We develop a simulation model to examine conditions under which strategic groups emerge and their performance difference persists. In our model, mobility barriers, strategic interactions among high performers, dynamic capabilities (the mechanisms that allow winners to continue to survive), and boundary of rivalry are put together to derive their joint implications for the evolution of strategic groups. Not surprisingly, our model behavior shows that mobility barriers and strategic interactions play an important role in sustaining intergroup performance difference. However, the extremely high level of mobility barriers is shown to impede the emergence of strategic groups. We also find that dynamic capabilities and boundary of rivalry are as essential as mobility barriers in understanding the emergence and stability of strategic groups. When dynamic capabilities are absent or when rivalry is extended over firms with dissimilar strategies, strategic groups are less likely to exist. These findings can serve as a guideline for empirical research to probe why strategic groups exist sometimes and why they do not at other times. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.