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Strategy in an ambiguous innovation environment: The case of a Taiwanese biopharmaceutical firm

Christina Öberg (School of Business, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden AND Department of Business, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Tommy Tsung-Ying Shih (Department of Business Administration, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 16 November 2015




An ambiguous environment indicates how rules and interests may not be outspoken or clear. In an emerging industry sector, such ambiguity may follow from different sets of rules to adapt to, changes to these rules, and how various parties surrounding a firm act based on these rules and individual interests, interaction goals, and priorities. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss how a company balances its relationships with others to achieve strategic intentions in an ambiguous environment. Specifically, the paper focusses on innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector in Taiwan.


The empirical part of the paper is based on a single case study portraying multiple parties surrounding an innovative Taiwanese biopharmaceutical firm.


The paper points to how partner selection and interaction are highly affected by the ambiguous environment. Ambiguity leads to transactional exchanges on the domestic level, while the focal firm engages in collaborative, relational interaction with international parties to accomplish innovations.


The paper contributes to literature on company strategies in emerging sectors with its specific focus on innovation strategies, and how a company balances ways of interacting based on an ambiguous environment. To Asian management research, contributions include an in-depth description of company-level strategizing in Taiwan.



The authors thank the Special Issue Editors and anonymous reviewers for providing notes that significantly improved the manuscript in all stages of the peer review process. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with regard to the text and material used in this paper. The usual disclaimer applies.


Öberg, C. and Shih, T.T.-Y. (2015), "Strategy in an ambiguous innovation environment: The case of a Taiwanese biopharmaceutical firm", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 326-341.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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