing

Dubai Ports World failed US acquisition

  • The controversy pertained to management contracts of six major United States ports. The purchaser was DP World(DPW), a state-owned company in the UAE.
    • The contracts had already been foreign-owned, by P&O, a British firm taken over by DPW.
  •  Senator **** Schumer, on February 14 2006, held a press conference calling for a review and the story ran nationally. “Foreign control of our ports, which are vital to homeland security, is a risky proposition,” explained Schumer. “Riskier yet is that we are turning it over to a country that has been linked to terrorism previously.
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MTW5 Strategy & Performance - Acemoglu et al, 2014

  • Common practices when assessing political situations in many countries to consider personal connections to people in/people viewing for power
    • E.g. Fisman 2001 
  • Connections matter in the US as well: Access to govt. officials = beneficial and is what the US lobbying industry is about rather than sharing information or trying to improve decision-making in other ways
  • Geithner made treasury secretary in November 2008  - 10 trading day post-announcement financial firms connected to Geithner gained an abnormal return
    • When nomination had an issue in Jan 2009 = smaller and less precise fall in value 
  • When Paulson became TS in May 2006 – no evidence like the above
  • Something about 2008 crisis environment - likely the increase degree of discussion and large amount of resources in control by treasury secretary
  • Connections to US exec branch = more significant in times of crises and policy discretion
    • Not suggestive of illegal activity
  • In ordinary times institutional constraints prevent this but during crises urgency and social connections have more impact

Critique: Bonardi, 2011 –  political connections always valuable US via Lobbying within the system

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MTW5 Strategy & Perfromance - Bonardi, 2011

  • Common perception is that political resources that fit RBV conditions will be beneficial but this is not necessarily the case - Not hard to intimidate activities/resources but can lead to profits/rents
    • E.g. US sugar producers - $3000 sugar PAC contribution = yes vote with almost certainty
    • Sugar industry contributions meant that the sugar amendment to the 1985 agriculture bill would have been203:210 instead of 267:146 – (this would have stopped the sugar subsidy)
  • Most valuable benefits offered to the policy makers are not differentiated but homogenous as quantity or volume may be more important than differentiation.
  • 3 main types could be money, information and votes – how do firms create and make use of these?
  • Important Political resources that lead to frim success…
    • Are based on some of the firm’s critical economic assets
    • Don’t lead to too high integration costs
    • Fit with individual needs of key suppliers of public policy
    • Create credible commitments
    • Cannot be undone by competitor’s political strategy

Critique: Faccio, 2006 -  evidence political connections are more common in companies with high levels of corruption (his definition of political connection = more direct relationship)

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MTW5 EXAMPLE - Political Power

EDF – world leader in nuclear energy – successful in both France and Europe in influencing policy – which resources have allowed them to do this?

  • Large regulatory affairs dept
  • Information useful in lobbying campaigns
  • Broad industrial strategy developed by French government 
  • 158,000 employees and 40, 000 daily customers
  • 58 existing nuclear plants
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MTW5 Strategy & Performance - Faccio, 2006

  • Value created form political connections can take many forms 
  • Research includes political connections for over 20,000 listed companies in 47 countries. 
  • Political relationships are not equally common across countries
    • High levels of corruption = more common that connections exist
    • Strong regulation = less connections exist
  • Different relationships = different value
  • Firm value increases more when a business person is elected prime minister rather than member of parliament since this is a harder position to achieve.

Critique: Fisman, 2001 study of Indonesia – Note that its country does not have a high corruption ranking so there’s no reason to believe this doesn’t occur in other countries

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MTW5 Strategy & Performance - Fisman, 2001

  • Indonesian economy entered downward spiral in the second half of 1997 – lots of speculation as to why such a sudden drop?
    • Most explanations = some investor panic leading to a large outflow od foreign capita. Caused by concerns that capital invested in Indonesia hadn’t been used for productive investments
  • Claim’s that political connectedness rather than productivity = responsible BUT bso far based on Anecdotal evidence until this study
  • Evidence strongly suggests that politically dependent firms lost more on average during period of time where there were rumours about Suharto’s health
    • Firms not more sensitive to general bad news – therefore direct effect of political connections
  • Paper focuses on small sample of Indonesian firms, but these account for a large proportion of economic activity in the Indonesian economy 
  • No reason to believe this doesn’t apply to other countries - Indonesia ranked 45/54 countries in the 1998 “Perceived Corruption Ranking”
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MTW5 S & P- McKinsey Global Survey, 2010

  • Govt = more likely to impact companies’ economic value than any stake holder other than customer
  • Most execs expect government involvement in their industries particularly since economic crises
  • Some government acts can have a positive impact – e.g. provision of infrastructure or access to capital
  • But passing laws and setting policy – which are considers most common action to effect companies - are in general negative
  • More execs say govt will affect their companies’ economic value than their employees’ investors or suppliers but processes to manage relationships with government are the least robust
  • 1/3 CEOs consider engaging with the government to be a top 3 priority despite this being an important facto
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MTW5 S&P - Bach and Allen, 2010

“In a global economy, sustained competitive advantage arises from tackling social, political and environmental issues as part of a corporate strategy — not just pursuing business as usual.” (Bach and Allen, 2010:41) 

Political connections are an example of what Bach defines as ‘non-market strategy’

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MTW6 EXAMPLE - Long-Term Diversification

  • Coca-Cola: has used diversification as a strategy since it first faced stalling growth in 60s and 70s, even buying Columbia Pictures in 1982 (NB sold off such ‘non-core’ businesses a few years later).
  • Currently has 20 brands that bring in over $1 billion of annual sales, including Fanta, Sprite, PowerAde, and Vitamin water. 
  • They have achieved success by going after anything on trend in the beverage world whenever growth stagnates. Some Failure within the Strategy: e.g. 1977 wine business
  • Remained the top soda brand in the US, BUT negatively hit by decreased demand due to sugar content in drinks (e.g. UK sugar Tax) – seem to be rebounding. 
  • Recent announcement of new CEO met positively by investors (internal hire) who worked with outgoing CEO on investments which investors (including Warren Buffet)received positively
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MTW6 EXAMPLE - Unrelated Diversification

  • Nokia began life in the 1860s as a paper manufacturer
  • Saw growth of various new tech, so eventually entered the telecoms space, becoming the world’s best-selling mobile phone brand by the late 1990s.
  •  However, as the industry developed, Nokia was unable to shift its focus to software, eventually falling behind smartphone developers like Apple as a result. 
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MTW6 EXAMPLE - Other Successful Diversification

  • Samsung = electronics giant also makes military hardware, apartments, ships and operates a Korean amusement park
    • 50,000 employees and in 2011 reported revenues of $220 billion and economists estimate that Samsung's revenues account for about 20% of the value of South Korea's economy
  • General Electric  began as an 1892 merger between two electric companies is now an international, multi-billion-dollar company and the world's 26th largest firm in the United States. 
    • GE successfully branched out into a wide variety of industries including power and water, transportation, oil and gas, aviation, healthcare…
    • Core competencies include advanced technological capabilities and skilled human resources
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MTW6 Corp Strategy - Goold and Luchs, 1993

  • From 50s management principles and education for managers = gen management skills = justification for diversify
  • 60s conglomerate performance weaken, and new approach was sought
  • 70s = strategy was the focus of senior management but unable to resolve trade-offs
    • Portfolio planning helped many companies improve capital allocation
    • GE developed industry attractiveness matrix, BCG created growth/share matrix + other variations created by other firms and consultancies - Techniques became more than analytical tools = basis of strategy
    • PP helped sort contribution of businesses to portfolio but not how corporation contributes to businesses
  • 80s = poor corporate performance became an issue again. Main theorems of strategy = back to core business and ‘sticking to the knitting’
  • 90s = realisation that there’s no consensus of what sticking to the knitting means
    • Popular themes = search for synergy, building of core competencies but both theses need to be supported with how corporation discharges its shareholder functions
    • Where Focus on how corporate management adds value to portfolio – especial share holder role. 
    •  DGML of a portfolio could be useful in understanding top level management
  • Several strands of thought are needed – diversity can be worth it if value is added
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MTW6 Corp Strategy - Palich et al., 2000

  • Addressing lack of consensus in what the relationship between diversification and performance – research domain not yet reached maturity
  • Diversification measured via accounting-based measures suggests a positive Diversification Performance (DP) relationship up to a point but above a certain level issues arise
  • Most results = supportive of an inverted U-shaped pattern

Critique: Park, 2002 – successful firms more likely to  pursue related diversification but already successful = more likely to be successful

Campa and Kedia, 2002 – Industries with low growth and high exit rates more likely to diversify rather than stay focused


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MTW6 Corp Strategy - Park, 2002

  • Hyp 1:  firm more likely to pursue related diversification when its industry is high-profit
  • Hyp 2:  firm more likely to pursue related diversification when the firm  it’s profitable within its industry 
  • Results: Strong support of both hypotheses
  • Widely accepted that related diversification > unrelated diversification since the first = more synergies but empirical evidence is inconclusive
  • Speculation that firms in structurally attractive industry do related diversification and firms in structurally unattractive industries =  more likely to dive into unrelated industries – NOT EMPERICALLY BACKED
  • NB paper is limited to diversification via acquisition – but this does cover a large proportion of the relationships between diversification and growth
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MTW6 Corp Strategy - Campa and Kedia, 2002

  • Firms diversify when benfiets outweigh costs but stay focused when costs outweifh benefits
  • Evaluation of diversifications impact on firm value should consider firm-specific characteristics
  • If not then may wrongly blame the discount on diversification rather than characteristics
    • E.g. firm facing technological change – reduce competitive advantage, this firm will reduce in value relative to other in the industry and have lower opportunity costs of allocating resources into other industries 
  • Firm may have unique organisation capability. Incomplete information may lead to a costly search via diversification to match industry to its organisational capital
  • Industries with low growth and high exit rates= firms are more like to move away
    • Firms that choose diversification > exiting firms but lower value of firms that stay focused
  • Firm value and decision to refocus = similar firms that refocus = decrease in value if they had remained divided
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MTW6 Corp Strategy - Collis and Montgomery, 1998

  • Most ‘multibusiness’ = sum of their parts. As execs become more sophisticated in understanding of competitive advantage at the individual business level but not in understanding corporate level advantage. 
  • Successful corporate strategy = strength in: 
  • Resources (high quality not pedestrian); 
  • Strong market position in attractive industries and Efficient admin organisation 
  • True corporate strategy also requires “tight fit at each angle”
    • companies’ resources are critical success of businesses => competitive advantage
    • organisation able to leverage resources in businesses can lead to synergies resulting in coordination
    • fit between measurement and reward streams = strategic control
  • If corporate strategy = benchmarked like operations would understand how lacking their strategies are
  • Companies built on specialised resources may add little to performance than a well-run conglomerate and performance may even suffer due to higher overheads than a conglomerate
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MTW7 Acquisitions & Alliances - Coase, 1937

  • Standard economic theories imply all productive activities are contracted out.  
  • Firm growth limited by "decreasing returns to the entrepreneur function" 
  • TC theory, Sources if transaction costs include: costs of, learning prices, negotiating contracts and writing contracts. 


CONTRAST WITH Chandler (1977) exploration of capitalism – Coase doesn't consider historical, structural and institutional effects. 

Ghoshal and Moran 1996 - treats firm like black box - doesn't consider what's happening within the firm and the impact this will have

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MTW7 Aquisitons & Alliances - Hamel and Prahalad,

  • Collaboration between competitors = in fashion but writes have concern about long-term consequences 
  • Strategic alliance = strength companies against outsides even if one of the two partners is weakened – especial alliances between Asian and western rivals work detrimentally against western partner
  • Cooperation is becoming a low-cost way to gain new technology and market access
    • Motorola relied on Toshiba’s distribution capacity to enter the Japanese semiconductor market
  • Companies that benefit most from alliances follow following ‘powerful principles’
  • Collaboration is competition in a different form 
    • Difficult strike a balance between sharing skills to get a comp. adv. but also preventing a complete transfer of core skills - Western companies = disadvantage as skills are often more transferable
  • Harmony is not the most important measure of success
    • Should expect complaints and reluctance to share information = sign gatekeepers are working
  • Cooperation has limits. Companies must defend against competitive compromise
  • Learning from partners is paramount 
  • Cultural/professional differences– e.g. most Japanese training internal (not from unis) = less influenced by “open give-and-take of university research” + consider themselves team members not an individual scientific contributor

Critique: Dyer et al, 2004 - analysed 1,592 alliances that 200 US companies formed between 1993 and 1997 – found that 48% ended in failure in less than 24 months (ex. Disney and Pixar alliance)

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MTW7 EXAMPLE - Western-Asian Collaborations

  • Rover (British automaker) and Honda: Rover leading in small car design which was not entered by Honda. In mid-70s rover worked with Honda to gain technology and product support to try and enter foreign markets
    • Honda refined skills in European styling and marketing + multinational manufacturing – its obvious which company comes out stronger
  • IBM is building a site in Japan for Fujitsu to review its new mainframe software before deciding to license it – this gives IBM much more control over the information Fujitsu receives
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MTW7 Acquisitions & Alliances - Foss & Foss, 2005

  • DeBeers diamond cartel operates by customer specifying the number and quality of stone
  • DeBeers offers a packet of stones that roughly meets demands. 
  • Offered on a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ basis – refusal to take deal than DeBeers will no longer deal with the customer.  - Price is calc from overall characteristics of stones and there’s no negation
  • Reflective of 80% market share? Property rights economists say no
  • Strategic management has largely ignored transaction cost-reducing practise even though has implications for this field in particular RBV
    • Link between transaction costs and value creation
      • Sorting costs (a transaction cost) reduce created value in exchanges but specific sale practice can reduce transaction costs and therefore increase created value
    • Link between transaction costs and value appropriation
      • Suppose DeBeers post prices that = average quality of diamonds. Customer’s are allowed to sort between diamonds in a group they will only select the high-quality stones. The current sales practise raises transaction costs to infinity meaning that DeBeers maximises share of created value that it can appropriate
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MTW7 Acquistions & Alliances - Williamson, 1981

Builds on Coasian foundation but add in concepts such as contract

  • law, psychology + behavioural econ ideas making the concepts more complex
    • introduces opportunism (no complete contracts) and bounded rationality
  • Asset specificity= key concept
    • Non-specific = contract
    • More specific = strong-bilateral contracts
    • Very specific = internalise 
  • For example, in 1926 the physical asset specificity of the car bodies and the need for site specificity led GM to internalize Fisher body rather than contracting out. 


 Ghoshal and Moran 1996- firms leverage people's ability to work together that the market can't, all motivations are extrinsic in the model. (we only see money as motivation, but people are more complex, pride, supporting colleague)

David and Han, 2004 - just 47% of empirical studies were supportive of the theory. But studies were only unsupportive of the theory as defined by David and Han. The majority of studies were found to be supportive of asset specificity and other aspects of the theory.

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MTW7 EXAMPLE - Failed Joint Venture

  • Coca-Cola and P&G Feb 2001 announced $4bn joint venture to control 40-plus brands and employ more than 10,000 people. 
  • Coke would transfer Minute Maid, Five Alive, and other brands to the new company, and P&G would contribute two beverage brands, Sunny Delight and Punica, and Pringles chips. 
    • Coke would tap P&G’s expertise in nutrition to develop new drinks,
    • P&G’s flagging brands would get a boost from Coke’s international distribution system, 
    • new company would slash costs by $50 million, 
  • Yet, Coke’s stock dropped by 6% the day the alliance was announced, while P&G’s shares rose by 2%.
  • Investors wondered why Coke had agreed to share 50% of the profits from a fast-growing segment with a weak rival in its core business. 
  • If Coke needed P&G’s soft-drink technologies and brands, why hadn’t it simply bought them?
  • The two companies terminated the alliance in July 2001. 
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MTW7 Acquisitions & Alliances - Dyer et al, 2004

  • As companies find it tougher to achieve and sustain growth, they placed their faith in acquisitions and alliances 
  • American companies, = acquisitions and alliances wave from 1996 through 2001. 
  • But acquisitions and alliances fail:  1993 - 1997 –48% failed in <24 months (ex. Disney and Pixar alliance)
  • Companies simply don’t compare the two strategies before picking one. 
    • = Take over firms they should have collaborated with and ally with those they should have bought!
  • Firms then habitually acquire to increase scale or cut costs and use partnerships to enter new markets.
  • Companies team up to profit from the synergies they can generate by combining resources:
    • Modular synergies: manage resources independently and pool only the results for greater profits
      • (e.g. airline and hotel chain collaborate to allow hotel guests to earn frequent flyer miles)
    • Sequential synergies: one company completes its tasks and passes on results to a partner to do its bit
    • Reciprocal synergies: generated by close working + executing tasks via iterative knowledge-sharing process. 
  • Hard synergy-generating resources (e.g. manufacturing plants) = acquisitions are a better option 
    • (hard assets easy to value, and companies can generate synergies form them relatively quickly)
  • Soft synergy-generating resources (e.g. people) = avoid acquisitions. 
  • If collaboration’s outcome = highly/moderately uncertain, should use nonequity or equity alliance (not acquire)
  • Some businesses developed abilities to manage acquisitions or alliances and regard them as core competencies. 
    • BUT Research shows that companies that use both acquisitions and alliances grow faster 
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MTW8 Theory vs. Practise - Barney 1986

  • If firm success resulted from luck then ther would be no long term success
    • MY EXAMPLE = DUPONT =216 years old and still fortune 500
  • Strategy can lead to success when firms exploit imperfections in strategic factor markets
    • Such as differences in expectations of value of factors, lack of separation between controllers and strategizers, lack of entry into the market, and uniqueness (due to a firm’s historical accumulation of other assets being unique). 
  • Firms can increase their ability to find imperfect strategic factor markets through environmental and organisational analysis. 
  • Should choose strategy based on which imperfectly competitive SFMs they can exploit given current assets. 
  • Firms that don look inwardly to exploit resources can only expect to obtain normal returns for strategizing
    • E.g. diversification look for unique synergies rather than at market prices
  • To gain above normal returns from implementing product market strategies must have consistent accurate expectations but can be lucky
  • Usually not possible to obtain this form analysis of environment but can sometime when choosing to exploit resources already under their control

Critique: McClosekey, 1994 -, if there was a ‘rule for riches’ that any firm could follow than all firms would follow it and profits would be competed away.  You cannot both understand a social fact and make money from it.

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MTW8 Theory vs Practise - Whittington et al, 2016

  • Information asymmetry between managers and investors = costly for firms 
    • This means that gain support for your strategy form investors/shareholders = key role of CEO
  • Study showed CEO’s strategy presentations (new CEO’s especially ones where investors expected change), received a positive response.
  • Example: 3 months in as new Vodaphone CEO, Vittorio Colao gave strategy update to investors & media. 
    • Downplayed acquisitions and focused on plans for existing businesses whilst persuading investors he would be able to quickly and efficiently implement a new strategy. 
    • This resulted in an increase in share price of 6.65% in 2 days in a market with falling share prices. This suggests that strategies can serve a symbolic purpose as well as a functional one.
  • Even though they are verbal and forward looking they are not just cheap talk as they are actually an effective method of anticipatory impression management – particularly in the first few months of employment where uncertainty is high
  • Strategy presentations have a positive and significant impact on stock prices in general – this was the measure used of impression management in this study
    • Investors see strategy presentations as credible and economically significant

Critique: Beinhocker and Kaplan, 2002 - Few execs think that formal strategic planning pays off despite the time and effort put in, and general agreement that strategy crafting is one of the key parts of their job

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MTW8 Theory vs Practise - Bromiley et al., 2003

  • Some finance scholars are ready to discard rationality and equilibrium assumptions, some strategic management  scholars want to adopt them
  • BUT empirical evidence rejects rationality in financial markets (supposedly the most efficient market)
    • Rationality unlikely to be apply to other less perfect markets where corporate strategy operates
  • Should also reject prescriptions on rationality and equilibrium analysis. 
  • Should highlight bounded rationality and inform firms how to act more successfully 
    • There is some work still to be done on how to advise firms more specifically
  • A full behavioural approach would be useful in both financial and strategic management as would offer effective knowledge transfer and realistic prescriptions for managers who are facing inefficient markets
  • Recent strategic alliance research focuses in dynamics of co-operation between firms in competitive markets and suggests a possible foundation for further behaviour work on how firms learn,
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MTW8 Theory vs Practise - Porter 1991

  • Honda – no strategy? not an exception to the rule - succeeded due to  continuous improvement
    • May not have been deterministic but choice to focus resources on learning/improvement = strategic plan. 
  • As firms grow (become more complex) choices about resource allocation and market entry must be made. 
  • 2 main explanations = Initial conditions and managerial choices
    • NB: the two are closely interrelated: today’s choices determine tomorrow’s initial conditions.
  • 3 lines of enquiry to more dynamic approach to strategy = Game Theory, Commitment under uncertainty and RBV
  • Not really a dynamic theory that addresses comp. adv. sustainability in environments that are changing
  • 4 attributes that affect a nation’s or a firm’s competitiveness –based on constant innovation-
    • Factor conditions: A nation does not inherit but creates the most important factors of production (skilled labour, scientific base).
    • Demand conditions: CA arises if home demand gives firms a clearer of earlier picture of buyer’s needs. 
    • Related and supporting industries: Presence in the nation of related and supporting industries that are internationally competitive
    • Firm strategy, structure and rivalry: CA arises from a combination of management practices and organizational modes favoured in the country and sources of CA in the industry. 
  • Other considerations include = Government and diamond as a dyanamic system (effect one element of the diamond depends on the state of the others).
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MTW8 Theory vs Practise - Masokowski, 1998

  • Strategies cannot guarantee success, but can make it more likely. 
  • Due to a complex range of internal and external factors mangers do not have complete control of the firm’s performance. 
  • This means that one cannot be sure that strategy will lead to profits, but strategy can be used to direct the firm.
  • Conceptually: focused on ‘rules for chances of riches’ rather than more deterministic ‘rules for riches’ which allowed managerial prescription to have long-run effects on performance

Critique – Honda

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Beinhocker and Kaplan, 2002

  • Annual strategic planning process’ needs to be redesigned to support real-time strategy making and encouraging evolutionary ‘creative accidents’
  • Few execs think that formal strategic planning pays off despite the time and effort put in, 
  • Planning processes shouldn’t be designed to ‘make’ strategy; 
  • Formal planning process add value if have 2 overarching goals: To build prepared minds and Increase innovativeness of strategies - No one company best at both - Tend to be better at one or the other
  • Preparing Minds: Need small groups (no more than 10) to ensure productive and real conversations during meetings that are part of the planning process
  • Encouraging Creative Minds: Cannot force creative thinking  but can create conditions to spur it on
    • Two ways: Bottom Up: Strategy By Experiment OR Top Down: Drive crosscutting themes - Need broad engagement of whole organisation and new perspectives for crosscutting
  • Persuade organisation to deal with such issues is a way in which CEOs/senior management may add value to a firm
  • Planning groups (‘strategy teams’) should design/run process, though CEO may own/drive it
    • But need small groups of high quality people
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