University of Twente Student Theses


Coping with strategy implementation: a challenge?

Tiemersma, E.M. (2015) Coping with strategy implementation: a challenge?

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Abstract:Several researches show that organisations are not successful in implementing their formulated strategies, therefore it can be suggested that strategy implementation is a challenge for organisations. Academic literature describes several frameworks and models for strategy implementation. However, academic literature provides limited information about which strategy implementation approaches are actually used by (manufacturing) organisations in practice. For this reason, the goal of this research has been to map the approaches that manufacturing organisations actually use for strategy implementation and the challenges which organisations face when doing so. Finally, an overall aim has been to develop a roadmap for strategy implementation. For this research, five established medium-sized, i.e. 50 – 249 employees, manufacturing organisations have been investigated. In total, 25 semi-structured interviews with lower/non-management, middle management and upper management employees have been conducted. A coding technique has been used to analyse the gathered interview data. The results show that two organisations declared that they use a specific approach for strategy implementation. One organisation uses an operational plan as implementation approach, and another organisation uses information sessions to implement their strategy. However, both approaches do not match with strategy implementation approaches which have been described in the academic literature. Moreover, two organisations use the Balanced Scorecard approach of Kaplan & Norton (1996). The organisations have determined KPIs, divided into four disciplines, to support the strategy implementation and therefore match with the Balanced Scorecard approach. The other three organisations do not use a specific approach for strategy implementation, i.e. there is no established procedure or the organisations do not take specific steps for implementing their strategy. This paper discusses possible reasons that no approaches, except the BSC approach, from the literature have been used by manufacturing organisations to implement their strategy. The paper suggests two possible reasons for this: the amateurism within (manufacturing) organisations regarding strategy implementation and the bustle within organisations. Furthermore, this research provides suggestions, i.e. recommendations, for a roadmap for strategy implementation. One suggestion is that there should be developed a roadmap which serves as a steering mechanism which systematically guides and monitors employees to achieve the determined objectives. Another suggestion is that the roadmap, or approach, should contribute to the clearness of objectives, personal targets, and resources, which are available for achieving the objectives. In addition, an approach should provide feedback if the agreed objectives and personal contribution have been delivered by the employees. Moreover, the time dimension is also an element where value can be added. Managers, and employees, should reserve more time for strategy implementation and then primarily reserve time to research and discover the approaches mentioned in the academic literature. Altogether, an approach should provide employees systematically knowledge and steering about how to implement the strategy – whereby communication between different levels within the organisation is an important aspect – and the approach should provide personal feedback.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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