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Uditha Liyanage
Abstract
Strategy is often confused with planning. The many definitions and delineations of strategy, which highlight one or more aspects of strategy, while ignoring the others, have led to a state of confusion as to what strategy really is. This is evident in the content-analysis of the vision, mission and value statements of a number of companies. Not only were the analysedanalyzed company- - specific statements vague and general, they were also unrelated to one another. Specifically, the espoused values were generic and terminal in nature and unrelated to the tasks and goals at hand. To avoid the confusion in the minds of practitioners, and as reflected in the literature itself, a Strategy
Quadrant (content), consisting of Stand, Standing, Shared values and Steps is proposed.
The process of developing the 4Ss of strategy is delineated in terms of Mintzberg's "think/see/do first" processes (Strategy Triangle). The context ofcontext of strategy is defined in terms of stability and complexity (Strategy Duality).
It is argued that, in complex and unstable contexts, the traditional mode of "think-first" deliberate strategies which set "thinking" apart from "doing" is becoming increasingly ineffective. The unpredictability of complex contexts, in which we operate, leave us with no choice but to be markedly adaptive rather than attempt to be overly prepared. Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) are the order of the day, and the organization's Standing (desired future state) and Steps have to emerge in action, rather than be pre-determined, in the development of strategy. However, this emergence of strategy, ought to be predicated on a Stand (strategic perspective or position), and a set of Shared values, without which emergent strategies may well lead to chaos. The principal role of the leader in a CAS is not to increasingly exercise tighter controls and formalize action, but
Strategy and Complexity
Paper presented at the Chartered Institute of Marketing - Sri Lanka Region, Ninth Annual Conference on 22 June, 2009, Colombo.
Prof. Uditha Liyanage is Director, Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM). He is also a leading marketing consultant and developer of managers, and sits on the boards of a number of leading companies. He was the
Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Sri Lanka Region, and a member of the International board of CIM.
- 14 - conversely, to set in motion a complex responsive system, in which the agile organization can swiftly adapt to emerging, rather than pre-determined, situations and yet make the most of them.
Key Words : Strategy content, process and context, complexity, Complex Adaptive Systems and uncertainty. 1. Introduction
Strategy is variously defined. Each definition emphasizes a particular aspect of strategy at the expense of another, and as Mintzberg et al (1998) posit, the individual definitions fail to capture the "strategy beast" in its entirety. They add that, "we are the blind people and strategy formation is our elephant. Since no one has had the vision of the entire beast, everyone has grabbed hold of some part or other and is utterly ignorant of the rest". Importantly, the "strategy beast" is more than its parts. We do not get an elephant by adding up its parts.
Yet to comprehend the whole, we need to understand the parts, and go beyond the parts.
Strategy making is reckoned to be the high point of managerial activity. But the process of strategy making is often confused and obfuscated by fads and fixes. Consequently, many managers fail to grasp the quintessence of strategy, its essential content and vital processes.
Mintzberg et al (al (2007) refer to the 5 P's of Strategy or five distinct ways of thinking about the essential characteristics of strategic management. They are (i) Strategy as a Plan - a guide for a course of action, a path from a current state to a desired future and state. (ii) Strategy as a Pattern - a consistency of behavior, over time (iii) Strategy as Position - the location of particular products in particular markets with a particular proposition, (iv) Strategy as Perspective, the overarching business ideology which influences organizational actions, and (v) Strategy as Ploy -Ploy - specific maneuvers designed to outwit competitors.
The various approaches to strategy-making and their particular emphases have, in common, the setting of a direction, or an aid to managerial action, although ipso facto, it can impose upon the organization veritable "blinkers" that would obstruct the appreciation of new opportunities and possibilities, as they arise outside its frame of reference. Moreover, strategy does focus managerial effort, but the downside risk is that managers can get locked into a particular form of "group-think", and miss out on new opportunities. Importantly, strategy provides consistency, but consistency for its own sake, devoid of a clear market-centric reason is of little value. So direction, focus and consistency that strategy provides are clearly beneficial, but their potential downside should not be missed.
2. What is not Strategy?
The core elements of strategy must be clearly grasped by the manager. First, (s)he) he must dismiss that which is not strategy per se.
The intent of strategy is mistakenly reckoned to be an attempt to be the best in-class. This misconception, as Porter (2008) points out, makes actions predicated on it, fundamentally flawed. Sri Lankan Journal of Management
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Seeing strategy as action is also flawed. "Our strategy is to merge …", and "…. to double our research and development expenditure" are commonplace expressions which tend to passoff as strategy.
Seeing strategy as vision, as in the projection of a desired future state, is another misconception that dominates the thinking of many organizations and acts as a bar to deep-going strategic thinking. "Our strategy is to be number 1", and "… to provide superior returns to shareholders" are expressions that of equating strategy with vision.
Seeing strategy as mission or a way forward to attain a desired state is the fourth error of strategic thinking. "Our strategy is to provide superior products that will…,", and " …"… to advance technology for the larger benefit of mankind", are manifest expressions of treating strategy in terms of a mission.
Seeing strategy as operational efficiency is the fifth error. Doing the same things faster and cheaper may give you an edge over your competitor, for a while. But as Porter (1996) argues, this is not strategy.
Seeing strategy as operational effectiveness is the sixth error. Doing better (not different) things in relation to competitors is not strategy either.
Strategy is none of these. Treating strategy as vision, mission and operations makes the fundamental mistake of taking association for essence and substance. Surely, social responsibility is associated with social well-being, but social responsibility is not the same as social well-being!!
3. Strategy as Stand
In essence, strategy is not about setting aspirations of a desired standing. Strategy is neither about plans that delineate a series of sequential steps that need to be taken to reach the desired standing. Clearly, strategy is not about the two oft-cited questions, "Where do you want to be", and "How do you get there?" They are typically planning--questions which should not be confused with vital strategy--questions.
Strategy is not about the standing of an organization, nor is it about the steps it should take.
Clearly, strategy is about the stand, the position, the organization should take in moving forward. Taking a strategic position, a stand, will then help the organization to reach the desired standing by following a series of steps leading to it.
The stand that should be taken is about the position taken by an organization on and in an industry/market. That is to say, the selection of a market or a segment of it as the organization's operating space, indeed battlefield, as it were, is the first stand that must be taken. This should be followed by the stand that is taken by the organization in the selected market space. The key questions here with regard to taking a stand are; "Who/Where are you? "?" and "What do you stand for?" .".
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Figure 01: Twin Facets of the Stand
Importantly, these twin questions should be asked first and foremost, and then, only then, should one ask the oft-asked "Where do you want to go?," and "How do you get there?"" questions. Putting the planning cart before the strategy horse is a blunder that bedevils many an organization in its attempt to hone strategic action (Liyanage, 2008).
The search for a strategic position or stand for Sri Lanka Tourism illustrates the centrality of finding the stand, first and foremost.
SL Tourism:
As a case in point, Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) has, from time to time, articulated its desired standing of being a leading tourist destination in Asia, and attracting a million tourists per year.
In order to reach this desired standing, SLT has developed country-specific steps. For example,
"We will develop program X for the U.K. market, program Y for the Indian market and program
Z for -------for ,-------," and" and so on. These programmes of action, indeed steps, it is expected, will lead to achieving the desired standing.
Now, the pivotal strategy-question has yet to be asked. Standing and steps are in place.
Indeed, what about the stand SLT ought to take. In an attempt to develop a stand that should by definition be unique, SLT articulated its position as, "Land like no other". As was said, the strategic position or stand that an organization should first take is about the operating space or battlefield. "Land like no other" does not entail a position taken on the market, to begin with.
What is the particular context in which the stand is taken? Consequently, the declared stand does not spell the position SLT has taken in the selected operating space either.
The question that needs to be asked first about "Land like no other" is "where is this land, and then what makes it unique? Perhaps, Asia or Island provide the requisite contexts. Then, what does this "Land like no other" provide? What does it stand for? Is it to have (e.g. shopping), to do (e.g. activity) to relate (e.g.: MICE offerings); to see (e.g.,: nature and artifacts) or to be (e.g.: sun and sand, and wellness)?
Stand on Market Stand in Market
Stand
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Taking a stand requires the examination of the opportunities that exist in each of the above domains, and the natural comparative advantage and the designed competitive advantage Sri
Lanka can and could enjoy in relation to its direct competitors. A close examination of the possible value propositions for SLT suggests that a unique combination of being and seeing that is located in a narrow geographical space may well provide a robust stand for SLT. An additional attribute of authenticity that is increasingly valued by target markets may well enrich the proposition. The six key words of "Asia's authentic being-seeing compact island" clearly posit the strategic position, the stand, of SLT. "Asia and compact island" relates to the stand on the market. And "authentic being- - seeing" relates to stand in the market. It can now, indeed only now, look at the desired standing, and of course the steps that ought to be taken to attain the standing of its choice.
The standing and the steps of an organization are not strategy per se. They are about strategy.
Indeed, strategy-making is inextricably associated with a standing and a series of steps, and also importantly, with a set of Shared Values (i.e., core assumption, beliefs and normative behaviours). The shared values of the organization must be instrumental in nature. They must aid the organization to take the requisite steps in order to reach the desired standing. Indeed, the shared values must reflect the unique stand of the organization. For example, the 3M company stands for innovative, breakthrough products in given markets. It has set itself an ambitiouns standing to achieve a high, pre-determined level of profitability from its new products. It delineates the innovative steps that need to be taken. And 3M champions
"bootlegging" as a shared value to encourage employees to experiment with new product formats. We can now illustrate the Strategy Quadrant, while being cognizant of the stand as the centerepiece of strategy.
Figure 02: Liyanage Strategy Quadrant
Stand
Standing
Shared Values
Step
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Interestingly, the four dimensions of strategy can be classified in terms of:
• Stand Spiritual (soul)
• Standing Mental (mind)
• Shared Values Social (heart)
• Steps Physical (body)
4. Way out of the Strategy Jungle
It is argued that the Strategy Quadrant or the 4Ss of strategy making, which begins with the question: "Who are we ?" (Stand) and "What is important to us?" (Shared values) and then proceed to ask "Where do you want to be?" (Standing), followed by "How do you get there?"
(Steps), help avoid the confusion that abounds in the literature, and in practice about the specific meanings and contents of Vision, Mission and Values Statements.
The perusal of conveniently selected 32 Annual Reports for 2008 from the LMD listing of the top fifty companies in Sri Lanka pointed to the variously expressed Vision and Mission
Statements that were generic and indeterminate in content. Many companies had only
Vision Sstatements (20), while others had only Mission Sstatements. Most Vision Statements included a desired future state (30), while some also included the "things to be done" to get there (08). A few Mission Statements expressed "who we are" or the organization's role and identity, in addition to stating the requisite course of action (07).
The literature on the subject of developing Vision and Mission statements are equally variable and confusing. Thompson Arthur et al (2006) state, as many others have, that "A strategic vision portrays a company's future destination ("where we are going"), whereas a company's mission typically describes its business scope and purpose ("who we are, what we do, and why we are here"). The critique of this commonplace delineation is that "who we are/want to be" (Stand) should necessarily precede "what we want to be" (Standing), because the former will determine the latter and not vice versa. My wanting to be or not to be a marketer will predicate the desired destination of my work life. Failure to treat the identity question ("who we want to be") first, thoughtfully and strategically, will thwart the whole strategy-making process of the organization.
Importantly, of the 32 companies, only three had a set of Shared Values that were specific to the Stand of the organization, and those that would possibly aid the Steps that ought to be taken by the organization. Clearly, the other organizations' values were not instrumental in nature; they were by and large terminal, "motherhood statements".
Values that commonly appeared in the Value Statements of the selected companies were as follows. Coincidentally, they are the self-same values that Thompson Arthur et al (2006) list as being "themes commonly appearing in value statements". Indeed, stating generic and "feel
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Source: Thompson Arthur et al, 2006
Two levels of analysis:
The four factors of the Strategy Quadrant can be viewed at two levels: first, at a broad-ranging, abstract level, and second, at a more concrete and specific level. For instance, the Stand can be treated by one organization as an overarching Perspective that guides an organization's behavior and actions. At a more concrete level, the stand of the organization can be treated as a specific Position that one takes, as delineated by Porter (2008). Interestingly, Mintzberg et al (2007) are critical of Porter's denigration of many Japanese companies that do not typically take a clear-cut position vis a vis customers and competitors in a given industry or market. Mintzberg states, "Porter's narrow view of the strategy process leads him to an astonishing conclusion, namely, that Japanese companies "rarely have strategies, and that they will have to learn strategy". Mintzberg argues that Japanese companies typically may not take a particular, well-defined strategic Position but it has a clear Perspective. He responds to
Porter's critique: "What is wrong with seeing strategy as everything a company does or consist of? That is simply strategy as perspective." (rather than position). In developing a Perspective, the organization attempts to answer the question "Who are we?" from a pan-organizational
• Commitment to such outcomes as customer satisfaction and customer service, quality, product innovation, and/or technological leadership.
• Commitment to achievement, excellence, and results.
• Importance of demonstrating such qualities as honesty, integrity, trust, fairness, quality of life, pride of workmanship, and ethics.
• Importance of creativity, taking the initiative, and accepting responsibility.
• Importance of teamwork and a cooperative attitude.
• Importance of Golden Rule behavior and respect for coworkers.
• Making the company a great place to work.
• Importance of having fun and creating a fun work environment.
• Duty to stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, communities where the company operates, and society at large.
• Commitment to exercising social responsibility and being a good community citizen.
• Commitment to protecting the environment.
• Commitment to workforce diversity.
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John Kay (1998) called this the "oblique principle" . He argued that most profitable companies, focus on higher-order or super-ordinate goals and business definitions.
Similarly, the other three factors of the strategy making process, the standing, shared values and steps can be seen from high and low levels of analysis. Big hairy audacious goals (BHAG) of Tom Peters (1990) or super-ordinate goals at a high level can be contrasted with the more specific and measurable SMART objectives.
Shared values too can be seen as fundamental Core Assumptions of an organization which shape the behaviour of its members; but they are at a covert and tacit level. The more overt and manifest expressions of Behavioural Norms are evident at another level of analysis. A
Business Model goes beyond the sequential and specific Steps that the organization intends to take (i.e., Action Programme). It includes the inter-relationships among the various steps that are to be taken, making sense of them, not from the perspective of individual steps, but rather, from a holistic perspective, a "system of steps" and its underpinning rationale.
Table 02: Strategy Quadrant at two levels
A Music Company, say, an orchestra, could define its stand merely in terms of the genre of music it will play (perspective) or it could be more specific and define the type of music and the particular markets it would attract (position). It could have a broad goal of being best-inclass, and/or set specific and measureable objectives in terms of popularity ratings and revenue.
The members of the orchestra could have simple unspoken "rules" of conduct or specified norms of behaviour. Indeed, it could have a guiding system of co-ordination and integration
(business model), and at the same time, have detailed scripts (action program) to be faithfully followed by all.
5. Content and Process Dimensions of Strategy
The constituents of strategy (what) relates to the content of strategy, while the ways (how) in which strategy is formulated or formed is about the process of Strategy. These twin
Strategy
Factor
Stand
Standing
Shared
Values
Steps
Broad Scope
Descriptor
Perspective
Goals
Core
Assumptions
Business Model
Narrow Scope
Descriptor
Position
Objectives
Behavioural
Norms
Action Programs
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- 21 - dimensions of strategy making and their interaction should be recognized by the strategy maker. Chandler (1962) and Ansoff (1965) established strategy as a key influence on business success and performance. These authors also proposed that a distinction be made between the
“process” of strategic management, and the “content” of strategy. Content is concerned with the type of strategic decision, while the process focuses on its formulation and implementation.
Schendel and Hofer (1979) further solidified this distinction by maintaining that these subdivisions facilitated research progress. Researchers have argued that strategy process and content are inter-related concepts when linked to performance; that is, the contentperformance relationship is influenced by process, while the process-performance relationship is sensitive to content. Miller and Cardinal (1994) discuss the relationship between business strategies and the process of strategy making. They show that the complexity of a strategy is associated with the intensity of information processing and managerial interaction.
The strategy content, it is argued, is essentially about the 4Ss delineated earlier: the stand, standing, shared values and steps, the “stand” being the quintessence of strategy, and the other three factors being inextricably associated with strategy.
The strategy process, it is argued, is essentially about how strategy making, in fact, takes place. The particular approaches adopted by the strategy maker in the development and execution of strategy relate to the process dimension.
Mintzberg and Westley (2001) refer to three types of strategy making processes. They are (i)
Thinking First (ii) Seeing First (iii) Doing First.
Table 3: Three Processes of Strategy Making
Source: Mintzbert and Westley (2001)
The two authors delineate the application of each approach to particular situations.
"Thinking first"
Science
Planning, programming Verbal
Facts
"Seeing first"
Art
Visioning, imaging
Visual
Ideas
"Doing first"
Craft
Venturing, learning
Visceral
Experience
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Table 4: When each approach works best
Source: Mintzberg and Westley (2001)
“Thinking first”, for instance, entails a dominant approach to strategy making while the seeing and doing approaches are present but dormant. Here, the approach is “thinking before doing”.
In “seeing first”, the approach is “seeing before doing”, and in “doing first”, “doing while/before thinking”. The following Strategy Process Triangle illustrates the strategy processes at work.
Figure 3: Triple Strategy Processes
Approach Works best when Example
"Thinking first"
"Seeing first"
"Doing first"
• Issue is clear
• Data is reliable
• Content is structured
• Thoughts can be pinned down
• Discipline can be applied
• Many elements to be combined into creative solutions
• Commitment to those solutions is key
• Communication across boundaries is key
• Situation is novel and confusing
• Complicated specifications would get in the way • A few simple relationships and rules help people move forward
As in an established production process
As in new product development As when companies face a disruptive technology Process 01: Process 02: Process 03
See Do Think Do Think See
Think See Do
“Think first” “See first” “Do first”
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Now, how does one combine the strategy content (Strategy Quadrant) and the strategy process (Strategy Triangle), in order that one is able to capture the act of strategy making in its fullness. A particular focal process will lead to the development of a particular mix of Strategy content.
It should be noted here that all four content factors may not be developed with equal clarity and intensity. However, it is argued that the Stand (“who we are/want to be”) – the key strategy predicate, must be distinct and clear enough to the organization, at all times. The
Figure also brings out the distinction between strategy formulation and strategy implementation. However, the necessary interaction and, on occasion, their inevitable conjunction will be laid bare later in the paper.
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Strategy School
Design
Planning
Positioning
Entrepreneurial
Cognitive
Learning
Power
Culture
Environmental
Configuration
Central Approach
Fit between organization and environment Formalize goals-actions nexus
Isolate product/market contexts
Envision desired future state
Frame reality via mental processing Adapt via trial
Negotiate for key positions
Collaborate for joint action
Respond to external factors
Transform operating structure and context
Process/Content Fit
Think / Steps
Think / Steps
Think / Stand
See / Standing
See/Stand
Do/ Steps
Do / Standing
See / Shared Values
Do / Steps
See / Shared Values
6. Ten Strategy Schools
Henry Mintzberg et al (2007), in their Strategy Safari, argue that the “strategy beast” that was referred to earlier can only be grasped if the ten key parts of the “beast” are readily recognized.
The accent and emphasis on one school at the expense of another is to miss the vision of the entire “strategy beast”. It is argued that the main thrusts and themes of the ten schools of strategy making are meaningfully encapsulated in the twin dimensions of the content and process of strategy making, categorized below.
Table 5: Strategy Schools and Strategy Content/Process
The above analysis is indeed a simplification of the key aspects of the schools of strategic management. The focal process and possible focal content dimensions are listed. In fact, all three processes (strategy triangle) and the four elements of content (strategy quadrant) come into play in each school. The possible accent on one over the other, however, is illustrated in the Figure.
The central argument is that the 4S Strategy Quadrant (content) and the think/see/do Strategy
Triangle (process), in relationship with each other, capture the themes and foci of the ten schools of Strategic Management of Mintzberg et al.
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7. Strategy in Context
The accent on a particular strategy making process (Strategy Triangle) and the relative emphasis on individual elements of the strategy content (Strategy Quadrant) will, in large measure, depend on the strategy context. Studies have explored executive decision-making processes in contexts of rapid and discontinuous change - so called “high-velocity” environments
(Bourgeosis and Eisenhardt, 1988). The executives operating in such environments follow a different logic than is described in traditional decision-making research. (Miller and Cardinal,
1994). In stable and predictable environments, the Design and Planning Schools of strategy development tend to hold sway. The setting of a distinct vision and objectives at the outset, followed by internal/external analysis (SWOT), leading to listing and selecting strategic options, and their sequential implementation are characteristic of the traditional strategy making and implementation process. The self-same process is not tenable in environments that are less stable and more unpredictable. Envisioning desired future states with clarity and exactitude and the clear-cut separation of planning and implementation, one following the other, are not possible in environments that are discontinuous and unstable.
The stability of an environment, the operating context, is one variable. It relates to the direction, degree and speed of changeability of the environment. The other variable is complexity. The number of elements or agents in a given context and the number, speed and linearity of their interactions within the context and between the focal context (sub-system) and its larger context (super-system) will determine the measure of complexity. The greater the number, speed and non-linearity of the interactions, the greater the complexity. For example, the complexity of the industry in which a firm is located and the larger macro environmentin which the industry is located would typify the smaller, immediate context and the larger, distant context respectively. It should be noted that the greater the instability and complexity of the environment, the greater would be the uncertainty and unpredictability of that environment.
We can now map the Strategy (context) Duality.
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So, we have the Strategy (process) Triangle leading to the Strategy (content) Quadrant, which are both placed within a Strategy (context) Duality.
How can an organization formulate strategy in a world that is fast-changing (unstable) and complex, and therefore, uncertain and largely unpredictable? Indeed, how can managers implement strategies required for organizational success? In essence, how and where should the “traditional approach” to strategy making, grounded largely in stable and simple environments, change?
Clearly, the dichotomy of “thinking” and “doing”, both in time and through sequencing of activities in space, and the functional/structural separation of planning and operations are at the heart of the “traditional approach”. In times of instability and complexity, as those that are increasingly encountered by organizations today, such a “think-act” duality may not be feasible, or possible.
Henry Mintzberg (1987) made the vital distinction between Deliberate and Emergent strategies.
The former is linear, sequential, and moves from thought out, “envisaged” steps” to clearly executed “enacted steps”. The ability to predict the future and, therefore, control one’s movement towards it underpins the deliberate strategy making process. The emergent process, on the other hand, enjoys the freedom, though not the control, to evolve strategy, as it unfolds, over time.
The metaphor of the potter who has a mental picture of the shape and form of the object he intends to fashion is apt in this regard. In reality, the potter makes a number of moves and strokes, which eventually shapes the object. The possible disparity between the “envisaged” and the “enacted” end states may well be distinct and significant. Indeed, the interaction of the mind and hands in the potter’s attempt to carve out an object of clay typifies the inter-play between planning and implementing, between thinking and doing. This “emergent” process was referred to in Figure 3 (“do” first”) in contrast with the “think first” and “see first” strategy making processes.
It is not difficult to discern that deliberate strategies may work better in stable/simple environments that are relatively more certain and predictable. Emergent strategies, conversely, will be more appropriate in unstable/complex settings.
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Now, how precisely would the Strategy (process) Triangle operate, and what particular elements of the Strategy (content) Quadrant would change, depending on the nature of the Strategy
(context) Duality?
As described previously, in highly unstable/complex contexts, which are uncertain and unpredictable, the “think first” strategy process is unlikely to pay off. Instead, a “do first” process, which of course entails both the “see” and “think” elements, may be apt. Here, the
“established” stand and shared values will create a “top-down push,” while the “enacted” steps will create a “bottom-up pull”, both of which will shape the “envisaged” standing and steps.
This is illustrated below.
It is argued that without the “top-down push” or a “directional perspective”, the organization in unstable/complex contexts will meander; be pushed and pulled by circumstances, making
“seat-of-the-pants,” ad hoc choices, all the time. The “bottom-up pull”, on the other hand, gives the organization the requisite freedom to shape its standing and steps, on the move, thus resolving problems and exploiting opportunities that are difficult, if not impossible, to predict, in advance.
It is clear that the emergent strategies avoid the extremes of control and freedom, and strike a delicate balance between them.
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In more stable/simple contexts, the Standing, dictated by the Stand and Shared Values, will be, by and large, fixed, and the central task of the organization, therefore, will be to translate the steps envisaged in time and space, into concrete “enacted steps”. This strategy-content emphasis will be reached through a predominantly “think focus” strategy process. Thus, the marked contrast between the strategy content and process in stable/simple versus unstable/ complex contexts is evident.
The development of emergent strategies can be classified in terms of the content and process dimensions of strategy delineated previously. The distinction between that which is “taking shape” (emergent) and has “taken shape” (emerged) is made in the following illustration. The inter-play between the stand and shared values, on the one hand, and the steps (leading to a standing) on the other, are also conceptualized below.
Figure 9: Emerged vs Emergent Strategies
Stand and Shared Values
Standing and Steps
Taken
shape
1
Totally Emerged
Strategy
Taking shape 2
Emergent Content
Strategy
3.
Emergent Process
Strategy
4.
Totally Emergent
Strategy
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Quadrant 1 and 4 are bi-polar contrasts. The latter is a totally emergent strategy. Quadrants 2 and 3 refer to the emergence of “why/what is to be done” and “how it should be done” respectively. It is argued that actions (Steps) that are taken without the underpinnings of a Stand and Shared
Values are likely to be taken in chaos – a heightened state of disorder. This vital matter will be addressed later in the paper.
8. Strategy in the Current Context
What strategy is and how strategies are developed in disparate ways and the manner in which particular contexts affect the strategy-making process have been examined so far in this paper. Now, the current global and local contexts which are characterized, like never before, by financial and economic crises, should be brought into focus in our discussion on strategymaking.
Why is it that the recent unprecedented rise and fall of crude oil prices in the world come as a total surprise, not just to the “man in the street,” as it were, but to economists and market actors who, one could argue, ought to have known better? Indeed, why is it that the financial crisis, followed by the broad-ranging economic crisis was not predicted early enough by those whose job it is to track and forecast trends, both financial and economic?
Is there a deep-going flaw in our thinking and analysis of situations, like the ones referred to above, which make us “wonder what happened”, after the event, whereas traditional strategic planning models are all about “making it happen”, and the traditional forecasting models are supposed to tell us, “what’s likely to happen with a probability of X”?
In our attempt to comprehend the complexity of the multiple crises we encounter, our traditional mental models of “seeing and thinking about the world” must be examined first, so that strategy making may become a meaningful exercise in the current context.
Influenced by Newtonian physics and Cartesian philosophy, the predominant metaphors in use in organizations over the years, and even today, are those of a machine and a military operation. If an organization is a machine, then we just need to specify the parts well, and make sure that each part plays its role. Understanding the machine is about knowing the parts and how they work separately and together. If the machine becomes dysfunctional, then the challenge is to isolate part(s) which is dysfunctional and correct it, so that the whole machine, once again, begins to tick normally. The machine metaphor has dominated managerial thinking for too long (Capra, 1993). It has made us believe that the machine’s behaviour is, by and large, predictable, and the accuracy with which one is able to predict its future behaviour is largely dependent on the amount of accurate information at hand. The bemoaning of the failure to predict the dramatic rise and fall of oil prices and the unprecedented financial cum economic crises, referred to earlier, are perhaps due to the dominance of the machine metaphor that has shaped our world view and dictated our thinking processes.
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The second metaphor which has influenced managerial thought is the military operation. If an organization is a kind of military operation, then command, control and communication need to be hierarchical; survival is key; and sacrificial heroes are desired. Centralized decision making and the separation between strategic thinking and operations is distinct. Power distance between the strategists and the operatives is significant. Authority, reward and punishment are the central mechanisms of motivation and control of performance.
The machine and military metaphors, as they characterize our world views and mental models, have failed to help us to comprehend the turbulence and complexity that increasingly define our operating context.
Complex Adaptive Systems:
The machine metaphor of the traditional approach entails three basic assumptions:
• Every observed effect has an observable cause.
• Every complicated phenomenon can be understood through analysis, that is, the whole can be understood by taking it apart and studying the pieces.
• Sufficient analysis of the past events can create the capacity to predict future events. These assumptions have often proven to be potent in developing our understanding of the physical world, by and large. They have served us less well, however, in explaining how communities of humans interact and behave. The limitations of this post-enlightenment or modern analytics have now become clear. The complexity principle dominates post-modern thought, and the centrality of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) in understanding phenomena, is an important development of human thought and action.
CAS are special cases of complex systems. They are complex in that they are diverse and made up of multiple interconnected elements, and adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience. The term CAS was coined at the interdisciplinary Santa Fe
Institute. A CAS is different to a Multi-Agent System (MAS), which is merely composed of multiple, interacting agents. In a CAS, the agents as well as the system are self-similar/ organized and adaptive. Such systems are characterized by a high degree of adaptive capacity, giving them resilience in the face of perturbation (Wikipedia, 2009).
There are determined and adaptive systems. If the inputs and outputs of a system are exactly and reproducibly connected, then such a system is determined. The aircraft is a determined system. Every time the pilot pushes the yoke forward, the airplane should descend. The pilot assumes this will be true; the passengers assume it will be true as well. To produce this collective system response, numerous components and elements of the airplane must work in fully determined ways. The other vital feature of determined systems is that the relationship between inputs and outputs is linear, that is to say, small inputs create small outputs, and large inputs create large outputs. When the pilot pushes on the yoke a little bit, the plane descends slowly. It would be very disconcerting if this linear input-output relationship is not predictable
(Jones W, 2007).
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Adaptive systems behave very differently. Systems such as ant colonies, beehives and the human immune system, on the one hand, and the global economic system and stock markets, on the other, are not only adaptive systems, but are also complex, because of the number of actors or agents in the system and their multiple interactive behaviours. In complex systems, the connections among the agents are critical, but not so much the individual agents themselves. Simple rules result in complex responses – they are not predictable. Each of the agents has a choice of responses within the confines of the rules. Thus, their individual behavior is not determined exactly, as in determined systems.
Plsek (1997) defines a CAS as “a system of individual agents which has the freedom to act in ways that are not totally predictable, and whose actions are interconnected, such that one agent’s action changes the context of other agents”.
The contrasting collective actions of a marching band and a jazz ensemble will illustrate the nature of a CAS vis a vis a determined system. The marching band -a human system- behaves very much like a linear, determined system. In joining this system, individual players voluntarily surrender their right to the local freedom of action. The band has a single leader who dictates all activity. The range of allowable local improvisation is extremely limited. Viewers may well marvel at the machine-like precision of these bands. In fact, a part of our fascination comes from the almost unnatural look and feel of such groups.
A very different musical group is the jazz ensemble. There is no hierarchical, linear direction and no mechanical loyalty to a set of prescribed actions. Instead, members agree to subscribe only to a few general rules and are free to improvise widely. Similar to a flock of birds, the general characteristics of the music can be anticipated but each rendering will be different and often surprising. Such results are not created or directed by individual players, but are emergent responses of the whole system (Jones W. 2007).
The Stock Market is a good illustration of a CAS. Buyers, sellers, companies and regulators have their own mental models or schemata, and are free to take many different actions. The specific actions of each agent are somewhat unpredictable, and can often be construed as illogical by other agents observing the action. Each action changes the environment that others within the system face. Others take their own actions, which in turn further changes the environment. The detailed movement of the system (whether the market is going to be up or down next Monday and by how much) is fundamentally unpredictable. Furthermore, relatively small events like the off-hand remarks of the head of the Stock Exchange can have a large impact on the market (i.e., the “butterfly effect” and the non-linearity in the system).
However, despite what seems to be total chaos, there is an underlying order that allows us to make generally valid statements about the system. Finally, no one “controls” the stock market.
It “happens” – the principle of emergence (Plsek, 1997). Indeed, if one were to take any large town and add up all the food in the shops and divide by the number of people in the town, there could be nearly two to three weeks supply of food, but there are no planners at work.
The system is continuously self-organizing, through a process of emergence and feedback.
Hence, the key principles of CAS - unpredictability, non-linearity, emergence (no particular points of control), and self-organization - are to be noted.
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Complexity and CAS effects are comprehensively summarized by Stacey (1996).
• Analysis loses its primacy.
• Linearity (cause and effect) loses its meaning.
• Long-term planning becomes impossible.
• Concrete visions become illusions.
• Statistical relationships become dubious.
• Consensus and strong cultures become dangerous.
The critical point is that an organization, rather than trying to consolidate, stabilize and reach states of equilibrium, should aim to position itself in a region of “bounded instability” at the
“edge of chaos”. In CAS, total equilibrium engenders dysfunctional behaviour; creative energies are released when it operates at the edge of chaos, between order and chaos.
Plsek (1997) states that studies on CAS suggest that creative self-organization occurs when there is just enough information flow, diversity, connectivity, power differential, and anxiety among the agents of CAS. Too much of any of these can lead to chaotic system behaviour. Too little, and the system remains stuck in a particular pattern of behaviour (i.e., strong organization culture). Figure 10: A Typology of Systems
In sum, there are three types of systems. The typical functioning of an airplane or an airport signifies determined stability and order. The stock market is an adaptive system. The unfolding free-for-all violent behaviour of an unknown and unruly mob denotes chaos and randomness.
Olson and Eoyang (2001) neatly summarize the key differences between the Traditional
Organization Model and the CAS Organization Model.
Random/Chaos
Complex/Adaptive
Determined/
Stable
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Table 6: Traditional vs CAS Organization Models
Source: Olson and Eyoyang (2001)
Plsek (1997) lists eleven key principles of complexity and CAS, as they apply to organizations.
1. View your system through the lens of complexity (rather than the metaphor of a machine or military organization).
2. Build a good enough perspective (rather than trying to plan out every little detail.) 3. Lead from the edge, with “clock ware” and “swarm ware” in tandem (balance data and intuition).
4. Tune your place to the “edge of chaos” (move away from states of seeming equilibrium and resultant complacency).
5. Welcome paradoxes (rather than seek certitude).
6. Go for multiple actions at the fringes, let directions arise (rather than believing that you must be “sure” before you proceed).
7. Create value through generative relations (you can never tell what will happen when agents come together).
8. Listen to the “Shadow System” (realize value of informal systems, the grapevine which shape agents’ mental models).
9. Grow complex systems of “chunking” (Allow complete systems to emerge out of the links among simple systems that work well and are capable of operating independently). Traditional Organizational Model
The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
Direction is determined by design and the formal authority structure.
Individual or system behavior is knowable, predictable and controllable.
Causality is linear: effects can be traced to specific causes.
Efficiency and reliability are measures of value.
Decisions are based on facts and data.
Complex Adaptive System Organizational
Model
The whole is different than the sum of its parts.
Direction is determined by emergence and the participation of many.
System behavior is unknowable, unpredictable and uncontrollable.
Causality is mutual; every cause is also an effect, and effects are also causes.
Responsiveness to the environment is the measure of value.
Decisions are based on tensions and patterns.
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10. Nice, forgiving, tough and clear guys finish first (balance co-operation and competition). 11. Build a space for the community to create and learn together (rather than being a lone ranger).
9. CAS and Strategy Making
It is not difficult to discern that ordered, deliberate strategies, as described earlier, are not tenable in a CAS. Emergent strategies are more consonant with CAS. Hence, we reach the important conclusion that, in today’s complex and turbulent environments, the traditional models and approaches to strategy development may well be ineffective.
The development of Adaptive Complex Enterprises (ACE) is the challenge for organizational leaders who have to shed old ways of thinking and doing, and adopt complex responsive processes (CRP). Desai (2005) reiterates that operating in a CAS, it is clear that an organization has to be pliable, flexible, indeed, adaptable in responding to the environment, and shape emergent behaviours and results, as they unfold. However, if the organization is to do everything “on the run, and as it appears”, without a clear perspective (or position) to shape and inform its emergent actions, then the proverbial “ship without a rudder” will be the inevitable outcome. Again, an organization devoid of a system of shared values; a few simple rules (not a strong culture) of “this is how it works here” is likely to meander, operating in total disorder, indeed chaos. The standing and its associated steps, however, have to emerge in a
CAS. This is the fundamental difference between a determined system and a CAS. Deliberate strategies which entail a clear standing and sequentially pre-determined steps will not happen nor work in complexity.
Figure 11: Strategy Constants and Variables
No change of the Stand and Shared Values (during a period of time) and changes of Standing and Steps based on feedback and emergence, point to an adaptive strategy-making process.
Sticking to a particular plan when the strategic position (Stand/Shared Values) is no longer relevant and valid is a baseless plan, stuck in rigidity. A change of Standing may entail the (i) alteration of goals/objectives (ii) reordering and reprioritizing them within or across business units and/or (iii) rebalancing them, between long and short-term time horizons. A change of the Standing will be naturally followed by a change of the Steps taken.
Stand & Shared Values
Change No Change
Chaos Adapt
Rigid Order
Change
No Change
Standing&Steps
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Putting it together:
Having explored the Strategy Process (Triangle) of the three basic styles of strategy-making
(Think/See/Do Focus) and identified the Strategy Content (Quadrant) of the 4Ss, we could now conclude that the given Strategy Context (Duality) will help determine the appropriate strategy. Figure 12: Loose-Tight Combinations of Standing and Steps
Source: Adapted from Birkinshaw and Goddard (2009)
Birkinshaw and Goddard (2009) make a vital distiction between ends (e.g., managing objectives) and ends (e.g., coordinating activities), and for each, they make a distinction between tight and loose principles. Thus, they develop a “framework for dimensionalizing management”, which identifies four generic management models. This framework is adapted in terms of the components of the Strategy Quadrant delineated in this paper. Here, importantly, the Stand and Shared Valued are relatively fixed. The Standing and Steps, however, are subject to variability.
• Planning Model:
Here, an organization operates with narrow, short-term objectives clearly defined management processes and strict hierarchical decision-making. Exxon Mobil and Wal-Mart are cited as examples. This is the “traditional model” of deliberate strategy making in a determined system, whose validity and currency are increasingly diminishing, as we noted previously.
Planning
Model
Scientific
Model
Quest
Model
Discovery
Model
Tight
Loose
Tight Loose
Standing
Steps
STAND
SHARED VALUES
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• Quest Model:
Here, the means of management (steps) are let loose and allowed to emerge, while tightening the controls over the ends (i.e., standing). In this model, organizations tell their employees what to do but not how to do it. This is one of the hallmarks of high-growth companies in which the founder has a clear view of what he is trying to achieve and encourages his employees to pursue those objectives with a variety of means.
• Scientific Model:
The other alternative path, away from the traditional planning model, is to free up the ends
(standing), letting them emerge, and tighten the means (steps). This is how science makes progress. There is a canon of knowledge, taught through texts and university lectures, and there are clear rules of engagement, in the form of peer reviews, citations of others, open disclosures of results, and so on. But the objectives of science are deliberately framed in the broadest possible sense - the pursuit of knowledge.
Having a clear Perspective (stand) and simple rules of conduct (shared values), and keeping the Standing loose, but the Steps tight, is the particular approach here. Birkinshaw and
Goddard (2009) cite the case of Arup Group Ltd, a leading consulting engineering company based in London, which provides enormous scope to its employees to bid for projects that they believe are interesting and consistent with the values of the company – one of which is,
“to make work rewarding and interesting”.
• Discovery Model
The fourth model is one in which both the Standing and Steps are deliberately kept loose. This model is suitable for many start-up ventures operating in highly ambiguous environments, where there are multiple potential ways forward, where success is achieved through trial and error. Even here, it is argued that, though the organization may not have a specific strategic
Position, in Porter’s terms, it needs to have a Perspective, without which, the organization will lose its way, in the process of loosening-up on all fronts!
Table 7: The Right Model for the Situation
MODEL
PlanningModel
QuestModel
MOST SUITABLE UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS
• Mature business, operating in a stable, predictable industry.
• Turnaround or crisis situation, where clear rules are needed.
• Leaders most comfortable acting as master architects or controllers.
• Established and growing business, with a defined competitive arena. Sri Lankan Journal of Management
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Source: Birkinshaw J and Goddard J., (2009)
10. Leadership in Complexity
The leader’s role of strategy-making in a CAS is one that needs to be closely examined. In the traditional mode, the leader will “tell” what the strategy is, for others to “do” it - the leader as
“thinker” and others as “doers” or strategy implementers. This mode and style are not going to pay off in complexity; in situations that are unpredictable, by definition.
Control Mechanisms
Meg Salter (2004) makes a distinction between the control mechanisms in stable versus adaptive zones. In stable zones, the basic control mechanism is the “negative feedback loop”.
Like a thermostat set for a constant temperature, we seek stability and achievement of our pre-determined goals by constant adjustment between where we are, and where we want to be. Deviations are noted and corrected. The goal is: “No surprises”.
Conversely, in adaptive zones, the basic control mechanism, Salter says, is the “positive feedback loop”, where small, positive events are blown up into large effects. The purpose of positive feedback is to generate novelty and diversity - with an amplification of what is working. The goal is: “Surprise me as much and as early as possible”.
Guidance Modes:
In the stable zones, Salter (2004) states that the basic leadership role is to set the context and provide guidance towards the pre-set objectives. The leader has to identify obstacles that stand in the way of objective-achievement, and help others to remove them. Teams are guided to synchronize their actions in meeting the objectives.
ScientificModel
DiscoveryModel
• Market conditions are dynamic and competitive.
• Leaders emphasize strategy and tactics, often using sports or military metaphors; winning is everything.
• Human-capital-intensive business, such as professional services or research and development organizations.
• Benign market conditions with plenty of opportunities, often in multiple domains.
• Leaders are typically first among equals, looking to enable others.
• Early-stage business operating in highly uncertain, fast-changing environment; or established business seeking to rejuvenate itself.
• Competitive arena is ambiguous.
• Leaders are experimenters, open to improvisation, conversation and mutual engagement.
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In the adaptive zone, the basic role of the leader is not to guide others towards the attainment of objectives, but to set the right context for action, posing critical questions and creating and sustaining an environment conducive to generating adaptive responses and fostering and maintaining an organizational climate of “openness” and high tolerance for ambiguity and paradoxes. Specific goal setting is supplanted with providing the vital stimuli for creative thought and adaptive responses. The overarching Stand and Shared Values are the inherent basis for action, not SMART objectives.
The leader along with others, acquire knowledge through experimentation, trial and error, and a blend of competition and collaboration. The leader in CAS facilitates the co-creation of the organization’s future, to provide room for self-organization and to let people decide themselves about their own and their organization’s issues. The principal actions of the leader in the adaptive mode are to frame (develop a strategic perspective and not “fix” agenda) row
(as team leader, not steer), cheer (early “positive-feedback provider,” not “pusher”) and facilitate,
(not instruct or intervene).
Importantly, McGrath and MacMillan (2009) argue that in an unpredictable world, trying to be right can lead managers terribly astray. Instead, they recommend a “discovery driven” approach which emphasizes finding the right answers and reducing the assumption-to-knowledge ratio. Leader as internal Co-actor vs. external Lone-observer:
Stacey (2009) makes the key point that the leader in the adaptive mode cannot take the position of being an external, objective observer of a pre-existing organizational reality. He states that it is the very essence of self-organization that none of these individual agents of the CAS is able to step outside the system and obtain an overview of how the whole is evolving, let alone how it will evolve. Importantly, it is the very essence of self-organization that none of the agents, as individuals, nor any small group of them on their own, can design, or even shape, the evolution of the system, other than through their local interactions.
Stacey adds that the valuable insights that are possible from seeing the organization as a CAS, interacting with its environmental system, will be lost, if the leader takes the position of the external observer and designer implicitly based on the assumption of the powerful autonomous individual at the centre of the decision making process - a notion so central to cognitivism. In essence, Stacey states that it is necessary to avoid equating the CEO, or any other manager, with the designer and programmer who spells the steps to be taken in clear-cut terms.
Instead, all managers, no matter how powerful, need to be viewed as agents, participating in the system.
In complex/unstable contexts which are by and large uncontrollable, by definition, many organizations impulsively mount new and tighter control mechanisms, in an attempt to be in control. This may well be counter-productive. Controls that typically work in simple/stable contexts should not be exercised with the intent of managing situations that ought to be left for adaptive self-organized systems to deal with.
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Leadership Roles and Agreement Levels:
In CAS, the specific roles of a leader could be discerned by interpreting Ralph Stacey’s Agreement x Certainty Matrix. A context is close to certainty when the issues or decisions can be analyzed in terms of cause and effect linkages. Here, one can extrapolate from past experience, to predict the outcome of an action with a high degree of certainty.
Agreement, on the other hand, measures the level of agreement about an issue or decision within the organization. Clearly, the management/leadership function varies depending on the level of agreement that surrounds the issue or decision (Zimmerman B., 2009). Indeed, disagreement with regard to the “stand” and “shared values” would be more fundamental and deep-seated than disagreement about the “standing”, and “steps” that the organization should take. Strategy and Complexity
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The triple typology of systems illustrated in Figure 10 is revisited in the above conceptualization.
They are Stable (order), Adaptive and Chaos. When uncertainty is low and agreement among members is high, there is order and stability. When uncertainty is high and agreement is low, chaos and disorder ensue. Importantly, the CAS operates on the “edge of chaos”, between the two extremes, (and often, closer to a state of chaos), a state of “punctuated equilibria”.
Table 8: Changing Roles of Leadership
In CAS, the organization is squarely placed in the adaptive zone in which the leader has to play the pivotal role of “co-creation”. Here, there is no solution to “tell” the followers about, nor is there one to “sell”. Moreover, in “co-creation”, the leader does not have the benefit of a context in which there is a high level of agreement among organizational members as to
“what needs to be done”. Indeed, complexity theory suggests that organizations respond best to fundamental change if they are not perfectly aligned with their environment, but poised on the “edge of chaos”.
State
Stable
Adaptive
Chaos
Leader
Role
"Tell"
"Sell"
"Consult"
"Co-create"
"Reverse"
Descriptor
Leader tells what/how to do. Leader sells the designed solution. Leader clarifies issues and situations. Leader works together and evolves desired outcomes. Leader attempts to roll back to the adaptive zone.
TypicalApproaches
Rational decision making; project management;
MBO.
Buy-in strategies; change agents; negotiation, persuasion.
Shared vision, scenario planning, systems thinking,learning organization, intuition.
Facilitation; create space for self-organization,
Brainstorm multiple solutions; search for outcomes not solutions,
“muddling through”.
Fight disintegration and anarchy through avoidance of issues, and consensus building. Sri Lankan Journal of Management
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Leader as Co-creator
Ian Turner (1998) spells the key facilitation roles the leader has to play in CAS in which outcomes have to be co-created between the leader(s) and other organizational members.
• Increase the channels of communication to promote informal and spontaneous self-organization. People come together because they are motivated to find new ways of doing things, not because their department has detailed them to attend a particular committee.
• Not dictate agendas or set specific objectives but identify problems or pose paradoxes for groups to resolve. For example, “How can we be both a successful innovator and a low cost producer?” Set rules and establish the constraints of the debate; don’t try and predict outcomes.
• Rotate people regularly so they do not get stale, and can both disseminate their own expertise and gain insights from other parts of the business. Bring in outsiders with a different background and culture. Involve people at the periphery of the organization who have not yet been fully absorbed into the culture.
• Avoid over-reliance on an incumbent management team. In many firms, the further up the hierarchy you go, the greater the attachment to the existing dominant logic and the closer the adherence to the status quo. We should therefore identify change agents below the top.
• Encourage parallel developments. In a world where the future is inherently unknowable and everything is hazy, sticking too closely to the [kitting?], can be disastrous. Permit experimentation and learn from failure.
• Avoid excessive “fit”. To challenge the status quo, there needs to be enough organizational slack for the firm to develop the future “recipe”, alongside the one that is existing.
• Reduce anxiety. Since change is threatening and likely to induce anxiety and defensive behaviour, fear needs to be reduced by offering realistic terms: for example, continued employment in return for total flexibility.
Complexity theory challenges our existing views of strategy and shifts our traditional thinking away from “steady state” concepts like fixed vision and mission statements and dominant leadership styles. It emphasizes processes and organizational dynamics at the expense of content and analysis. It highlights the necessity for experimentation in strategy, but critically, it also underlines the importance of revolutionary changes in business logic and competitive behaviour. Strategy and Complexity
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11. Conclusion
The contextual imperatives of strategy-making should not be missed. The context dictates the strategy-making process – the relative emphasis on “thinking before doing” or “seeing before doing”, or “thinking while doing”. The more stable and simple the context, the traditional
“think first” planning model, with a clear end and equally clear means makes sense in the development of strategy. In today’s turbulent and indeed, complex contexts, the validity and currency of deliberate strategy-making is increasingly becoming limited and suspect.
The importance of having a strategic perspective and/or a position which creates a framework for organizational action should be recognized. This does not, and should not, limit action, but help avoid incoherent and inconsistent forward movements. Within this framework, which itself may well evolve over time, the organization’s desired end and the requisite means to reach that end state, are typically emergent, in complex adaptive systems. The organizational structure, systems and style have to be adaptive and responsive in order to operate in complex environments. The metaphors of the machine and the military organization have to be replaced with those that signify greater dynamism, interaction and emergence. Adaptability, creativity and responsiveness are the key sources of competitive advantage, and not the ability of the organization to accurately predict a possible future and take action to attain it.
Such a course of action becomes possible only in contexts in which the future is predicable and action towards it can be logically and sequentially taken without discontinuity and dislocation. That is a setting which the old world was familiar with, but a luxury we no longer enjoy in today’s complex world of business.
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Birkinshaw J. and Goddard J. (2009), “What is your Management Model”, MIT Sloan Management,
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Liyanage Uditha (2008), “Differentiation: The Quintessence of Strategy”, Sri Lankan Journal of
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Jones Wendell (2007), “Complex Adaptive System”, Beyond Intractability, Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess, Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder.
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Paul Plsek (1997), Some Emerging Principles for Managers of Complex Adaptive Systems, www.directedcreativity.com/pages/complexitywp.html. Peters S. Tom (1990), Thriving on Chaos, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi.
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...Environmental Scan Paper The business environment of an organization reveals much about its competitiveness and the possible influences on the success of its strategies. The focus of this paper will be an environmental scan of the internal and external environments of two real-world firms, their competitive advantages and company strategies for creating value and sustaining competitiveness, measurement guidelines for verifying strategic effectiveness and their evaluation. Internal and External Environments Environmental scanning of the internal organizational environment focuses on company culture, employee-employee, manager-employee, and manager-manager, manager-shareholder interactions, in addition to organizational structure, natural resources’ access and brand awareness, among others (Schneider, 1995, p.70). Environmental scanning of the external organizational environment focuses on the analysis of the industry/immediate environment, national, and macro-environments. Analysis of the industry environment appraises the competitive Environmental Scan Paper The business environment of an organization reveals much about its competitiveness and the possible influences on the success of its strategies. The focus of this paper will be an environmental scan of the internal and external environments of two real-world firms, their competitive advantages and company strategies for creating value and sustaining competitiveness, measurement guidelines for verifying strategic...

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...Research or Interview Paper Instructions You can choose 1 of the following two options for your Research or Interview Paper. Your paper will be 7 double-spaced pages for the main content (not including the cover page and reference page). Your choices include: 1. A research paper Steps for writing the research paper: a) Choose a topic in Managerial Economics. b) Submit the topic and the outline of the paper to the instructor anytime for approval. c) A minimum of 3 references besides the textbook are required. Liberty University library has excellent resources for your search for journals. http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=178 OR 2. An interview paper Steps for writing the interview paper: a) Choose a topic in Managerial Economics. b) Design at least 5 questions according to the topic. c) Submit your questions to the instructor for approval. d) Contact a local or non-local company for an interview. e) Conduct the interview for answers to your questions. f) The paper must have 3 parts: • The description of the company; • Interview questions and answers; and • Your comments. *The research paper is to be done individually, not as a group. **Do not wait until the last module/week to work on the paper. Do it as early as possible. ***A paper that was written for other classes would not be accepted......

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...Week 4 Student Name Kaplan University HR420 Employment Law Introduction This is generally one paragraph. The easiest way to explain this section is to think of it like a brief overview of the topics you will be discussing in your paper. The introductory paragraph is designed to set up the rest of the paper by offering your reader a glimpse of what is to come. The goal here is to grab your reader’s attention and make him/her want to read the rest of the paper. Type your paper in the third person (no I, my, we, you, our, your…) Describe a BFOQ and when are they legally permissible? Answer to question #1 with supporting arguments-minimum one paragraph. Your response should be written in your own words, using your own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Include information from the chapter reading assignment and the case study to help support your points. Be sure to let your reader know where you got your supporting information by including a citation afterward. An example of a citation for your textbook is (Scott, 2008). What is sex-stereotyping? Include examples with your description? Answer to question #2 with supporting arguments-minimum one paragraph. Your response should be written in your own words, using your own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Include information from the chapter reading assignment and the case study to help support your points. Be sure to let your reader know where you got your......

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