A Processual Operational Framework for Implementation of Strategies and Policies: An Iterative Grounded Approach
47 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2011 Last revised: 2 Jan 2012
Date Written: December 16, 2011
Successful implementation of strategies is the key to good performance. Research clearly highlights the role of implementation variables in explaining performance. Despite this critical importance, research in public or business policy has shown a greater emphasis on formulation. The little research on implementation has generated frameworks with concepts which have little agreed definitions and associated difficulty in operationalizing them. The result is that research on implementation is fragmented with lack of theory building. A lack of a dominant framework addressing needs of practioners and researchers has left them without a reference point to guide them in their endeavors. Thus there is a need to develop a framework at the operational level which would address the needs of the practioner, bridge the gap between theory and practice and enable an integration of the perspectives on implementation.
This paper attempts to bridge this gap. To operationalize a concept means to define it in terms of observable physical operations. Using this definition, the paper attempts to generate an operational framework for implementation. Using a practioners narrative as cases, the paper links the actions taken to implement Health care programmes in the rural context in India into identifiable patterns and knit them into an operational framework.
Successful strategy implementation means effective organizational adaptation over time. Strategic flexibility, represented by flexible resources, capabilities and broad strategic schemes creates potential in organizations to enable them to adapt to wider variations in the environment. Flexibility also means preparedness.
The paper attempts to show that the key to successful implementation lies in identification and management of key strategic resources and therefore is a function of the organizational property of strategic flexibility. The paper further shows that flexibility is a managerial task involving identification of strategic resources (includes capabilities) and creation of processes to manage them. It also involves an ability to understand and adapt to changing contexts. This identification becomes more critical in case of strategies which are meant for delivery of services where human resources are the key strategic resources and key capabilities reside in them.
The implication of such an operational framework is that practicing managers would be in a position to rely on an empirically derived instrument which would guide them in successful implementation of strategies.
Keywords: operational frame work, implementation, strategic resources, adaptation
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