Strategisk utveckling och ekonomistyrning Ett livscykelperspektiv
Sammanfattning: This dissertation synthesizes previous research and develops a model for the study of strategic development, strategic congruence and management control. The model is used to analyze a longitudinal case study of the Swedish engineering company Atlas Copco.Employing contingency theory, the study confirms that long-term survival of a company requires adaption to contingencies. Three levels of strategy are examined: corporate, business and functional. Previous research suggests that consistency between these levels (strategic congruence) is necessary for a company to be competitive. The dissertation challenges this proposition by using a life-cycle perspective and analyzes strategic congruence in the different phases of a life cycle. It also studies management control from a life-cycle perspective. In this context, two types of management control are examined: formal and informal. From a longitudinal perspective, the study further discusses how these types interact during organizational life cycles.The dissertation shows that strategic development is more complex than previous studies have indicated. It is a long, complex and non-linear process, the results of which cannot always be predicted. Previous models for strategy and management control are based on simple relationships and rarely take into account the fact that companies often go through different phases of strategic development. The case study shows that strategic incongruence may occur at times during organizational life cycles. Furthermore, the use of management control varies over time. In the maturity phase, formal control is in focus, while the use of informal control has a bigger role in both the introduction and decline phases.Research on strategy and management control has intensified in recent years. Still there is a gap regarding the coordination of complex corporate structures. The present study contributes with further knowledge on how companies manage long-term strategic development. Few studies deal with more than two levels of strategy. Moreover, the present study addresses the need to understand strategic congruence from a life-cycle perspective. This is particularly relevant in practice, when management in large companies face difficult issues for which they expect business research to assist them in the decision-making process.
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