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Strategic Responses to Standardization: Embrace, Extend or Extinguish?

Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management

ISBN: 978-1-78052-192-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-193-0

ISSN: 0742-3322

Publication date: 12 October 2011


Based on this evidence, we suggest that firms tend to publicly embrace a standard with the aim of gaining legitimacy with a community of adopters, whereas efforts to extend a standard tend to be motivated by the intent to leverage the underlying technology to achieve or strengthen architectural control. We argue that legitimacy and leverage are strategic complements, making the “embrace and extend” strategy attractive to firms like Microsoft, but that the resulting outcome is unstable. Firms that pursue this strategy ultimately face a choice between contributing their extensions back to the standard and losing proprietary leverage, or giving up the legitimacy associated with standards compliance in exchange for freedom from the constraints of compatibility.


Jason Woodard, C. and West, J. (2011), "Strategic Responses to Standardization: Embrace, Extend or Extinguish?", Cattani, G., Ferriani, S., Frederiksen, L. and Täube, F. (Ed.) Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 263-285.



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