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Explain the key differences between intended and emergent approaches to developing strategy. Why might one be preferred to the other by strategic managers - Essay Example

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Explain the key differences between intended and emergent approaches to developing strategy. Why might one be preferred to the other by strategic managers
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Extract of sample "Explain the key differences between intended and emergent approaches to developing strategy. Why might one be preferred to the other by strategic managers"

Q Ans. It is a common practice among organizations to develop intended strategies which they have plans to follow in their attempt to be successful. However, over the passage of time, the situation and conditions of the organizations change and the organizations realize a set of new challenges and opportunities from time to time. Responding to these changes is important for an organization in order to attain competitive advantage and modify according to the needs of the context at a given time. This gives rise to emergent strategies. Organizations might also choose to adopt a product of intended as well as emergent strategies, which are referred to as realized strategies.
Factors that might convince an organization to adopt the emergent approach include a need to change according to the changing environment and context, advancement of technology paving way for new channels of communication and operation, unexpected and abrupt increase or drop in the value of currency, and stakeholder influence. Factors that might influence the emergent approach and optimize an organization’s tendency to stick to the intended approach include the commitment to the original vision and mission of the organization, and the constraints of resources.
A very good example of emergent approach is provided by Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard University student and the founder of Facebook. Zuckerberg’s intended approach in 2003 after being dumped by his girlfriend was to create the website “FaceMash” as a platform where the beauty of young women would be voted on. The website first evolved into Thefacebook online social network meant exclusively for the Harvard students. But the surprising and growing popularity of the website caused Zuckerberg to morph it into Facebook open to everybody in the world. “Ironically, Facebook’s emphasis on connecting with existing and new friends is about as different as it could be from Zuckerberg’s original mean-spirited concept” (Ketchen and Short, 2013). It can be stated without doubt that the emergent and realized strategies used by Zuckerberg proved much nobler for him compared to the intended strategy with which he had originally started his entrepreneurship.
A good example of intended approach to developing strategy is the intended strategy of General Electric (GE) in the later half of the 20th century, in the form of a direction from Jack Welch, the then CEO of the company, that all units of business were supposed to be number one or number two in their market or industry; or had a good likelihood of becoming number one or number two. This strategy was partially credited for the success of GE under the management of Jack Welch (Iaquinto, 2011).
There are certain factors that make one approach more attractive than other. Most of these factors are generally related to the stability of environment. In a stable and predictable environment, an organization finds it more useful to stick to the intended approach. On the other hand, an unstable and unpredictable environment imparts the need to modify the strategy according to the rising needs of the hour and thus adopt the emergent approach. Different environmental factors whose predictability and stability matters include but are not limited to value of currency, stakeholder influence, advancement of technology, and interests of consumers.
Iaquinto, AL 2011, Intended Strategies and Firm Performance: The case of Japanese Manufacturers, The Journal of Social Science, Vol. 72, pp. 5-22 [Online] Available at [accessed: 26 March 2014].
Ketchen, D, and Short, J 2013, Intended, Emergent, and Realized Strategies, [Online] Available at [accessed: 26 March 2014]. Read More
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