THE HYBRID COMPETITIVE STRATEGY FRAMEWORK - A managerial theory for combining differentiation and low-cost strategic approaches based on a case study of a European textile manufacturer

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Business Administration

  • Authors:
  • Alexandre Lapersonne


The fact that we have entered turbulent times has been a central theme in the recent strategy literature. Turbulent environments are commonly described by increased competitive intensity, disruptive changes in the industry structure, volatility of demand, and unpredictability of customer behaviour, alongside instability of economic, social and political factors. In such a context, the adoption of traditional approaches to strategy, which assumes a relatively stable world, have been questioned by new approaches. Mixed strategy, which emerged as a contingency option to Porter's generic strategies model, defends that in a turbulent environment the simultaneous pursuit of the low-cost and differentiation approaches is fundamental for the short-term performance and long-term survival of the firm. A vast corpus of literature supports the benefits of adopting a mixed approach strategy: several empirical studies have proved that a combination of low-cost and differentiation strategic elements establishes a firm's performance superiority over the pure strategy choice. The mixed literature has concentrated on the performance linkage and on the debate countering the pure strategy approach, however very little attention has been paid to the challenges presented by the mixed strategy implementation. In fact, despite the rich empirical literature, it is still not clear how firms that adopt a mixed strategy may successfully integrate the inherent contradiction of the low-cost and differentiation approaches. The aim of this study is to investigate how a firm has been implementing the mixed strategy approach, unveiling its managerial characteristics and to generate a proposed managerial framework that could serve as a guide for further implementation. This study approaches the subject of mixed strategy implementation on three levels: environment, strategy definition and making process, and value chain activity. After having elucidated several ambiguities related to the concept of mixed strategy present in the literature and having proposed a normalized definition, this study investigates through a unique case study approach, an in-depth explorative process using causal process methods the managerial implication of the mixed strategy. Several characteristics are revealed from the unique case study and represent a major contribution to the field of strategy management. Furthermore, a managerial framework is proposed which could serve as support in the implementation of a mixed strategy.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2019