Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

First Advisor

Dr. K. Praveen Parboteeah

Second Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Guidice

Third Advisor

Dr. Rajaram Veliyath


This study’s focuses on the examination of the Miles and Snow typology through the lenses of dynamic capabilities with a particular emphasis on ambidexterity. While each element of the typology has received varying degrees of study in both the management and marketing literature, to date, no study has examined the typology, as first proposed by Miles and Snow under the influence of either dynamic capabilities or ambidexterity. This study proposes to examine the alignment of the three elements of the typology with each other and the four strategic archetypes identified by Miles and Snow. It was Hambrick’s observation in his 2003 commentary “On the staying power of defenders, analyzers and prospectors” that served as the impetus of this study. From both a managerial and research perspective, the proposed study furthers the understanding of the strategic archetypes and important drivers of a sustained competitive advantage.

The study of 503 diverse firms specifically finds that how an organization addresses it’s entrepreneurial, engineering, and administrative domains influences and helps to explain its resulting strategic archetype. Additionally, the study supports the position that consistency matters. Organizations that are consistent in their approach to the various domains outperform those whose approach is less consistent. Contributing to the on-going discussion around strategy and structure, the results support the contention that defining the business focus, or the entrepreneurial domain, is the primary determinant of the organization’s strategic archetype. It further shows that the decisions regarding how, the engineering domain, impacts the business focus decision tempers the ultimate strategic archetype. In general, the analysis demonstrates the enduring value of the Miles and Snow typology, and how the lenses of dynamic capabilities and ambidexterity further the explanatory power of the typology.