An exploratory study of the relationship between senior leader behaviors and successful strategy execution

Joseph A DiFilippo, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between senior leader behaviors and successful (or failed) strategy execution for large organizations, as perceived by senior leaders who primarily plan strategy (i.e., planners) and those that primarily implement strategy (i.e., doers). To fulfill its purpose, this study was exploratory and qualitative in nature. This study included a total of 64 interviews, composed of 32 planners and 32 doers. The findings from this exploratory study show that both planners and doers perceive that the most impactful behaviors on strategy execution occur at the start of any implementation effort. Large firms have a plethora of barriers that could potentially derail any execution effort, thus making the actions of senior leaders at the start of any execution effort extremely important. Interestingly, this study determined that there are potentially significant perception differences between planners and doers. These differences appear substantial, and one can infer that understanding these differences could likely have a material impact organizational performance. Going forward, this study has implications for future research that apply to both practitioners and academics alike. Practitioners could use this study to further the field’s understanding of a leader’s attitudes, mindset, beliefs, and behaviors impact strategy execution, especially during times of significant change. From an academic perspective, this study could serve as a starting point to inform both the assumptions and methodological design of future empirical studies of observable leadership behaviors and their impacts on execution outcomes.

Subject Area

Business administration|Management

Recommended Citation

DiFilippo, Joseph A, "An exploratory study of the relationship between senior leader behaviors and successful strategy execution" (2016). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI10196569.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI10196569

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