How are strategy tools used in practice in a university context?
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Many business schools teach the importance of using strategy tools when engaging in strategizing activities. Despite this fact there is an ongoing debate concerning what is taught in business schools and what is actually used in practice. In spite of this debate there has been little research done regarding how these strategy tools are used in practice. This study seeks to address this through the adoption of a strategy as practice perspective which helped to identify what is actually practiced by managers while engaging in strategizing activities. Managers use strategy to respond to complex forces (social, political, economic) in their business environments. However to develop and implement strategy encompasses a full range of strategizing activities such as strategic thinking, strategic analysis, strategic decision making and implementation. Many business schools teach strategy tools are techniques which managers use to structure and influence strategizing activities. Previous research on strategy tools played emphasis on the benefits that can be derived if tools are used in different context. Others have highlighted the frequency of tool usage. Nevertheless, there is a need to make a review what is taught and how strategy tools are used in practice.
A qualitative study was conducted in two universities through the use of semi structured interviews to gather data. The use of an inductive and interpretivism perspective through a case study helped the researcher identify the context in which events were taking place. The choice of a small yet deliberate sample size was done to focus in on the various levels of management within these universities and to review how strategy tools were used at these levels. After each interview the interviewees were given a list of 15 strategy tools (all of which were taught in the researcher’s masters programme) to identify whether they used any of the strategy tools on the list and if they did how did they use them. It was noted from the empirical data acquired that quite often strategy tools were not always being used for the purpose for which they were taught nevertheless managers were altering components of various tools to meet their individual business needs. Strategy tools were often used to assist in strategic thinking and strategic decision making. Managers’ perception of strategy tools affected the extent to which tools were used and the frequency of usage. While strategy tools were often used for growth and development, communication and persuasion and best practices it was its use in sense-making and evaluation which indicated that there is a need for a greater understanding into how managers make sense of strategy tools. The study answers how strategy tools are used in practice in a university context by giving illustrations and quotations from the various interviewees regarding strategy tools.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Centrum för studier av vetenskap och värderingar (CSVOV) , 2009. , 78 p.
strategy tools, strategizing activities, strategic thinking, strategic decision making, implementation, sense-making
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1977OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1977DiVA: diva2:142608
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law
Nilsson, Andreas, Dr.