Marketing Strategy and Strategic Environment Performance Sustaining Configurations: A Set-Theoretic Approach: An Abstract

  • Simos Chari
  • George Balabanis
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science book series (DMSPAMS)


The link between performance outcomes and strategic choices has been the subject of numerous studies (see Mirabeau & Maguire, 2014). The success of any strategy type is determined by the outcomes it produces when aligned with key contingencies (Katsikeas, Samiee, & Theodosiou, 2006). Along the strategic alignment literature, authors conjure the significance of strategy – external environment – fit for superior performance outcomes (Zott & Amit, 2008). In fact, the lack of fit (i.e., misfit) instigates poor performance implications (Yarbrough, Morgan, & Vorhies, 2011).

A whole set of parameters, which are external to the firm, blur strategic decision-making (Rosenbusch, Rauch, & Bausch, 2013). Acknowledging this challenge, the objective of this study is to gain an understanding of how strategies and external contingencies commingle in different combinations and interplay in shaping performance outcomes. To explore this phenomenon, this study adopts four strategic environment dimensions, which emerge as contingencies: competitive hostility, market dynamism, complexity, and munificence. As the study sets strategic environment configurations, it proposes a taxonomy of four marketing strategy types: marketing pioneers, marketing followers, efficient operators, and value marketers. To analyze fit, the authors theorize about strategies against the proposed configurations and empirically test the resulting financial performance.

The current study applies a multiple-input approach using theoretical and qualitative inputs to develop high-performing configurations. The authors systematically reviewed scholarly work over the period of 1980–2015. To improve accuracy and precision, the authors complemented conventional theorizing with a qualitative input (i.e., theoretical specification by expert raters). The average score across the two inputs is used as a metric for robustly deriving conditional hypotheses.

This present study examines strategic environment configurations as an entire pattern of causes rather than a set of independent and isolated predictor variables. To test this assumption, the authors depart from traditional multivariate techniques. Alternatively, they introduce a set-theoretic analytical method—that is, fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). fsQCA is uniquely appropriate for testing configurational theory and provides rich insights on the relationship between the configurational parameters and the outcome of interest (Rihoux & Ragin, 2009). Research hypotheses on performance implications and responses from 196 marketing executives lend support to the argument that each strategy type requires unique combinations and conditions of strategic environment parameters for success.

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leeds University Business SchoolLeedsUK
  2. 2.Cass Business SchoolLondonUK

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