Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)


Revisiting Edmondson's Typology of Competitive Strategies of Black-Owned Businesses in the U.S. Construction Industry

Author(s): Vickie Cox Edmondson

With increased attention to the importance of Black business success in the U.S., we need success stories. This paper aims to examine the question around how Black-owned businesses compete once they overcome barriers to entry. Two studies are presented. First, the authors revisited Edmondson’s 1996 unpublished study at the University of Georgia of competitive strategies used in Black-owned businesses in the U.S. construction industry to introduce and advance Edmondson’s typology in the literature, thus explaining the entrepreneurial intentions of Black business owners in a more detailed and consistent way. A typology of five competitive strategies is set forth along five owner intent and motivation dimensions. Then, through a study to illustrate, and provisionally support Edmondson’s typology, illustrative case examples of a Black-owned construction firm that use each strategy are presented and discussed. While Edmondson (1996) focused on differences in competitive strategies of minority-owned and non-minority- owned businesses, this work focuses primarily on Black-owned businesses and concludes with a discussion of why Edmondson’s study is relevant today. It is beyond the scope of this paper to provide a detailed history and analysis regarding the causes of the barriers that these businesses must overcome or to compare their efforts to those of other small businesses. Aspiring and existing entrepreneurs as well as the majority firms that seek to do business with them would benefit from a curriculum that supports learning about the intentions and motivations and ensuing strategies used in businesses owned by persons of color.

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