55 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010
Date Written: May 6, 2010
Unlike most historical accounts of strategic change inside large firms, empirical research on strategic management rarely uses the day-to-day behaviors of top executives as the unit of analysis. By examining the resource allocation process closely, we introduce the concept of a deep dive, an intervention when top management seizes hold of the substantive content of a strategic initiative and its operational implementation at the project level, as a way to drive new behaviors that enable an organization to shift its performance trajectory into new dimensions unreachable with any of the previously described forms of intervention. We illustrate the power of this previously underexplored change mechanism with a case study, in which a well-established firm overcame barriers to change that were manifest in a wide range of organizational routines and behavioral norms that had been fostered by the pre-existing structural context of the firm.
Keywords: Strategic Change, Resource Allocation Process, Top-down Intervention
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Yu, Howard H. and Bower, Joseph L., Taking a 'Deep Dive': What Only a Top Leader Can Do (May 6, 2010). Harvard Business School General Management Unit Working Paper No. 09-109. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1601293 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1601293