Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight
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Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight

Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay

Drawing together a collection of 29 original chapters, the Handbook makes an invaluable contribution to theory and practice by stimulating disciplined, rigorous and imaginative enquiry into the relationship between strategy and foresight. Leading scholars in the field of strategic management are brought together to offer innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the past, present and future of strategy formation and foresight. In so doing, they challenge research in four key areas: strategy and foresight processes; strategy innovation for the future; understanding the future; and strategically responding to the future.
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Chapter 26: Adaptation, Inertia and the Flexible Organization: A Study of the Determinants of Organizational Flexibility in an Emerging Economy

Andrés Hatum and Andrew M. Pettigrew


26 Adaptation, inertia and the flexible organization: a study of the determinants of organizational flexibility in an emerging economy* Andrés Hatum and Andrew M. Pettigrew Introduction The business literature on organizational change is replete with prescriptions regarding the management and design that organizations require to confront highly competitive and changeable environments (Miles and Snow, 1986; Pettigrew and Fenton, 2000). But in spite of all the business literature offering these signposts for flexibility, there is little theory on the determinants of organizational flexibility as a way of adapting under environmental turmoil. In particular, we shall focus our attention on the determinants of organizational flexibility that made it possible for some firms to adapt rapidly in uncertain contexts. Argentina was the selected country due to the competitive environment prevailing there in the 1990s. We shall study the transformation process in four firms – two of which are considered flexible and two less flexible in two different industries: pharmaceuticals and edible oils. Our analysis draws upon longitudinal data collected from the firms by means of interviews, archive material and statistical data. Using an innovative analysis, we combine coding analysis from interview transcripts, statistical analysis and the use of original display charts, to show the determinants of organizational flexibility as a set of organizational capabilities that enabled some firms to adapt rapidly in the changing and highly competitive business environment that prevailed in Argentina in the 1990s. By means of our analysis we were able to identify a set of five determinants...

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