Antecedents of convergence and divergence in strategic positioning: The effects of performance and aspiration on the direction of strategic change

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This paper investigates drivers of convergence and divergence in strategic positioning in terms of resource-allocation decisions. The study, based on the behavioral theory of the firm, suggests two unexplored kinked-curve relationships between performance gaps and strategic convergence-divergence. First, the study suggests a negative relationship between a focal firm's performance relative to aspiration levels and strategic convergence-divergence, where the slope is steeper when performance is above the aspiration level. Second, it suggests a positive relationship between a target firm's performance relative to a focal firm's performance and strategic convergence-divergence, where the slope is steeper when a target firm's performance is below a focal firm's performance. Empirical analysis of dyad-level data in the U.S. food processing industry reveals that the direction of a firm's strategic change is shaped by its aspiration level, its performance level, and the performance gap between it and the firm it selects as a model. This study contributes to the current literature by offering preliminary indications of when and how a firm moves closer to or further away from other competing firms in its strategic position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-402
Number of pages17
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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