Types of Strategy Implementation Tactics

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Types of Strategy Implementation Tactics
Stefka Nenkova, Student (University), Netherlands

Nutt (1987) identified 4 distinct tactics used by managers when implementing a strategy in an organization:

  • frequency of occurrence: 21%
  • key features: 1. A manager is delegated authority to control a planning process 2. Groups are used to offer advice which the manager can veto.
  • key steps: 1. New norms used to identify performance problems in system(s) that the strategy is to change 2. New norms justified 3. Illustrate how performance can be improved 4. Formulate plan 5. Show how plan improves performance.
  • frequency of occurrence: 15%
  • key features: 1. Group can specify plan features, within prestated constraints 2. Staff assigned to support the planning group.
  • key steps: 1. Manager stipulates strategic needs and opportunities 2. Form planning group by selecting stakeholders 3. Delegate planning to the group and state intentions (objectives and constraints) 4. Formulate plan 5. Cooptation of key people.
  • frequency of occurrence: 48%
  • key features: 1. Demonstrations of value 2. An expert manages the planning process
  • key steps: 1. Manager stipulates strategic needs and opportunities 2. Authorize an expert to develop ideas responsive to the strategy. 3. Formulate plan 4. Expert uses persuasion to sell manager on plan's value as a response to a strategic priority.
  • frequency of occurrence: 16%
  • key features: 1. The manager and staff share process management 2. Manager uses position power to implement the plan
  • key steps: 1. Sponsor stipulates strategic needs and opportunities 2. Formulate plan 3. Manager issues a directive, which calls for plan adoption.

Furthermore, in order to assess these implementation tactics Nutt groups contextual factors that could characterize a project to be implemented into the following groups: type of strategic response, perceived importance, support staff skill, time pressure, resources available, plan quality and plan status. The conducted multiple case studies by Nutt lead to the following conclusions:
  • Intervention tactic is superior to the others: “When a manager took charge and created an environment where plans that help to realize a strategy could be justified and understood, implementation was always successful”.
  • Qualification and the involvement of key people of the company are needed in order to extract benefit from participation and only those who are involved benefit from it (full participation was not achieved in the cases).
  • Persuasion implementation has good results when there is little time pressure and the perceived importance of the plan is moderate; this tactic also depends on the expert’s successful track record.
  • Edict tactic is considered ineffective and is leading to poor quality results.

Source: Nutt, P. (1987) “Identifying and Appraising How Managers Install Strategy”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 1-14


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