Unformatted text preview: tegic initiatives occurred more in an autonomous or more in an
induced manner. Consequently, we asked under what conditions strategic initiatives took
place and how managerial action shaped them.
We specifically studied the evolution of fourteen strategic initiatives, choosing an
embedded case study design. The initiatives were selected following snowball sampling
(Miles and Huberman, 1994). In the interviews with planning staff, we asked for specific
projects that could illustrate the interviewees’ statements. The criterion used for selecting a
project was the extent to which the strategic initiative aimed at strategic renewal, i.e. the
extent to which it brought about change in core competences and/or product market domain.
Once a project was fully explained it was either selected or discarded. Next, we asked for
further illustration on a different project. In this fashion we collected data on the fourteen
strategic initiatives. These initiatives accounted for 72% of the projects included in the
company’s portfolio. We stopped gathering initiatives when the projects chosen, in the
strategic planning director’s estimation, covered a major part of the company’s strategic
effort. Having selected the strategic initiatives, we requested interviews with the managers
responsible for each one. By following this procedure we were able to get in-depth insight
into the development of each initiative and, at the same time, triangulate and contrast archival
data, or different interviewees’ views, on the same initiative. To strengthen internal validity
(Yin, 1994), interview data were crosschecked with archival data and contrasted with other
Analysis and Interpretation
Standard practices for qualitative data display and analysis were used, following the
guidelines of Miles and Huberman (1994) and Seidman (1998). We recorded, transcribed and
codified interviews. We examined the evolution of each of the fourteen strategic initiatives.
By comparing them and studying the context of the strategy-making process we verified the
existence of potential constructs. In interpreting and analyzing the evolution of strategic
initiatives we used the Bower-Burgelman (B-B) process model (Bower, 1970; Burgelman,
1983a). The first reason for using this model is that it displays a critical path documenting the
strategy-making process. This makes it possible to compare initiatives, as they can be plotted
together in the same matrix. The second reason is that it allows bottom-up and top-down
forces to be presented simultaneously and offers an integrating graphical representation of
these two sources of influence.
On the one hand, this model makes the assumption that project development is part
of a multi-level process, with three distinct phases. The first phase, definition, is when the
economic and technical aspects of a new investment are clarified. The second phase is
impetus, when the proposal goes through an evaluation process. The third phase,
commitment, occurs when re...
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- Spring '14
- Management, strategic initiatives