When does unrelated diversification increase performance? The effects of financial context and contingencies

Daniele Cerrato*, Maurizio La Rocca, Todd Alessandri, Todd Michael Alessandri

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the financial factors across multiple levels of analysis that influence the performance effects of the unrelated diversification strategy, including institutional-, industry- and firm-levels. Design/methodology/approach – Using a unique panel dataset of Italian firms from 1980 to 2010, the paper tests hypotheses on how industry external financial dependence and the firm’s financial constraints both separately and jointly alter the performance benefits of unrelated diversification in contexts with financial market inefficiencies. Findings – Unrelated diversification increases performance in weak financial contexts and such positive effect is enhanced by greater industry external financial dependence and greater firm financial constraints. However, as financial markets develop, the moderating effects of firm financial constraints shrink. Practical implications – The study highlights the importance of recognizing the multiple financial contingencies that may alter the benefits of the unrelated diversification strategy, suggesting caution in its pursuit to boost firm performance. Originality/value – The authors develop a theoretical framework that explains the performance outcomes of unrelated diversification, linking the benefits of an internal capital market (ICM) with the financial context of the firm and offering a fine-grained analysis that moves beyond the advanced/emerging economy dichotomy. Furthermore, leveraging on the unprecedented time frame of the empirical analysis, the paper highlights the crucial role of industry- and firm-level financial contingencies and demonstrates that their effects change at varying levels of development of the financial context.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-25
Numero di pagine25
RivistaManagement Decision
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023


  • Unrelated diversification, Internal capital market, Weak financial markets, Industry external financial dependence, Firm financial constraints


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