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Miles and Snow’s strategic typology redux through the lens of ambidexterity

Marc Sollosy (Brad D. Smith Schools of Business, Lewis College of Business, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, USA)
Rebecca M. Guidice (Cameron School of Business, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA)
K. Praveen Parboteeah (College of Business and Economics, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 9 September 2019



The purpose of this paper is to link firms’ strategic archetypes as formulated by Miles and Snow (1978) to the more recent literature on organizational ambidexterity. Examining these obvious linkages, the paper also addresses how these firms address their entrepreneurial, engineering and administrative problem domains in relationship with the firm’s strategic archetype.


Data were collected from 503 firms across the US. Measures previously validated were used to collect information related to the strategic archetype as well as the three problem domains. Multiple discriminant and regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses.


Most of the hypotheses relating the entrepreneurial (exploration and exploitation), engineering (radical and incremental innovation) and administrative problem (adaptation and alignment) to the four strategic archetypes (defender, prospector, analyzer and reactor) were supported. Additionally, the authors found that the firms that had the closest alignment along the three problem domains outperformed the other firms.


Although the Miles and Snow typology has received considerable research attention, the obvious links with more contemporary research on organizational ambidexterity has been neglected. Through this integration, with more recent key strategic management concepts, this paper shows the utility and current relevance of the Miles and Snow archetypes.



Sollosy, M., Guidice, R.M. and Parboteeah, K.P. (2019), "Miles and Snow’s strategic typology redux through the lens of ambidexterity", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 925-946.



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