Managing strategic change: The ABCs of the "whys" and "hows"

Philip Andrew Lawson, University of Pennsylvania


Benjamin Franklin said that necessity is the mother of invention. An applicable analogy is that change is the father of the process created to manage through it. Strategic plans for change may not yield the results intended due to contextual variables that influence the intended outcome. The research developed in this work provides a framework for the examination of the relationship between strategic planning processes and the social context. There are two essential parts of the research: (i) the theoretical inquiry into strategic planning, and (ii) the qualitative field work and analysis of the social context. The theoretical segment is compared and contrasted with several schools of thought from the research literature on strategic planning. Specific attention is paid to the planning models and methods of analysis. The research is augmented with a focus on the behavior of organizational constituents, strategy formulation, and planning approaches within social contexts. The qualitative segment consists of research arising from full-time participant study while working within the finance, marketing, and field sales organizations of a General Electric--GE Capital subsidiary. The research data compiled while "living the experience" is an introspective, and illustrates the collision between its strategic business initiative and the actions of key actors. Four major areas are identified that arise from the strategic initiatives and appear to contribute to a gap between the plan and actual results. It is hoped that this work will promote an understanding of the relationship between contextual factors that impact strategic planning and the implementation of strategic plans.

Subject Area

Business costs|Marketing|Management

Recommended Citation

Lawson, Philip Andrew, "Managing strategic change: The ABCs of the "whys" and "hows"" (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9712960.