STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES
The strategy implementation stage is considered as one of the most complex stages in the strategic management process. The strategy implementation stage requires managers to convert strategies into action so as to achieve the organisational objectives. An average strategy superbly implemented is always better than a great strategy poorly implemented.
According to Jeffrey Harrison, “Strategy implementation represents a pattern of decisions and actions that are intended to carry out the formulated strategies”.
David Brodwin and L J Bourgeois have identified five distinct basic approaches to strategic implementation. They are:
- Commander Approach
- According to this approach, the manager will determine the best strategy either by himself or with the help of a group of experts.
- Once the desired strategy is formulated, the manager passes the strategy to the subordinates who are instructed to execute the strategy.
Three conditions must be fulfilled for the new strategy to be implemented under the commander approach. They are:
- The Manager must have enough power to command the implementation of strategy.
- Accurate and timely information regarding the strategy must be made available, and the environment in which the company operates should be reasonably stable.
- The manager who is in charge of formulating the strategy should be completely free from biases and political influences that may affect the outcome of the strategy.
The advantages of the commander approach include the division of strategic management tasks into two stages, thinking and doing. Thinking ie, strategy formulation is the duty of managers while doing ie, implementation is the responsibility of the subordinates.
This approach may lead to reduced morale of employees as people who are not involved in strategy formulation may not be committed to its implementation.
- Organisational Change Approach
- This approach focuses on how to equip the organisation to implement a strategy.
- Managers following this approach view that their task is preparing the company to move towards the new strategic goals.
- The tools used under this approach is changing organisational structure and staffing to suit the organisation’s new priorities, revised planning and control mechanisms etc.
- The role of the manager in this approach is that of an architect, designing the administrative systems in such a manner that leads to effective strategic implementation.
The advantage of this approach includes smoother implementation of complicated strategies as appropriate changes are made in the organisation prior to the strategy implementation.
- Collaborative Approach
- In this approach, the manager takes into consideration the knowledge and experience of his management team.
- Brainstorming techniques are employed to encourage the participation of his team in the strategy formulation as well as strategy implementation phase.
- The role of a manager in this approach is that of a coordinator. The members of the organisation are encouraged to give their inputs so that the strategy formulation and implementation are effective.
- This approach creates a team working environment.
Even though in theory, this approach follows a collective decision making, but in actual practice, this is not always true as the management retains centralised control of the strategy formulation and implementation.
- Cultural Approach
- This approach is an extension of the collaborative approach, which includes the lower levels of the organisation in the formulation and implementation of the strategy.
- This approach breaks down the barriers between the management and the employees.
- The cultural approach provides each member of the organisation an opportunity to participate in the formulation and implementation of the strategy.
- The duty of the manager is concentrated on establishing and communicating a clear mission of the organisation and allowing the employees to design their own work activities with this mission.
- The cultural approach creates an organisation-wide unity for the formulation and implementation of strategy. However, this approach can be successful only if the employees are skilled and capable of performing their task correctly.
- Crescive Approach
- Under this approach, the manager is not interested in developing strategies alone. He encourages subordinates to develop and implement strategies on their own.
- This is a bottom-up approach as it moves from the subordinates to the manager.
- Individual strategy proposals are evaluated by the manager and the strategy formulated in this approach is the sum of all the successful individual proposals.
- This approach addresses the limitations of all the previous models by addressing the question “How can I get my managers to develop, champion and implement sound strategies?”
- The management has to provide sufficient resources to all employees to develop and implement profitable strategies. Chances of failure are also high in this approach.
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