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Uncertainty, Generic Strategy, Strategic Clarity, and Performance of Retail SMEs in Peru, Argentina, and the United States


Address correspondence to: John A Parnell, CENTRUM, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Jr. Alomía Robles s/n (ex Calle 9), Los Alamos de Monterrico, Santiago de Surco, Lima, 33, Peru. E-mail:


This study examines the links among perceived environmental uncertainty, generic strategy, strategic clarity, and performance in small and medium-sized enterprises in the retail industry in Argentina, Peru, and the United States. Moderate support was found for links between the defender strategy and competitive uncertainty, the prospector strategy and technology uncertainty, and the analyzer strategy and market uncertainty. In all three nations, businesses with high and low strategic clarity—the extent to which a single generic strategy reflects the organization's strategic intent—outperformed those with moderate strategic clarity. Differences across nations are addressed, and future research opportunities are elaborated.