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How audacious strategies pay off during hard times: Case studies of Indian information technology firms

Murali Kailasam (Research Department, ITSS Research & Consultancy Private Limited, Bangalore, India)
Winai Wongsurawat (College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 18 April 2016



This paper aims to identify strategies used by companies during the recent global recession and to investigate the effectiveness of offensive and defensive strategies. It also investigates how these different types of strategies are sequenced.


The paper draws on cases from seven publicly listed Indian information technology (IT) and information technology-enabled services (ITESs) companies. This longitudinal study draws on 32 semi-structured interviews with top management. The data were triangulated using annual and quarterly reports, emails, organization profiles and customer satisfaction reports.


Offensive and defensive strategic responses were deployed concurrently, not sequentially. Offensive responses were crucial in turning around a firm. Identical strategies can yield different results in product and service companies.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this paper should be generalized with care because of the sampling scope. Future studies should include quantitative research over different recession periods.

Practical implications

The paper provides insights for practitioners on how to respond to economic recession and prepare for recovery.


The paper enriches the corporate turnaround and business cycle management literature by analyzing the behavior of firms from India and from the high-tech industry.



The authors would like to sincerely acknowledge Professor Lalit Johri for his valuable feedback, comments and suggestions throughout the research process. They would also like to acknowledge Mr Venkatesh for his assistance in obtaining access to literature and to all the participants in the seven Indian IT/ITES companies. The authors express sincere thankfulness to the peer reviewers for their contribution toward improving the quality of this case research article.


Kailasam, M. and Wongsurawat, W. (2016), "How audacious strategies pay off during hard times: Case studies of Indian information technology firms", Management Research Review, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 468-496.



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