Asymmetric Vacillation in the FMCG Industry: A Case Comparison of Procter & Gamble and Unilever

Jisoo Kang, Seungyeon Lee, Seungho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While existing studies regarding organizational vacillation theory have focused on examining how vacillation may lead to ambidexterity, few studies have focused on how vacillation itself happens and whether it happens symmetrically or not. To bridge this research gap, this paper analyzed organizational vacillation over time with two canonical cases while examining patterns of organizational structure over time. Unlike previous studies that only revealed the existence of vacillation between centralization and decentralization, this study revealed that vacillation is observed with an asymmetric ratio of duration in the business world by finding that each company within the same industry spends a greater portion of time in a certain organizational structure than the other. By analyzing these changes throughout the business history, this study found that organizational vacillation happens asymmetrically while alternatively shifting between centralization and decentralization. Based on the case study result, this study draws propositions that can enable future researchers to advance theoretical and empirical understanding toward asymmetric vacillation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number187
JournalAdministrative Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • centralization vs. decentralization
  • international business
  • organizational structure
  • organizational vacillation


Dive into the research topics of 'Asymmetric Vacillation in the FMCG Industry: A Case Comparison of Procter & Gamble and Unilever'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this