How Symmetrical Assumptions Advance Strategic Management Research

Nicolai J. Foss, Niklas Lars Hallberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (SciVal)


We develop the case for symmetrical assumptions in strategic management theory. Assumptional symmetry obtains when assumptions made about certain actors and their interactions in one of the application domains of a theory are also made about this set of actors and their interactions in other application domains of the theory. We argue that assumptional symmetry leads to theoretical advancement by promoting the development of theory with greater falsifiability and stronger ontological grounding. Thus, strategic management theory may be advanced by systematically searching for asymmetrical assumptions in existing theory in order to identify the instances where new and useful insights can be derived from adopting symmetrical assumptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-913
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics and Business


  • theory building
  • resource-based view
  • theoretical assumptions


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