University of Twente Student Theses


Competitive dynamics in the wholesale sector: A qualitative comparative analysis

Schumacher, J.L. (2016) Competitive dynamics in the wholesale sector: A qualitative comparative analysis.

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Abstract:Research on competitive dynamics has flourished in recent years. While scholars have been able to paint a fine-grained picture of the variables that impact competitive interactions, the research to date lacks an integration of the different themes that have developed in coexistence. While collecting data in the German wholesale sector, this thesis asks: How can managers prevent the loss of revenue, considering the severity of the attack, the economic situation of the attacker, the service capabilities and relationships with partners, when confronted with an attack? This study applies two consecutive methods for data collection: First, six interviews with industry experts were conducted. Based on the interviews, a survey was created. By applying qualitative comparative analysis as research method to the research stream of competitive dynamics, this study considered the social science phenomena of equifinality, conjunctional causality, and asymmetric causality. Contrary to previous findings, the analysis revealed the importance of patience when confronted with a competitive attack. It found that competitive responses have rarely been successful, while the importance of environmental factors was underlined. Furthermore, the relevance of integrating the extended resource based view into the analysis of competitive interactions was shown. Last, the interacting effects of good relationships with customers and suppliers with other factors were found, which either improve the strategic capabilities of a firm to respond to an attack or absorb the negative effect of severe competitive attacks. The importance of integrating multiple factors from different streams is shown by highlighting interrelated effects. More specifically, the ‘good relationships with partners’ factor interacts with action and response characteristics, which emphasizes the need for further studies. In addition, the analysis provides contradictory results regarding the effect of competitive activity on a firm's performance. This thesis recommends managers to resist the temptation to always fight back when they experience a competitive attack. Responses should be carefully considered to avoid escalation. Furthermore, enhancing superior service-levels and good relationships with partners have been shown to be effective safeguards against the negative commercial impacts of competitive actions.
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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