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Firm‐specific versus industry structure factors in explaining performance variation: Empirical evidence from Turkey

Rifat Kamasak (Faculty of Commerce, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 13 September 2011




Considerable research efforts have been made to investigate the relative importance of firm‐specific vs industry structure factors in relation to performance variation among firms in the past. However, the vast majority of the research comes from the USA and very little is known about results outside of this domain. The aim of this study was to investigate industry and firm factors producing performance differences among Turkish firms. In order to explore the contributions of firm‐level factors and structural characteristics of industries, the study decomposes the relative impact of industry and firm effects on overall performance which includes the performance items such as sales turnover, market share and profitability.


A quantitative, positivistic approach was adopted with respect to the methodological choice for this study. In order to measure the relative impact of industry and firm effects on performance, the questionnaire developed by Galbreath and Galvin was sent to the e‐mail addresses of the general managers or the other executives at the top level as a web‐link with a covering letter. Because unit of analysis is at the firm level, a single informant is used in the study and the questionnaire was mailed to only one executive from each firm. Having collected the data, the effects of firm‐level factors (resources and capabilities) and industry structure on performance variation were analyzed by hierarchical regression method.


A total of 259 firms from different industries were analyzed and the findings revealed that firm‐level resources had a greater effect in explaining performance variation than industry structure in the Turkish business context. The results of this study confirm that in the resource‐based view of the firm, the firms in Turkey “demonstrated a quite developed form of organizational learning” just like the other emerging economies (i.e. Taiwan, Brazil, Poland and South Korea). Within this framework, Turkish firms especially in automotive, textile, food, tourism and construction industries became important players in the global arena.


This study contributes to the strategic management literature, particularly, in terms of providing comparable data from an emerging country, which is significant in verifying resource‐based theory and generalizing results in a global context. The findings also suggest that the firms need to focus on their unique resources rather than try to control and manipulate structural forces in their industries since “the economies today might best be viewed as resource‐based economies”. It should be noted that, in this business era, the key challenge for the managers is the optimal deployment of existing strategic resources in order to make their organizations achieve sustainable competitive advantage and superior firm performance.



Kamasak, R. (2011), "Firm‐specific versus industry structure factors in explaining performance variation: Empirical evidence from Turkey", Management Research Review, Vol. 34 No. 10, pp. 1125-1146.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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