From PowerPoints to Reality - Managing Strategic Change in the Paper Packaging Industry

Detta är en avhandling från Lund University LTH

Sammanfattning: This thesis explores and describes strategic change towards increased customer orientation and innovation in the Swedish forest and paper packaging industry, an industry which has been subject to calls for new strategic directions for more than two decades. The large-scale and cost-efficient strategy, which has been the industry's hallmark, is in need of a more customer based and innovative emphasis. The research is inspired by different schools of thought in strategy and motivated by the limited longitudinal studies; on the link between customer orientation, innovation and strategy, and on this empirical setting. The link is of particular relevance given the emerging paradigms of dual and ambidextrous strategies in literature and practice, integrating strategies focused on cost and differentiation, efficiency and innovation – at the same time. This development further adds to the need for more insight into the gap between strategy development and implementation. A qualitative and longitudinal case study of one actor in the Swedish forest and paper packaging industry is carried out. Crossing several theoretical boundaries, the research contributes to knowledge on what strategic change towards increased customer orientation and innovation entails: what the challenges are, how they can be managed, and how change can be measured. In the case study, strategic change is found to be a time-consuming, incremental yet revolutionary process. Far from a linear journey, it is challenged by paradoxes on a strategic and organisational level formed by dual and seemingly opposing strategic intents. It is managed by expanding the perspective of the value chain and using traditional levers such as the organisational structure. But more interestingly, it is also managed by means of less orthodox ways for market learning, development and featuring of new offerings combined with faith in the direction aimed for. This thesis argues that being able to manage a strategic change towards this end requires an integration of rational and pragmatic thinking and doing that combines levers and measures of cultural and cognitive change with more traditional ones. It contributes to a further understanding of this challenging endeavour and to future research on competitive and sustainable development of mature industries.