From these data we were able to describe the formal

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Unformatted text preview: as participation and contribution during the formal planning exercise. From these data we were able to describe the formal phase of strategy-making as well as previous strategic exercises. The evidence shown in this stage was iteratively tested for consistency during the second stage. The second stage focused on the evolution of strategic initiatives. Drawing on the perspective of the managers interviewed we were able to picture their idea of the evolution of strategic initiatives. From the evidence on the evolution of strategic initiatives, we inquired about the role of participants, and the flows of idea generation and decision-making. In order to gain insight into the subtle nature of these interactions, we selected the tactic of embedded units of analysis (Yin, 1994), strategic initiative and managerial action. Hence, managerial action was embedded from inception to conclusion of strategic initiatives. We tried to delve into managers’ use of strategy and how the strategic intent was deployed throughout the life of strategic initiatives. Another reason for centering on strategic initiatives was to provide the interviewee with a context in which managerial action takes place, avoiding anecdotal talk and centering on facts rather than opinions (Silverman, 2001). Besides, by contrasting interpretations with company documents, information provided by the interviewees could be verified. We followed fourteen strategic initiatives of different kinds. The strategic initiatives followed covered periods ranging from two to seven years, the median being two and a half years. These data were obtained from in-depth interviews with key managers as well as internal company documents. An indicative list of all initiatives is given in Table 2. The interviews were conducted with the manager responsible for each strategic initiative, and with executives from the planning and supervision department. An interview protocol ensured that the same themes were covered in each interview, aiming at reliability (Yin, 1994). A list of themes contained in the protocol is given in Appendix 3. The questions were handed out to interviewees beforehand, in the form of a thematic summary of the questions, 8 in order to take full advantage of interview time. Validity of the constructs was extracted from the interview data by considering the interviewees’ causal explanations as testable (Argyris et al., 1985). In addition, looking for alternative explanations between the two researchers and directing attention to internal processes was self-imposed. We have used three sources of evidence to analyze the evolution of each strategic initiative (Yin, 1994). Our aim, as presented during the interviews, was to know what factors, in the interviewees’ opinion, had shaped the evolution of strategic initiatives from inception to conclusion. Inception described the point at which the idea first appeared, while conclusion was the situation in which the project was being carried out. Our inquiry was directed to finding out whether stra...
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