Strategy tools and strategy toys : management tools in strategy work

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2007-05-04
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Taloustieteiden kvantitatiiviset menetelmät
Quantitative Methods
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[188] s.
Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 297
This dissertation elaborates on the challenges and opportunities of strategy-tool use in strategy work. Strategy tools, such as Porter’s Five Forces, SWOT Analysis, Scenario Analysis, Executive Information Systems, and the Balanced Scorecard, are developed to support organizations with the complex demands of competitive markets and the quest for maintaining and creating strategic advantage. Strategy tools are often based on academic research and they are introduced into practice through business schools, consultants, popular business articles and strategy literature. There are currently hundreds of different strategy tools available in the market and executives in organizations use on average five different strategy tools - yet there have been very few studies on how strategy tools are used and how their use supports strategic success. The six studies of strategy-tool use, which make up this book, expand the traditional perspective on the notion of ‘use’ to include social, cultural, and political factors that shape the use of strategy tools in social environments. Furthermore, the Strategy-as-practice approach is utilized as an umbrella to bring together the different disciplines which are studying strategy tools. The study highlights that there is a shortage of strategy toys, i.e. strategy tools used to facilitate creative strategy work. Only three percent of the tasks for which strategy tools are used concern strategic innovation and development. On the other hand, a balance of strategy work activities that creatively explore new opportunities and activities that efficiently exploit known resources is intrinsic to long-term organizational survival and success. The dissertation suggests that the best way to facilitate strategic success with strategy tools is not to look for individual tools that provide correct answers to specific needs and institutional pressures, but to compile a balanced set of tools that caters to company’s aspirations. The study also draws attention to the power exerted by strategy tools, since they have both conscious and unconscious effects. The choice of which strategy tools to use is not insignificant, since each tool’s underlying assumptions and beliefs have a major impact on the strategy work carried out using it
Supervising professor
Wallenius, Jyrki, professor
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