Session 348

Differentiation and Competitive Strategy

Track E

Date: Monday, September 22, 2014


Time: 16:30 – 17:45


Room: Roma 1

Session Chair:

  • Cameron Verhaal, Georgia State University

Title: Can Success be a Curse?: Signature Products, Product Proliferation, and Focused Identities in Craft-Based Specialist Industries


  • Cameron Verhaal, Georgia State University

Abstract: This study investigates a fundamental paradox in craft-based organizations. In order to achieve high levels of growth, entrepreneurial organizations often leverage a single signature product that proves to be successful in the market. However, for craft-based specialists this focused strategy runs counter to a collective identity built on authenticity, creativity, and unique or even idiosyncratic product development. How, then, do specialists reconcile these contrasting logics? Turning to the U.S. craft beer industry, I find empirical support for the notion that as a microbrewery becomes known for a signature product, the appeal of that product will fall. I also find that identity-based cues mitigate this penalty. I test this utilizing a unique dataset of 1.2 million online beer reviews for 45,000 different beers and 2,000 breweries.

Title: Resource Heterogeneity and Strategic Factor Market Dynamics in the Scotch Whisky Industry


  • Joseph Lampel, University of Manchester
  • Daniel Ronen, City University London
  • Aneesh Banerjee, City University London

Abstract: In this paper we examine strategic factor markets (SFMs) with the following features: the firms that produce the resources for the SFMs are also competitors in downstream markets: to meet their downstream production requirements firms trade SFM resources with each other. We argue that although these firms trade the same type of resource, variations in resource characteristics give rise to resource heterogeneity and hence differential rent accumulation. Using spatial competition theory we argue that resource scarcity will be a function of position in characteristics space, and that rents generated due to scarcity are constrained by downstream product pricing – giving rise to non-linear relationship between scarcity and investment in production of SMF resource. We derive and test hypotheses using data from the Scotch whisky industry.

Title: The Interaction Effect of Two Types of Differentiation on Firms' Prices and Profits


  • Rosario Silva, IE Business School
  • Manuel Becerra, University of Queensland
  • Oksana Gerwe, IE Business School

Abstract: It is well established that product differentiation can be critical for achieving competitive advantage in many industries. However, our knowledge of the interplay among different types of differentiation on financial performance is still rather limited. In our paper we study the effect of hotel brand on both, hotel room prices and net profits, and how this effect depends on the level of hotel quality in terms of stars and number of provided services. Using two panels of Spanish hotels between 2004 and 2008, the results confirm the positive implications of brand differentiation for room prices and profits per room. We also find a negative interaction effect, such that brand differentiation has greater effect on performance for lower quality hotels.

Title: Visibility or quality? The Influence of Vertical Specialization on Product Performance in the Video Game Industry (1980-2011)


  • Elisa Operti, ESSEC Business School
  • Jérôme Barthelemy, ESSEC Business School

Abstract: This study explores the influence of vertical specialization on product performance from a distinctive audience perspective. We argue that vertical specialization is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, products created and commercialized by distinct specialized organizations are more visible because they attract both upstream, “creativity oriented” and downstream “market oriented” audiences. On the other hand, products jointly created and commercialized by vertically specialized organizations are less likely to concurrently meet the expectations of the distinct audiences they attract. Thus, they receive lower and less consistent product quality ratings. Findings from a study in the video game industry between 1980 and 2011 provide support for our hypotheses. Evidence concerning the relevance of both product visibility quality on product commercial performance is discussed.

All Sessions in Track E...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 282: The Latest and Greatest in Empirical Methods for Strategy Scholars
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 1: Frontiers of Value Capture Research: Complementary Developments in the Theory and Empirics
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 284: The Strategic Process and Competitive Dynamics of Industry Convergence
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 341: Stakeholders, Board of Directors and Competitive Strategy
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 601: Competitive Strategy IG Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 366: Markets, Brands, Customers and Competition
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 342: Resource Based View
Mon: 14:45 – 16:00
Session 368: Firm Scope and Industry Competition
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 348: Differentiation and Competitive Strategy
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 349: Leaders, Laggards and Competition
Session 367: What Drives Firm Heterogeneity Across Time?
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 350: Governance, Organization and Competition
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 364: Conceptual developments in Competitive Strategy
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 343: What Drives Competition?

Strategic Management Society