Management Review Quarterly

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 415–458 | Cite as

A systematic literature review on competitor analysis: status quo and start-up specifics

  • Nadja HatzijordanouEmail author
  • Nicolai Bohn
  • Orestis Terzidis


The purpose of this paper is to determine the status quo of research on competitor analysis (CA), which constitutes a cornerstone of strategic management. Of special interest are potential specifications for start-ups which act in an environment of high uncertainty, where CA is supposed to provide meaningful information to determine the right course of action. This study is performed as a conceptually organized systematic literature review with representative coverage and focus on research outcomes. The findings of 78 identified relevant studies out of 43 different journals are analyzed. Results are presented with regard to research contribution, mentioned purposes for conducting CA, CA processes and methods, and elements for ensuring quality of CA. To provide a cohesive understanding of the CA theme, as well as a foundation and guidance for researchers and practitioners, a conceptual framework is derived, which synthesizes the facets of the CA theme in a novel manner. Start-up related research contributions and avenues for future research are discussed.


Competitor analysis Start-ups Systematic literature review 



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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EntrepreneurshipHasso-Plattner-InstitutePotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Entrepreneurship, Technology Management and InnovationKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

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