The design of organisations, products and processes for strategic flexibility : executive summary
Technological innovation and globalisation are driving profound economic, political and cultural\ud changes. There is a widespread acknowledgement that organisations need to be more strategically\ud flexible to cope with increased levels of competition and market change. The research reported here\ud has two objectives. The first is that of identifying the causes of strategic flexibility in organisations,\ud and the second being to implement methods of improving strategic flexibility.\ud A model of decision-making behaviour has been developed, which identifies the areas of individual\ud and group decision-making behaviour that affect strategic flexibility. The model has general\ud applicability. A significant cause of strategic inflexibility is a behavioural. dysfunction in individuals\ud that produces a much wider dysfunction in the organisation. The same model also provides the\ud basis for the evaluation and improvement of such behaviours. This has led to the development of\ud processes and tools to reduce the barriers to adopting high quality decision-making behaviour.\ud However, individual behavioural. change, while being an essential foundation, is insufficient on its\ud own to achieve high rates of organisational and technological adaptation at low levels of\ud disruption.\ud The second objective has been to implement a systematic process for integrating all players in a\ud strategically flexible organisation. In the absence of a consistent, systematic process, particularly for\ud organisational and technological innovation, a design model of the business has been originated\ud and developed. This has been shown to be applicable to a wide range of organisational cultures and\ud integrates recent trends in organisational thinking. Individual innovations in processes and tools,\ud which have been central to the development and introduction of the design model, have been\ud implemented in an organisation. These innovations are in the areas of innovation management,\ud portfolio management, product targeting and target agreement, and are described to achieve wider\ud application.\ud The concept of the brand has been shown to be a powerful 'attractor' to develop an organisation's\ud fundamental relationship with its environment in the long, medium and short term. Because the\ud values of a brand represent basic human motivational values, they provide stability for long term\ud planning and can align internal decision-making values, innovation and core competencies to the\ud benefit of the organisation and their workers, their customers and the wider environment.\ud The research work has shown that an organisation can meet the simultaneous requirements of\ud design speed, knowledge reuse, semi-independent decision-making and creativity at the lowest\ud possible level of the organisation. The concepts and tools are therefore valuable in supporting a\ud step-change in the performance of conventional and virtual organisations. The modular\ud partitioning of organisations, products and processes is compatible with the design model of the\ud business, -and the strategies are synergistic. While modularity in a traditional organisation. could\ud lead to decay and loss of strategic flexibility, its integration within the design model framework\ud supports a dynamically unstable, but continuously innovative and long-lived organisation.
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