Many published studies have sought to identify distinct strategy approaches with the objective of assessing whether certain strategies yield superior performance. Empirically derived strategy clusters are sometimes contrasted to theoretically derived strategy schemas or typologies as a point of reference, for comparison and contrast, or to explain associations with dependent variables such as performance. In some cases this theory dependence of observation can be misguided if the typology used lacks validity or incorporates flawed assumptions. This paper re-analyses a published work where empirically derived strategy clusters were identified using the multivariate mapping technique of correspondence analysis. The analysis provides further insights into the relationships between the variables under study by allowing the distance between variables to be seen (visually). In this case, the technique shows how close or distant various business strategies are to one another. This is of interest because if quite similar strategies yield dissimilar performance levels, the implications are that either minor differences in strategy are extremely important; or unobserved factors are influencing the results. Conversely, if superior performance is associated with markedly different strategy, an implication for managers is to take very different approaches to strategy. The paper concludes that the use of a well known generic strategy typology (Porter's (1980) generic competitive strategies) was of little use in interpretation of the clusters that were identified. Further, it suggests that Porter’s (1980) generic competitive strategy schema does not describe/fit empirical reality, and provides no support for the notion that these generic strategies are routes to superior profit.
Dawes, J and Sharp, B (1996), "Independent Empirical Support for Porter’s Generic Marketing Strategies? A Re-analysis using Correspondence Analysis", Journal of Empirical Generalisations in Marketing Science, Vol. 1, No. 2