Competitive Actions of Firms
Types and Contexts
By Hao Ma, Jianwen Liao
Routledge – 2015 – 256 pages
Competition between firms is usually conducted through a series of specific actions in the marketplace. It is the competitive actions and dynamics of the firms that actually translate strategy into results. This book provides extensive case studies as well as extant theoretical literature and advances a typology of firm actions based on three dimensions (action breadth, action intensity, and action duration) so as to capture the characteristics of a firm’s actions in terms of various combinations of scope, magnitude, and time signature.
The book highlights the action types which range from "soaking" the entire battlefield with constant bombardment to "hopping" around by hit-and-run guerilla forces, from heavy "drilling" in a focused area to patient "fishing" that intends to influence customers and rivals through gentle persuasion, from "sprinkling" alternately in different market segments to decisive "thrusting" within selective niche, and from strong "lightening" effort within concentrated time and space to long-lasting and soft "drizzling" in a vast domain.
The book posits that the effectiveness of each type of competitive action will be determined by the environmental context in which the action is undertaken. In general, the breadth of a competitive action is positively related to the munificence of the environment, the intensity of a competitive action is negatively related to environmental complexity, and the duration of a competitive action is negatively related to environmental dynamism.
The book offers insights on the matching environmental contexts for each type of competitive actions discussed. It is a refreshing perspection on discussion of environmental context which hinges not only on the types and evolutionary stages of the industries, the socio-political-cultural milieus of the marketplaces, but also on the increasing globalization and glocalization as well as the recent shift of world economic orders.
Introduction. Competitive Actions: Building Blocks of Competition 1. The Breadth of Competitive Actions 2. The Intensity of Competitive Actions 3. The Duration of Competitive Actions 4. Competitive Actions: A Typology 5. The Contexts of Competitive Actions 6. The Match Between Competitive Actions and Competitive Contexts Conclusion. Action Matters: Strategy is in the Actions