Same as it ever was: the search for evidence of increasing hypercompetition


  • Gerry McNamara,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Eli Broad School of Management, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A.
    • Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, N475 North Business Complex, East Lansing, MI-48824-1122, U.S.A.
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  • Paul M. Vaaler,

    1. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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  • Cynthia Devers

    1. College of Business Administration, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.A.
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Some strategy scholars and practitioners contend that markets have become increasingly hypercompetitive in recent years. We examine this contention by analyzing industry and business performance patterns in a broad sample of firms drawn from the Compustat Industry Segment database for the 1978–97 period. We find little support for the argument that markets have become more hypercompetitive. From the late 1970s to the late-1980s we observe decreased performance and market stability, consistent with increasing hypercompetition contentions. From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, however, trends reverse and performance and market stability increase. For strategy research, our results suggest that hypercompetitive perspectives are important but no more so now than they were in recent years. For practice, our results suggest that managers today face markets no more dynamic and opportunities to gain and sustain competitive advantage no more challenging than in the past. Accordingly, they should continue developing a portfolio of skills to manage businesses whether conditions are increasingly stable or unstable. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.