Review of Managerial Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 621–660 | Cite as

All risk-taking is not the same: examining the competing effects of firm risk-taking with meta-analysis

  • Mathias Arrfelt
  • Michael Mannor
  • Jennifer D. Nahrgang
  • Amanda L. Christensen
Original Paper


Although researchers have vigorously studied organizational risk-taking for over 35 years, relatively little emphasis has been placed on theoretically differentiating the unique relationships between the many risk-taking choices organizations make and firm risk or firm performance. In this research, we propose a new framework that builds from March’s exploration–exploitation model to argue that different risk-taking choices can have substantially different influences on firm outcomes. We use meta-analysis to examine the unique and at times competing effects of four of the most commonly studied risk-taking choices on firm risk and firm performance. Results from a meta-analysis of 257 unique studies (N = 499,808) demonstrate support for our proposed framework and cast significant doubt on the idea that commonly studied firm risk-taking choices theoretically aggregate into one overarching risk-taking construct.


Firm risk Risk-taking Meta-analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Arrfelt
    • 1
  • Michael Mannor
    • 2
  • Jennifer D. Nahrgang
    • 1
  • Amanda L. Christensen
    • 3
  1. 1.W. P. Carey School of BusinessArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Mendoza College of BusinessUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  3. 3.Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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