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The Concept of Strategic Fit

Masterarbeit 2010 75 Seiten

BWL - Unternehmensführung, Management, Organisation


Table of contents


Table of figures

Table of abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Research problem and objectives
1.2 Course of investigation

2 The concept of strategic fit
2.1 Fundamentals: strategic fit and the contingency theory of organizations
2.2 Research overview
2.2.1 Early contributions: Chandler, Rumelt, and Miles and Snow
2.2.2 Further advancements and consolidation: Porter, Miller, and Venkatraman
2.2.3 Critique, reception, and recent development: Miller, Galunic and Eisenhardt, and others
2.3 Recapitulating evaluation

3 Examination of empirical studies
3.1 The categorization scheme
3.2 Classification of the identified research
3.2.1 Fit as moderation
3.2.2 Fit as mediation
3.2.3 Fit as profile deviation
3.2.4 Fit as matching
3.2.5 Fit as covariation
3.2.6 Fit as gestalts
3.3 Recapitulating evaluation

4 Conclusion
4.1 Summary
4.2 Implications for further research

Table of annexes




One of the fundamental paradigms of strategic management is the concept of strategic fit. However, recent developments raise the question if the concept still works today. To answer that question, this thesis analyzes the concept of strategic fit and examines the different research streams. In order to reach this goal, the empirical literature is classified according to different perspectives and domains of fit and the empirical findings are aggregated and evaluated. Based on the analysis of 105 identified studies publicized between 1962 and 2010, different research streams are highlighted and it is suggested that the performance implications of strategic fit are still valid today

Table of figures

Figure 1: Number of studies from 1962 - 2010

Figure 2: Time series of empirical and conceptual studies from 1962 – 2010

Figure 3: Venkatraman’s classificatory framework

Figure 4: Schematic representation of fit as moderation

Figure 5: Schematic representation of fit as mediation

Figure 6: Schematic representation of fit as profile deviation

Figure 7: Schematic representation of fit as covariation

Figure 8: Classification of identified empirical studies

Table of abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

1.1 Research problem and objectives

Matching an organization’s strategy and structure to explain firm performance is one of the fundamental insights in strategic management literature[1]. Successful organizations achieve strategic fit and support their strategy with appropriate structures and processes, while less successful firms typically exhibit poorer fit[2]. Hence, firms will strive for the ideal fit to reach highest performance and outperform those that do not. This strategic fit has been the focus of many studies and provided the basis for theory construction in numerous areas of research[3]. In every case, the underlying theoretical idea is that a “fit” (also referred to as match, (co-)alignment, congruence, or consistency) between or among different contingencies has a significant positive impact on firm performance[4].

However, especially in the past decade, firms have to cope with globalization, rapid technological change and the shortening of product life cycles, requiring them to be able to act flexibly and rapidly[5]. Thus the question appears whether the concept of strategic fit, demanding companies to stick to a certain strategy and its respective structure[6], still works and enhances a firm’s performance.

Therefore the objective of this thesis is to analyze the concept of strategic fit and to examine the different research streams. To do so, a comprehensive analysis of the literature is conducted to identify and structure existing relevant research on this topic. Moreover, a thorough overview of the current status of research is delivered and a summary and outlook of the impact of strategic fit on a firm’s performance are presented.

1.2 Course of investigation

The thesis has two main chapters. Following the introduction, the second chapter discusses the concept of strategic fit in detail. Therefore, an introduction to contingency theory is provided to better understand the term “strategic fit” (see section 2.1). After this, a research overview is provided that explains the development of the concept with the help of the central studies in this field (see section 2.2). The second chapter concludes with a recapitulating evaluation (see section 2.3).

Chapter three examines the identified empirical research. Therefore, first the used categorization scheme is explained (see section 3.1). Second, the studies are classified and the main results presented (see section 3.2). The chapter concludes with a recapitulating evaluation that discusses the aggregated results of the classification (see section 3.3).

Chapter four concludes the thesis with a summary and discussion of its findings.

2 The concept of strategic fit

This chapter provides the theoretical basis for the following parts of the thesis and a research overview of the development of the concept, followed by a recapitulating evaluation.

2.1 Fundamentals: strategic fit and the contingency theory of organizations

The concept of strategic fit implies that a relationship between two variables exists, which predicts a third variable[7]. The latter variable generally is organizational performance. Fit is the core construct of contingency theory[8].

Contingency theory is an important theoretical lens of organizational research[9]. It provides numerous insights and has considerable empirical support. The core of contingency theory is that organizational performance is caused by matching organizational attributes to contingencies that mirror the organization’s situation. Such contingencies are for instance strategy[10], or the external environment. These various contingencies are comprised in the broad concept of the organizational “context”[11]. In other words, contingency theory proposes that the alignment of environment, strategy, and organizational structure is required to reach high performance[12]. Since matching the characteristics of an organization to organizational contingencies results in high performance, organizations try to achieve such a match.

Unlike universalistic organizational theory, contingency theory does not claim that there is “one best way”[13] to organize. Instead, according to contingency thinking, organization’s reach their best performance if they assume the adequate level of a particular variable that matches the respective contingency, and not the maximum[14].

According to Peteraf and Reed (2007), Contingency theory was a dominant perspective within the study of organizations in the 1960s and 1970s[15]. Due to theoretical and methodological problems, it lost importance in the 1980s. After years of fading interest, the contingency paradigm is resurging once again, especially in the area of strategic management. Reasons for this development are, among others, new stimuli from the field of economics, which helped to better legitimize the concept as well as to dissolve definition problems and to provide better approaches to test and measure fit. Additionally, the revival may come from the fact that the concept of fit is vital to other increasingly important concepts in strategic management. Examples of this latter development can be taken both from the market based view of the firm (in this regard Porter’s concept of activity systems[16] which builds on the notion of complementarities among organizational components can be mentioned), as well as from the resource based view of the firm, which recently has been connected to the concept of strategic fit[17], too. In conclusion, it can be said that even though “the contingency label is not yet free of its association with past criticisms, new work is rapidly overcoming the hurdles that impeded progress in the recent past”[18].

2.2 Research overview

Priem notes that “contingency theory suggests that a match among […] strategy, organizational structure, and the competitive environment is necessary for high performance”[19]. But where does this bold statement come from and how did the concept of strategic fit, which is embodied in it, develop? The following section aims at answering this question and accordingly will provide a historical outline of the development of this important paradigm with the help of the central studies.

2.2.1 Early contributions: Chandler, Rumelt, and Miles and Snow

The concept of strategic fit comprises the alignment of various organizational contingencies. Chandler’s contribution (1962) was an important early[20] work[21]. He examined the contingent association between the corporate strategy of a company and its organizational structure (in particular divisional and functional form). Chandler’s propositions were tested and empirically supported by Rumelt (1974)[22].

A new fit-proposition came into play when the relationship of environment/structure-fit was developed by Lawrence and Lorsch (1967)[23]. The two propositions of strategy/structure-fit and environment/structure-fit were expanded to a tripartite relationship by Miles and Snow (1978)[24], who set forth that environment, strategy, and structure should form a matching configuration[25]. The “groundbreaking”[26] studies of Chandler, Rumelt, and Miles and Snow, as well as the study by Lawrence and Lorsch, provide a first impression of the topic.

According to Chandler, managers were faced by one primary problem as they pursued a diversification strategy, namely that their organization’s structures did not work efficiently anymore[27]. Diversification led to higher levels of complexity and uncertainty of the external environment of the company. Moreover, having new product lines and serving new markets led to increased knowledge demands and needs for attention and higher specialization. Top managers within functional, strongly centralized structures were no longer able to effectively handle the daily operations of several businesses because they did not have enough time and knowledge. Therefore, new administrative challenges were created by the growth of new areas of expertise and functions. Eventually, divisionalization was the solution to diversification, or, as Chandler put it: “I learned that the most fundamental change was that from a centralized, functionally departmentalized structure […] to a multidivisional one with a corporate office and a number of product or geographic divisions […] The senior managers of area or product divisions had the responsibility for market share and profit. They were given full control of functional activities – production, sales, purchasing, and research and development – essential to carrying out such responsibilities. The top managers in the corporate office monitored the operating divisions, and on the basis of the divisions’ performances and estimates of changing markets and technologies, planned for future production and distribution and allocated resources to implement these plans.”[28]

Rumelt (1974), who based his study on Chandler’s work, initiated the formation of the strategy-structure-performance paradigm. He looked at the extent of divisionalization and diversification and showed that the level of fit between corporate strategy and structure had major performance implications[29]. Tested with a sample of 246 large manufacturing firms, his investigations yielded that a combination of controlled diversity, coupled with a divisional structure led to the highest performance, while strategies of unrelated diversification led to the worst performance[30].

An example for the notion of environment/strategy-fit[31] is given by Ensign, who asserts that changes in a firm’s environment, e.g. because novel markets are entered due to a diversification strategy, require changes in the organization’s structure too[32].

Miles and Snow (1978) were the first who developed a typology of strategies[33]. To do so, they used Chandler’s findings and built a framework of business strategies in which each strategic type exhibits different adaptive behaviors regarding the environment and employs a different structure[34]. The four strategic types are: the defender, analyzer, prospector, and reactor. Defenders focus on efficiency, undertake only little attempt to innovate, and have narrow product-market domains. Analyzers also focus on efficiency but watch the competition and adopt quickly, they have both changing and stable product-market domains. Prospectors create change, and are continuously searching and experimenting. Lastly, reactors are firms that do not have a consistent strategy/structure-fit; even though their executives realize change, they are not capable to respond successfully to it[35]. To attain optimal performance, each of the strategic types is related to particular organizational structures. Defenders, for instance, have bureaucratic and mechanistic functional structures, while Prospectors employ divisional structures due to higher needs for flexibility in their operations, and analyzers use matrix structures. Apart from formal structure, this study also investigated managerial styles and organizational processes. For instance, the coordination processes and the mechanisms used to resolve conflicts in each of the four types were described. Moreover, the idea that structure follows strategy was challenged. Instead, a reciprocal strategy-structure relationship was found[36]. In the latter regard, the authors especially paid attention to how strategy may be restrained by structure. Furthermore, as Wasserman points out, Miles and Snow initiated the “’configurational view’ of strategy”[37] that emphasizes how organizational attributes match each other. All in all, empirical works found support for Miles and Snow’s theory[38].

2.2.2 Further advancements and consolidation: Porter, Miller, and Venkatraman

In addition to Miles and Snow’s classic study (1978), the literature names Porter (1980) and Miller (1988) as the important works on business level strategic fit[39].

Porter (1980) developed three business strategies: differentiation, cost leadership, and focus[40]. These “generic strategies” are not only omnipresent in business practice and education, but indeed also embody the concept of fit[41]. Just as Miles and Snow, Porter developed strategies and matched them with structures. In doing so, he for instance associated frequent reporting, tight control, and incentives granted on the basis of strict quantitative targets with the cost leadership strategy. On the other hand, he related subjective measures and incentives, strong interfunctional coordination, and extended benefits to attract the most competent employees to the differentiation strategy. This shows that Porter recognized that strategy/structure-fit requires more organizational arrangements than just formal structure, as did Miles and Snow.

Miller (1998) emphasized how important it is to consider the environment in order to understand the strategy/structure-fit[42]. To operationalize his tripartite alignment of environment, strategy, and structure, he used Porter’s strategy typology (with the extension of the differentiation strategy being divided into innovation- and marketing-based differentiation), the structural variables of delegation and formal controls, use of well-trained experts, and degree of liaison devices, and regarding the environment the variables market heterogeneity and uncertainty. Among his interesting results are: the two strategies of differentiation were observed more often in uncertain environments; the innovative differentiation strategy, due to its larger need for information, was associated with increased delegation, use of experts, and liaison-devices; as earlier surveys had found, cost leadership strategies were associated with more formal controls; neither strategy nor structure were associated to better performance on their own; and environment/structure-fit had no performance implications. Taking two contingencies, namely strategy and environment, as well as various structural variables into account, this study significantly contributed to the literature by developing a systems model of fit as opposed to the usual bivariate studies.

Venkatraman (1989) criticized that there had been a lack of correspondence between the verbal formulations and the statistical models used for the empirical testing of the fit-concept[43]. To improve this situation, he created a classificatory scheme on the basis of fit-conceptualizations that strategy researches previously had employed. To arrive at a common language and methodology that can be used to analyze and explain fit, the framework developed six perspectives of fit as well as the statistical procedures to empirically test each of them. These six categories in detail are: the moderation perspective, the mediation perspective, the matching perspective, the covariation perspective, the profile deviation perspective, and the gestalts perspective[44]. Venkatraman’s framework is also used to classify the literature analyzed in this study; therefore a more detailed discussion of the perspectives of fit identified by him is provided in section 3.1.

2.2.3 Critique, reception, and recent development: Miller, Galunic and Eisenhardt, and others

Miller (1992) tackled the issue-laden area, which later became to be labeled “single contingencies in a multiple contingency world”[45]. The latter statement aims at the problem that contingency research often either only considers one contingency (e.g. the influence of strategy on structure, while in reality there is more than one contingency affecting structure), or that even if multiple contingencies’ influence on structure is examined, it is not accounted for the interdependencies among the contingencies and their possible differing structural requirements[46]. An example for multiple contingencies is for instance the case of a business unit with multiple strategies, e.g. a low cost strategy for one product and a differentiation strategy for another product. Since the two strategies have different structural requirements, the resulting dilemma is: which strategy (or compromise between the two) should the business unit’s structure match?

An example of such conflicting requirements on structure is offered by Miller (1992)[47]. He analyzed, what requirements result from external environment/structure-fit and internal strategy process/structure-fit. The study found that the internal fit was stronger when the external fit was weak and vice versa. Thus it appears that managers have to choose between external or internal fit. It has to be noted that the contingency used in this study was strategy process and not strategy content, which typically is used. Nevertheless it showed that conflicting structural requirements arise in the case that multiple contingencies are prevailing. Thus, this study implies that multiple as well as contradictory contingencies should be accounted for in research and the actual design of organizations.

Galunic and Eisenhardt (1994) discussed several challenges facing fit-research[48]. One point of their critique is that the literature continues to investigate mostly diversification strategy and does not pay attention to others forms of strategy[49]. Regarding the structure variable, they lament that the focus accordingly has remained on divisionalized versus functional structures[50]. Thus they attest that studies on the strategy-structure-performance relationship are outdated because they are built on “traditional conceptions of strategy, structure, and performance […] based on 1970s business models”[51] which insufficiently addresses the novel requirements encountered by many organizations[52]. Moreover, as already mentioned above in discussing Miller (1988), they assert that although the actual relationships include multiple contingencies and are more complex than often operationalized, still bivariate models are used frequently[53].

Going forward in time, the concept of fit was enhanced to include further contingency factors. One of the more important examples of such extensions of the concept is for instance the relationship between firm strategy and information technology and -systems strategy and structure. Exemplary for this development is the study by Chan et al. (1997) who propose that the fit between business and information systems strategy has important performance implications[54].

Zajac, Kraatz, and Bresser’s study (2000) related the concept of strategic fit to the resource-based view of the firm and tried to reply to the call for a dynamic conceptualization of fit[55]. They tested a dynamic fit/misfit model, taking into consideration multiple contingencies. A strategic misfit prevails when too much or not enough strategic change is realized. In their examination of Savings and Loan (S&L) banks they found that “the greater an S&L’s deviation from the contingency model of change, the worse its performance”[56]. Their model allows analyzing how a firm should change in case a misfit of environment and structure with strategy occurs[57].

The concept also became applied in the field of marketing, for instance by Vorhies and Morgan (2003). The business strategy/marketing organization-fit was shown to have important implications on the effectiveness and efficiency of the marketing function[58].

In a recent study, Yin and Zajac (2004) observed that “research has yet to address the possibility of similar fit issues for other structural forms of organization [than the traditional widely researched company-governed forms of organization]”[59]. In contributing to this gap in the literature, they examined the relationship between strategy and governance structure, i.e. the fit between strategy and company-owned versus franchised organization[60].

2.3 Recapitulating evaluation

The recapitulation has three parts. In concluding the above research overview, the first part summarizes the general findings of strategic fit research (see section 3.3 for a detailed summary of the research findings, especially of the more recent literature). The second part explains the identification of the research analyzed in this thesis and shows the development of the publication of relevant studies over time. The third part briefly discusses further conceptual contributions.

An intermediate conclusion of the research on strategic fit suggests that both corporate and business strategy show strong alignment with corporate structure and business-unit structure, respectively, and that fit improves performance[61]. Moreover, diversified firms generally have divisionalized structures, which in case of unrelated diversification need more decentralization of authority and a looser structure than in case of related diversification. Business strategies which are rather defensive, emphasizing efficiency, and focusing on low costs generally need more centralized, bureaucratic, and formal structures and controls while more innovative business strategies, often having to cope with more environmental uncertainty, need more organic, loose structures, as well as more well-trained experts and liaisons[62].

After the central studies in the field of strategic fit have been reviewed, the identification of the relevant research analyzed in this thesis will now be explained. In an effort to make the analysis comprehensive, the databases ‘Business Source Complete’ and ‘JSTOR’ were searched to systematically identify previous research using the key words ‘fit’, ‘congruence’, ‘alignment’, ‘coalignment’, ‘match’, ‘contingent upon’, ‘consistency’, ‘consistent with’, and ‘strategy & structure & performance’. Moreover, studies identified by crosschecking the publications identified with the help of the database search have been included. Thus, a total of 105 (62 empirical and 43 conceptual) relevant studies has been identified. Annex 1 which can be found in the appendix provides a chronological list and further information on these studies. The two following diagrams show the publication of the identified studies over time.

Figure 1: Number of studies from 1962 - 2010

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: own analysis

As can be seen in the above figure, during the 1960s and 1970s, three publications, namely Chandler (1962), Rumelt (1974), and Miles and Snow (1978), laid the foundation for the concept of strategic fit. During the 1980s, the number of publications rose significantly and ranged between two to four in most years. During the 1990s, the picture was similar to that of the 1980s. During the 2000s, we saw an even higher number of studies per year, reaching as many as ten in 2006.

Figure 2: Time series of empirical and conceptual studies from 1962 – 2010

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: own analysis

In the above figure, the publication of empirical and conceptual studies is shown over time. Basically, it can be seen that more empirical studies than conceptual ones have been publicized. This is generally in line with Donaldson (2001), who states that “Fit […] is receiving increasing study in empirical research”[63].

While the focus of this thesis is on analyzing the empirical research (see particularly chapter 3), and the most central conceptual studies have already been discussed in the research overview (see section 2.2), it still remains to briefly discuss those conceptual studies, which did bring their contribution to the area of strategic fit but have not yet been covered.

Most contingency-research is directly concerned with the fit among strategy, structure, and the environment. Nevertheless, the concept has a wide scope and there are more fit-relationships which are related to the most central one just mentioned. Researchers have contributed to the literature by extending the range of examined relationships for instance to the strategic fit of managerial characteristics[64], organizational culture[65], or manufacturing and supply chain management[66]. Further relationships studied include strategic fit of information technology[67], human resource management[68], or management control systems[69]. Still others have investigated the societal effect of strategic fit and linked it to the competitive advantage of nations[70], or developed a framework of numerous organizational elements, which shall be in alignment[71].

Moreover, various researchers have further explored the concept[72], supported theory building within it[73], helped to place it within the system of science[74], developed new analytical approaches[75] or applications[76] for it, or introduced new research methods[77].


[1] See Venkatraman/Prescott (1990), p. 1, and Yin/Zajac (2004), p. 365.

[2] See Miles/Snow (1984), p. 10.

[3] See Venkatraman/Camillus (1984), p. 513, and Venkatraman (1989), p. 423.

[4] See Bahaee (1992), p. 196.

[5] See Grant (1996), p. 375.

[6] The idea of fit between strategy and structure requires that a given strategy, at a given point in time, be matched with a particular structure (see e.g. Chandler (1962), and Miles and Snow (1978)). Insofar the concept does not allow for flexibility.

[7] See Segev (1987), p. 566.

[8] See Peteraf/Reed (2007), p. 1092.

[9] See for this and the following Donaldson (2001), pp. 1-2.

[10] See e.g. Chandler (1962).

[11] Donaldson (2001), p. 187.

[12] See Priem (1994), p. 421.

[13] Donaldson (2001), p. 3.

[14] See Donaldson (2001), p. 4.

[15] See for this and the following Peteraf/Reed (2007), pp. 1092-1094.

[16] See Porter (1996).

[17] For instance in Zajac/Kraatz/Bresser (2000), p. 429.

[18] Peteraf/Reed (2007), p. 1094.

[19] Priem (1994), p. 421.

[20] In fact, according to Ramaswami/Flynn/Nilakanta (1993), p. 72, Chandler’s work was the very first one on the relationship between strategy and structure.

[21] See Zott/Amit (2008), p. 1.

[22] See Miller (1988), p. 280.

[23] See Burton/Lauridsen/Obel (2002), p. 1462, and Lawrence/Lorsch (1967).

[24] See Miles et al. (1978), and Miles/Snow (1978)

[25] See Burton/Lauridsen/Obel (2002), p. 1462.

[26] See Wasserman (2008), p. 242.

[27] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 219-220.

[28] Chandler (1962), front matter of twentieth printing 1998, p. 4.

[29] See Wasserman (2008), p. 241.

[30] See Wasserman (2008), p. 242.

[31] See Lawrence/Lorsch (1967).

[32] See Ensign (2001), p. 290.

[33] See also Miles/Snow (1984), where the authors reinforce their original concept.

[34] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 223-224, and Wasserman (2008), p. 242.

[35] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 223-224, and Wasserman (2008), p. 242.

[36] Even though Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994) give credit to Miles and Snow for the idea of a reciprocal relationship between strategy and structure (p. 224), it can be observed that this idea (as well as the connection between strategy/structure-fit and the environment) can already be found in Chandler (1962), who states that „Research in the records of these companies also revealed how existing management procedures, including the existing structure of the enterprise, shaped – usually holding back – changes in strategy. […] Thus structure had as much impact on strategy as strategy had on structure. […] My goal from the start was to study the complex interconnections in a modern industrial enterprise between structure and strategy, and an ever-changing external environment.“ (front matter of twentieth printing 1998, p. 3).

[37] Wasserman (2008), p. 242.

[38] See Doty/Glick/Huber (1993), who assert that empirical studies provide “moderate support” (p. 1197) for Miles and Snow’s theory and also themselves find supportive evidence (p. 1196), or Burton/Lauridson/Obel (2002), who even assert that “the Miles and Snow (1978) strategy typology has been studied, tested, and supported in several hundred studies” (p. 1463).

[39] See Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), p. 223.

[40] See Porter (1996), p. 67.

[41] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 223-224. As can be seen in Peteraf/Reed (2007), also Porter’s later work on strategy from the 1990s maintains this perspective of fit: “Porter […] featured the fit concept prominently, tying it explicitly to sustainable competitive advantage. His notion of activity systems is based on the idea of complementarities among interrelated organizational elements” (pp. 1093-1094).

[42] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 224-225.

[43] See Venkatraman (1989), p. 423.

[44] See Cane/McCarthy (2009), p. 108

[45] Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), p. 235.

[46] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), p. 235.

[47] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 236-237.

[48] See Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994).

[49] See Wasserman (2008), p. 241.

[50] See Wasserman (2008), p. 242.

[51] Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), p. 229.

[52] See Wasserman (2008), p. 243.

[53] See Wassermann (2008), p. 243.

[54] See Premkumar/Ramamurthy/Saunders (2005), p. 261.

[55] See Peteraf/Reed (2007), pp. 1090, 1094.

[56] Zajac/Kraatz/Bresser (2000), p. 444.

[57] See Burton/Lauridson/Obel (2002) p. 1462.

[58] See Xu/Cavusgil/White (2006), p. 5.

[59] Yin/Zajac (2004), p. 365.

[60] See Yin/Zajac (2004), p. 365.

[61] See for this and the following Galunic/Eisenhardt (1994), pp. 222-223, 225, 229.

[62] The term liaisons refers for instance to “task forces and committees that allow regular, personal, and intensive contact among experts and decision makers of different departments [in order to] greatly facilitate such collaboration” (Miller (1988), p. 286).

[63] Donaldson (2001), p. 212.

[64] See Kerr/Jackofsky (1989), who discuss the development and selection of managers as alternative means to achieving alignment between managers and strategy (p. 157).

[65] See Scholz (1987), who posits that “corporate culture is capable of solving the ‘problem of strategic fit’” (p. 78).

[66] See Jelinek/Burstein (1982), who suggest that "the production administrative structure (PAS), along with its administrative context, must maintain a dynamic fit with the evolving strategy and environment of the firm" (p. 242). See also Bozart/McDermott (1998), who study strategic fit as “configurations in manufacturing strategy” (p. 427). Furthermore, Huang/Keskar (2007) discuss strategic fit in the context of outsourcing and supplier selection and suggest metrics to achieve “strategic fit between the firm’s business model and its supply chain strategy” (p. 510).

[67] See Henderson/Venkatraman (1999), who recognize the increasing strategic role of information technology and therefore discuss the alignment of business and IT strategy. See also Chang/Wang/Chiu (2008), who investigate IT-fit within the electronic procurement systems of Chinese high-tech companies (p. 381). Moreover, Chen et al. (2010) discuss different ways of conceptualizing information systems (IS) strategy.

[68] See Aguilera/Dencker (2004), and Tharenou/Saks/Moore (2007).

[69] See Bruggeman/Van der Stede (1993).

[70] See Sorge (1991).

[71] See Waterman (1982), who compares organizational elements to the needles of different compasses that all point to the same direction, no matter if the compasses are remote from each other and states that "when the needles are aligned, the company is organized; when they are not, the company has yet to be really organized even if its structure looks right" (p. 70).

[72] See Venkatraman/Camillus (1984), who developed “a conceptual scheme [of strategic fit] based on two underlying dimensions - the conceptualization of fit and the domain of fit” (p. 513), and thus created a frequently used classification of the literature before Venkatraman (1989) developed the nowadays leading classificatory scheme.

[73] See Doty/Glick (1994), who improved the understanding of strategic typologies by positioning them as a “unique form of theory building” (p. 230).

[74] See Fry/Smith (1987), who tried "placing congruence and contingency research within an accepted framework for scientific inquiry" (p. 117), in order to help “understanding and predicting organizational phenomena” (p. 117).

[75] See Veliyath/Srinivasan (1995), who suggested a modified approach in order to better satisfy the requirements of equifinality, adaptability, and homeostasis (p. 205). See also Parker/Witteloostuijn (2010), who tried to develop “a framework for estimating multidimensional fit” (p. 540).

[76] See Sillince (2005), who develops “a contingency theory of rhetorical congruence” (p. 608), which is needed insofar that efforts to fit structure to its contingencies may not be successful if they are not supported by a congruent rhetoric (p. 608). See also Neville/Menguc (2006), who applied the idea of strategic fit to the interactions between different groups of stakeholders.

[77] See Cheung (2009a), who introduced the latent congruence model (LCM) in order to improve the evaluation of fit, and Cheung (2009b), who discussed the commonalities and differences between the LCM and the polynomial regression (PR) method in the context of strategic fit.


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Handelshochschule Leipzig gGmbH – Betriebswirtschaft, Strategic Management & Organisation
empirische studie



Titel: The Concept of Strategic Fit