Handbook of Research on Strategy Process
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Handbook of Research on Strategy Process

Edited by Pietro Mazzola and Franz W. Kellermanns

The Handbook of Research on Strategy Process reveals the current state of the art of strategy process research as a whole as well as emerging research initiatives. It also discusses managerial and organizational factors affecting strategy implementation.
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Chapter 10: Managerial Interplay: Linking Intent to Realized Strategy

Bill Wooldridge and J. Ignacio Canales


Bill Wooldridge and J. Ignacio Canales In various ways previous theory and research have noted the importance of managerial interactions in the development, implementation and legitimization of organizational strategy (Balogun and Johnson, 2004; Burgelman, 1991; Floyd and Wooldridge, 1997; Labianca et al., 2000). These interactions occur to varying degrees at different stages of the strategy-making process and have an important effect on how strategy proceeds from a set of intentions to realized strategy (Mintzberg and Waters, 1985). We investigate the process that links the intent with the realized strategy. Throughout this process, managerial interactions facilitate organizational learning about strategy, providing a forum for managers to understand, ‘buy in’ and develop strategic intentions. At the most fundamental level, research demonstrates that managers who feel excluded from strategic conversations become de-energized and strategy formation becomes unnecessarily inefficient (Westley, 1990). A primary distinction in the way managerial interactions about strategy have been conceptualized has to do with whether interactions are vertical or lateral. Vertical interactions focus on alignment between higher and lower levels of the organization (Dutton et al., 2001; Floyd and Wooldridge, 1992, 1997; Hart, 1992; Huy, 2002; Ketokivi and Castañer, 2004). From this perspective, top managers’ roles range from commander through facilitator to sponsor. In turn, middle managers’ roles range from champions to implementers as they interact with managers both above and below in the organizational hierarchy. Alternatively, lateral interactions influence how the organization comes to understand operational implications of strategy and advance the organizational learning necessary to realize strategic...

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