Economic recessions, strategy, and performance: a synthesis

Scott Latham, Michael Braun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Purpose – Despite the episodic pervasiveness of recessions and their destructive impact on firms, a void exists in the management literature examining the intersection between recessions, strategy, and performance. This paper seeks directly to address this research void by reviewing relevant literature spanning the past 20 years and building an integrative framework for future research efforts. Design/methodology/approach – The paper systematically reviews and compartmentalizes articles on the intersection between firm strategy and economic recession published between 1991 and 2010 in widely recognized management and entrepreneurship journals. Concurrently, a theoretical framework is proposed which identifies distinct constructs and linkages related to economic recessions, strategy, and performance. Findings – The findings are twofold. First, the review distils disparate scholarly works on firm behavior and recessions to provide a systematic appraisal and review of what people know and do not know about managing firms through economic downturn. Second, the conceptual framework points to numerous opportunities to scholars interested in conducting research on this timely and important topic. Practical implications – The paper answers a call by scholars for research that fills a void on systematic diagnosis, prescription, or prophylaxis that can guide managers through recessions. Originality/value – This paper represents the only research initiative to systematically bring a comprehensive overview of firm strategy in the context of recessionary environments. In effect, it addresses the larger research question: “What do we know about the interplay between firm strategy and recession?”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-115
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Strategy and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 17 2011


  • Business cycles
  • Corporate strategy
  • Performance management
  • Recession


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