How do large well-established firms renew themselves in an increasing turbulent environment? Is there a generic pattern of change or is each change journey rather idiosyncratic? We posed five questions about the nature of renewal patterns. First, how do firms combine external versus internal initiatives in a trajectory of strategic renewal? Second, how does the balance of competence building and competence leveraging evolve in a trajectory of strategic renewal? Third, what are the sequences of action in a strategic renewal process? Fourth, do firms differ regarding speed of their renewal processes? Finally, do different strategic renewal trajectories give rise to different of similar outcomes? Using a simple framework and new metrics we described and analyzed the strategic renewal journeys of the five largest financial service firms in the Netherlands during the period 1990-1997. We found equifinality in viable trajectories of strategic renewal. In four out of five firms, they result in similar outcomes due to mimetic behaviour. Nonetheless, one firm showed deviant strategic behaviour.

competence building vs. competence leveraging, financial services firms, strategic renewal
Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance (jel L1), Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior: General (jel L20), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M)
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Flier, B, van den Bosch, F.A.J, Volberda, H.W, & Baden-Fuller, C.W.F. (2004). Investigating Strategic Renewal of Five Large Dutch Financial Services Firms (No. ERS-2004-032-STR). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from