Articles scientifiques

Causation, counterfactuals and competitive advantage

R. DURAND, E. Vaara

Strategic Management Journal

décembre 2009, vol. 30, n°12, pp.1245-1264

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : causation, counterfactuals, competitive advantage, epistemology

Causation needs more attention in strategy research. Confusion prevails around the statistical or causal nature of core relationships between resources, competitive advantage, and performance in the strategy corpus. Based on a discussion of alternative epistemological perspectives on causation, we define epistemological conditions that help to both dispel some of this confusion and to provide a basis for a counterfactual approach to causation. In particular, we argue that a counterfactual approach ' that builds on a systematic analysis of 'what-if' questions ' can advance our understanding of key causal mechanisms in strategy research. We offer two concrete methodologies ' counterfactual history and causal modeling ' as methodological solutions for causal strategy research. We show that counterfactual methods can open up new avenues for historical analysis, which has been very limited in our field, but maintain that such studies should take into account the inherent cognitive biases of retrospective constructions. We also illustrate that causal modeling provides opportunities for new conceptualizations and empirical testing of the relationships between resources and performance. In particular, resource properties can be regarded as mediating mechanisms in these causal relationships.

CEO Ambivalence and Responses to Strategic Issues


Organization Science

novembre-décembre 2009, vol. 20, n°6, pp.993-1010

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Mots clés : Ambivalent evaluations, Organizational action, Behavioral theory of the firm

We examine how executives' ambivalent evaluation of a strategic issue relates to organizational actions taken in response. Ambivalence occurs when a decision maker evaluates an issue as simultaneously positive and negative, a state that has received scant attention in organizational research. We integrate findings in social psychology with the behavioral theory of the firm to suggest how executives' ambivalence prompts wider and more vigorous search for action responses and enables broader participation. Data from a two-wave survey of 104 German CEOs who evaluated the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and reported their organizations' responses show that organizations whose CEOs evaluated the event as both positive and negative were more likely to take action when both evaluations were also strongly held. The reported actions were also of greater scope, novelty, and riskiness. The study contributes to research on organizational decision making by theorizing the role of top executives' ambivalence and by providing a first systematic test of how ambivalence affects responses to strategic issues

Communication environnementale et réputation de l'organisation

D. Philippe, R. DURAND

Revue Française de Gestion

mai 2009, n°194, pp.45-63

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Dans cet article, les auteurs avancent l'idée que les informations publiées par l'organisation sur son comportement environnemental constituent des signaux qui auront des impacts différenciés sur la réputation organisationnelle en fonction de leur nature, leur visibilité et leur cohérence. Les résultats indiquent que la conformité, la coprésence de signaux conformes et non conformes, et la visibilité du signal rejaillissent favorablement sur la réputation. Enfin, l'impact des signaux de conformité peu visibles dépend de la réputation antérieure de l'organisation, et ce à l'avantage des organisations bénéficiant d'une réputation plus élevée que la moyenne. Ces résultats permettent ainsi de contribuer à la fois à la littérature sur la communication environnementale et à celle sur le management de la réputation. *BUSINESS enterprises -- Environmental aspects*BUSINESS communication*COMMUNICATION in organizations*BUSINESS planning*INDUSTRIAL managementREPUTATION (Sociology)

Guest editorial

E. CORNUEL, H. Thomas

Journal of Management Development

2009, vol. 28, n°8, pp.657-659

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise

An introduction to a series of articles published within the issue is presented, including one by Howard Thomas on the nature of the research challenges faced by business schools, another by Howard Thomas and Alex Wilson on the environment and competitive challenges to management research in business schools, and one by Michael I. Reed which offers a framework for analysing the gap between theory and practice.

Horizontal Alliances as an Alternative to Autonomous Production: Product Expansion Mode Choice in the Worldwide Aircraft Industry 1945-2000


Strategic Management Journal

août 2009, vol. 30, n°8, pp.885-894

Départements : Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise, GREGHEC (CNRS)


This study investigates why firms choose to undertake product expansion through alliances with competitors rather than on their own. We highlight product heterogeneity, as a determinant of this make or ally choice. We propose that firms turn to horizontal alliances in order to implement product expansion projects that require greater resources than those available to them. More precisely, we hypothesize that a firm. is more likely to launch a new product through a horizontal alliance rather than autonomously when the resource requirements of the project are greater, the resources available to the firm are more limited, there is a mismatch between resource endowment and requirement, and the firm's collaborative competence allows it to better cope with the interorganizational concerns that collaboration with competitors raises. We find support for our arguments on a sample of 310 new aircraft developments launched between 1945 and 2000, either by a single prime contractor or as a horizontal alliance in which prime contractorship is shared with another industry incumbent


Département Stratégie et Politique d’Entreprise

Campus HEC Paris
1, rue de la Libération
78351 Jouy-en-Josas cedex


Bertrand QUELIN

Stratégie et Politique d'Entreprise (GREGHEC)

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