Research stay at UC3M: DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Project: Towards an action-based perspective on firm competition. How do emerging market enterprises (EMEs) become competitive actors in a global environment still largely dominated by established firms from advanced economies? Traditional theoretical frameworks used in international business and strategic management research typically focus on industry or resource-based explanations of firm competitiveness. These perspectives tend to emphasize what a firm has, such as competitive position or resource possession. The question then arises: what about the ‘average’ firm, i.e., one that does not occupy a significant position in its industry space nor possesses some strategically superior resources relative to its rivals? Going by the more dominant theories, such firms do not have any visible or viable basis for competitive advantage. Yet, in many industries, such firms are not only present and co-exist with their more advantaged rivals but are often even able to challenge the dominance of some of the incumbents.
My proposed project seeks to develop an alternate perspective, based on Austrian economics-based notion of entrepreneurship, that underscores the role of action in explaining the competitive behaviour of emerging market multinationals. Such an ‘action-based’ perspective on competition shifts the emphasis from what a firm has to what a firm does with what it has and may be better suited to today’s business environment, characterized by greater dynamism and disequilibrium, where competitive advantages appears to be more transient in nature. Although multinationals from emerging economies will be my focal context, with minor adaptations the argument can be applied more generally to other seemingly disadvantaged firms, such as newly established entrepreneurial startups.
Stay period: FEB 2015 - JUL 2015