Style typologies and competitive advantage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of style is gaining momentum in organizational research. Focussing on its implications for strategy, this paper presents a conceptual and methodological framework to make the notion of style operational and applicable to both research and practice. Style is defined here as a combinatorial, socially situated and semiotic device that can be organized into typologies – recurrent combinations of stylistic dimensions exerting a normative and semiotic function within and across contexts. The empirical analysis, situated in the field of electronic music, considers the music genres and the colour dimension of artists' appearance as components of their style. Results show how coherent style typologies normatively dominate the field and how non-conformist but coherent typologies correspond to superior creative performance. Operating as unifying device, style can transform varied and potentially confounding traits into distinctiveness and shed light on competitive market dynamics that cannot be fully explained via other theoretical constructs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-47
JournalAdvances in Strategic Management
Early online date9 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2020


  • style typologies
  • strategy
  • colour theory
  • creative industries
  • visual analysis
  • competitive advantage


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