Micro Strategy and Strategizing- Analysis of a Catering Firm Market Strategy from a Loosely Coupled Perspective Fred H. Strønen and Bente R. Løwendahl, Oslo University College and Norwegian School of Management
Introduction • Micro Strategy & Strategizing • How strategy is created at the micro level • Open up the black box of strategy (Mintzberg et al 1998) • What is made sense of as strategic? • Different individuals, groups or coalitions • ”Bootleg Strategies” • Real time (Pettigrew, 1990)
Theoretical Background 1 • JMS, special ed. Johnson, Melin & Whittington • Strategy research in post-modern conditions: Løwendahl & Revang, 1997 • ”The real world of managers” Mintzberg, 1973 • Strategy formation, Mintzberg, 1978 • ”How decisions happen” Mintzberg, Raisinghani & Torret, 1976
Theoretical Background 2 • Emergent and deliberate strategies, Mintzberg & Waters, 1985 • Innovation and strategy, Burgelman, 1980; Burgelman & Sayles, 1986 • Grass root strategies in investment banks, Eccles & Crane, 1988
Theoretical Background 3 • Loosely coupled systems, Weick, 1976 and Orton & Weick, 1990, March & Simon, 1958 • Strategy formation vs. formulation, Mintzberg vs. Anshoff, 1990 & 1991
Realized strategy Intended strategy magnifying glass Adapted from Mintzberg & Waters (1985)
Some phenomena are made sense of as outside, and others inside the existing or overall strategy. (Adapted from DeWit and Meyer, 1998: 151).
Methodology • Participant observation • Real time data, Pettigrew 1990 • Case Method, Yin, 1984
The Catering Firm Strategy 1 • Catering Firm Market Director Mr. Årvik • Analyzed from a loosely coupled perspective • What did the existing strategy legitimize?
The Catering Firm Strategy 2 • Market vs. product veiw • Could we claim it was a new strategy? • The relationship between Fjordland’s overall strategy and the Catering Firm Strategy • Why was the CF Strategy created?
The Catering Firm Strategy 3 • We can speculate: Why did the CF Director regard his work as different? • Why did the CEO not integrate the work? • Why was the CF Strategy not included in the overall strategy?
How could this happen? • The Catering Firm Market Director “played strategist” • Attention in another direction • Legitimacy outside the firm • Resource allocation within the firm
What could happen? • The Catering Firm strategy could have been killed • The Catering Firm strategy could have continuted • The director would go, and the strategy was included in the overall strategy of Fjordland
Conclusion 1 • What is the purpose of strategy? E.g. why do we have strategy? • “Strategy” can create energy • Strategy + Action = True
Conclusion 2 • Interpretive flexibility (Bijker et al. 1987) • Strategy can be expansive, explorative inspiring, instead of limiting, exploiting and controlling