Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

David L. Deephouse

Second Advisor

Paul A. Jarley


Current strategic group research generally provides collectively meaningful assessments of strategic group averages or median-based profiles. While this approach facilitates inter-group contrasts and performance predictions, potentially valuable information contained in intra-group differences (i.e., core-periphery-fringe zones) typically is overlooked. This multi-study research adopts a more fine-grained approach to strategic group analysis by investigating intra-group competitive profile and performance differences across such zones, both within and across groups. Study I of this series identifies intra-strategic group zones that differ in strategic competitive profile and performance. Study II assesses how strategic groups and related intra-group zones might change over time, the stability of groups as cohesive units over time, and the performance implications of type, level and distance of firm movement in and out of these strategic group zones. Study III investigates the dynamics of the reputation-strategic competitive position relationships. Ninety-five companies in the property/casualty sector of the insurance industry were studied for the period 1993--1996. Some intra-group zones were found to possess homogeneous segments relative to competitive position and performance, indicating the existence of intra-strategic group structure. Two of three identified strategic groups evidenced isomorphic type activity as competitive profiles of these groups became more alike over the course of the study, perhaps as the result of fundamental environmental changes. Lastly, changes in reputation can be important in understanding causes of strategic competitive profile change.