Collective Strategy Development

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Matching Collective and Competitive Strategies Author(s): Rudi K. F. Bresser Source: Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1988), pp. 375-385 Published by: John Wiley & Sons Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2486272 Accessed: 03/05/2010 19:55 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=jwiley. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

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Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 9, 375-385 (1988)

AND COMPETITIVE MATCHING COLLECTIVE
RUDIK. F. BRESSER
Baruch College, The City University of New York,New York,New York,U.S.A.

This paper discusses possibilities for combining collective and competitive strategies. Combinations can be problematic if competitive intentions are disclosed through the information links resultingfrom collective strategies. After describing how different collective strategies may lead to an uncontrolled disclosure of strategic information, a typology evaluating the feasibility of strategy combinations is developed. The typology's implications for research and managerial practice are discussed.

A recent development in the business policy literature is a concern with strategic planning at a collective level. Collective strategies are attempts by sets of organizations to manage their mutural interdependence and the system dynamics of their interorganizational environments (Astley and Fombrun, 1983a; Bresser and Harl, 1986; Thorelli, 1986). In managing interdependent and dynamic environments, collective strategies can be reactive by absorbing movement within an environment, or they can be proactive by forestalling the unpredictable behavior of other organizations. Firms can use collective strategies in combination with competitive strategies. This paper discusses the extent to which such combinations are feasible.

MANAGING INTERDEPENDENCE Organizational interdependence exists whenever one organization does not entirely control all the conditions necessary for achieving a desired action or outcome (Pfeffer and Salancik, 1978). In addition to environmental movement, interdependence can cause problems of decision-making uncertainty for focal organizations. This occurs

because the success of activities chosen by any interdependent organization depends on the activities selected by other organizations. Consequently, an interdependent organization may need to consider other organizations' actions, and it faces decision-making uncertainty if it is aware of its interdependence and has difficulties in controlling the activities of other organizations. Decision-making uncertainty is most likely to be perceived among horizontally interdependent organizations operating in oligopolistic markets. Under these conditions all organizations are aware of their mutual interdependence and have considerable difficulties in controlling each other's...
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