Strategic Timing and Proactiveness of Organizations Defended on Thursday, 14 March 2013

An enduring notion in strategy and organization theory literature is that firms succeed and survive as long as a strategic fit exists between strategy, structure, processes, competencies, and resources on the one hand and opportunities and threats arising in the external environment on the other hand. Maintaining strategic fit over time requires that firms undertake appropriate change to reflect changing environmental conditions and shape the environment to their advantage.

This dissertation focuses on the crucial yet under-researched temporal dimension of the adaptive and proactive actions organizations take to achieve fit in dynamic environments and develops current knowledge on the outcomes and determinants of proactive strategic behavior in the domain of strategic entrepreneurship. Findings from the four studies composing this dissertation indicate that (1) potential absorptive capacity plays an important role in aligning organizational and environmental rates of change over time; (2) a proactive strategic timing orientation can either enable or hamper positive performance outcomes of exploratory and exploitative innovations under different levels of environmental dynamism; (3) work design characteristics are important levers for proactive strategic behavior of firms in dynamic environments and are thus a potential driver of an organization’s ability to influence and manipulate its environment; (4) strategic timing, together with knowledge intensity and prior experience, should be considered a crucial factor in offshoring decisions aimed at cost reductions.

Jointly, these results underscore the need to systematically address temporalities in strategic management and entrepreneurship research from a dynamic contingency perspective. In particular, this dissertation calls for further research on the outcomes and determinants of proactive strategic behavior at the firm level, as well as within the organization. Indeed, proactive behaviors are a driving force in entrepreneurship and economic value creation and as such are crucial to the development and advancement of society.


strategy, strategic management, strategic entrepreneurship, strategic renewal, time, timing, proactiveness, proactivity, autonomy, royal dutch shell, adaptation, innovation speed

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