Doctor of Philosophy
Antia, Kersi D.
Organizations often experience adversity, which can be “an unfortunate event or circumstance or the state of serious and continued difficulty” (Tian and Fan 2014, p. 252); yet few successfully overcome such adversity. This dissertation focuses on identifying the factors that help organizations overcome adversity and become resilient. In Essay 1, I consider multilateral co-branding alliances (MCAs)—three or more independent firms operating under a single alliance brand while retaining their own individual brands. Although firms can gain significant value from participating in MCAs, disruptive events can undermine this value and make it unattractive for the alliance members to continue their participation. I investigate one such alliance disruption undermining the value of the common brand, and whether rebranding an MCA after a brand harm crisis can increase member firm extendedness—their continued participation in the alliance. I also evaluate the how the individual members’ “shadow of the past” i.e. their idiosyncratic experience with the alliance brand—explains the variation their extendedness. In Essay 2, I focus on multinational enterprises’ international expansion aspirations. MNEs often depend on physical locations owned and operated by host country local partners. Both parties have a vested interest in outlets shedding their early-stage vulnerability and transitioning to maturity. Maturity, however, does not confer immunity from sudden dips in sales that all outlets experience. The most severe of these—what I term a setback—might even pose an existential threat to the outlet. I identify the factors driving outlets’ resilience⸺ the likelihood and speed of their recovery from setback. I posit that the firm and its local partners’ ability and motivation to leverage the resources conferred by incubation (time spent in each phase of the lifecycle), imprinting (the outlets’ performance in their early days), learning (specifically from other outlets worldwide that have gone concurrently into setback), and incentives (elicited by the royalty regime) determine setback-experiencing outlets’ resilience. My research thus helps augment our understanding of organizational resilience, which is not just advantageous, but crucial for the organizations to ensure their long-term success, and the ability to thrive amidst adversity.
Summary for Lay Audience
In this dissertation, I focus on understanding how organizations can overcome adversity and become resilient. In my first essay, I explore resilience in the context of multilateral co-branding alliances (MCAs), which are multiple independent firms operating under a single umbrella alliance brand even while maintaining their individual brands. Although participating in MCAs can be of significant benefit to the members, external disruptive events can diminish the value of such alliance participation and discourage the member firms from continuing with the alliance. I investigate how rebranding an MCA after a brand harm crisis can increase member firms' willingness to continue with the alliance. I also examine the extent of impact of each member’s prior experience with the alliance brand on their decision to continue with the alliance.
In the second essay, I focus on multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their international expansion. MNEs often rely on local partners in host countries to operate physical outlets. Both parties are interested in transitioning these outlets from early-stage vulnerability to a more matured and stable state of operation. However, even mature outlets can face sudden declines in sales, what I refer to as setbacks, which can pose a significant threat, culminating in closure of the outlet. I identify the factors that contribute to the resilience of these setback-experiencing outlets, such as the firm and local partners' ability to leverage resources gained through sink time in the different life cycle stages, persistence of performance from the outlets’ early days, learning from other outlets, and incentives provided by the royalty regime.
Overall, this research aims to enhance our understanding of organizational resilience, which is essential for long-term success of organizations and their ability to thrive even in the face of adversity.
Mitra, Amrita, "Essays on Resilience in the Face of Adversity" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9449.
Available for download on Monday, July 21, 2025