Firms' Strategies and Institutions: International Competition and the Fate of German Solar Photovoltaic Companies

Friday, 3 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.3.01 (Tower One)
Matthew Allen, Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; Manchester Business School
Maria Allen, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Manchester, United Kingdom
This paper examines the interplay between firms’ strategies, employment practices, and institutions amongst German solar PV firms. Existing analyses of firm success either tend to downplay specific firms’ institutional settings or consider companies at a relatively aggregated level. We focus on firms and draw on comparative case-study material, including interviews and documentary analysis, to examine how German solar PV firms use institutions, especially labour-market ones, to support their production strategies. The rise of many German solar PV firms has been rapid; the demise of some was equally swift. This enables the research to link the fate of individual firms more closely to their strategies and institutional settings, as it overcomes potential problems of ‘survivor bias’ associated with assessments of more established companies at more aggregated levels of analysis. Our research suggests that future studies should scrutinize strategic and institutional diversity in more detail in order to explain company outcomes.