Types of Strategy Implementation Tactics

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Types of Strategy Implementation Tactics
Stefka Nenkova, Premium Member
Nutt identified 4 distinct implementation tactics for 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.
In order to assess these 4 implementation tactics, Nutt (1987) grouped 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 led to the following conclusions for each strategy implementation approach (1-4):
  • 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”.
  • Participation tactic: Qualification and the involvement of key people of the company are needed in order to extract benefit from participation and only those involved will result in benefits (full participation was not achieved in the cases).
  • Persuasion tactic 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.
⇒ Almost 30 years have passed since Nutt published his research. Do you think strategy implementation best practices have changed? If so, how? Did the frequency of occurrence change? Did the contextual factors change? Are we perhaps seeing completely new implementation tactics?

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

Did Strategy Implementation Tactics Change?
Jaap de Jonge, Editor
Thanks for contributing to the strategy execution center!
Strange combination of words if you think of it: "strategy implementation tactics"☺.
Regarding your question - wether these tactics have changed over the last decennia - I believe they have. Since Nutt did his research, the frequency and impact of changes in the strategic environment (internet, globalization) have increased.
Responsive companies have adapted their strategy implementation tactics and organizational structure and processes to accommodate that. This is referred to as organizational agility.

Strategy and Tactic
Molokanova, Member
No strategy can be translated into reality if it is not backed up with projects at the tactical level. The process is even more low level.

Use of Edict Tactic
Arunas Beksta, Member
Training top level civil servants on Change Management I found that in current financial and political environment Governments tend to apply the Edict Tactic than other tactics.
The reasons for that are: distrust of civil servants by politicians, political decision making and time constrains (ministers are changing too often and each of them wants "to implement changes").
In most cases this causes strong resistance (and increases distrust of civil servants by politicians- self-fulfilling prophecy), decrease of motivation of civil servants, bad quality and reversible loops during implementation.


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