Annemette Kjærgaard: Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School, Howitzvej 60 , DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Abstract: Organisations have to deal with increasingly complex and turbulent environments, which demand that they continuously change and adapt to new circumstances or challenges. One way for organisations to cope with these challenges is to manage the strategy-making process in order to ensure that a continuous stream of new ideas and initiatives create new opportunities and ensure that the company stays viable by adapting to new internal and external challenges. This has been pursued in studies of strategy formation (Mintzberg, 1978), strategic change (Pettigrew, 1988) and internal corporate venturing (Burgelman, 1983b, 2002) and is still a central issue in the strategic management discourse. It is generally acknowledged that continuous change is important for organisations’ survival in a changing world. On the other hand the need for stability and continuity in form of a clear and strong corporate identity is also acknowledged to be critical for organisational success (Collins & Porras, 1994). Where the organisational identity works to ensure consistency in the company’s strategic action, the strategy making process works to renew the current concept of strategy (Burgelman, 1983b). Organisations thus face a dilemma when they engage in strategy-making to reconcile the perpetual tension between continuity and change (Burgelman, 2002). This challenge is far from new and has been discussed as e.g. the balance between exploration and exploitation (March, 1991). This article attempts to answer the question of how organisational actors’ perception of organisational identity influences the strategy-making process during organisational change. The study adopts an evolutionary approach to the unfolding of the strategy-making process, using the variation-selection-retention framework of cultural evolutionary theory (Aldrich, 1999; Campbell, 1969; Weick, 1979), which has been applied to the strategy-making process by Burgelman in several of his works (Burgelman, 1983a, 1983b, 1991, 2002, 2003).
22 pages, September 19, 2004
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