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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1742115
 
 

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Corporate Frugality: Theory, Measurement and Practice


Shannon W. Anderson


University of California, Davis - Graduate School of Management

Anne M. Lillis


University of Melbourne

December 15, 2010


Abstract:     
This paper uses a mix of field research and survey methods to provide evidence on the existence of 'frugality' as a company characteristic. Drawing upon established scales of frugality in the literature on consumer psychology, we develop and validate a multi-item measure of corporate frugality. A key part of scale development is establishing discriminant validity, the uniqueness from and relatedness to extant constructs. We demonstrate that frugality differs from budgetary control, and is not associated with organizational culture types in the Competing Values framework (Quinn and Rohrbaugh, 1981). Further, we investigate the association between frugality and business strategy using Porter's (1980) typology of low cost and product differentiation strategies and find that frugality is equally present in companies with both strategies. Having established frugality as a distinct construct, we examine its nomological validity, the consequences of frugality for cost management practice. We find that frugal companies control cost differently and make greater use of a broad range of cost management practices. In sum, we develop and validate a theory-consistent measure of corporate frugality; a construct that has been present in descriptions and anecdotes of business practices of cost management for decades, but which has gained new currency in modern economic times.

Keywords: Corporate Frugality, Cost management, Organization culture, Budget culture, Business Strategy

JEL Classification: M41, M20, M14

working papers series


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Date posted: January 17, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Shannon W. and Lillis, Anne M., Corporate Frugality: Theory, Measurement and Practice (December 15, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1742115 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1742115

Contact Information

Shannon W. Anderson
University of California, Davis - Graduate School of Management ( email )
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
Anne Lillis (Contact Author)
University of Melbourne ( email )
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 9349 2397 (Fax)
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