The Ecological Analysis of Business Strategy

by John Freeman, Warren Boeker



Considering populations of firms in the context of competitive dynamics can advance the analysis of strategy. Knowledge regarding the range of strategic alternatives being pursued by competing firms, as well as the rate at which these strategies are adopted and implemented, is critical in further research on business strategy. Common practice is to consider dynamic issues either without any data to speak of, or through case studies of specific firms. In contrast, studies of large numbers of organizations are often performed with static theories and cross-sectional data. In the first mode, context is lost as sampling tends to be performed on the dependent variable or without context supplied by the behavior of competing firms. The latter mode of analysis ignores the timing of events, which is central to most important strategic issues. As the research techniques outlined here develop and come into broader use, the study of business strategy offers promise for sophisticated and valuable discovery by strategy researchers and informative analysis for practitioners as well.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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