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This thesis is a cross-disciplinary study of the empirical impact of real options theory in the fields of decision sciences and performance management. Borrowing from the economics, strategy and operations research literature, the research examines the risk and performance implications of real options in firms’ strategic investments and multinational operations. An emphasis is placed on the flexibility potential and competitive advantage of multinational corporations to explore the extent to which real options analysis can be classified as best practice in management research. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques the evidence suggests that, if real options are explored and exploited appropriately, real options management can result in superior performance for multinational companies. The qualitative findings give an overview of the practical advantages and disadvantages of real options and the statistical results reveal that firms which have developed a high awareness of their real options are, as predicted by the theory, able to reduce their downside risk and increase profits through flexibility, organisational slack and multinationality. Although real options awareness does not systematically guarantee higher returns from operations, supplementary findings indicate that firms with evidence of significant investments in the acquisition of real options knowledge tend to outperform competitors which are unaware of their real options.
There are three contributions of this research. First, it extends the real options and capacity planning literature to path-dependent contingent-claims analysis to underline the benefits of average type options in capacity allocation. Second, it is thought to be the first to explicitly examine the performance effects of real options on a sample of firms which have developed partial capabilities in real options analysis suggesting that real options diffusion can be key to value creation. Third, it builds a new decision-aiding framework to facilitate the use of real options in projects appraisal and strategic planning.
|Date of Award||Jul 2007|
|Supervisor||Gary Simpson (Supervisor), David Bennett (Supervisor) & Giuliana Battisti (Supervisor)|
- Real options
- organisational awareness