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Article

John Bryson and Lauren Hamilton Edwards

Strategic planning has become a fairly routine and common practice at all levels of government in the United States and elsewhere. It can be part of the broader practice of strategic management that links planning with implementation. Strategic planning can be applied to organizations, collaborations, functions (e.g., transportation or health), and to places ranging from local to national to transnational. Research results are somewhat mixed, but they generally show a positive relationship between strategic planning and improved organizational performance. Much has been learned about public-sector strategic planning over the past several decades but there is much that is not known. There are a variety of approaches to strategic planning. Some are comprehensive process-oriented approaches (i.e., public-sector variants of the Harvard Policy Model, logical incrementalism, stakeholder management, and strategic management systems). Others are more narrowly focused process approaches that are in effect strategies (i.e., strategic negotiations, strategic issues management, and strategic planning as a framework for innovation). Finally, there are content-oriented approaches (i.e., portfolio analyses and competitive forces analysis). The research on public-sector strategic planning has pursued a number of themes. The first concerns what strategic planning “is” theoretically and practically. The approaches mentioned above may be thought of as generic—their ostensive aspect—but they must be applied contingently and sensitively in practice—their performative aspect. Scholars vary in whether they conceptualize strategic planning in a generic or performative way. A second theme concerns attempts to understand whether and how strategic planning “works.” Not surprisingly, how strategic planning is conceptualized and operationalized affects the answers. A third theme focuses on outcomes of strategic planning. The outcomes studied typically have been performance-related, such as efficiency and effectiveness, but some studies focus on intermediate outcomes, such as participation and learning, and a small number focus on a broader range of public values, such as transparency or equity. A final theme looks at what contributes to strategic planning success. Factors related to success include effective leadership, organizational capacity and resources, and participation, among others. A substantial research agenda remains. Public-sector strategic planning is not a single thing, but many things, and can be conceptualized in a variety of ways. Useful findings have come from each of these different conceptualizations through use of a variety of methodologies. This more open approach to research should continue. Given the increasing ubiquity of strategic planning across the globe, the additional insights this research approach can yield into exactly what works best, in which situations, and why, is likely to be helpful for advancing public purposes.

Article

Steven A. Stewart and Allen C. Amason

Since the earliest days of strategic management research, scholars have sought to measure and model the effects of top managers on organizational performance. A watershed moment in this effort came with the 1984 introduction of Hambrick and Mason’s upper echelon view and their contention that firms are a reflection of their top management teams (TMT). An explosion of research followed and hundreds, if not thousands, of manuscripts have since been published on the subject. While a number of excellent reviews of this extensive literature exist, a relative few have asked questions about the overall state and future of the field. We undertook this assessment in an effort to answer some key questions. Are we still making progress on the big questions that gave rise to the upper echelon view, or have we reached a point of diminishing returns with this stream of research? If we are at an inflection point, what are the issues that should drive future inquiry about top management teams?

Article

The strategic management of technology and innovation is an important contributor to organizational performance and competitiveness. It creates value, assists differentiation, enhances productivity, and guides creativity and initiative. In the face of uncertainty in operating environments, caused especially by rapid technological change, the strategic management of innovation configures capabilities and resources within organizations. These include the capability to search for innovations, select the most advantageous, and appropriate or capture their returns. It involves investing in sources of innovation, such as research and development (R&D) and collaboration with external partners, and using methods for effectively assessing their contributions. Unstable and turbulent operating conditions can disrupt established organizational policies and practices and make planning difficult. As a result, strategies for technology and innovation are necessarily emergent rather than prescriptive, exploratory rather than determinable. Any advantages technology and innovation create are likely to be transitory. The pressing need for greater environmental sustainability, increased focus on the social consequences of innovation, and the impact of new digital and data-rich technologies, add to the challenges of the strategic management of technology and innovation. To address these challenges, attention to physical and intellectual capital needs to be supplemented by greater concern for human, social, and natural capital, and to organizational culture and behavior. This requires the foundation of the strategic management of technology and innovation in the discipline of economics to be complemented by others, such as psychology, organizational behavior, and ethics.

Article

Sebastiano Massaro and Dorotea Baljević

Organizational neuroscience—a novel scholarly domain using neuroscience to inform management and organizational research, and vice versa—is flourishing. Still missing, however, is a comprehensive coverage of organizational neuroscience as a self-standing scientific field. A foundational account of the potential that neuroscience holds to advance management and organizational research is currently a gap. The gap can be addressed with a review of the main methods, systematizing the existing scholarly literature in the field including entrepreneurship, strategic management, and organizational behavior, among others.

Article

George M. Puia and Mark D. Potts

Although risk is an essential element of the business landscape and one of the more widely researched topics in business, there is noticeably less scholarship on strategic risk. Business risk literature tends to only delineate characteristics of risk that are operational rather than strategic in nature. The current operational risk paradigm focuses primarily on only two dimensions of risk: the probability of its occurrence and the severity of its outcomes. In contrast, literature in the natural and social sciences exhibits greater dimensionality in the risk lexicon, including temporal risk dimensions absent from academic business discussions. Additionally, descriptions of operational risk included minimal linkage to strategic outcomes that could constrain or enable resources, markets, or competition. When working with a multidimensional model of risk, one can adjust the process of environmental scanning and risk assessment in ways that were potentially more measurable. Given the temporal dimensions of risk, risk management cannot always function proactively. In risk environments with short risk horizons, rapid risk acceleration, or limited risk reaction time, firms must utilize dynamic capabilities. The literature proposes multiple approaches to managing risk that are often focused on single challenges or solutions. By combining a strategic management focus with a multidimensional model of strategic risk, one can match risk management protocols to specific strategic challenges. Lastly, one of more powerful dimensions of risky events is their ability to differentially affect competitors, changing the basis of competition. Risk need not solely be viewed as defending against potential losses; many risky occurrences may represent new strategic opportunities.

Article

Stakeholder engagement refers to the aims, practices, and impacts of stakeholder relations in businesses and other organizations. According to a general framework, stakeholder engagement has four dimensions: examining stakeholder relations, communicating with stakeholders, learning with (and from) stakeholders, and integrative stakeholder engagement. Stakeholder engagement is increasingly used in areas like strategic management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and sustainability management, while stakeholder-engagement research in marketing, finance, and human resources (HR) is still less common. Two main camps in the stakeholder-engagement literature exist: the strategic and the normative. To foster an inclusive understanding of stakeholder engagement, future research in both camps is needed. While the strategic camp necessitates a relational view, including both the firm and the stakeholder perspectives, the normative camp requires novel philosophical underpinnings, such as humanism and ecocentrism. Furthermore, there is constant debate about the argument that stakeholder engagement is, and should be, most importantly, practical. Stakeholder-engagement research should focus on solving real-life problems with practical consequences intended to make people’s lives better.

Article

Vinícius Chagas Brasil and J.P. Eggers

In competitive strategy, firms manage two primary (non-financial) portfolios—the product portfolio and the innovation portfolio. Portfolio management involves resource allocation to balance the important tradeoff of risk reduction and upside maximization, with important decisions around the evaluation, prioritization and selection of products and innovation projects. These two portfolios are interdependent in ways that create reinforcing dynamics—the innovation portfolio is the array of potential future products, while the product portfolio both informs innovation strategy and provides inputs to future innovation efforts. Additionally, portfolio management processes operate at two levels, which is reflected in the literature's structure. The first is a micro lens which focuses on management frameworks to boost portfolio performance and success through project-level selection tools. This research has its roots in financial portfolio management, relates closely to research on new product development and marketing product management, and explores the effects of portfolio management decisions on other organizational functions (e.g., operations). The second lens is a macro lens on portfolio management research, which considers the portfolio as a whole and integrates key organizational and competitive concepts such as entry timing, portfolio management resource allocation regimes (e.g., real options reasoning), organizational experience, and the culling of products and projects. This literature aims to set portfolio management as higher level organizational decision-making capability that embodies the growth strategy of the organization. The organizational ability to manage both the product and innovation portfolios connects portfolio management to key strategic organizational capabilities, including ambidexterity and dynamic capabilities, and operationalizes strategic flexibility. We therefore view portfolio management as a source of competitive advantage that supports organizational renewal.