Integrated Solutions Strategies Demistified: The Interaction of Customer Learning Experiences and Persistence of Entry Barriers
By: Christof H. Spaeth
Published: 5/20/2015
Uploaded: 03/12/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2015 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Customer Learning, Entry Barriers, strategy

Description/Abstract: The purpose of this study was to construct, from a senior executive perspective, five deduced integrated-solutions typologies at a particular point in time (static). I offered several versions of each of the five integrated-solutions strategy typologies to identify: (a) variations within each strategy typology and (b) how those variations impact firms’ entry barriers and sustainability. I also tried to obtain an understanding of the root-causes how evolutionary market forces impacted on those five strategy typologies (dynamic).

This was a qualitative multi-case study involving interviews, observations, and content analysis of the various research and company reports. Eighteen mini-case examples and six additional detailed-case examples addressed aspects of five research questions. I present data in two parts – static and dynamic. I did not formally test a hypothesis.

The findings suggest that most effective firms differentiated themselves from their competitors by creating something unique in the industry that was valued by the firms’ chosen customers. The five strategic typologies characterized the types of benefits the firms delivered. In order for the firms to deliver the highest benefits to customers, firms augmented their core products and services with varying amounts of peripheral support services. Customers experienced the delivered value-added in the form of learning events. I confirmed that the benefits that the studied companies provided to satisfy their customers’ needs built upon each other. Firms often had to change their original pursued integrated-solutions strategy because the products they offered experienced four evolutionary demand - and supply - based phases which varied the benefits enjoyed, depending on product type.

Variations in firms’ sustainability of competitive advantage depended on the height of firms’ entry barrier categories which pertained to customer-stickiness, patent or copy right protected differentiation, economies of scale advantages, and learning curve advantages. A firm’s competitive advantages were strongest in the combination of customer-stickiness with one or more of the other three competitive advantage factors.