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APPROACHES TO STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION (METHODS)

INTRODUCTION

Effective implementation of a strategy needs a clear and appropriate approach to


implementation. Brodwin & Bourgeois have identified 5 fundamental approaches
for strategy implementation. Theses strategies range from asking subordinates to
implemented the strategies that have been formulated by the top level management
to empowering subordinates to formulate & implement strategies on their own.

5 A p p ro a ch e s to
S tra te g y
Im p le m e n t a t io n

CRES
C IV E
APPR
OACH

C U LT U COM M
RAL ANDE
APPR R
OACH APPRA
OCH
CO LLA B O R G A N IZ AT IO N A
L CHANGE
O R AT IV E APPROACH
APPROA
CH

1. THE COMMANDER APPROACH


This approach is a top down approach. The strategy is developed or formulated by
the top level management and it is passed to the subordinates with instructions how
to execute it. The top management takes a back seat in strategy implementation but
oversees it. The leader does not take an active role in implementing the strategy.
The strategic leader is primarily a thinker/planner rather than a doer. The manager
will determine the best strategy either alone or with the help of a group of
experts. Once the desired strategy is formulated, the manager passes it along to
subordinates who are instructed to execute the strategy. In this scenario, the
manager does not take an active role in implementing the strategy, but rather uses
power to see that the strategy is implemented.

THREE CONDITIONS MUST BE MET

1) aManager must have power


2) Accurate and timely information is available
3) No personal biases should be present

ADVANTAGES

1) This is a very common approach, simple and it is used in small companies


within stable industries.
2) It works best, when very little change is required.
3) Managers focus on strategy formulation only.

DISADVANTAGES

Those who implement the strategy are not involved in the formulation of the
strategy, thus they become demotivated because of this.

2. THE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE APPROACH


This approach starts where the commander approach ends. The strategy
formulation resembles the Commander Approach. The Organizational Change
approach focuses on how to get an organization to implement a strategy. Managers
who implement this approach assume that a good strategy has been formulated and
view their task as getting the company moving toward new goals. The tools used to
accomplish this approach are largely behavioral. The Organizational change
approach emphasizes on bringing about the required change in the firm to
implement a strategy. The strategic leader again decides major changes of strategy
and the considers the appropriate changes in structure, personnel, and information
and reward systems if the strategy is to be implemented effectively. The Change
Approach is often more effective than the Commander Approach and can be used
to implement more difficult strategies because of used the several behavioral
science techniques.

ADVANTAGES

1) Focuses on the organization


2) Behavioral tools are used
3) Includes focusing on the organizations staffing and structure
4) Often more effective than Commander Approach
5) Used to implement difficult strategies

DISADVANTAGES

1) Managers dont stay informed of changes occurring within the environment


2) Imposes strategies in a top-down format hence motivation problems.
3) Can backfire in rapidly changing industries

3. THE COLLABORATIVE APPROACH


This approach views strategy development as a collective
effort of all managers. All the views of the managers are
considered in this vital task. Brainstorming sessions are held
for strategy formulation and implementation tactics. This is
a very useful and helpful approach. The manager in charge
of the strategy calls in the rest of the management team to
brainstorm strategy formulation and implementation. The
role of the manager is that of a coordinator. Other members
of the organizations management team are encouraged to
contribute their points of view in order to extract whatever
group wisdom may be present. This approach overcomes
two key limitations present in the previous two approaches.
First, by capturing information contributed by managers
close to operations, it can increase the quality and
timeliness of the information incorporated in the strategy.
Also, it improves the chances of efficient implementation to
the degree that participation enhances strategy
commitment. However the top level management still
retains control over the entire process.

ADVANTAGES

1) All managers are involved in strategy formulation, they


can contribute their ideas and hence this motivates them.

2) The timeliness & quality of information is increased.

3) There is effective implementation since the managers


were involved in strategy formulation.

DISADVANTAGES

1) It is a time consuming process.

2) All managers view points may not be taken into


consideration. Hence they may feel demotivated and
may detach themselves from the strategy.
3) A negotiated strategy may sometimes become a
compromised strategy and not the best strategy.

4) The dominant members strategy may be taken into


consideration which may not be the best strategy.

5) The top level management retains control over the


entire process.

4. THE CULTURAL APPROACH

The Cultural Approach extends the democratic element of the Collaborative


approach further to include the lower levels in the firm. The strategic leader
concentrates on establishing and communicating a clear mission and purpose for
the organization and allowing employees to design their own work activities with
this mission. He plays the role of a coach in giving general direction, but
encourages individual decision-making to determine the operating details of
executive the plan.

These techniques involve implementing strategy by employing the concept of


"third-order control." First-order control is direct supervision; second - order
control involves using rules, procedures, and organizational structure to guide
behavior. Third - order control is potentially more powerful. It consists of
influencing behavior through shaping the norms, values, symbols, and beliefs that
managers and employees use in making day-to-day decisions.

It partially breaks down the barriers between management and workers since each
member of the organization can be involved to some degree in both the
formulation and implementation of the strategy. It seems to work best in
organizations that have sufficient resources to absorb the cost of building and
maintaining a supportive value system. Often these are high-growth firms in high-
technology industries.

ADVANTAGES
1) More enthusiastic implementation

2) It partially breaks down the barriers between management and workers since
they formulate and implement the strategy.

DISADVANTAGES

1) Workers should be informed and intelligent


2) Consumes large amounts of time
3) Discourage change and innovation

4) People at the lower level may not have the perspective vision, knowledge &
expertise to develop strategies.

5. THE CRESCIVE APPROACH

The Crescive approach addresses strategy formulation and


strategy implementation simultaneously. Crescive means
increasing or growing.

This approach is a bottom-up approach - it moves upwards from


the lower and middle level management to the top level
management. Instead of the top level management taking up the
entire responsibility of developing the strategy, the lower level
management is empowered to develop and implement the
strategy. Goals are stated loosely from the top level management
and refined from the bottom. The strategic leader is not
interested in formulating the strategy alone. The subordinates
develop and implement the strategies on their own.

This approach considers economic, social, political & behavioral


factors. According to Brodwin & Bourgeois, the Crescive approach
is suitable for large, complex, diversified organizations where the
CEO cannot know or understand all the strategic and operating
forces that affect each division.

ADVANTAGES

1) Encourages middle & lower management to participate.

2) Commitment from the employees for implementation since


they were involved in formulation.

3) Increases the motivation & morale of employees.

DISADVANTAGES

1) Huge amount of resources are required.

2) Strategies that are formulated may not be proper since these


are formulated by the middle & lower management.

CONCLUSION

Thus these are 5 approaches to strategy implementation.

These methods can be used to successfully implement the


strategies of an organization. The first two strategies are suitable
for small companies where there exist a centralized structure. On
the other hand, the last three strategies are more appropriate for
large decentralized organizations.