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Emergent Strategy

Covin et al. (2006) opined that entrepreneurial strategies are more likely to be emergent (i.e. realised patterns of actions not explicitly intended) than deliberate. As illustrated in Fig. 7.2, identified uncertainty in relation to market and new technology are crucial constituents that influence the strategy-making process (Elbanna and Child 2007). On the basis of literature, Chari et al. (2014) identified two important dimensions of uncertainty, namely market dynamism reflected in the rate of market change and technological instability over time (Simsek 2009), and market complexity in terms of the number and diversity of key market actors and the dispersion of actions needed for complex markets (Gavetti et al. 2005).

Emergent strategies will evolve and change over time reflecting the influence of organisational learning which occurs as managers acquire new knowledge and understanding of both markets and ongoing development of new technology. Feedback from the market and internally in relation to organisational processes will cause managers to reconsider and fine-tune the scope of their marketing strategies. The consequence of

Emergent strategy development and revision

Fig. 7.2 Emergent strategy development and revision

information influencing strategies realised through managerial thinking do not often correspond with the initially projected plans. Furthermore some strategies may remain unrealised having been proved unfeasible and therefore abandoned (Bisbe and Otley 2004).

To gain a further understanding of the influence of uncertainty and complexity on strategic thinking with organisations, Chari et al. undertook a study of UK manufacturing firms engaged in product innovation. Their results indicated that market dynamism and complexity both influence the evolution and revision in marketing strategies in the face of market uncertainty. They concluded that the impact of emergent product strategies on market performance is stronger where there are low levels of dynamism. They opined that this reflects the fact that managers cope better in less complex environments partially because of their ability to deal more effectively with fewer environmental imperatives. Their post-hoc interviews with respondents confirmed that high market complexity effectively undermines managers’ ability to understand their customers, to the detriment of efforts to safely revise activities such as optimising promotion strategies.

 
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