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Strategic flexibility: antecedents and performance implications in turbulent business environments

Lindgren, M. (2000) Strategic flexibility: antecedents and performance implications in turbulent business environments. DBA thesis, Henley Business School, University of Reading

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During the 1990s many practitioners and scholars identified the organisation's strategic flexibility as critical to success in today's more turbulent business environments. Strategic flexibility could be defined as the organisation's ability to make a quick and adequate response to threats and opportunities in the business environment. This research investigates the strategic flexibility concept and its antecedents and performance implications in turbulent environments. Based on a literature review and with support from a reference-group of top managers, a model was developed with strategic flexibility defined as the combination of strategic robustness and responsiveness. The model was tested on a sample of 105 northern European companies, mainly in banking and insurance, media and the IT industry. The findings support the general proposition that strategic flexibility is critical to performance in turbulent environments. Specifically, the results show that robustness tends to be relatively more important as the turbulence increases, indicating a greater need for well-crafted strategies and business concepts. It was also found that a strategic planning emphasis, proactive experimental strategic posture and task-oriented non-political top management team enhance strategic flexibility. External orientation and social integration in the top management team, an adaptive organisational structure, cultural control, and comprehensiveness and participation in the planning process also enhance strategic flexibility. The research leads to recommendations for managers to pay attention to balancing between robust strategies and business concepts and the responsiveness to threats and opportunities caused by changes in the business environment. It also gives provisional guidance on how the strategic flexibility of the organisation can be increased. The research proposed and carried out in this thesis contributes to the understanding of strategy-related performance antecedents in turbulent business environments, and specifically to the role of strategic flexibility and strategic robustness.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Joynt, P. and Drew, S.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Management College
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:85825


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