Date of Completion


Embargo Period



top management teams; competitive repertoires; competitive actions; industry life cycle; firm performance; evolutionary economics; competitive dynamics; industry experience

Major Advisor

David Souder

Co-Major Advisor

Zeki Simsek

Associate Advisor

Gregory Reilly

Associate Advisor

Richard N. Langlois

Field of Study

Business Administration


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Prior work suggests that competitive repertoires holistically capture firm-level decision making, and provide insight into how firms create and capture value. However, our understanding of the causes and consequences of competitive repertoires remains limited. While existing evidence suggests environmental forces and managerial backgrounds influence repertoire formation, we do not know how the developmental and competitive state of the industry shapes the salience of prior knowledge. Nor do we understand how the state of the industry influences the relative payoffs of particular repertoire configurations. To further our understanding, I investigate the distribution of industry tenure within executive teams, and examine whether the industry life cycle influences how prior experience translates into complex and / or consistent competitive repertoires. Digging deeper into the implications of the life cycle, I also consider how these different facets of the competitive repertoire influence performance under different levels of competitive pressure. I test the model in a longitudinal sample of 3D printer manufacturers in operation from 1988 – 2015. I use this industry to test these effects because a large proportion of firms can be tracked, firms exhibit a variety of competitive actions, the level of competitor activity varies over time, and firms contain a mix of veteran managers from core industries and new managers from outside the industries that “spawned” 3D printing ventures. I find evidence to suggest that while executive experience distributions are very salient for repertoire formation early in the life cycle, these effects wane as the industry matures. Further, the data suggests that significant relationships exist between repertoire characteristics and performance, but the pattern is nuanced and depends to some degree on the level of competitive pressure.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 31, 2018