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Organizational Knowledge and Technology

An Action-Oriented Perspective on Organization and Information Systems

Rodrigo Magalhães

This book attempts to make sense of a new area of integrated study, namely information systems and information technology (IS/IT) and the organization. It also aims to bring this mix into the broader theme of complexity as applied to organization and management and to draw useful conclusions about how to organize and how to manage IS/IT in the knowledge era. The author argues in favour of a more action-oriented – as opposed to planning dominated – approach to information systems management.
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Chapter 5: Strategy as Managerial Action

Rodrigo Magalhães


Strategy implementation rather than strategy content differentiates successful from unsuccessful firms. It is simply much easier to choose an appropriate strategy than it is to implement it effectively. Moreover, successful strategy implementation is driven by employee strategic focus … (Becker et al., 2001:39) INTRODUCTION In this chapter we discuss organizational strategy. This discussion is important because strategy is the beginning of all things in organizations. Whether it is implicit or explicit there is a strategy behind everything an organization does. There are two opposing camps in contemporary strategic management thinking: the rational view versus the emergent perspective. The first is represented, for example, by the writings of Michael Porter (1980; 1985) which hold that a firm can dominate and profit from a given competitive position by attending to the key factors that govern such an environmental position and by closing the gap between corporate action and the characteristics of the chosen competitive position. The opposite view, which has been championed by Henry Mintzberg (1990; 1994), describes strategy making as a natural process of emergence and of the interplay between deliberate and emergent processes. The rational view presents the realization of strategy as a process of imposing strategic intent and design through a mechanistic process of implementation which will not be challenged throughout its course. The emergent view focuses on strategies which come into being through a process similar to the crafting of an object by a handicraftsman, relying mostly on tacit knowledge which can never be made explicit. In...

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