School of Business & Economics, Discussion Paper: Strategic Management 2012/7
Institutions matter greatly in the development of competitive advantage. Different institutional strategies to manipulate and shape institutions are discussed in the literature. This paper aims at extending the existing conceptual model of membership strategy. Despite being referenced frequently, the concept of membership strategy is not well developed. This is surprising because what is referred to as membership strategy has become very popular in various industries. We propose and develop a theoretical model that explains a firm's opportunity to protect itself against dominant institutional pressures and, additionally, to create competitive advantage by implementing a consumer centric membership strategy. Practical examples are discussed to clarify theoretical interrelationships. The main illustrative case focuses on Blizzard Entertainment, an American developer and publisher of video games.