Ambiguity in the Strategy Process. An interpretive approach

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: A common conception of strategy is that it has to be communicated and interpreted the same way internally for strategy to be successful operationalised. How strategy is ultimately formed and used will depend on how it is interpreted by its users. This qualitative case study describes how organisational members, influenced by an extensive organisational assignment, interpret strategy differently. This results in ambiguity in the strategy process. For its purpose the thesis uses an interpretive approach to describe strategic tensions during strategy formulation and operationalisation. The studied organisation works with developing strategy for a regional industry. As a proxy and tool for strategy this thesis considers the business plan process. A result has been that ambiguity creates tensions in how employees interpret strategy and its process. Strategy is seen as being set by top management, while little is done at an organisational level. What unifies the organisation as a whole is the strong culture. How the organisation works with strategic issues largely stems from continuous social interactions and interpretations in autonomous units.

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