Nonmarket strategy research through the lens of new institutional economics: An integrative review and future directions

Sinziana Dorobantu, Aseem Kaul, Bennet Zelner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Research summary: We use a novel theoretical framework to synthesize ostensibly disparate streams of nonmarket strategy research. We argue that faced with weak institutions, firms can create and appropriate value by either adapting to, augmenting, or transforming the existing institutional environment, and can do so either independently or in collaboration with others. We use the resulting typology of six distinct nonmarket strategies to provide an integrative review of nonmarket strategy research. We then extend this framework to examine the choice between nonmarket strategies, arguing that this choice depends upon whether the existing institutional environment is incomplete or captured, and discussing other drivers of nonmarket strategy choice, the relationship between these strategies, and their social impact, so as to provide an agenda for future research. Managerial summary: The pursuit of competitive advantage often requires firms to operate in contexts where existing rules and regulations provide inadequate protection. Disruptive technologies open up new opportunities for value creation, but it takes years before appropriate regulations are introduced. Economic reforms open up new markets, but these are often regulated to favor incumbents and politically connected insiders. In such environments, managers must decide whether to adapt their strategies to the existing institutional environment, devote resources to improve it, or try to transform it altogether. In this article, we develop an integrative theoretical framework that connects and synthesizes research examining each of these options, and offers some preliminary thoughts on how managers may choose among these different approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-140
Number of pages27
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • corporate political strategies
  • corporate social responsibility
  • institutional environment
  • nonmarket strategy
  • stakeholder relations


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