Do or die: Competitive effects and Red Queen dynamics in the product survival race

M. Berk Talay, University of Massachusetts, and Jannell D. Townsend, Oakland University

Industrial and Corporate Change 

Abstract: This study explores the reciprocal relationship between the nature and duration of competition, and innovation outcomes. We propose that the perpetually driven, reciprocal sequence of competitive action and reaction known as the “Red Queen” in evolutionary biology is a cardinal force behind the success of innovations. We test our hypotheses applying a comprehensive data set of all automobile manufacturers known to compete in the US automobile market at any time between 1946 and 2008. Using data composed of 8203 model–year pairs, 1071 models from 148 different brands, we find that recent competitive experiences of models, rather than those in the distant past, make them more viable competitors. Additionally, superior reputation and market share are found to effectively shield models from the pernicious effects of Red Queen competition.

Read the full article here. 

Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation
The Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI) is the largest and oldest international research consortium aimed at understanding the challenges facing the global automotive industry. PVMI’s network includes more than 50 prominent scholars of innovation, strategy, technology, operations, organization, and human resources who have conducted interdisciplinary, often collaborative, research at more than 25 universities worldwide. Originally founded at MIT in 1979, PVMI became part of the Mack Institute in 2013.