• Beyond planning: Strategies for successfully implementing strategic decidions.

      Miller, Susan J.; Wilson, D.C.; Hickson, David J. (2004)
      This article brings strategy back to managers and their organizations. It argues and demonstrates empirically that what managers do, and the kind of organization they lead, matter in terms of achieving stated objectives. Managerial action involves a set of activities from assessing the problem to prioritising action, and takes place within an organizational context which has two important elements for decision-making. First, organizations have an accumulated stock of experience, and the more managers can access and utilise this experience base the better. Secondly, the culture and structure of an organization may exhibit more or less readiness for the changes that decisions bring about, and contexts less ready for change pose problems for managers in the implementation of decisions. This long-term study of 55 decisions in UK firms shows that careful managerial planning does not of itself guarantee successful outcomes: the organizational context is crucial in framing actions and influencing achievement, and decisions may send a firm on a trajectory beyond the point at which it can plan with confidence. Where experience and readiness are strong, decisions achieve stated objectives¿where both are lacking, decisions tend to fail. But, as examination of two illustrative cases indicates, strength in either domain may be enough: sound experience may win out in comparatively unreceptive situations, and decisions may still succeed where experience is lacking but the organization is ready for change. The article closes with some implications for managers.
    • Planned or prioritized? Two options in managing the implementation of strategic decisions

      Hickson, David J.; Wilson, D.C.; Miller, Susan J. (2003)
      This paper presents findings from a study of 55 cases of decision implementation. The research identifies a number of features that characterize the way implementation is managed which appear to enhance the chance of success. Analysis reveals patterns in the data indicating that these features fall into two groupings, giving rise to two distinct approaches to implementation management. These are termed the Experience-based approach and the Readiness-based approach from the initial conditions which give rise to each. Although following either approach may enhance decision performance, the greatest success is associated with a dual approach. Implementations that follow neither are generally less successful. A theory of implementation management is postulated, comprising a Planned Option and a Prioritized Option.