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Title: Language and competition : communication vagueness, interpretation difficulties, and market entry
Authors: Guo, W 
Yu, T
Gimeno, J
Issue Date: Dec-2017
Source: Academy of Management journal, Dec. 2017, v. 60, no. 6, p. 2073-2098
Abstract: Firms have a lot to lose from the entry of competitors into their markets. Grounded in the research on interfirm rivalry and strategic communication, we proposed and tested hypotheses suggesting that, when the managers of incumbent firms perceive a high threat of entry, they are more likely to use vagueness in their corporate communications to make their strategies and actions harder to discern. This lessened interpretation results in fewer competitive entries by potential entrants. We used computerized content analysis to quantify the use of vague language in incumbent firms’ annual reports and empirically tested our hypotheses through data from the U.S. domestic airline industry. We found robust support for our hypotheses. By revealing that strategic use of language shapes competitive interactions, our research sheds new light on the process through which information is delivered, received, and interpreted by rivals. This process is at the heart of competitive dynamics and strategy research.
Keywords: Competitive dynamics
Information processing
Market entry
Strategic communication
Text analysis
Publisher: Academy of Management
Journal: Academy of Management journal 
ISSN: 0001-4273
EISSN: 1948-0989
DOI: 10.5465/amj.2014.1150
Rights: © Academy of Management Journal
This is the accepted manuscript of the following article: Wei Guo, Tieying Yu, and Javier Gimeno, 2017: Language and Competition: Communication Vagueness, Interpretation Difficulties, and Market Entry. AMJ, 60, 2073–2098, which has been published in final form at
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