IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hbs/wpaper/14-057.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Strategy and the Strategist: How it Matters Who Develops the Strategy

Author

Listed:
  • Eric Van den Steen

    () (Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit)

Abstract

This paper studies how strategy - formally defined as 'the smallest set of (core) choices to optimally guide the other choices' - relates to the strategist, for example, whether an optimal strategy should depend on who is CEO. The paper first studies why different people may systematically consider different decisions 'strategic' - with marketing people developing a marketing-centric strategy and favoring the marketing side of business - and derives two rational mechanisms for this outcome, one confidence-based and the other implementation-based. It then studies why it matters that it is the CEO and important decision makers (rather than an outsider) who formulate the strategy and shows that outsider-strategists often face a tradeoff between the quality of a strategy and its likelihood of implementation, whereas the CEO's involvement helps implementation because it generates commitment, thus linking strategy formulation and implementation. In some sense, the paper thus explains why strategy is the quintessential responsibility of the CEO. Moreover, it shows that the optimal strategy should depend on who is CEO. It then turns that question around and studies strategy as a tool for exerting leadership, asking when the set of strategic decisions are exactly the decisions a CEO should control to give effective guidance. It finally shows how a CEO's vision, in the sense of a strong belief, about strategic decisions makes it more likely that the CEO will propose a strategy and that that strategy will be implemented. But strong vision about the wrong decisions, such as subordinate or others' decisions, may be detrimental to strategy and its implementation.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Van den Steen, 2013. "Strategy and the Strategist: How it Matters Who Develops the Strategy," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-057, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:14-057
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/pages/download.aspx?name=14-057.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Mary J. Benner & Todd Zenger, 2016. "The Lemons Problem in Markets for Strategy," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(2), pages 71-89, June.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:14-057. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Soebagio Notosoehardjo). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/harbsus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.