عملکرد کسب و کار و ابعاد جهت گیری استراتژیک
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|12004||2003||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 56, Issue 3, March 2003, Pages 163–176
Despite the conceptual, empirical, and theoretical advances in strategy–performance research, there is little consensus regarding the nature and form of this association. As a result, several critical reviews and meta-analyses have been reported which highlight notable limitations in extant studies. In addressing certain of these, this study presents an empirical investigation of medium and large, high technology, industrial manufacturing firms. Business strategy is conceptualized as a comparative construct with six dimensions and an attempt is made to relate these characteristics of strategic orientation with firms' business performance. The results indicate that firms' emphasis upon analysis, defensiveness, and futurity in strategic orientation are related to business performance. Discussion is given to these findings and implications are drawn for business executives and future research.
The management literature is replete with conceptual propositions grounded in empirical accounts of studies that have investigated the relationship between strategy and aspects of firm performance. However, it is ironic that despite this volume of research attention, consensus concerning this relationship at the business level has been slow to develop (Parnell, 1997). The principal reasons underlying this relate to: conflicting theoretical perspectives; anomalies in empirical context; contrasting bases for operationalization, measurement, and associated methodological considerations; and, differing modes of explanation. Beyond the intrinsic nature of debate underlying the strategy–performance relationship, the issue remains an area of fertile interest for both academic and executive communities. Nonetheless, a review of the extant literature reveals three notable limitations. First, the vast majority of studies have adopted a classificatory approach in their conceptualization and measurement of business strategy and pursued either: the Porter (1980) low cost, differentiation, or focus typology (e.g., Parker and Helms, 1992 and Schul et al., 1995); the Miles and Snow (1978) prospector, analyzer, reactor, or defender typology (e.g., Golden, 1992, James and Hatten, 1994 and Ramaswamy et al., 1994); or, derived classifications such as those of Hurst et al. (1984) and Wright et al. (1995). An inherent limitation in this type of approach is the assumption of mutual exclusivity (Speed, 1993). Any effort to capture the complexity of strategy content requires a more sophisticated calibration that gages the properties of strategy rather than attempts to generate a unitary indicant for each type of strategy. Second, firm performance has traditionally been considered purely in accounting terms Conant et al., 1990 and Jennings and Seaman, 1994. Although accounting performance can be considered a theoretical construct in its own right (Capon et al., 1990), the business performance construct is truly multifaceted which might explain the increased interest in frameworks such as: the “balanced scorecard” (Kaplan and Norton, 1992, p. 71) approach to performance assessment; the evolving market-based assets paradigm (Srivastava et al., 1998); and, emerging approaches from the accounting literature that question the “reliance on accounting performance measures (RAPM)” (Otley and Fakiolas, 2000, p. 497) in favor of approaches that shift the focus away from strictly accounting considerations to the more generic issues of business performance evaluation. Third, most studies have tended to investigate firms specifically in mature and stable industries which is likely to explain departures in research findings from a small number of studies that have considered deregulated (Reger et al., 1992), transition (Golden et al., 1995), and volatile (Tan and Litschert, 1994) contexts. In attempting to address these limitations, this paper presents an empirical investigation of medium and large, high technology, industrial manufacturing firms. The specific interests of the study were to examine the relationships between business performance and six dimensions of firms' strategic orientation (aggressiveness, analysis, defensiveness, futurity, proactiveness, and riskiness). The paper is organized respectively with a review of the strategic orientation and business performance literature, which is followed by an account of the theoretical premises and conceptual framework underlying the study. An explanation of the research method is then specified which precedes a description of the analytical approach and empirical findings. These results are then interpreted in the light of existing knowledge where a number of conclusions and implications are derived for executive audiences and future research directions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results from this investigation are notable and are distinguished from certain other studies by a single generalization: Firms that emphasize the traits of defensiveness, analysis, and futurity in strategic orientation typically exhibit high levels of business performance. These strategy dimensions are conservative in nature, relative to the nonassociative scales of proactiveness, riskiness, and aggressiveness, and reveal that high performing businesses are distinctly cautious, prudent, and make judicious use of their defensive skills, analytical capabilities, and future-oriented management. Although the traits of proactiveness, riskiness, and aggressiveness are typical of entrepreneurial intensity, the extent to which they relate to business performance among this sample of high technology industrial manufacturers appears to be limited. Despite the intuitively appealing notion that corporate entrepreneurship may positively affect performance outcomes (Morris and Sexton, 1996), “surprisingly little systematic empirical evidence is available to support the belief” (Covin and Slevin, 1991, p. 16). While this largely remains the case, the findings from this study imply that although entrepreneurial traits such as proactiveness, riskiness, and aggressiveness have their place in the complement of strategic orientation, the relative commercial rewards available appear less clear Dess et al., 1997 and Hart, 1992. A comparison may elaborate on this: while neither conservatism nor entrepreneurialism are inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (Miller and Friesen, 1982), so too can the same be claimed for Miles and Snow's (1978) prospector, defender, and analyzer types of firm. For the latter group, it can be suggested that although prospector firms exhibit entrepreneurial characteristics, a large number of studies have found that their business performance will be the same as defender and analyzer firms (Conant et al., 1990) that are generally described as conservative. An interesting framework for interpretation of these findings is offered by theories of competitive analysis and conjectural variations (Amit et al., 1988). This literature is concerned with the explication of competitor interactions in the marketplace. The significant investment and inertia needed to sustain entrepreneurial intensity demands that a firm's energy must be deployed toward securing constant improvement, innovation, and the development of products, technologies, and markets. However, these efforts can often be expressed as first-mover disadvantages (Mueller, 1997). In theories of competitive reactions, it has been demonstrated that the lagged effect of cannabalization and late-mover actions by firms employing conservative strategies can produce improved overall performance (Shankar et al., 1998). Also, evidence illustrates that the more a firm experiences competitive reactions, the lower is its overall performance (Clark and Montgomery, 1996b). Furthermore, Clark and Montgomery (1996b, p. 117) argue, “competitive reactions may hurt a firm regardless of the accuracy with which the reactions are perceived; indeed, one of the practical implications of much of the research on competitive reactions is to better understand how a competitor can best react to hurt a firm.” Additional support can be found to consolidate this position in the work of Bryman (1997), Golder and Tellis (1993), and Mitchell (1991), among others. Population ecology theory has also been allied to this debate by researchers investigating pioneers or entrepreurial firms and late-entrants, followers, or conservative firms (e.g., Lambkin, 1988): Population ecology theory suggests that the latter outperforms the former. This conclusion is drawn from the effect of liability of newness which postulates that mortality is more evident among ‘new’ organizations (Freeman et al., 1983) and the lack of established legitimacy in the environment is a constraint that induces such an effect (Singh et al., 1986). However, it should be recognized that business performance improvement among conservative firms over entrepreneurial firms could be overstated. Robinson et al. (1994) warn that for followers that do not achieve competitive scale, the performance effects of later entry may be exaggerated. For this study though, this was not of direct concern because business performance did not significantly correlate with employee numbers or sales turnover indicating similarity in competitive scale. In addition, while effective business performance has been aligned with conservative strategies above, all firms did also exhibit aspects of entrepreneurialism although these dimensions were not significantly related to business performance. Important executive implications can be derived from this study. For instance, priorities need to be established to appreciate the benefits of defensive competitive traits, analytical capabilities, and future-oriented planning. Although these characteristics do not readily align themselves with offensive strategic maneuvers, they do provide firms with grounding for business performance competitiveness. Consequently, emphasizing these dimensions of strategic orientation is not so much ‘managing on the back foot’ as demonstrating caution and timeliness in executing aggressive, proactive, and risk-seeking behaviors. Alternatively, firms emphasizing aggressiveness, proactiveness, and riskiness in strategic orientation need to examine the costs of maintaining competitive strategy vis à vis the payoff in short-term, intermediate, and long-term performance attributes. This should form a key ingredient in corporate review tasks and performance diagnoses. Identified performance gaps between organizational goals and realized outcomes will need to be addressed by executives concerning competitive posture, marketplace opportunity, and importantly, the composition of optimal strategic orientation to ensure business performance improvement. Finally, executives must recognize the multiple, and possibly conflicting, performance aims that confront them. It is vital that they generate a composite view of business performance assessment, management, and aspiration. In this regard, Kaplan and Norton (1996) present an interesting analogy between the myopic firm focussing on a single performance goal and an aircraft pilot charged with flying an airplane using only one technical instrument. Naturally, the confidence a passenger might have in a pilot using a single instrument to, for example, measure airspeed while ignoring altitude, fuel, and other fundamentals to a suceessful flight, does parallel with the executive focussing on a single objective during a certain time period, and an alternative objective during the next time period. Nowadays, navigating a firm successfully through the minefield of marketplace turbulence and uncertainty does demand a balance between accounting- and market-based performance criteria and strategic orientation. Our research findings suggest fertile directions for future research. First, further investigation might be directed toward the nature of association between path dependencies in strategic orientation and business performance. Complimentary studies involving longitudinal methodologies and data envelopment analysis may help to track the form of a lagged performance relationship regarding both aggressive, proactive, and risk-averse entrepreneurial types of firm and more analytical, defensive, and future-oriented conservative types of firm. This line of inquiry is related to two widespread strategic practices but associated with emerging literatures: (i) competitor imitation, or so-called lemmus lemmus strategies (Saunders et al., 2001), and (ii) strategic preemption (Mason and Phillips, 2000). Regarding the former, important questions need to be raised here regarding the relationship between innovative and imitative strategies and their trade-off in performance terms. Phelan (1997), and Wensley (2000) have all made interesting contributions here worthy of further exploration. The latter avenue of research tests the preemptive actions of dominant (high-performing) firms in attempting to increase their market power over potential new entrants or rival incumbents. Industrial organization theory has examined related issues using game theoretic approaches (Mason and Nowell, 1998) and simulation methodologies addressing the dynamics among strategy dimensions may reveal notable exceptions to extant knowledge in this area. Second, prospect theory (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979) presents researchers with a suitable workbench upon which to examine the strategy–performance relationship. This theory is built upon the argument that strategists are risk-seeking when recent performance has been unsatisfactory and risk-averse when recent performance levels have been attained or surpassed Bowman, 1980 and Bromiley, 1991 — this notion has been explored by Jayachandran (2000) in the form of a ‘complacency effect’ where past business performance was found to be positively related to a firm's ability to respond to competitors but negatively related to its motivation to do so. These tenets contrast with conventional financial theory that declares a positive risk-seeking and business return relationship. However, prospect theory does facilitate an interesting explanation for riskiness and future developments may build upon both this study and work by Wright et al. (1995) in exploring the same for the proactiveness and aggressiveness dimensions of strategic orientation. Linked to this consideration is of working strictly within agency theory to develop an improved understanding of the interaction between shareholder interests and the determination of strategic orientation. This follows from Eisenhardt's (1989a) recommendation to expand principal–agency considerations to rich organizational contexts in order to better understand the agency problems that arise in managing this relationship — especially between shareholders and executives. Naturally, such consideration will need to overcome the research design challenges and measurement problems cited in prior research Bergen et al., 1992 and Austin and Larkey, 2000. Third, in order to provide more conclusive results, tests need to be performed to understand the relationship between strategy and business performance at multiple levels of analysis (McGahan and Porter, 1997). Further, incorporating measures of organizational capabilities and competition in such a framework, and examining the endogeneity between these constructs, would allow insights to move beyond what is currently considered to be “a rudimentary stage” (Henderson and Mitchell, 1997, p. 6) of understanding.