Edited by Pietro Mazzola and Franz W. Kellermanns
Christoph Lechner and Markus Kreutzer INTRODUCTION The significance of strategic initiatives was aptly demonstrated in Nag et al.’s (2007) article, ‘What is strategic management, really?’ Based upon an inductive consensus analysis, they defined the field of strategic management as consisting of (a) major intended and emergent initiatives (b) taken by general managers on behalf of owners (c) that utilize resources (d) to enhance the performance (e) of firms (f) in their external environments. Thus, they recognized strategic initiatives as a core element of our discipline by encompassing a broad range of strategic moves under the umbrella of strategic initiatives, including new product development, corporate ventures, acquisitions, strategic renewal efforts, and so on. Parallel to the academic world, the concept of strategic initiatives has proliferated in managerial practice, with corporations such as GE, Intel, Siemens, Helvetia and Deutsche Bank pursuing major strategic moves. Unfortunately, despite this increasing popularity, research suggests that strategic initiatives often do not achieve expected or desired benefits. Estimates of failure rates range from 50 to 70 percent (e.g., Beer and Nohria, 2000; Miller, 2002; Saunders et al., 2008). As this can hardly be considered as a positive, evidence-based insights are needed to improve practices. In this chapter, we examine current disciplinary knowledge on strategic initiatives and outline future research areas. We begin by defining the concept and its various types and classifications, then describe several relevant research streams. We propose an organizing framework for elaborating research on strategic initiatives, discuss in detail its single elements and...
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