Completing the Adaptive Turn: An Integrative View of Strategy Implementation
Academy of Management Annals
Based on our review of the past 40 years of strategy implementation research, we find that the focus of the research area has moved from the pioneering structural control view to a more adaptive conception of strategy implementation. Whereas early research focused mainly on how to conceptualize strategy implementation plans and how to establish optimal structures, systems, incentives, and controls for strategy implementation, the adaptive turn has shifted the research emphasis on to how organizations make sense of and enact strategies in practice. Although this adaptive turn has contributed significantly to understanding how strategies are implemented and adapted, it has also led to a further fragmentation of the field. We put forward an integrative view that aims at combining the distinctive strengths of the two complementary views. Instead of focusing on either conceptualizing or enacting, we call for researchers to examine the continuous interplay of conceptualizing and enacting strategies at multiple hierarchical levels and in multiple organizational units simultaneously. We hope that our reviewwill inspire future strategy implementation research to complete the adaptive turn through an enhanced, integrative view of strategy implementation.
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The Academy of Management