Purpose – There is a preponderance of evidence in the established literature that declining firms have lower levels of organizational slack when compared with surviving firms. To further advance the current literature, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether or not organizational slack in its various forms differ in declining firms and in surviving firms. Additionally, this study examines whether there is a change in the extent of slack in the declining firms in the years immediately preceding bankruptcy filing. Design/methodology/approach – t -tests and panel regressions with random effects are performed. Findings – Available slack, potential slack and total slack of bankrupts significantly differ from that of survivors in each year. However, recoverable slack levels do not differ in bankrupts and survivors. Available slack of bankrupts reduces significantly over the last five years before bankruptcy. Recoverable slack, potential slack and total slack conditions do not drastically deteriorate for the bankrupts over the last few years prior to bankruptcy. Research limitations/implications – Not confirming to prior evidences, the results of this study suggest that not every type of organizational slack is in a worse condition within a declining firm than in a surviving firm. Practical implications – Among all the slack types, what differentiates bankrupts from survivors is the amount of available slack. Decreasing available slack within declining firms should forewarn managers of further likely deteriorations. Originality/value – The results of this study questions the prevailing wisdom that financial resource levels, especially the levels of organizational slack is in a significantly lower level in declining firms than in surviving firms.
Journal of Strategy and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 15, 2016
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