Anoop Madhok

Anoop Madhok Professor of Strategy
Scotiabank Chair in International Business and Entrepreneurship
Anoop Madhok

My research interests broadly span both strategy and international management. The intent of my research, titled ‘Towards an action-based perspective on firm competition’, is to address the following question: How can the ‘ordinary’ firm, i.e. one that seems to lack specific sources of competitive advantage, become a contender in highly competitive markets?

As the title suggests, in this research I aim to develop an ‘action-based’ perspective (ABP) on competition, based on Austrian economics-based notions of entrepreneurship, as an alternative lens towards firm competition. Traditional theoretical frameworks emphasize industry position or the possession of strategic resources as a source of competitiveness. Scholars have begun to fault these industry- and resource-based perspectives for their equilibrium-oriented logic and largely static orientation. Notably, today’s more dynamic environment, characterized by constant uncertainty and hyper-competition, can rapidly render extant competitive advantages obsolete while simultaneously creating new competitive opportunities. In such a context, traditional notions of competitive advantage are slowly becoming outmoded as competitive advantage becomes more temporary and transient. Compared to the position and possession logics, where strategy tends to be more systematic and deliberate, in the ABP, with its action orientation and corresponding focus on firm action(s), strategy and opportunities are created and/or enacted, for instance by spotting an opportunity earlier and seizing it ahead of others or by adapting in real time to environmental and technological shifts.

In my research, I investigate the ABP logic within the context of multinational firms from emerging economics. Although this is my focal context, the argument however can, with minor adaptations, be comfortably generalized to newly established entrepreneurial firms.

The ABP argument allows scholars to better understand interfirm rivalry and dynamics in fast-changing environments, and potentially shifts the frame in three important ways: First, it shifts the focus from equilibrium to disequilibrium. Second, it relaxes the assumption that resources have to start off being valuable. Third, it shifts the focus of competition from the lens of firm ability to firm agility. In line with the above, the emphasis shifts from what a firm has to what a firm does with what it has, i.e. its actions.

I intend to sharpen my theorizing as well as put together some case profiles as initial illustrative evidence, based on secondary data of firms that reflect the ABP profile, i.e. entrepreneurial and action orientation.

Visit Anoop Madhok’s faculty profile.