Towards a Mid Range Theory of Implementation: An Iterative Grounded Approach

30 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2011 Last revised: 12 Dec 2011

Date Written: October 2, 2011


Failure of implementation of strategies is ubiquitous as the phenomenon is still not well understood. This stems from the fact that it is still a neglected subject in strategy research, leading to a lack of development of theory and its subsequent cumulation to guide further research and practice. Yet its understanding holds the key to understanding of Sustained competitive advantage and strategic change. Methodologically, research on implementation has been hampered by the poor use of processual studies and the requirements of considerable time and effort at doing them. Thus a necessity exists for the development of a mid range theory of implementation which could guide research and through them practice. This paper attempts to fill this gap.

Using a multiple case embedded design; a processual study of the implementation of four national programmes in three states was conducted. An iterative process of explanation grounded in data coupled with literature enfolding facilitated the development of a mid range theory.

It positions the concept of resource dependency as central to process of implementation. It utilizes the concept of “Implementation organization” from public policy, “Cognitive architecture” from literature on learning, construct of “Motivation to produce” representing the fields of organizational theory and strategic management and concepts of VRIN resources and “attention theory” to develop this theory of implementation. Implementation has been shown to be the management of resource dependency of the organization, characterized by the identification of “Key resources”. The management of this requires attention of the top management to facilitate direction of the macro processes in line with the stated aim and governance of the micro processes for effective execution of the service delivery components. Thus implementation is a function of attention, direction and governance.

Suggested Citation

Narayana, Bhyrovabhotla V. L., Towards a Mid Range Theory of Implementation: An Iterative Grounded Approach (October 2, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Bhyrovabhotla V. L. Narayana (Contact Author)

Centre for Railway Information Systems ( email )

Centre For Railway Information systems , chanakya
New Delhi, delhi 110021
9971077115 (Phone)
9971077115 (Fax)

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