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Edited by Pietro Mazzola and Franz W. Kellermanns
Chapter 9: Five Alternative Approaches to the Strategic Reorientation Process
Robert Chapman Wood and Osvald M. Bjelland The strategy process subfield recognizes the importance of strategic reorientation (Tushman and Romanelli, 1985) and strategic renewal (Floyd and Lane, 2000), events that redefine the nature of organizations and dramatically alter strategies and strategy processes. However, the theory of this kind of change is by no means complete. There is a tendency for literature on strategic reorientation, strategic renewal and related kinds of change to assume implicitly that there is one single process of reorientation and renewal. There is relatively little effort to draw on literature from outside the strategy field for a more complete theory. Where ideas are imported from other research streams, moreover, there is almost no effort to leverage streams that suggest an array of radically different approaches might be possible. The literature of organizational change and development offers important potential extensions to our understanding of strategic reorientation and renewal processes. Scholars studying organizational change often articulate the process of strategic reorientation as a series of discrete steps, often summarized in three stages derived from the work of Lewin (1951): unfreeze, change, refreeze. (See Weick and Quinn (1999) for a review.) Such a well-defined understanding of how managers can overcome inertia to introduce and effectively implement radically new strategies could obviously contribute to our comprehension of the strategy process. However, two problems exist. First, careful studies show that the standard sets of steps are radical oversimplifications (Pettigrew, 1985; Johnson, 1987). Second, studies have shown that transformation sometimes departs from the...
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