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Espoused corporate and business level strategies: An analysis of annual reports in the heavy electrical engineering industry, 1987-2002
Linköping University, Department of Management and Economics.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Economics.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Strategy forms an inevitable part of a company’s existence, whether explicitly formulated or implicitly acted on. Today, there are many ways to find information about companies and their strategic directions, for example in the non-financial sections of annual reports. However, the future actions and strategic choices tend not to be spoken of explicitly or in terms of strategy concepts or typologies. Thus, the presentation of strategies in annual reports may differ in terminology from the conceptions and notions as presented in strategy concepts. This implies a challenging base for analysis and will inevitably create an interesting situation if one wants to map out a company’s strategic direction with these reports as basis. Annual reports could also possibly constitute a cross-over between the theoretical realm and the business world, which might allow the drawing of parallels between theoretical concepts and espoused strategic actions.


The purpose of this thesis is to provide an overall image of strategy in the heavy electrical engineering industry in the time period of 1987 to 2002, using the non-financial information in annual reports as the single source for identifying and classifying companies in terms of strategy.

Mode of procedure

Annual reports from four large companies in the heavy electrical engineering industry have been studied with a grounded approach of textual analysis. The case study was conducted with an inductive starting point, and covered a vast amount of empirical material. Key features of strategic directions, on the corporate and business level, were derived from the empirical material as well as from strategy literature, and these features then served as base for further analysis and conclusions.


All four studied companies displayed different strategic phases on the two levels. However, inconsistency and a multitude of comments sometimes obstructed the identification of distinct phases. On an inter-company level, the European companies tended to have more features in common than the American ones. Furthermore, specific characteristics have been identified for each company. Finally, each of the four case companies was classified in terms of generic strategies. The classification of the companies showed that a multitude of strategic typologies was applicable during the studied time period, some recurrently and others in unique periods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ekonomiska institutionen , 2006. , 226 p.
Keyword [en]
annual reports, heavy electrical engineering industry, corporate strategy, business strategy, textual analysis, taxonomy, typology, classification
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5927ISRN: LIU-EKI/IEP-D--06/015--SEOAI: diva2:21569
Available from: 2006-03-09 Created: 2006-03-09

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