Dynamics of corporate strategy from a value chain perspective : A study of the Swedish telecom and construction industries during the 90’s

Abstract: Changes in sectors and industries have brought new challenges to corporations as well as been important driving forces for the dynamics in strategy at the corporate level. With the dramatic developments of the 1990’s in mind, such as multilateral free-trade agreements, liberalization, privatization, sharp industry growth/decline, increased competition and globalization, in particular within the telecom and the construction industry, this study contributes to describing and understanding strategic change at the corporate level as well as changes in the division of work within value chains. Strategy is defined as intentions, decisions and actions that relate to bundling and unbundling at different strategic levels, aiming to establish and reestablish a value chain position. Thus, outsourcing, M&As, modularization and systems development and sales are important strategic components which are examined from a value chain perspective. From a value chain perspective, the purpose of this study is to describe and understand strategic change at the corporate level in the telecom and construction industries during the 1990’s. More specifically this study shall contribute to describing and understanding (i) the dynamics of and between M&As, outsourcing, modularization and systemization, as well as (ii) industrial and financial drivers to strategic change.The conclusions describe strategic change from a value chain perspective using three descriptive patterns, including an increasing degree of specialization and need for interorganizational coordination across the value chain. In addition, outsourcing and modularization of systems and an increased scope of offering through systemization and BOT-projects, result in the fact that due to M&As the horizontal boundary of the firm sometimes goes beyond the industry scope while the vertical scope is often narrowed through outsourcing. The conclusions also focus on understanding the content of strategic change, that is to say the dynamics of and between mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing, modularization and system sales. These findings are summarized in nine explanatory patterns. These patterns show that the strategic decisions of bundling and unbundling at the corporate and functional level through mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing, systemization and modularization are guided by an industrial as well as a financial logic. By considering the descriptive and explanatory patterns found this study, the conclusions also include what to expect during the next decade with regard to corporate strategy from a value chain perspective in five predictive patterns.