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Long Range Planning

34/1 February 2001



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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Ronnie Lessem Managing in Four Worlds ronnie.lessem@buckingham.ac.uk

    The "Four Worlds" of this article are metaphors for cultural types found in each of the four corners of the globe. The author proposes a model for organisations based on a balance of each element; creating a business that is competitive yet co-operative, and rational yet holistic. The learning cycle to achieve such an integrated organisation has to include a tour of the four "knowledge worlds" to replace materially-based factors of production with knowledge-based ones. The model has already been used to varying degrees by a number of organisations, three of which are discussed in the article.

John Darragh and Andrew Campbell Why Corporate Initiatives Get Stuck? andrew.campbell@ashridge.org.uk

    Corporate initiatives are an essential tool for improving an organisation´s performance. They are the main vehicle through which the corporate centre creates additional value in its portfolio of businesses. However many initiatives are less than satisfactory and become "stuck", diverting energies and straining relationships. This paper gives a framework with nine root causes which can diagnose why an initiative has become stuck. The framework enables corporate managers to take more targeted actions which can free the initiative more quickly and with less unintended damage than traditional fixes. The paper also addresses a key corporate dilemma of knowing how hard to push an initiative that is starting to stick. Is this resistance due to a dislike of imposed change or are there good reasons for resisting it?

Michael Lissack and Johan Roos Be Coherent, Not Visionary

    Many executives feel the need to articulate an ideal end-state for their organisations - often in the guise of a corporate vision. Striking the balance between novelty and believability of such an ideal end-state is often tricky, and empirical evidence shows that people are neither satisfied with the vision nor the visioning process. This article argues that the very idea of having a corporate vision is one of limited use in today´s complex business landscape. When you perceive your world as instable and unpredictable what matters is being coherent rather than being visionary. Being coherent means being acting in a manner that reinforces who you are, as an organisation, given the current environment. It is such coherence that "makes sense" to us and to the others around us. The authors point out why executives need to replace visioning efforts with a focus on how to become and remain coherent throughout the prganisation. They also offer a few guiding principles on how to do this in practice.

John Mezias, Peter Grinyer and William D. Guth Changing Collective Cognition: A Process Model for Strategic Change

    In the last two decades the global economy has fundamentally changed competitive conditions. The emergence of competitively advantaged foreign-based firms threatens once secure home markets. The Increaseing rate of technological change has been accompanied by greater foreign competition from companies moving into technological dominance. Market signals and competitive moves have become harder to read because of the diversity of cultures embraced by global markets. Together these and other developments have increased the complexity and uncertainty surrounding firms and thus have increased the need for more frequent and significant reorientations of business and corporate strategies. During the last decade there has been an increasing use of facilitated workshops to help top management teams develop a new collective understanding to better facilitate strategic change. This paper identifies the barriers to change and discusses how to encourage organisational learning. It recommends a facilitated workshop on the proviso that six important components are present, and describes examples of previous workshops of varying levels of success to illustrate this. The paper details how to acheive these key components and sets out how each contributes to changing collective cognition.

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Long Range Planning - International Journal of Strategic Management
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