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King, AJ 2015, 'The impact of hybrid strategies on organisational performance within the New Zealand food export sector ', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright AJ King 2015


Current literature is divided with regard to the success of organisations in the simultaneous pursuit of both low cost and differentiation strategies. This combination, or ‘hybrid’ strategy, is defined as giving equal emphasis to both cost leadership and differentiation generic strategies; is said to involve different skills and resources; and is associated with different organisational requirements, systems, and control mechanisms. The incompatibility between costs and differentiation competitive strategies has also resulted in the expression of organisations labelled as being ‘stuck-in-the-middle.’ The majority of current research is quantitative in methodology and undertaken within the confines of Europe and the United States. This research seeks to address some of this theory imbalance by undertaking research into the linkage between organisational strategy and organisational success within the confines of the New Zealand food export sector. The research was designed to provide an explanation as to how New Zealand food exporters integrate the equal emphasis of both cost leadership and differentiation generic strategies into their organisation and to specifically:  Explain the effect that hybrid strategy adoption will have on the marketing mix and the reasons why this will occur;  Examine the merit in the commonly understood theory that higher costs are anticipated with differentiation, and lower costs are anticipated with cost leadership;  Identify the key factors that support the application of hybrid strategies and enable successful organisational performance. The primary purpose of this research was, first, to understand how New Zealand organisations operating within the food export sector integrate the simultaneous pursuit and equal emphasis of both cost leadership and differentiation strategies into their organisation. The second purpose, aimed to highlight the key enablers that these same organisations believe attribute to their organisation’s success.

The research adds to existing theory in two areas. The first addition is regarding the inter-relationships between hybrid, generic and export marketing strategy, and the linkages to standardisation of elements of the marketing mix and to organisational success. The second addition to theory is the contribution to a greater understanding of how organisations simultaneously integrate dual generic strategies particularly within the confines of organisational structure, management, culture, and external enablers. Qualitative case study methodology was adopted in this research in order to provide a rich and astute insight into facets of organisational management previously unable to be captured by prior quantitative research. Four proven performing New Zealand food export case study organisations were purposively selected, with each operating a hybrid strategy and operating their own manufacturing facility. Research data was collected primarily by semi-structured interviews with case study findings distilled, allowing differences, additions and similarities to existing theory to be identified. Adopting this methodology allowed a number of conclusions to be drawn as they related to the New Zealand food exporting sector. Conclusive findings were generated as they pertained to how New Zealand food exporting organisations operating a hybrid strategy could potentially standardise elements of the marketing mix. The study also showed internal organisational mechanisms for the balancing of the higher costs associated with differentiation with the lower costs associated with cost leadership. Finally, the study was able to provide evidence of the factors associated with enabling successful organisational performance when integrating hybrid strategies within the confines of the New Zealand food sector. The aim of this research thesis is to provide an understanding of hybrid strategy usage within the context of the New Zealand food export sector to New Zealand food manufacturers, New Zealand Food and Beverage organisational members and associated government export agencies. In addition, the study provides a number of future research recommendations with the specific aim of ensuring that New Zealand food manufacturers have clear marketing policy guidelines that are able to advance New Zealand’s future economic benefit.