Abstract

The processes that lead to firms engaging in deliberate aggressive and risk-taking behaviors that can have negative consequences for their business are little understood in management research. Drawing on work developed in international negotiations this study centers on brinkmanship behavior, where in order to gain concessions or to advance their position with adversaries firms take actions that not only harm their adversaries but also themselves. While there is research in the strategy and organization literature that considers risk-taking, aggressive competitive behavior (e.g. price wars) and hostile-take overs, scholars have paid little attention to the processes in which firms may deliberately engage in aggressive behavior with a high likelihood that it leads to relational disruption, economic demise or other mutually undesirable consequences. Yet, such behavior has been noted in brinkmanship theory. Although this work has clear implications for business and management it has largely been developed at the level of the state, or inter-institutional level, and with international bargaining in mind, but to our knowledge no attention has been focused on management issues at the firm level. Thus we have little understanding of the processes by which firms may imperil their business and others.

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