The Moderating Role of the Industry Structure on the Causal Relationships between Remote Risks, Task Risks, and Industry Performance: Empirical Study of the U.S. Casual Theme Restaurant Industry

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to investigate the concepts of remote and task risks in relation to the structure of the casual theme restaurant industry, and to examine the performance consequences of their relationships. This study proposed a framework of analysis that will enable industry participants to develop an improved understanding of the relationships among environmental risk drivers, and of the influence of their strategic decisions on the environment-performance connection.

Specifically, it was proposed that task risk factors could be identified, and that they would mediate the influence that some identifiable remote risk factors would have on the performance of the industry. It was also expected that this mediated relationship would be moderated by the influence of the structure of industry.

The primary unit of analysis was at the industry sector level as the performance construct was operationalized using a portfolio of 24 casual theme restaurant firms. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify the remote and task risk factors. The analysis suggested that three remote factors and three task factors represent the two environmental constructs: "Interest rates", "Expectations" and "Exchange rates" for the remote environment, and "Input quantities", "Input restaurant" and "Input prices" for the task environment.

A number of time-series regression analyses were subsequently conducted for the 1993-2006 period to investigate the various proposed relationships. The results indicated that a number of significant direct effects of the remote and task risk factors on the cash flow returns on invested capital of the industry portfolio existed. Also, a significant mediated relationship was found: the "Input prices" mediated the influence of the "Expectations" on changes in the cash flow returns on invested capital. However, and despite numerous significant direct effects between the industry structure variables and the performance variables, no moderation could be established.

The present study paved the way for future research on the relationships between the remote and task environment and the performance of firms. In particular, further research should be conducted that delves into the role of the cyclical nature of environmental risk factors. Besides, additional investigations of the influence of the structure of the industry should be conducted by attempting to compare more contrasted states of the industry.



Environment, Co-alignment, Restaurant, Industry Structure, Value Drivers, Risk