Examining the strategy development process through the lens of complex adaptive systems theory

Hammer, Roger J. and Edwards, John S. and Tapinos, Efstathios (2012) Examining the strategy development process through the lens of complex adaptive systems theory. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 63 (7). pp. 909-919. ISSN 0160-5682 (https://doi.org/10.1057/jors.2011.97)

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The development of strategy remains a debate for academics and a concern for practitioners. Published research has focused on producing models for strategy development and on studying how strategy is developed in organisations. The Operational Research literature has highlighted the importance of considering complexity within strategic decision making; but little has been done to link strategy development with complexity theories, despite organisations and organisational environments becoming increasingly more complex. We review the dominant streams of strategy development and complexity theories. Our theoretical investigation results in the first conceptual framework which links an established Strategic Operational Research model, the Strategy Development Process model, with complexity via Complex Adaptive Systems theory. We present preliminary findings from the use of this conceptual framework applied to a longitudinal, in-depth case study, to demonstrate the advantages of using this integrated conceptual model. Our research shows that the conceptual model proposed provides rich data and allows for a more holistic examination of the strategy development process. © 2012 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved.