To What do Firms Attribute Success? An Application of Attribution Theory to the Secondary Woodworking Industry


  • Matthew Bumgardner
  • Urs Buehlmann


Small firms are a critical component of the secondary woodworking industry and are important to hardwood lumber demand in the US. Understanding managers’ perceptions of competitiveness in these firms is important to those working with the industry to help maintain a viable wood manufacturing base. One area of interest relative to the overall business environment involves attribution: to what do managers attribute their firms’ success? In this study, attribution theory was applied to a sample of secondary woodworking manufacturers to test for a “self-serving” attribution effect (ie success is caused by internal factors, whereas a lack of success is caused by external factors), which has been shown in some other industries. Also of interest was determining if the effect was amplified for small firms. The presence of an overall attribution effect among secondary woodworking manufacturers was generally supported, but little evidence was found of an effect related specifically to small firms. The presence of an overall attribution effect is discussed in terms of the implications for research and outreach directed toward the secondary woodworking industry.






Research Contributions