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The entrant's advantage & the establishment's dilemma: a study of Dutch established political parties'reaction towards new entrants from a discontinuous innovation point of view

Kovacs, Adrian (2010) The entrant's advantage & the establishment's dilemma: a study of Dutch established political parties'reaction towards new entrants from a discontinuous innovation point of view.

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Abstract:This research adopted a discontinuous innovation perspective to study political competition. The focus thereby was on the reactions of six established Dutch national political parties – PVDA, VVD, CDA, D66, SP & GroenLinks – towards two cases of successful new entrant parties – the LPF and the PVV. The question central to this research has been formulated as follows; How did the established Dutch national political parties deal with the challenges of discontinuous innovation, in reaction to the electoral successes of the LPF and the PVV? In order to answer this question, both new entrants were treated as discontinuities and discontinuous innovation concepts were linked to the classic spatial theory of voting in order to develop a typology of response strategies. This typology was applied in order to typify the reactions of the established parties according to three a priori defined strategies – ignorance, attack and imitation. The reactions of the established parties were assessed by conducting a content analysis of more than four thousand statements made by the political leaders of the established parties in five Dutch national newspapers – De Volkskrant, Algemeen Dagblad, NRC Handelsblad, Trouw and Het Parool. The results clearly show that all established parties have primarily reacted to both the LPF and the PVV by attacking. Although the attack strategy was found to be the dominant strategy for all parties, important differences between parties regarding the objects of their attacks were observed. While the attacks of the CDA were primarily focused on the policies of the new entrants, the attacks of GroenLinks and especially D66 involved primarily personal attacks. The attacks of the remaining parties – PVDA, VVD and SP – were in balance with attacks being evenly distributed across policy-focused and personal attacks. The ignorance strategy was found to be only marginally represented across the sample of established parties and the representation of the imitation strategy can best be described as idiosyncratic. Next to the three a priori defined strategies, three additional strategies emerged during the course of data analysis which typify the reactions of established parties towards new entrants – isolation, neutral and attacking others. Interestingly, of these emergent strategies, the attacking others strategy, which entails that established parties attacked each other regarding their reactions towards new entrants, was found to be the second most prominent strategy behind attack. Lastly, the analysis has clearly illustrated that established parties’ motivation and ability to respond to new entrants could not be explained by their ideological distance to these new entrants. The application of the discontinuous innovation perspective yielded important insights with implications for both discontinuous innovation literature and Public Choice literature. With regard to discontinuous innovation literature, the research suggests the need for an elaborate, contingent and dynamic typology of response strategies and the need for possible other or additional determinants of these response strategies. With regard to Public Choice literature the research suggests the need for a dynamic multi-party conceptualization of political competition and the need for such conceptualizations to go beyond classic spatial theory. Overall, the application of discontinuous innovation concepts to the political sphere has highlighted the strengths and limitations of drawing analogies between the business world and the political world thereby referring to the possible validity issues that arise from drawing such analogies. Instead of ignoring these validity issues and assuming the applicability of concepts from one field to the
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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