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The black and white and grey of strategy – Journal of Strategy and Management

Posted on: January 1st, 2013 by Staffan Engstrom

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.

This article was written by Andrew Campbell, Phil Renshaw, Staffan Engström and originally published on 1st January 2010 by Journal of Strategy and Management.