Year of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Business and Economics
Dr. Walter J. Ferrier
Extant research within competitive dynamics recognizes a positive relationship between high levels of competitive activity and firm performance, but the cognitive and psychological antecedents to competitive activity are far less clearly understood. I explore the role of a specific psychological antecedent - status, in impacting firms’ motivations to launch competitive moves against rivals. The key question, which extant literature does not seem fully equipped to answer, is when and under exactly what circumstances lower-status firms become motivated to launch action against higher-status ones and vice-versa. I use the stimulus-response model in social cognition to build theory which helps to answer the question by considering structural properties of market engagement. The specific structural property of market engagement that I focus on is market commonality, or the extent to which a rival is a significant player in markets important to a focal firm. I predict that a rival’s market commonality with a focal firm and its status relative to the focal firm have independent and positive effects on the extent to which the focal firm pays attention to the rival, that a rival’s market commonality with a focal firm and its status relative to the focal firm interact negatively to predict the focal firm’s motivation to launch action against that rival, and that a rival’s relative status and market commonality with a focal firm interact positively to predict the extent to which the focal firm pays attention to the rival. I test theory through a field study on gourmet food trucks in Lexington and an experiment through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk tool. Results provide broad support for the hypotheses. Three consequences follow from my study – that high-status firms are likely to come under attack from lower-status firms with whom they do not compete in markets, that they are unlikely to be paying attention to those lower-status firms when first attacked, and that they are likely to become aware of and motivated to act against those lower-status firms only after the lower-status firms have occupied key markets. My study contributes to the literatures in competitive dynamics, status, multi-market contact, and entrepreneurial action.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Channagiri Ajit, Tejaswi, "COMPETITION, STATUS AND MARKETS" (2018). Theses and Dissertations--Management. 11.