Corporate Innovation Strategies – Varieties of Capitalism

This research project examines how firms adapt to the pressures of increasing international competition by testing the arguments on ‘strategy specialization’ proposed in the competitiveness literature in general, and by contributors to the ‘varieties of capitalism’ debate in particular. If different economies are characterized by distinct institutional arrangements, successful firms would be those that exploit the related comparative advantages and specialize in the competitive strategies facilitated by national institutions.

The development of high-tech industries in several continental European countries provides puzzling counterevidence to this argument: The plurality of pharmaceutical firms in Germany, Italy, and the UK compete through strategies that are not supported by national institutions. The research project therefore asks how firms compete despite comparative institutional disadvantages. In doing so, specific attention is paid to the impact of labour-market institutions, financial systems, antitrust legislation, and the academic system on corporate competitiveness.


Meelen, Toon, Andrea M. Herrmann and Jan Faber (2017)
"Disentangling patterns of economic, technological and innovative specialization of Western economies: An assessment of the Varieties-of-Capitalism theory on comparative institutional advantages"
Research Policy, Vol. 46 (No. 3): pp. 667-677. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. and Alexander Peine (2011)
"When ‘national innovation system’ meet ‘varieties of capitalism’ arguments on labour qualifications: On the skill types and scientific knowledge needed for radical and incremental product innovations"
Research Policy, Vol. 40 (No. 5): pp. 687–701. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2009)
"On the Choice and Success of Competitive Strategies"
Competition & Change, Vol. 13 (No. 1): pp. 3-28. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2008)
"Choosing and Successfully Sustaining Competitive Strategies in the European Pharmaceutical Industry"
MPIfG Discussion Paper, No. 08/9 No. 08/9. Cologne: Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung. [pdf]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2008)
"Contrasting the resource-based view and competitiveness theories: how pharmaceutical firms choose to compete in Germany, Italy and the UK"
Strategic Organization, Vol. 6 (No. 4): pp. 343-374. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2008)
"Rethinking the link between labour market flexibility and corporate competitiveness: a critique of the institutionalist literature"
Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 6 (No. 4): pp. 637-669. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2008)
"On the Discrepancies between Macro and Micro Level Identification of Competitive Strategies"
MPIfG Discussion Paper, No. 08/6 No. 08/6. Cologne: Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung. [pdf]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2008)
One Political Economy, One Competitive Strategy? Comparing Pharmaceutical Firms in Germany, Italy, and the UK
Oxford: Oxford University Press. 202 pages. [pdf]

Casper, Steven (2009)
"Can new technology firms succeed in coordinated market economies? A response to Herrmann and Lange"
Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 7 (No. 2): pp. 209-215. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2010)
"How macro-level sampling affects micro-level arguments: a rejoinder to Steven Casper"
Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 8 (No. 2): pp. 333-339. [pdf] [web]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2007)
"On the Discrepancies between Macro and Micro Level Identification of Competitive Strategies"
EUI Working Paper, SPS No. 2007/11 No. SPS 2007/11. Florence: European University Institute. [pdf]

Herrmann, Andrea M. (2006)
Alternative pathways to competitiveness within developed capitalism - A comparative study fo the pharmaceutical sector in Germany, Italy, and the UK
Florence: European University Institute Press. 243 pages.