’ pay increases when their firms gets larger.


1. Studies have shown that executives’ pay increases when their firms gets larger. What role, if any, do you think executive pay plays in diversification decisions?

2. Identify a firm that has recently engaged in diversification. Search the firm’s website to identify executives’ rationale for diversifying. Do you find the reasoning to be convincing? Why or why not?


Porter, M. E. 1987. From competitive advantage to corporate strategy. Harvard Business Review, 65(3), 102–121. Prahalad, C. K., & Hamel, G. 1990. The core competencies of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 86(1),

79–91. Townhall, http://th2010.townhall.com/news/us/2011/03/20/zippos_burning_ambition_lies_in_


265 Mastering Strategic Management

8.5 Strategies for Getting Smaller

Learning Objectives

1. Understand why a firm would want to shrink or exit from a business.

2. Be able to distinguish retrenchment and restructuring.

“In what industry or industries should our firm compete?” is the central question addressed by corporate-level strategy. In some cases, the answer that executives arrive at involves exiting one or more industries.


In the early twentieth century, many military battles were fought in series of parallel trenches. If an attacking army advanced enough to force a defending army to abandon a trench, the defenders would move back to the next trench and try to refortify their position. This small retreat was preferable to losing the battle entirely. Trench warfare inspired the business term retrenchment. Firms following a retrenchment strategy shrink one or more of their business units. Much like an army under attack, firms using this strategy hope to make just a small retreat rather than losing a battle for survival.


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