A case study of the response to chronic excess capacity in a small competitive industry permits a generalization of Bower’s concentration hypothesis. Barriers to exit produced a free rider problem where only smaller and lower quality brick plants were shut when the efficient solution demanded major closures. The exit logjam was resolved by the strategic actions of growth-maximizing managers. They used major acquisitions as the basis for substantial reductions in firm and industry capacity whilst growing their own market share. The fall in industry capacity enabled other firms to follow suit while maintaining their market share as predicted by prospect theory.