Strategic change and renewal

Avoiding 'strategic drift'

Strategic drift (or inertia) is a major challenge facing strategists. 

The research seeks to understand the origins of such ambidextrous capacity and how it links to the avoidance of strategic drift. 

There are numerous case histories demonstrating that successful organisations can become trapped in established ways of doing things.  In fact, the trigger for strategic change is often the downturn in performance symptomatic of these habits having gradually become 'core rigidities' rather than 'core capabilities'

This research project has sought to identify successful firms that have not only avoided such drift, but have made major strategic changes without a major downturn.  This has led to the idea of  'organisational ambidexterity'; simultaneously being able to manage the exploitation of strategic capabilities whilst also maintaining a capacity for exploration and innovation.  

For more information contact Gerry Johnson.


Delivering strategic renewal

This research explores the actions and activities senior managers engage in to deliver strategic renewal through a discourse perspective. 

Discourse and narrative approaches provide a fruitful, yet underutilised, avenue for studying mature corporations. Since these approaches emphasise the political, social and multi-vocal nature of complex organisations typically underemphasised, they provide fresh insight into uptake and spread or new strategic intents within organisations.

The particular focus here is on how managers in multinational compies (MNCs) are rebuilding their European organisations to remain competitive to a) deliver new strategic capabilities in integration of action, whilst still retaining capabilities in local responsiveness, and b) to deliver a new managerial logic of action which does not prioritise the local at the expense of the regional or global. 

An associated project is exploring issues connected with breaking out of strategic lock-in. Many organisations never recover from the inertia embedded in historical ‘core rigidities’ and the associated downward spiral of poor performance.  When organisations are facing declining performance and the increasing redundancy of existing core capabilities as their environment changes, how do they break-out of this downward spiral?

This research also covers issues to do with radical organisational restructuring and strategic transformation more generally.

Strategic initiatives and change

This work looks at the implementation of strategic changes.  Many people focus on the initial stages when issues are raised, changes are discussed and plans are made.  However, how well the changes are implemented is pivotal to the success or failure in creating strategic change.

There is relatively little understanding of what happens to strategic initiatives once they have been initiated and the factors that might influence this.

Within the context of pluralistic organisations, the goal is to understand how change initiatives emerge, develop, are operationalised and affect strategic change.  Of particular interest is the role of framing – how meanings are manipulated by the proponents and opponents of an initiative – over the life cycle of a strategic initiative.