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Let Chaos Reign, Then Rein In Chaos--Repeatedly: Managing Strategic Dynamics For Corporate Longevity


  • Burgelman, Robert A.

    (Stanford U)

  • Grove, Andrew S.


Combining longitudinal field research and executive experience, we propose that corporate longevity depends on matching cycles of autonomous and induced strategy processes to different forms of strategic dynamics, and that the role of alert strategic leadership is to appropriately balance the induced and autonomous processes throughout these cycles. We also propose that such strategic leadership is the means through which leadership style exerts its influence on corporate longevity. Our findings can be related to organizational research on structural inertia, learning and adaptation, as well as to formal theories of complex adaptive systems. They also contribute to resolving the seeming contradiction between a study of corporations that attributes exceptional long-term success to leadership style, and the more common proposition that strategy is the determinant of long-term performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Burgelman, Robert A. & Grove, Andrew S., 2007. "Let Chaos Reign, Then Rein In Chaos--Repeatedly: Managing Strategic Dynamics For Corporate Longevity," Research Papers 1954, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1954

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael T. Hannan & L·szlÛ PÛlos & Glenn R. Carroll, 2004. "The evolution of inertia," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 213-242, February.
    2. Jerker Denrell, 2004. "Random Walks and Sustained Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(7), pages 922-934, July.
    3. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-131, March.
    4. Joseph Farrell & Hunter K. Monroe & Garth Saloner, 1998. "The Vertical Organization of Industry: Systems Competition versus Component Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 143-182, June.
    5. Robert A. Burgelman, 1983. "Corporate Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management: Insights from a Process Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(12), pages 1349-1364, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Linder, 2016. "Fostering strategic renewal: monetary incentives, merit-based promotions, and engagement in autonomous strategic action," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 251-280, May.
    2. Burgelman, Robert A. & Grove, Andrew S., 2007. "Cross-Boundary Disruptors: Powerful Inter-Industry Entrepreneurial Change Agents," Research Papers 1978, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. Dai, Ye & Du, Kui & Byun, Gukdo & Zhu, Xi, 2017. "Ambidexterity in new ventures: The impact of new product development alliances and transactive memory systems," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 77-85.
    4. repec:rfa:bmsjnl:v:3:y:2017:i:4:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:manint:v:58:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11575-017-0333-z is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Chae, Bongsug (Kevin), 2012. "An evolutionary framework for service innovation: Insights of complexity theory for service science," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(2), pages 813-822.
    7. Leonhard Dobusch & Elke Schüßler, 2013. "Theorizing path dependence: a review of positive feedback mechanisms in technology markets, regional clusters, and organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 617-647, June.
    8. Matthew J. Mazzei & David J. Ketchen & Christopher L. Shook, 0. "Understanding strategic entrepreneurship: a “theoretical toolbox” approach," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-33.
    9. Lages, Luis Filipe & Mata, Jose & Griffith, David A., 2013. "Change in international market strategy as a reaction to performance decline," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(12), pages 2600-2611.
    10. Torben J. Andersen & Richard A. Bettis, 2015. "Exploring longitudinal risk-return relationships," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(8), pages 1135-1145, August.
    11. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:811-:d:98409 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Manuel Hensmans & Guangyan Liu, 2016. "How do the normativity of headquarters and the knowledge autonomy of subsidiaries co-evolve?," iCite Working Papers WP2016-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    13. Mary Han & Bill McKelvey, 2016. "How to Grow Successful Social Entrepreneurship Firms? Key Ideas from Complexity Theory," Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 24(03), pages 243-280, September.
    14. Ming Piao & Edward J. Zajac, 2016. "How exploitation impedes and impels exploration: Theory and evidence," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(7), pages 1431-1447, July.
    15. Hung, Shih-Chang & Tu, Min-Fen, 2014. "Is small actually big? The chaos of technological change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1227-1238.
    16. repec:spr:intemj:v:13:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11365-016-0419-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Guktae Kim & Moon-Goo Huh, 2015. "Exploration and organizational longevity: The moderating role of strategy and environment," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 389-414, June.
    18. Jean-Philippe Vergne & Colette Depeyre, 2015. "How do firms adapt? A fuzzy-set analysis of the role of cognition and capabilities in U.S. defense firms’ responses to 9/11," Post-Print hal-01274005, HAL.
    19. Omarini, Anna, 2017. "The Digital Transformation in Banking and The Role of FinTechs in the New Financial Intermediation Scenario," MPRA Paper 85228, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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