Sustaining corporate success: what drives the top performers?

Kurt Matzler (Professor of Strategic Management in the Department of Strategic Management Marketing and Tourism, Innsbruck University School of Management, Innsbruck, Austria)
Franz Bailom (Managing Director and Partner based at Innovative Management Partner (IMP), Innsbruck, Austria)
Markus Anschober (Managing Director and Partner based at Innovative Management Partner (IMP), Innsbruck, Austria)
Susan Richardson (Consultant, based at Innovative Management Partner (IMP), Innsbruck, Austria)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Publication date: 7 September 2010



In a world afflicted with hyper‐competition, dynamic and increasingly rapid market changes, and global economic crises, there still exist, however rare, exceptional companies that have found a way to weather the storm and position themselves for a bright future. This study investigates success factors of top performing companies and drivers of innovativeness and corporate success.


Based on a research study of over 700 European companies, this article explores ways in which many top companies have surged passed their competitors and achieved sustained corporate success. A synthesis of scientific studies, practical experience, and numerous conversations with successful entrepreneurs and senior executives, the results of the project are discussed in order to direct readers' attention to those levers that can help companies create, maintain and strengthen a competitive edge.


The study identifies the pillars of success of high‐performing companies and shows how leadership, entrepreneurship culture, market orientation, core competences and leadership influence innovativeness and corporate success.


Based on a large‐scale empirical study success factors are identified and it is shown how they work together. Examples of successful companies and interviews with senior executives give insights into the secrets of success of top performers.



Matzler, K., Bailom, F., Anschober, M. and Richardson, S. (2010), "Sustaining corporate success: what drives the top performers?", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 4-13.

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