David Ross

Taking Industry Structuring Seriously: A Strategic Perspective on Product Differentiation

Coauthor(s): Rich Makadok.


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Given legal impediments to consolidation and collusion, firms often resort to product differentiation to attain market power. This paper provides a formal analysis of product differentiation as a tool for such industry structuring at both the firm and industry level. We examine: how industry structure differs when firms collaborate on their differentiation decisions, and when the profitability of such collaboration is greatest; how an individual firm's differentiation decisions affect subsequent market outcomes under price competition, such as margin, market share, and profit; how mere differentiation differs from a "differentiation advantage"; and how changing a firm's differentiation affects its rivals through both positive externalities (by restraining rivalry) and negative externalities (by shifting competitive advantage). Our results have implications for empirical research, strategy theory, and pedagogy.

Source: Strategic Management Journal
Exact Citation:
Makadok, Rich, and David Ross. "Taking Industry Structuring Seriously: A Strategic Perspective on Product Differentiation." Strategic Management Journal 34, no. 5 (2013): 509-532.
Volume: 34
Number: 5
Pages: 509-532
Date: 2013