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Keywords:

  • corporate strategy;
  • organizational structure;
  • diversification;
  • multidivisional

Abstract

This study analyzes whether a diversification strategy facilitates subsequent divisionalization (and hence that ‘structure follows strategy’), and/or whether the multidivisional structure leads to a diversification strategy (and hence that ‘strategy follows structure’). In theoretical terms, this study is original in that it institutes a debate between the Chandler thesis and other perspectives that challenge the generalizability of the strategy-structure nexus. Interestingly, this new study with contemporaneous data for the period 1993–2003 sheds light on this contested issue and postulates that despite the criticism of Chandler's contribution, it still works. Our results show that strategic diversification affects structural divisionalization, and in turn, structural divisionalization affects strategic diversification. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.