Strategic Management as Multi-Contextual Sensemaking in Intermediate Organizations

Pages: 23 (7633 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Scand. J. Mgmt. 18 (2002) 233}248

Strategic management as multi-contextual sensemaking in intermediate organizations Runolfur Smari Steinthorsson *, Anders Soderholm K
University of Iceland, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Oddi v/ Sturlugata, IS-101 Reykjavik, Iceland Umeas School of Business and Economics, SE-901 87 Umeas , Sweden Received 1 June 1997; accepted 1 July 1999

Abstract Traditional strategic theory often provides limited means for dealing with the strategic management problems of organizations operating between societal sectors. This article thus uses the case of three industrial development organizations in developing an understanding of strategic management in organizations that operate under multi-contextual conditions. It is concluded that such organizations lack any clear mandate to act, any sound resource base, or any domain of their own, and that all these have to be created as part of the organizations' strategic management process. The implications of this line of reasoning for the general strategic management process are discussed in the closing section of the article. 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Intermediate organizations; Strategic management; Multi-contextual sensemaking

1. Introduction The combination of environmental assessment and goal-oriented implementation is a classical topic of strategic management studies. Normally, the focus is on the assessment of the opportunities and threats that confront an organization, and on the evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in relation to the perceived strategic options. The aim is to pro"t from the opportunities while avoiding the threats. This conception of the strategic management process can thus be described as an externally constrained rational and sequential process of formulation and implementation. * Corresponding author. #354-5254557; fax: #354-5526806. E-mail addresses: rsmari@hi.is (R.S. Steinthorsson), anders.soderholm@hhu.umu.se (A. Soderholm). K 0956-5221/02/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 9 5 6 - 5 2 2 1 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 3 9 - 7

234

R.S. Steinthorsson, A. Soderholm / Scand. J. Mgmt. 18 (2002) 233}248 (

More recently, strategic management has been rede"ned to include an understanding of cognitive, social, cultural and economic rent-seeking aspects. Hence, the theoretical focus has evolved from planning and adaptation to embrace a greater emphasis on the organizational resource situation and other contextually dependent aspects. Strategic management may also include human-based perspectives on the strategic capacity of an organization. Conceptions of external relations have also been subject to theoretical elaboration. Strategic concepts (e.g. goals, environment, markets, technical competence, organizational size) constantly need to be re-conceptualized due to technological development, changes in infrastructure, and organizational disintegration. Increasing organizational collaboration, internationalization and rapid technological development further underline the importance of acquiring a deeper understanding of the scope and depth of organizational and environmental relations. This development has heightened our awareness of the contextual aspects of organizations and accordingly, of their embeddedness. To say that an organization is embedded means that it is regarded as being constructed on multiple levels, ranging from the individual to society at large. That is to say, the organization exists within permeable webs of social, political, cultural and economic conditions. The purpose of this article is to explore and re#ect upon the implications of this organizational embeddedness for the strategic management of organizations. The main issue addressed is how contextual dependency and interrelatedness a!ects the strategic management process in the organization. The discussion is limited to what are known as intermediate...

References: Andrews, K. R. (1987). The concept of corporate strategy (3rd Ed..). Homewood, IL: Irwin. Anso!, I. H. (1965). Corporate strategy. New York: McGraw Hill.
R.S. Steinthorsson, A. Soderholm / Scand. J. Mgmt. 18 (2002) 233}248 (
247
Anso!, I. H. (1991). Strategic management in historical perspective, In D. E. Hussey (Ed.), International review of strategic management. New York:Wiley. Anso!, I. H., Declerck, R. P. & Hayes, R. L. (Eds.). (1976). From strategic planning to strategic management. New York:Wiley. Arnar, M. Th. (1995). Ayvaki h.f. Uppbygging og starfsemi. A Research Report, from the Strategic Management of Industrial Development Councils program, Institute for Business Research, University of Iceland. Ascher, K. & Nare, B. (1990). Strategic planning in the public sector, In D. E. Hussey (Ed.), International review of strategic management. New York: Wiley. Baum, J. A. C. & Dutton, J. E. (Eds.) (1997). The embeddedness of strategy. in Advances in strategic management, vol. 13. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Berg, P. O., & Jonsson, C. (1991). Strategisk ledning pa politiska marknader Opinionsbildning och intern
forankring forvaltningar och folkrorelseorganisationer. Lund: Studentlitteratur. ( ( ( Chandler Jr., A. D. (1962). Strategy and structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Czarniawska Joerges. (1993). The three-dimensional organization. A constructionist view. Lund:Studentlitteratur/Chartwell Bratt. Davidow, W. H. & Malone, M. S. (1993). The virtual corporation. New York: Harper Business. De Wit, B., & Meyer, R. (1998). Strategy: Process, content, context (2nd ed..). London: International Thompson Business Press. Dutton, J. E., & Jackson, S. E. (1987). Categorizing strategic issues: Links to organizational actions. Academy of Management Review, 12, 76}90. Grant, R. M. (1998). Contemporary Strategy Analysis (3rd ed. ). Malden: Blackwell Business. Gruber, R. E. & Mohr, M. (1982). Strategic management for multiprogram nonpro"t organizations. California Management Review, XXIV (3), 15. J+rgensen, K. A. (1977). Strategisk ledelse af mindre og mellemstore virksomheder. Handelsh+jskolen i K+benhavn, Institut for Erhvervs+konomi og Ledelse. Lundin, R., & Soderholm, A. (1995). A theory of the temporary organization. Scandinavian Journal of K Management, 11(4), 437}455. Lynch, R. (2000). Corporate strategy (2nd ed..). Essex: Pearson Education Limited. Mandell, M. P. (1989). Organizational networking: Collective organizational strategies, In J. Rabin, G. J. Miller & W. B. Hildreth (Eds.), Handbook of strategic management. New York: Marel Dekker Inc. Mintzberg, H. (1988). Opening up the de"nition of strategy. In J. B. Quinn, H. Mintzberg & R. M. James (Eds.), the strategy process: concepts, contexts, and cases. Englewood Cli!s NJ:Prentice-Hall. Mintzberg, H. (1994). The rise and fall of strategic planning. London: Prentice-Hall. Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B., & Lampel J, . (1998). Strategy safari. London: Prentice-Hall. Nutt, P. C., & Backo!, R. W. (1992). Strategic management of public and third sector organizations: A handbook for leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers Inc.. Pettigrew, A. M. (1985). Contextualist research: A natural way to link theory and practice. In E. Lawler et al. (eds.), Doing research that is useful in theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Pettigrew, A. M., Ferlie, E., & McKee, L. (1992). Shaping strategic change: making change in large organisations * the case of the national health service. London: Sage. Pfe!er, J., & Salancik, G. R. (1978). The external control of organizations. New York: Harper & Row. Porac, J. F., Thomas, H., Wilson, F., Paton, D., & Kanfer, A. (1995). Rivalry and the industry model of scottish knitwaer procedures. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 203}229. Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York: Free Press. Powell, W. W. & DiMaggio, P. J. (Eds.). (1991). The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Quinn, J. B., Mintzberg, H. & James, R. M. (Eds.). (1988). The strategy process: Concepts, contexts, and cases. Englewood Cli!s, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Schendel, D. E. & Cool, K. (1988). Research in strategic management: Accomplishments and Challenges. In J. H. Grant (Ed.), Strategic management frontiers. Greenwhich, CT: JAI Press. Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions and organizations, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
248
R.S. Steinthorsson, A. Soderholm / Scand. J. Mgmt. 18 (2002) 233}248 (
Snow, C. (1986). Re#ections on European strategic management research. In J. McGee & H. Thomas (Eds.), Strategic management research: A European perspective. Chichester: Wiley. Smircich, L. & Stubbart. (1985). Strategic management in an enacted world. Academy of Management Review, 10(4), 724}736. Spender, J. C. (1989). Industry recipes. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Steinthorsson, R. S. (1995). Strategisk ledelse af integrerede mellemsektororganisationer. En empirisk/teoretisk analyse af hvordan erhvervsrad ledes strategisk. Ph.D. afhandling (5.95). Handelsh+jskolen i K+benhavn.
Soderholm, A. (1991). Organiseringens logik: En studie av kommunal naringslivspolitik. Studier I foretagK ( K sekonomi, Umea Universitet.
Thompson, J. D. (1967). Organizations in action. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.. Thornton, P. (1995). Accounting for acquisition waves: Evidence from the U.S. college publishing industry. In W. R. Scott & S. Christensen (eds.), The institutional construction of organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Weick, K. E. (1979). The social pshycology of organizing (2nd ed..). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Whipp, R., Rosenfeld, R. & Pettigrew, A. M. (1988). Understanding strategic change processes: Some preliminary British "ndings. In A. M. Pettigrew (Ed.), The management of strategic change. Oxford: Blackwell.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Strategic Management
  • Strategic Management Essay
  • Strategic Management Essay
  • Strategic Management Essay
  • Strategic Management Essay
  • Strategic Management Essay
  • Strategic management Essay
  • Essay on Strategic management

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free