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Long Range Planning

34/5 October 2001



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Gabriel Szulanski and Kruti Amin Learning to Make Strategy: Balancing Discipline and Imagination szulanski@wharton.upenn.edu

    Traditionally strategy-making has leaned towards either a disciplined approach, or one that embraces and utilises imagination. Each of these approaches contains strengths and weaknesses: discipline, though offering an analytical approach, rarely generates original insight; imagination, meanwhile, may give vent to innovative thinking, but it can lead to chaos and losing touch with reality. The authors of this paper argue that companies would be better served by combining these two approaches so that strategy-making is brought about through a balance called disciplined imagination. In this way, for example, the creative foresight of innovators can be channelled into realistic analysis.

Taieb Hafsi Fundamental Dynamics in Complex Organizational Change: A Longitudinal Inqury into Hyrdo-Quebec´s Management taieb.hafsi@hec.ca

    This article follows the roller-coaster history of the massive Canadian power utility Hydro-Québec over 20 years to show how unbalanced attempts to respond to political pressures and the expected future market squandered vital employee co-operation and reduced the status and viability of a once dynamic, prestigious firm, able literally to create most of the province's industrial capacity, to that of "just another boring, profit-oriented utility". This picture of "a war without the Red Cross" against "the fair-haired kids of Quebec" shows how the momentum of change efforts, and the single-minded pursuit of simplified management ideas reduced mangers ability to maintain a balanced overview of where change efforts are actually leading, and what they are risking. The paper identifies important dimensions in the maintenance of balance: Position within the environment, organisational Context and behaviour of People in the organisation's community. This three-legged PCP framework is proposed as a structure for understanding and managing complex change efforts and labels the tendency to lose touch with this balance as "the drift towards trivia".

Marc. J. Epstien and Marie-Josee Roy Sustainability in Action: Identifying and Measuring the Key Performance Drivers epstein@rice.edu

    Corporate social responsibility is moving higher up the board-room agenda as concern for the environment grows in society at large. But should strategies for environmental sustainability be implemented for their own sake? What are the effects on corporate financial performance of going down this road - or of ignoring it?. How can managers be guided through the trade-offs that ultimately must be made and assess how social performance impacts on overall long-term corporate profitability? This article presents a framework that describes the drivers of corporate social performance, the actions that managers can take to affect that performance, and the consequences of those actions on both corporate social and financial performance. Illustrated with references to strategies currently employed by corporations, the authors examine the effects of sustainability strategies on various corporation stakeholders from investors to employees, consumers and the community at large. Showing how companies are increasingly interested in gaining lasting strategic advantage through examining and improving relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, the authors argue that, as external costs become increasingly assignable, forward-looking corporate leadership requires reporting and assessment of both current and potential social and environmental impacts. The framework they present allows for the more careful understanding of both the drivers of social performance and the impacts of that performance on the various corporate stakeholders, permitting better integration of that information into the day-to-day operational decisions and the institutionalisation of social concerns throughout the organisation.


Mike Tayles and Colin Drury Moving From Make/Buy to Strategic Sourcing: The Outsource Decision Process m.e.tayles@bradford.ac.uk

    Companies are increasingly considering outsourcing components, processes and services. Yet sometimes the decision to outsource is done on an ad hoc basis, with little regard to group capital budgets. This paper sets out a linear model that will guide a company towards a sourcing solution that is integrated with the entire corporate strategy.

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Long Range Planning - International Journal of Strategic Management
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