Taking a 'Deep Dive': What Only a Top Leader Can Do

55 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010

See all articles by Howard H. Yu

Howard H. Yu

IMD International

Joseph L. Bower

Harvard University - General Management Unit

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

Yu, Howard H. and Bower, Joseph, 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

Howard H. Yu (Contact Author)

IMD International ( email )

Ch. de Bellerive 23
P.O. Box 915
CH-1001 Lausanne

HOME PAGE: http://www.imd.org/about/facultystaff/Yu.cfm

Joseph Bower

Harvard University - General Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
617-495-6282 (Phone)
617-496-5271 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics