Strategic Alignment: Learning as an Instrument of Implementation
32 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2011 Last revised: 29 Nov 2011
Date Written: April 23, 2011
Evolution of strategic management has been like a swinging pendulum. Theoretically it has oscillated between perspective external to the firm and internal firm characteristics and methodologically between quantitative and qualitative methods. The rise of resource based view and associated knowledge based view has highlighted the critical need for firms to manage organizational knowledge to achieve competitive success.
Strategic management’s singular concern has been the explanation of performance of a firm. Yet its preoccupation with formulation and content of strategies and neglect of implementation has resulted in its inability to satisfactorily explain why certain firms consistently achieve good performance. The knowledge based view offered a promising avenue to address this issue. Yet, even today the role knowledge plays in determining the performance of a firm is not clear.
This paper attempts to bridge these gaps. It aims to show that learning is the instrument which firms use to achieve strategic alignment representing strategic change necessitated by changing environment and business opportunities. Firms which manage successfully the learning process, maintain a consistent attention towards identification of strategic capabilities needed and show a consistent allocation of resources towards the processes which generate and maintain them. These include mechanisms of exchange of knowledge across and within firms and a proactive involvement of customers in determining needs.
Using a case study that documents practices followed by a state public health system to achieve public health goals in advance of other states, the paper maps the cognitive architecture and its linkages to strategy process in the firm.
Keywords: Strategy implementation, Learning, Strategic alignment, Resource allocation, Cognitive architecture, operational framework
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