Session 122

Strategizing in Uncertain Times

Track J

Date: Monday, October 12, 2009


Time: 12:45 – 14:00

Common Ground

Room: Meeting Room 16

Robert Wright, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Title: A Risk-Based Approach to Strategy Execution


  • Norman T Sheehan, University of Saskatchewan

Abstract: Firms looking to increase their bottom line in a recession need to improve their strategic execution capabilities. This article proposes integrating risk management with management control and compliance into a risk-based approach to strategy execution. Given that uncertainty is currently mounting and firms are only reimbursed when they successfully manage risk, the design and application of a firm’s management control system must flow from an assessment of risk. Based on this assessment, the firm’s management control system is designed to monitor/manage those risks which are seen to have the greatest probability to positively and negatively impact the firm’s revenues and costs. The primary advantage of an integrated risk-based management control system is that it allows managers, in real time, to steer the firm towards the good things that were outlined in its strategy and to avoid any of the bad things that were either expected or unexpected.

Title: Augmenting the Explanatory Power of the Resource-Based View: Organisational Change in an Unstable Institutional Environment


  • Sarah Dixon, Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University
  • Marc Day, University of Reading

Abstract: This paper uses case research to explore one of the theoretical limitations of the resource-based view of strategy by examining the reasons for the success and subsequent failure of the Russian oil company, Yukos. Organisational transformation and the development of new resources and capabilities in Yukos outpaced the changes in the institutional environment. In converting too rapidly to a Western business and the conditions of a market economy Yukos failed to co-evolve with its institutional environment. The case of Yukos demonstrates the importance for managers of maintaining strategic flexibility to seek multiple objectives, in the pursuit of both market and non-market strategies.

Title: Case-Based Reasoning For Supporting Strategic Decision Making in Turbulent Environments For SMEs


  • Jerzy Surma, Warsaw School of Economics

Abstract: The practice of strategic management proves that when the management board is strongly limited in its capacity to take rational actions, specifically in the context of great decision complexity and uncertainty, it is good practice to refer to experience through reasoning by analogy. In this paper we would like to concentrate on supporting strategic decisions for SMEs in real turbulent environments. Complexity of analogy-based reasoning has its roots in an attempt to solve new problems basing on past cases from a different domain, while we will focus on case-based approach for a single domain. Therefore we have chosen a case-based reasoning as a suitable decision making paradigm. We present the STRATEGOS case-based reasoning system for supporting strategic decision making by SME management board.

Title: Strategic Issues Interpretation as Discourse in an Uncertain World


  • Robert Wright, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Andrew Brown, University of Bath
  • Daniela Blettner, Simon Fraser University

Abstract: Strategic issues have important implications for organizational performance. More compelling is how these issues are interpreted using strategists’ own language in the performance of their strategic activities. How strategists’ interpret and make sense of strategic issues provides the impetus for their decisions and subsequent actions. We gained access into two companies in the retail industry undergoing increasing competition and uncertainty to elicit top and middle managers’ strategic discourse of how they make sense of critical business issues to help the business. Using a multi-theory perspective we attempt to develop a more engaged model of strategic issues diagnosis to help strategy practitioners better perform this important strategic work. Implications to strategy-as-practice theory building and practice are discussed.

Title: Strategists in an Uncertain World


  • Christophe Torset, National Arts and Business Conservatory
  • Stephanie Dameron, Paris Dauphine University

Abstract: The globalized financial crisis put the stress on financial criteria, but the study of strategy and people who actually do strategy could be one way to better understand how problems occur and how they can be solved.
This paper aims at analyzing strategy formation with the framework developed by the strategy-as-practice perspective. 84 strategy practitioners (leaders, managers and experts) were interviewed. We show that these multiple-levels individuals have to face four main tensions and that they do not act the same : inside strategists (leaders and mangers) use intuition and participative processes, whereas outside strategists focus on tools and market-oriented thinking.

Title: Understanding Uncertainties at the Network-Level - Lessons for Practitioners


  • Marcel van Gils, Strategy Works

Abstract: Managers of infrastructural megaprojects are struggling to define adequate strategies to realise these projects with appropriate quality, legitimacy and at reasonable cost. In this paper I present two major perspectives that have been identified by a variety of scholars as contributing to understanding uncertainties at the network-level. It allows us to indicate the overlap and main differences between both perspectives (static network / dynamic system). Next I shall illustrate how a combination of both perspectives improves our understanding of the uncertainties and describe the relevant lessons for practitioners. These lessons serve as a solid ground for discerning intervening strategies.

All Sessions in Track J...

Sun: 10:00 – 11:30
Session 267: Learning from Practice: Opening the Black Box of Consulting Engagements
Sun: 13:00 – 14:30
Session 268: Conducting Practice Studies: Introduction, Methods and Challenges
Sun: 15:00 – 16:30
Session 269: Promising Research Directions Using a Practice Approach
Sun: 16:30 – 17:30
Session 314: The Practice of Strategy, IG Meeting
Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 122: Strategizing in Uncertain Times
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 120: Strategic Tools and Methods
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 118: Path Dependency and Firm Growth
Tue: 14:30 – 15:45
Session 121: Perspectives on Consulting
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 119: A Strategy as Practice Agenda
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 117: Exploring Firm Performance

Strategic Management Society

Washington DC