Strategic political emphasis, strategic capabilities and uncertainty: An exploratory assessment of managers in the United States

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© 2015, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – With heightened regulations in many nations, increasing political influence, greater emphasis on government-business partnerships, and the rapid development of emerging markets, the notion of nonmarket strategy (NMS) is now widely viewed as a key component of a firm’s overall strategic orientation. The purpose of this paper is to investigate factors associated with strategic political emphasis (SPE), a key part of NMS. Design/methodology/approach – A survey instrument including items related to competitive strategy, environmental uncertainty, strategic capability, performance, and SPE was administered to 275 managers in the USA. Strategy along Porter’s typology, strategic capabilities, uncertainty, and performance were measured via existing scales. Items were created to assess SPE. Findings – Managers in firms with greater SPE also reported greater uncertainty about competition and markets, and lower capabilities with regard to management and technology. Managers in organizations with weaker market orientations (MOs) – including greater uncertainty about competition and markets, and lower capabilities in management and technology – emphasized greater SPE. Managers reporting lower capability levels in their firms were more likely to report higher SPE and to have increased SPE in the last decade. Select uncertainties and capabilities – not competitive strategy per se – appears to have prompted an increase in SPE in these firms. Originality/value – An effective NMS is vital from the perspectives of both profit maximization for shareholders and the satisfaction of broader, social objectives. However, many executives are trained to excel in the market arena and may not have the skill set and temperament necessary for success in NMS and specifically, the political arena. Moreover, SPE and market strategies are not always consistent, challenging executives to integrate and balance the two orientations.

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Journal of Strategy and Management

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