Strategy and Competitiveness in Latin American Markets

Strategy and Competitiveness in Latin American Markets

The Sustainability Frontier

Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe

Using a combination of thorough research and practical examples, Strategy and Competitiveness in Latin American Markets explains how the concept of the sustainability frontier that the book develops resolves the long-running debate on whether sustainability requires tradeoffs or not. Through its exploration of a variety of sustainability challenges and opportunities, along with various sustainability models, the authors show how the sustainability frontier can be expanded through disruptive innovation, the building of new skills and by other means to secure no-trade off solutions.

Chapter 8: Strategy development

Esteban R. Brenes

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, strategic management


Latin American companies have been developing increasingly sophisticated mechanisms to build their strategies. Based on experience, if you had asked in the 1990s how many companies had gone through a formal process to develop strategy, the answer would have been no more than 40 percent. However, by 2013 the figure was easily over 60 percent. Traditionally, by the end of the last century owners and managers did not have an explicit, but rather an implicit, strategy, which meant that they did not share what they saw as the strategy of their companies with anyone else. That was done mostly to avoid showing to others the main strategic routes the company was following, to keep them secret even within the organization and hidden from its top executives. Thus strategy development very rarely considered participation from a broader management team, let alone those from lower organizational levels. The definition of strategy was generally vertical, with lower-level executives and other employees simply acting as per directions from above. Also, in most cases decision-makers were just a few, typically one to three (Ickis, 2000). As an example, in the 1990s a South American businessman, when asked about the desired level of involvement from his executives in a process to develop his business strategy, said: ‘I would like to do it only between you and me, Mr Consultant.’

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