Consequently we asked under what conditions strategic

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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 respondents. 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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