The black and white and grey of strategy – Journal of Strategy and Management
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the process of strategy execution when strategy is changing.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents studies of two companies – Unilever and Carillion – which appear to have found a solution to the generic problem – to understand the process of strategy execution when strategy is changing. The broader research involved examining the strategic planning processes of more than 20 large companies.
Findings – The paper gives two example solutions to a common strategy problem. The gap that often emerges between the desired strategy and the enacted strategy. The general message is that planners need to design a process that enables top managers to give strategic guidance about “grey areas” at a level of detail that matches the complexity of the products and markets in which the company competes. For many companies, this is a much lower level of detail than they are used to handling in their strategic planning processes.