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Exploring the consequences of differentiated perceptions across hierarchical levels of “what matters” strategically for an organization’s future

MacKay, David and McKiernan, Peter (2012) Exploring the consequences of differentiated perceptions across hierarchical levels of “what matters” strategically for an organization’s future. In: EURAM Annual Conference, 2012-06-06 - 2012-06-08.

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Abstract

Does where we are in a corporate organizational structure influence what we think is important strategically? This paper addresses this question by examining detailed qualitative data of ‘strategic’ perceptions from multiple hierarchical levels within an organisational unit – a site within a division of a multi-national engineering services provider. The findings suggest that daily experiences and role identity effects associated with hierarchical position actively shape practitioner perceptions as to what activity is important to and influential on the organization’s future. The findings also suggest that strategic management behaviour which ignores differentiated views may harm the organization’s capacity to follow through on strategic initiatives by stoking organizational inertia, producing unnecessarily incomplete strategic plans and decreasing the likelihood of proactive issue-selling from lower hierarchical levels. In a more localized setting, once notions of what constitutes the ‘centre’ and the ‘periphery’ are revised to reflect distance to the locus of strategic power within the boundaries of the case study organizational unit, the findings of this paper also replicate and extend Regner’s (2003) propositions about the importance of balancing inductive and deductive modes of strategizing.