Differentiating foothold attacks from strategic feints

John H. Humphreys (Department of Marketing & Management, Texas A&M University – Commerce, Commerce, Texas, USA)
Dragan Loncar (Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia)
Milorad Novicevic (Department of Management, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi, USA)
Foster Roberts (Department of Management, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this article is to broaden our understanding of the relationship between footholds and feints, particularly within a context of judo strategy, and propose a framework whereby organizational decision makers might differentiate foothold attacks from strategic feints as competitive moves.


The paper used utilized an inductive approach to framework development using an in-depth case study for contextual explanation of firm rivalry between Nectar and Coca Cola in the Balkans region. To identify the framework dimensions, the paper integrated real options reasoning with game-theoretic and competitive dynamics perspectives. It also used a market multiples approach to conduct a retrospective valuation analysis to support our framework.


The examination of the competitive interplay between Nectar and Coke in the Balkans region provides meaningful intimation of the linkages between foothold moves, feints, and judo strategy techniques. Based on insights from the case, we develop a framework for practical differentiation of foothold attacks from feints.

Research limitations/implications

A limiting factor is that only a case approach to framework development was used. However, we accept that the framework dimensions could have been identified using other methods. Another limiting factor is that our analysis only considered foothold moves for the geographic markets, but not for product markets.

Practical implications

The paper offers management practitioners an operative framework for differentiating foothold attacks from strategic feints.


This unique contribution is the development of an operable framework for practical differentiation of competitive foothold attacks from feints. The extant literature offers no guidance as to how one might differentiate a true foothold attack from a feint. The ability to do so from a competitive standpoint could prove profound for firm success.



H. Humphreys, J., Loncar, D., Novicevic, M. and Roberts, F. (2013), "Differentiating foothold attacks from strategic feints", Management Decision, Vol. 51 No. 9, pp. 1821-1838. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-11-2012-0818

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