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A typology of competitive actions

Research output: MonographDoctoral Thesis

Details

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-1942-0
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2008
Publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Publication series

NameTampereen teknillinen yliopisto. Julkaisu
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume725
ISSN (Print)1459-2045

Abstract

In this dissertation I posit that prior research on competitive dynamics – while having contributed significantly to enhancing understanding concerning competitive interaction of companies – lacks both a theoretically rigorously derived definition for competitive action and an equally rigorously theoretically derived typology of such actions. Hence, I intend to contribute to this literature by proposing a rigorously derived definition for competitive action and by developing a typology which addresses, theoretically, the variety (i.e. the ontology) of different competitive actions. In both conceptual and typological development the central underlying theoretical premise is the philosophical theory of action, a body of knowledge which has, to my best knowledge, not previously been applied in the context of competitive dynamics. With regard to conceptual development, this theoretical perspective addresses the notion of intentionality: because competitive action is generally perceived as intentional (goal-directed, purposeful) action, this perspective allows the concept of competitive action to be elaborated by studying in depth what the notion of intention implies in a competitive setting. In typological development, in turn, the philosophical theory of action provides one of the two typological dimensions by enumerating different elementary actions which apply not only to competitive action but instead to all human action. This typological dimension is supplemented by the general theory of competition which, in turn, enumerates different domains of action in competitive interaction. The results of this dissertation consist of a theoretically rigorously derived definition for competitive action and a 64-item typology of theoretically possible competitive actions. As the typological development is in a central role in this dissertation, I demonstrate its validity in two ways. First, I compare the proposed typology against all prior typologies of competitive actions reviewed in this dissertation and find it to cover the variety of competitive actions substantially more broadly than any other prior typology. Moreover, I demonstrate that a central notion in the proposed typology, that of forbearing (to act) is not present in any of the prior typologies. And second, as the proposed typology is intended to be useful in subsequent empirical research in competitive dynamics, I illustrate, evaluate and discuss its applicability in an empirical research setting and generally find it to be applicable, with certain reservations, which mainly stem from the typological approach itself. In addition to the direct conceptual and typological contributions to the literature on competitive dynamics this study also opens and discusses various avenues for new research, most of which concern comparing the current classificatory approach with alternative approaches, including taxonomic development.

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