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Journal of Management Development

The evolving role of strategic management development


Paul Brown

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The evolving role of strategic


management development

The evolving
role of SMD

Paul Brown
University College Northampton, Northampton, UK

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Abstract

209
Received May 2004
Accepted May 2004

Purpose To validate conceptual frameworks for strategic management development. Also, to test
the hypothesis that the objectives and design of a strategic management development programme
need to match the organisations level of commitment to strategic management and the degree of
maturity of its strategic management processes and competencies, in order that the programme can be
effective in enhancing the strategic capability of the organisation.
Design/methodology/approach Earlier work by the author (based on literature review and one
case study) had generated two conceptual models which could help in the understanding of strategic
management development. One provides a life-cycle typology matching an organisations level of
commitment to strategic management with the design of an effective strategic management
development programme. The second provides a causal network showing how strategic management
capability may be developed. In this paper case study research is reported from six organisations to
provide data, which are mainly qualitatative, to test the hypothesis and conceptual models.
Findings Both the life-cycle typology and the conceptual models are supported by the further case
study work. It was also found that the dominant strategy-making mode in the organisation can
influence the potential for strategic management development. Where the command mode of strategy
making is dominant the strategic aspects of a management development programme are inhibited
because this is not consistent with the command culture.
Research limitations/implications The generalisability of the findings is constrained by the
small sample size of six organisations. However, given the paucity of theory in the field of strategic
management development, the findings contribute to the conceptual understanding of this subject.
Originality/value The models proposed give insights into the complexities of strategic
management development and can be used to inform analysis and planning of more effective
strategic management development interventions.
Keywords Strategic management, Corporate strategy, Management development
Paper type Conceptual paper

Introduction
For over 15 years it has been contended that management development (MD) has a
strategic role to play in organisations. Constable and McCormick (1987) recommended
that MD should be an integral part of strategic plans and strategic change. Cannon
(1994) proposed that MD needed a renewed emphasis on its impact on corporate
performance and improved competitiveness. Thomson et al. (1997) reported that MD
was lagging behind and derived from change rather than helping to shape it, and was
inadequately linked to organisational strategies. These UK findings were mirrored in
US studies (e.g. McClelland, 1994; Seibert et al., 1995).
Such findings drove attempts to identify best-practice in MD, especially for senior
managers who were thought to be most able to influence strategy and performance
(e.g. Cannon, 1995; Hussey, 1996; Bolt, 1993; Burack et al., 1997; Michael, 1993;

Journal of Management Development


Vol. 24 No. 3, 2005
pp. 209-222
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0262-1711
DOI 10.1108/02621710510584035

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210

Osbaldeston and Barham, 1992; Seibert et al., 1995; Horwitz, 1999; Boshyk, 2000; James,
2001).
While considerable consensus emerged from such studies and there was a strong
empirical and practitioner foundation, there was a paucity of conceptual frameworks
and theory to help explain the phenomena described. The emphasis was on practice
from well-known and well-regarded organisations which were thought to be doing
something right. Such theory and conceptual frameworks as did exist were mostly
from mainstream MD thinking, which did not necessarily emphasise the strategic
contribution of MD. A few models were helpful in positioning different types of MD,
some of which had a strategic role (e.g. Patching, 1998; Talbot, 1997). However,
exploration of the contingency factors that might help determine which type of MD is
best suited to a particular situation remained under-developed.
This research was designed to make a contribution towards filling some of these
knowledge gaps, thus increasing the understanding of whether and how MD can
realise its strategic potential.
Strategic management development
The writer has defined strategic management development (SMD) as:
Management development interventions which are intended to enhance the strategic
capability and corporate performance of the organisation.

Case study research (Brown, 2004) has demonstrated that SMD can act as a catalyst for
change at a strategic level, contributing to the generation and adoption of new strategic
management processes and strategies (as well as being associated with change
management and strategy implementation) (see Figure 1).
This causal network shows how strategic drift (the organisation getting more and
more out of step with its environment, with accompanying organisational performance
problems) can act as a trigger for the generation or renewal of a SMD programme
(SMDP). This can help increase commitment to strategic management in the
organisation, which can be seen as an intervening variable in the creation of new
strategic management processes and competencies. Consequently the development of
enhanced capability in strategic management occurs both directly from SMD and
indirectly through the new strategic management processes. Strategic implementation
teams, which may sometimes be a formal part of SMD (e.g. with delegates working on
projects) both deploy and develop further the new strategic competencies. This model
is probably most applicable in situations where commitment to, and capability in,
strategic management are low and at first the network of interrelationships is likely
to be underdeveloped and incomplete. As the organisation gains in strategic maturity
so the role and design of SMD might be expected to change.
This analysis (see also Brown, 2004) gave rise to the main hypothesis for this
research:
The objectives and design of a strategic management development programme need to match
the organisations level of commitment to strategic management and the degree of maturity of
its strategic management processes and competencies, in order that the programme can be
effective in enhancing the strategic capability of the organisation.

This hypothesis thus proposes that the matching of strategic management


commitment and the capability to the design of the SMDP will allow the latter to

The evolving
role of SMD

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211

Figure 1.
Causal network showing
how strategic
management capability
may be developed

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212

complement, and encourage, the development of organisational and individual


competencies in strategic management. This matching might, over time, evolve
through a number of stages as shown schematically in Table I. It is also inferred in the
hypothesis that the development of strategic management capability will lead to
improvements in the corporate performance of the organisation. Table I builds on the
ideas of Gluck et al. (1982) and Newkirk-Moore and Bracker (1998) as well as the
research (Brown, 2003, 2004) described above.
It is possible that an organisation with a low commitment to strategic management
will be in a slow-changing environment, or in one that has only recently experienced an
increase from low to higher levels of dynamism and/or complexity. Therefore as the
level of environmental turbulence (dynamism and complexity) increases it is likely that
the organisation will need to move to higher levels of commitment to strategic
management and the life cycle sequence of Table I may be followed. An alternative
explanation for low commitment to strategic management might be that such
organisations have so far pursued strategies which are associated with lower levels of

Commitment to
strategic management

Organisational features

Role of SMDP

Low (level 1)

Strategy stuck except for low levels


of emergent/incremental change
Strategic drift
Little participation in strategy
making
Change projects rare/poorly handled

Emerging (level 2)

Experimentation with mechanisms


for strategic debate and decision
making
New language of strategic
management
Greater participation
Uncertainty over strategic direction
Dissatisfaction with current strategy,
i.e. position or performance
Embedding of mechanisms for
strategic debate and decision making
Consensus on strategic direction can
be achieved
Systems and processes adapted to
facilitate strategic management
High commitment to strategic
management evident through culture
and systems
Continuous review of high-level
strategies
Effective implementation of strategy

Introduce knowledge and language


of strategic management
Exploratory discussions on
strategic direction
Forming stage of teambuildinga
among senior managers
Mutual support role for participants
Forum for discussing proposals and
recommending strategies
Confronting issues: storming
stage of teambuilding
Recognition of need for strategic
management competencies

Developed (level 3)

Mature (level 4)

Table I.
Evolving role of SMD

Source: a Tuckman (1965)

Competencies in strategic
management defined and being
developed
Cascading of organisational
strategy to managers own units
Norming stage of teambuilding
Strategic implementation through
project teams and cascading of
change projects
Succession planning and cascade
development of strategic
management competencies
Performing stage of teambuilding

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strategic management commitment and/or capability, for example, the reactor and
defender styles of Miles and Snow (1978).
In contrast the prospector and analyser styles (Miles and Snow, 1978) require
stronger strategic management commitment and capability. That organisations may
operate in similar environments, but have different levels of commitment to strategic
management, was demonstrated in the case of small American banks studied by
Newkirk-Moore and Bracker (1998). It was found that business performance was
highest when levels of both commitment to the strategic planning process, and the
frequency of strategic planning training, were high.
The aim of this research, therefore, was to test the hypothesis and life-cycle model
using a small number of case study organisations. There will be limitations to the
generalisability of the funding because of the sample size. However, this methodology
does allow the gathering of rich qualitative data, and the use of qualitative approaches
to test theories has been defended by Van Maanen (1983) and Yin (1990).
Strategy-making modes
Some explanation is now given of strategy-making mode, which was to emerge as an
important variable in the study. Hart (1992) produced a typology of five
strategy-making modes which has gained wide acceptance as a theoretical model.
The typology has implications for SMD in outlining alternative processes for strategy
formulation with which SMD might interact, and identifying strategy-making modes
which engage multiple levels of management.
In the Command Mode strategy is made by a strong individual leader supported
by a few top managers. Analysis and option evaluation is used to provide deliberate,
fully formed, ready to implement strategies. Other people in the organisation are
good soldiers who execute the strategy. This might work in an industry
environment that is relatively simple and hence can be understood by one or a few
people. The organisation will probably be relatively small, so that one person can still
maintain effective control.
In the Symbolic Mode top management creates a clear and compelling vision, which
gives meaning to the organisations activities and provides a sense of identity for
employees. This long-term vision can be translated into specific targets and there is an
implicit control system based on shared values. Speeches, persuasion, new projects and
recognition provide focus and momentum to guide the creative actions of individuals.
The flexibility of this mode is said to suit dynamic environments, and larger more
differentiated organisations which may be growing or re-orienting through proactive
strategies (such as prospector or analyser (Miles and Snow, 1978)).
In the Rational Mode there is a more comprehensive system of formal strategic
planning with written strategic and operating plans. There is upward sharing of data
and a high level of information processing and analysis. Detailed plans and
well-developed control systems are seen. It is likely to be found in larger firms
defending established strategic positions in relatively stable environments (defender
strategies).
The Transactive Mode employs strategy making based on interaction and learning
rather than the execution of a predetermined plan (which is precluded by the inability
of top management to understand a complex environment fully). Features of this mode
are cross-functional communication, feedback and learning, and dialogue with key

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role of SMD

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stakeholders, thus necessitating an iterative approach to strategy making. Initiatives


such as just-in-time (JIT), total quality management (TQM) and customer focus provide
vehicles for these transactions. Top management is concerned with facilitation and
linking outcomes over time to determine strategic direction. This is said to suit large
mature firms operating in complex environments, e.g. following analyser strategies
aimed at incremental product or service improvement.
Finally, the Generative Mode has features that were also highlighted in the work of
Burgelman (1983), and Wooldridge and Floyd (1990). New ideas emerge upwardly from
intrepreneurship. Top managers mainly encourage experimentation and select and
nurture high-potential proposals. New strategies are germinated by separating
innovative activity from the day-to-day work of the operating organisation. Product
champions, who can link new ideas with organisational resources to make them a
commercial reality, are important. The strategy is continuously adjusted to reflect the
pattern of high potential innovations that emerge from below. This mode is said to suit
turbulent environments, and prospector strategies in complex and fragmented
markets.
Harts later empirical work (Hart and Banbury, 1994) produced evidence that the
more an organisation was able to develop competence in multiple modes of the
strategy-making process, the higher its performance. Modes may combine
sequentially, e.g. symbolic vision from senior management followed by generative
invention and implementation from middle managers. These findings were
theoretically associated with the resource-based view of strategy. Firms able to
accumulate more complex resources and capabilities in strategy making should be
more successful at sustaining competitive advantage than those firms with simpler or
less-developed capabilities (Barney, 1991, cited in Hart and Banbury, 1994).
Research design
To test the main hypothesis, and the associated model (Table I), it was necessary to
extend the study beyond the single organisation of the original case study (Brown,
2004). It was decided to select a number of UK organisations which displayed a range
of levels of commitment to strategic management (as indicated through the
operationalisation of this concept in a pilot postal questionnaire) and which had senior
MD programmes. Five organisations were selected for more detailed study using
semi-structured interviews and company documentation. Anonymised details of these
organisations, together with the organisation studied in the first case study, are shown
in Table II.

Table II.
Organisations included in
the sample

Organisation

Sector

A
B
C
D
E
F

Construction and engineering


Defence systems
Financial services
Retail
Telecommunications
Education

Note: a Division of a larger corporation

Number of employees
23,000
11,500a
13,000
4,500
5,000
1,200

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In the interviews with senior human resource development managers, two sets of
questions were asked to assess the organisations commitment to strategic
management and to evaluate their SMDP (see Appendix).
These data were supplemented by further information from the postal
questionnaire and company documentation (e.g. annual report, web site, MD
prospectuses).
The results for one company will be described in detail to illustrate how the analysis
of data helped identify strategy-making modes and position a company and its SMDP
in a life-cycle stage of Table I.
Case study company A
Strategic planning in company A is well developed. There are clearly documented
plans, at corporate and divisional level, covering a five-year period, which are revised
annually. Corporate plans are produced by a central strategy team reporting to the
chief executive. Each divisional plan is produced by the divisional senior management
team (including the general managers of business units), which has someone with
specific responsibility for strategy. That person and the divisional managing director
present the strategic review to the main board. The strategy-making process has a
strong upward (from divisions) thrust and a demand for entrepreneurship at business
unit level, exhibiting features of Harts Rational and Generative modes.
There are systems to support the strategic management process the annual
resource planning and development cycle provides a resource plan to link to the
strategic plan (though it does not strongly incorporate human resource planning apart
from senior management succession planning and talent spotting).
The strategic process is supported by statements of mission, values and key
strengths. Overall the organisations strategy is thought to be durable over time, and
communication of it is good at corporate and business unit levels, but less so at
divisional level where there is often uncertainty about how the different business
units fit together, what the synergies are, and where we should be looking to expand
capability.
These organisational features provide evidence of progression to the highest level of
commitment to strategic management (CSM) in Table I. The features of level 3 such as
the embedding of systems for strategic debate and decision making, and systems and
processes to facilitate strategic management, have been seen to exist. Indicative of level
4, there is a continuous (annual) strategic review and a high commitment to strategic
management is apparent from for example the central strategic planning team and
the divisional senior managers who have particular responsibility for strategic
management. The company has reported impressive growth and strong and
improving financial results this may be taken as evidence of the effective
implementation of strategy.
There are some areas where improvements in commitment to strategic management
might be sought but these shortcomings can be viewed in the context of the continuing
development of strategic management, which was evident in the company.
There are three different MD programmes that operate at senior or strategic level.
The core senior management programme is targeted at those newly appointed to the
senior management team of a business unit. Formal training inputs are phased to cover
strategic management, implementation and control, while simultaneously each

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delegate works on a strategic plan for his/her own business unit. This is then presented
to the sponsoring senior management team. The strategic planning project is
fundamentally a learning process . . . but there should be some stuff in there that is
really capable of being adopted. However, because delegates are relatively new in post
there can be issues of peoples ability to get a platform or have the authority to take
some of the ideas forward. To help encourage the implementation of ideas there is a
review after four to five months to look at progress made. There is no formal link
between the project and the annual performance appraisal process. One of the benefits
of the programme is in bringing delegates together from disparate parts of the
company and some of the best projects have actually looked at harnessing capabilities
from different bits of the company to create a whole new business opportunity.
This programme clearly uses real strategic business issues as learning vehicles, and
does sometimes produce direct business benefits from the projects. While the
interaction between delegates is a key element this is not formalised within the
structure of the programme greater group involvement in the project work could be
beneficial. Also greater linkages with the performance appraisal system might help
provide support for the development and implementation of ideas.
Another programme, attracting 400 middle managers, is clearly aligned to one of
the main elements of the companys strategy. Described as more of an OD
intervention, the emphasis is on defined behavioural skills associated with building
strategic partnerships with clients, change management and entrepreneurship. It is
intended to break down internal barriers so that all of the companys capability can be
brought to bear on any particular clients needs. Learning networks, line manager
mentors and personal learning contracts are used. Participants work on live business
issues with inter-module assignments and are encouraged on residential modules to
experiment with new behaviour in a safe environment.
When mapped against the SMDP dimension of Table I the requirements of level 3
are seen to have been met. The defining and developing of strategic management
competencies (such as strategic partnership skills), and the cascading of organisational
strategy to managers own units (in the core programme) are evidenced. There is less
evidence that the use of MD for strategy implementation is strongly present, since the
interventions described are mostly concerned with learning rather than real strategy
implementation. Where real strategy implementation is attempted it is somewhat
disconnected from the mainstream strategic management process and does not carry
the full support of other senior managers and directors. Nevertheless, this programme
does have a strong strategic focus, and strategic management competencies are being
cascaded within the organisation e.g. through the line managers
coaching/mentoring role. Also, the companys MD programmes do clearly support
succession planning. In these respects a number of the hypothesised conditions for
level 4 are met. Overall the programmes have some strong strategic roles, and advance
beyond level 3, though not fully meeting the level 4 role of SMDP in the typology. The
evaluation of the programmes indicated that they were successfully contributing to
strategic capability.
Analysis
Table III analyses possible objectives for MD programmes (derived from literature
review) that were included in the postal questionnaire, sub-dividing them into those

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Strategic

Functional

Developing abilities to manage change


Developing abilities in strategic management
Developing entrepreneurial behaviour
Encouraging innovation and creativity
Helping formulate or refine corporate strategy

Improving current job performance


Developing managers to handle a bigger job
Identifying high-fliers for succession planning

Helping the organisation achieve its strategic


objectives
Communicating and clarifying corporate strategy
Shaping and modifying a culture
Creating a common purpose
Creating a cadre of change agents

Preparing managers for lateral moves


Developing leadership ability
Building teamwork and networks

The evolving
role of SMD

217

Table III.
Classification of
objectives in SMDP

with a strategic emphasis and those with a more functional or operational emphasis.
The interpretation of strategic used here has included change management,
innovation/creativity and entrepreneurial behaviour as well as other strategic
management aspects. It was evident from the interview analysis that some of the SMD
programmes did not have a strong strategic focus, and this concept was
operationalised as the SMD score.
The SMD score (maximum 4.0) was derived from the postal questionnaire results to
reflect the extent to which strategic objectives for the MD programme were set and
achieved. This can be contrasted with the functional management development (FMD)
score (maximum 4.0) which measured the extent to which functional/operational
objectives were set and achieved.
Table IV shows the results for each of these variables. The data indicate that for
organisations B and C the programme was not designed to have a strong strategic
effect. The other four organisations all scored above the midpoint on the scale for
strategic objectives. The indication that in B and C the programmes did not have a
strong strategic role was supported by the interview data. For B, the programme
(which was organised at group level) was not deemed to be very successful and did not

Strategic
management
development
score
Organisation

Functional
management
development
score

2.6

2.8

B
C

1.7
1.7

1.8
2.3

3.0

2.2

E
F

2.6
2.4

3.2
2.0

Commitment
Strategy-making to strategic SMDP
management level
modes
Rational
generative
Rational
Command
rational
Command
rational
Rational
Symbolic
rational

SMDP
enhances
strategic
capability

3/4

4
4?

1
1

2
1/2

2
1/2

U
U

Table IV.
Overall summary of
results

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have a direct strategic linkage to the division. In C each manager had an individually
tailored development plan and there was little group activity. The diversity of
individual programmes meant that there was not a common strategic focus in MD
activities, and there was more emphasis on job performance and succession planning.
It is also worth noting that only in the cases of D and F were the strategic scores higher
than the functional scores, indicating that even A and E (as well B and C) were
apparently placing greater emphasis on the functional objectives of their programmes.
To assess the strategy making modes, level of commitment to strategic
management, and SMDP level similar analysis to that described for organisation A
was conducted.
From the qualitative evaluation of the programmes (as illustrated with organisation
A) it was concluded that those of A, E and F were contributing to the development of
strategic capability in the organisation, but this was much less apparent in B, C and D.
Hypothesis testing
Table IV provides a basis for testing the main hypothesis, by examining the
relationship between the organisations CSM (CSM level) and the design of the SMD
programme (SMDP level).
It has been seen that in the cases of two organisations (B and C) the senior MD
programmes do not have strong strategic aims. For B, although the organisation has a
strong commitment to strategic management, the MD programme was commissioned
at group level and has no direct links with the divisions strategy. While this may not
be an optimal situation, it seems that it is tolerated because the slow-changing
environment in which B operates has not provided sufficient stimulus to move to a
more strategic form of MD (as reflected in the low SMD score of 1.7). Thus there is
mismatch between CSM and SMDP levels (shown as level 4 and level 1 respectively).
However the SMDP at B is not considered to be very effective and would probably
benefit from further development to a higher level on the typology. This is consistent
with the hypothesis, i.e. because of the mismatch between CSM and SMDP levels the
programme is not effective in enhancing strategic capability.
In the case of C, the organisation apparently has a high CSM level. From the
interview data many aspects of Level 4 were seen. However, because the dominant
strategy-making mode is Command there is little participation by managers in the
strategy formulation process. This aspect is therefore also absent from the SMDP
which was judged to be at level 1. The programme does not have prominent strategic
management aims and this is probably a reflection of the Command style. This
situation may be acceptable because although the organisations environment is
dynamic it is not especially complex. There is not a strong international dimension,
and the organisations activities are focused in financial services rather than being
diversified. Therefore the executive directors may be able to monitor environmental
trends and competitive action and make the key strategic decisions needed. The
evidence from C is that the hypothesis is supported.
The Command strategy-making style is also exhibited by D. Again it was found
that the senior MD programme does not contribute significantly to strategy
formulation, which is consistent with the Command style. Hence although there is a
high commitment to strategic management (Level 4) this is not reflected in the SMDP.
Like C, D has apparently been able to prosper under a Command mode (and in both

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cases this is accompanied by elements of the Rational strategy-making mode). D also


has a relatively simple environment, uncomplicated by diversification and, to a more
qualified extent, international considerations. (D does consider itself in competition
with some prestigious overseas retailers). Where D does differ from C is in a desire to
see some change in the strategy-making mode. There are demands for senior managers
to be more innovative, and for better change management. This is moving the
organisation to more Generative and Transactive modes. To support this the SMDP
has a greater strategic emphasis, at least in its intent as demonstrated by an
emphasis on vision and strategic awareness in the programme, and by the high scores
for strategic objectives (SMD score 3:0). However the SMDP does not connect closely
with the strategic aims and business development processes of the organisation, and
only very limited progress has been made in widening the strategic thinking capability
in the organisation. Difficulty had been experienced in making managers more
innovative, deriving from the historical hierarchical command culture which
demanded compliance rather than creativity. The new strategy-making modes are
far from embedded. Thus the level of SMD in the typology is low (level 2), still largely
reflecting the Command mode, and the hypothesis is supported.
The other three organisations, where the Command mode is less present, all
demonstrate a fit between the CSM level in the organisation and the SMDP level, and
the SMDP enhances strategic capability thus supporting the hypothesis. In the case of
F the organisation is in transition from level 1 of commitment to strategic management
to level 2. The SMDP was instrumental in facilitating this progression.
E is demonstrating movement towards establishing strategic management in the
organisation. It is already meeting the CSM level 2. The SMDP is at level 2, although is
less influential in the evolution of commitment to strategic management than at
F. There are some indications that this will change greater connection between the
SMDP and the organisations approach to strategic management is being mooted.
However, it seems that there is some optionality about this. Progression to higher
levels of commitment to strategic management may be helped by SMD, but SMD may
be only one of a number of causal variables (as was illustrated in Figure 1). Indeed at F
in the second year of the SMDP there was less emphasis on SMD, and other
management processes (which are not explicitly part of the MD initiative) were
employed to further the evolution of strategic management.
In A, SMD is seen in its most mature form (of the organisations contained in the
sample). Although not fully developed (there could be greater integration of projects
with real strategy implementation), there is a strong strategic focus. The SMDP was
positioned between levels 3 and 4, whilst the organisations commitment to strategic
management was more fully at level 4.
This analysis provides support for the hypothesis in all six cases. Also, it has been
seen that where there is a strong element of the Command strategy-making mode in the
organisation (as at C and D) the strategic aspects of the MD programme are inhibited
because this is not consistent with the Command culture. In particular, it has been seen
that in such cases the SMDP is unlikely to contribute to strategy formulation.
Development of new capabilities in strategic management
It has been noted that while SMD can play a significant role in the evolution of
strategic management competencies and processes, other variables are involved and

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may assume a more dominant role in that evolution. This was recognised in Figure 1
where new strategic management processes were seen to arise from the recognition of
organisational performance problems, and from an increased commitment to strategic
management. These effects were seen in several of the organisations including D and
E. Other aspects of the causal network could be recognised in the case studies. At E
strategic drift was a trigger for the decision to take an SMDP initiative. That strategic
capability could develop through the work of implementation teams and other new
strategic management processes was apparent at D.
It is therefore concluded that the causal network (Figure 1) has further empirical
support though the effects may only be partially apparent in any one organisation.
The diagram does appear to be useful in portraying the non-linear and multiple cause
relationships that might typically be found, but cannot claim to be exhaustive or
totally accurate in any one case, because of the uniqueness of each set of social
interactions.
Generalisability of the research
Given the small sample size it is necessary to question the representativeness of the
organisations studied and the generalisability of the findings. Within the small sample
the hypothesis was not supported in two organisations because of the effect of another
variable (mode of strategy making). It might be speculated that in a larger sample other
independent variables may have been detected.
All of the samples studied were large organisations based in the UK. No inferences
can be drawn about whether small private sector companies, voluntary sector
organisations, or non-UK organisations would have yielded similar results. The
sample included only one public sector organisation, which may not be representative
of that sector as a whole.
Thus the generalisability of the results is limited. The results have, however, given
valuable insights into the relationships explored. This new knowledge should be
employed sensitively when considering its applicability to other organisations. The
life-cycle model might be used to inform analysis and planning of MD, helping in the
diagnosis of organisational needs and in the design of more effective SMD
interventions.
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Appendix. Interview questions


Commitment to strategic management
.
How are strategic plans formulated?
.
Who is involved in the strategic planning process, and how?
.
How is the business and competitive environment monitored?
.
How are the plans structured, e.g. divisional, functional, SBU?
.
What is the scope of the plans? (For example financial, R&D, product/market
development, operations, HR.)
.
How well are the plans communicated, and to who?
.
How useful are the plans?
.
How are the plans translated into action?
.
How is performance against the plan monitored and reviewed?
.
What systems and procedures are in place to support these strategic management
processes?
.
How has commitment to strategic management evolved in recent years?
Strategic management development programme
.
What are the objectives of the programme? Who is it for?
.
What links are made to the business strategy, and how?
.
Is there a competency framework for strategic/senior management? (Obtain copy if
possible.)
.
Are there links with the performance management system?
.
Describe the main elements of the programme. Elaborate on interesting aspects, e.g.
project activities, strategic workshops.
.
How are the CEO and board involved in the programme?
.
How is the continuing development of strategic management competencies achieved? (For
example after the programme.)
.
Do managers cascade aspects of the programme or projects in their own areas? How?
.
Has the programme led to any new strategic management systems in the organisation?
.
Has the programme contributed to strategy formation?
.
How has the SMDP evolved in recent years and why?

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