Competitiveness is a pervasive construct in Business Management research. The core of the definition is about the capability of the firm to compete successfully. Being as vague as it seems, we can say that we know what it is not but we unknown what it is. Or we can say that we know what it is ex-post when we see the firm’s bottom line at the end of the year.
Among the variety of factors affecting the firm’s competitiveness, theories and scholars have usually put the focus following the swings of the pendulum. Industrial Organization (IO) scholars claim that the industry features shape and restrict the variety of strategies available at hand of the firm. Advocates of resource- and knowledge-based views of the firm (RBV, KBV) state that it is up to the firm’s managers achieving and sustaining a competitive edge by combining certain resources and capabilities that meet the VRIN-O principle (these elements must be Valuable, Rare, difficult to Imitate and Non-substitutable while the Organization must be in a position to appropriate the rents derived). Rather than opposed, they should be considered as complementary perspectives that help scholars and practitioners understand how the firm can develop and sustain its competitive advantage.
This call for research aims at considering these additional levels of research and to open new research avenues in the field of strategy and competitiveness, with a particular focus on SMEs and the intangibles sources of competitive advantage. The issue of competitiveness should be central in the papers. The social dimension and interactions among parties in cooperation agreements, the manager’s cognition in shaping the firm’s strategic choices are very welcome. The indicative rather than exhaustive topics to be considered in this track are as follows:
- Psychological and sociological foundations and approaches to shared value, strategy and competitiveness. Knowledge-based arguments are welcome
- The role of emotions and affective decisions on strategy and competitiveness in global competition contexts
- The role of managerial cognition and social interactions in shaping the form, breadth and scope of collaboration among SMEs
- The role of managerial cognition in managing intangible-based or knowledge-based sources of competitive advantages among SMEs
- The role of cognitive psychological and sociological approaches to decisions made in forms of collaboration, international business, strategy or building sources of shared competitive advantage in global industries
- Integrative analysis of the diversity of levels – How valuable and strategic knowledge is handle in organizations depending upon the managers’ cognitive style or the managers’ characteristics (risk aversion, entrepreneurial orientation…)
- Psychological and sociological arguments from the ambidexterity approach: whether and how exploitation-seekers or exploration-seekers are different in their cognition and interpretation of valuable knowledge in order to shape the firm’s competitive advantage
- Any other issue that provide arguments and promote the academic discussion of whether and how the managerial cognitive style has an impact on managing key intangible resources
The core focus should be SMEs although research on other types of organizations is welcome if authors include an extension of their findings to the case of SMEs. Theoretical and empirical are welcome. Theoretical papers should clearly state which theoretical approach authors propose to follow and should be strongly based on extant literature. We seek scholarly sound, new provocative arguments and new insights in order to continue the academic conversations on the relevance of knowledge in the today’s and tomorrow’s competition.
ISPA, Universidade Europeia, Portugal