Flexible capacity strategy in an asymmetric oligopoly market with competition and demand uncertainty

Liu Yang, Chi To Ng, Yaodong Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article studies flexible capacity strategy (FCS) under oligopoly competition with uncertain demand. Each firm utilizes either the FCS or inflexible capacity strategy (IFCS). Flexible firms can postpone their productions until observing the actual demand, whereas inflexible firms cannot. We formulate a new asymmetrical oligopoly model for the problem, and obtain capacity and production decisions of the firms at Nash equilibrium. It is interesting to verify that cross-group competition determines the capacity allocation between the two groups of firms, while intergroup competition determines the market share within each group. Moreover, we show that the two strategies coexist among firms only when cost differentiation is medium. Counterintuitively, flexible firms benefit from increasing production cost when the inflexible competition intensity is sufficiently high. This is because of retreat of inflexible firms, flexibility effect, and the corresponding high price. We identify conditions under which FCS is superior than IFCS. We also demonstrate that flexible firms benefit from increasing demand uncertainty. However, when demand variance is not very large, flexible firms may be disadvantaged. We further investigate the effects of cross-group and intergroup competition on individual performance of the firms. We show that as flexible competition intensity increases, inflexible firms are mainly affected by the cross-group competition first and then by the intergroup competition, whereas flexible firms are mainly affected by the intergroup competition. Finally, we examine endogenous flexibility and identify its three drivers: cost parameters, cross-group competition, and intergroup competition. Naval Research Logistics 64: 117–138, 2017.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-138
Number of pages22
JournalNaval Research Logistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • asymmetric oligopoly
  • competition intensity
  • demand uncertainty
  • flexible capacity strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Flexible capacity strategy in an asymmetric oligopoly market with competition and demand uncertainty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this