Rigorous support strategy making by breaking, rather than

Rigorous Adherence to a Strategy-MakingFrameworkThe case-study evidence further demonstrated Siemens’focus on long-termism and continuity.Throughout the entire field study, there was strongevidence of continuity as one of the keys in Siemens’strategy-making approach. According to the FinancialTimes, von Pierer hopes that Siemens illustrates such”time-honored German corporate values such asconcern with. .

. reliability and long-term thinking”(Financial Times, January 21, 2002). In the words ofthe CEO, himself:”Siemens is proud of its 150-year-old tradition. And ourTop Plus Program today bases its core elements on the valuesand strategies of our founder, Werner von Siemens.Part of this company philosophy is that we think and workwith a view to the future.

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We don’t believe in the shortterm ‘get in get out’ strategy many believe we should follow”(von Pierer, speech, February 13, 1997).Discussion. The long-term orientation of Siemens is inmany ways the antithesis of the recent strategy-makingliterature. In a well-known article, Mintzberg(1994) has investigated the ‘fall and rise of strategicplanning,’ concluding that strategy makers shouldact as catalysts who support strategy making bybreaking, rather than extending the existing frame(1995, 108). Likewise, Eisenhardt (1989, 65) hasalerted her readers to approaches to unleash collectiveintuition, accelerate constructive conflict, andmaintain decision pacing, rather than adhering rigorouslyto a strategy-making approach over time. Hamelempirically confirmed the importance ofdiscontinuous strategy that nurtures a culture of ‘corporaterebels’ in detailed analyses across 20 industries(Hamel, 2000). This author emphasized theneed to ‘develop corporate activists’ who rebelagainst ‘corporate apparatchiks’ (2000, 145).

Thus,in contrast to the case-study evidence, the more recentliterature provides conceptual and empiricalevidence for the conjecture that rigorous adherenceto a strategy-making framework is deficient.The case-study evidence, however, ties in very wellwith the more established literature in descriptiveimagination. To quote Porter: ”Having a strategy isa matter of discipline” (Porter, 2001, 70). The distinguishingfeature of descriptive imagination in strategymaking is its propensity to focus on a’disciplined’ extension of the current strategy in linewith the descriptions of the environment gatheredthrough experience or analysis (Roos and Victor,1999; Porter, 1980, 1985).The apparent paradox between the foci on rigorousadherence to a specific framework and a more eclecticand serendipitous approach can be reconciled bythe following quote by von Pierer:”When a company like ours has endured and thrived forover 150 years, it might be tempting to rely on successfulrecipes used in the past. But today that would be fatal.And any recipe has a short shelf life. Imagine a pilotannouncing on a flight: ‘I have some good news and somebad news.

The bad news is we have lost one engine andour direction finder. The good news is we have a tail windand wherever we are going, we are getting there at 600miles an hour.’ Everybody would be rather upset at thenews. Yet companies often fly like this plane—directionless,lacking purpose, being pushed swiftly along by thewinds of circumstances” (von Pierer, speech, June 19,2000).


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