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Realizing Strategy IV

Module 12: Realizing Strategy, Part 4

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Mod 12: For Your Success

This week’s module continues the exploration of strategy implementation. You are encouraged to review previous module content to clearly understand how the various levels of strategy are interconnected.

Continue working on your Portfolio Project and contact your instructor if you have any questions.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the role that organizational culture plays in realizing strategy and assess a real-world organization’s strategy and culture fit.

2. Identify the organizational conditions necessary to successfully implement strategies in an innovative environment and apply them to a real-world example.

3. Identify the organizational conditions necessary to successfully implement strategies in globally diverse environments and apply them to a real-world example.

4. Evaluate the success of a specific strategy and make recommendations for improvement.

Mod 12: Readings


o Chapter 6 (Creating the conditions for innovation section only) & 8 (Applying the framework international location of production section through Further reading section) in Foundations of Strategy

o″>Chapter 6 PowerPoint slides in Foundations of Strategy

o″>Chapter 8 PowerPoint slides in Foundations of Strategy

o Martin, R. L. (2010)”>The execution trap. Harvard Business Review, 88(7/8), 64-71.


o Ning, H. (2012)″>How to maintain sustainable competitive advantages—–Case study on the evolution of organizational strategic management. International Journal of Business Administration, 3(5), 45-51.

Mod 12: Content

I. Innovative Organizations and Strategy Implementation

Earlier in this course we studied competitive advantage and the role of innovation. In a study by Ning (2012), findings indicate that sustaining competitive advantage requires innovation and continuous improvement. To innovate means that companies must be flexible and creative. The environment in the firm must be conducive to stimulating and developing new ideas. Interaction among specialists and business units is essential.

Strategy particular to innovation is challenging. The culture of the organization plays such an important role in the quest for successful implementations. The demands on structure, processes, reward systems, and people are particular to innovative organizations. Study carefully the comparison in the table below between operating and innovating organizations to get a sense of just how different implementation may be in each of these organizations:

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Click to Enlarge (Source: Grant & Jordan, 2012b, chap. 6, slide 14)

Ning points out that one of the greatest challenges for leaders is to be able to assess, diagnose, and plan for organizational change in an innovation-heavy environment. Recall once again the necessity to align systems and processes to manage change and realize strategy.

II. Global Organizations and Strategy Implementation

A firm that is geographically dispersed is particularly challenged in implementing new strategies. The eight S’s may be just as relevant in an international company, with the added complexity of taking into account special considerations when more than one country is involved in carrying out the strategy.

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In particular, leaders diagnosing and assessing the ability to implement strategies must consider that geographic distribution, in itself, impacts the organizational culture and sub-cultures. Below is a list of questions that leaders might ask in planning for strategy implementation and change in an international company:
What are the different languages, ethnicities, religions, and social norms exhibited in the workforce and among customers, suppliers, buyers, strategic partners, and other stakeholders?
How specifically do these differences impact the product or service?
What different political forces exist and what is their relationship with the firm and various locations?
What monetary differences exist?
How weak or strong are financial institutions and legal organizations?
Do transportation links exist?
Are some parts of the organization geographically remote from others?
What communication links are accessible and what are the preferred communication modes?
Are the economics of consumers the same or different across the geographic locations?
What resources are available in each location?
How is knowledge shared across company lines?
What is it about our products or services that may be relevant to a particular culture or country?

Overall strategy implementation planning is essential, but it is evident that managing change may be particular to the various locations and ventures.

III. Knowing Success When You See It: Evaluation and Adjustment

Strategy planning is never complete without evaluating whether the strategy was successful. We have studied the importance of sound strategy implementation to realizing strategy. However, implementing a bad strategy means that there can be no success. Bad strategies are subject to failure! The following video is enlightening in that it tells the story of a wrongheaded strategy rather than a failed strategy implementation:

JC Penny Fires President after Failed Strategy, June 2012

Description: JC Penny’s recent strategy to eliminate coupons so they can compete with Target and Walmart is a miserable failure.

Strategy evaluation is based on evaluating the firm’s metrics to determine if goals have been met. Depending on results such as revenues, profits, customer satisfaction, supplier satisfaction, and industry position, a firm will determine whether goals were met; and in all instances, that set of data is the catalyst to initiate another round of strategy planning. The process of conducting external industry analysis and internal resource and capability assessment is a first step toward recognizing what and how to adapt strategy. Reviewing business and corporate strategies in alignment with the organization’s vision and mission is imperative. Finally, assessing the strength of implementation and the flexibility and adaptability of the firm is a solid step toward continuous improvement in the quest for competitive advantage.

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