Previous research suggests that horizontal relationships among businesses can lead to growth synergies (e.g., Davis & Thomas 1993; Tanriverdi & Venkatraman 2005; Müller-Stewens & Knoll 2006). In many of today’s saturated low-growth markets, the pursuit of such growth synergies is becoming increasingly important for MBFs. A recent study of the 116 largest multi-business firms in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria shows that over 70% of these firms actively pursue growth synergies and attribute a high strategic importance to them (Müller-Stewens & Knoll 2006). However, despite the importance that practitioners attribute to growth synergies, their continuous realization has received little, if any, attention in the literature. This is disturbing, as the realization of synergies frequently is an indefinable goal for corporate managers (cf. Bettis 1981; Amit & Livnat 1988; Ramanujam & Varadarajan 1989; Eisenhardt & Galunic 2000; Palich et al. 2000; Martin 2002) that leads them to destroy rather than add value (Goold & Campbell 1998).
KeywordsBusiness Unit Corporate Manager Strategic Flexibility Strategic Uncertainty Exploratory Innovation
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