تسهیل و عوامل بازدارنده: پشت پرده تغییر استراتژیک؛ شواهدی از صنعت بانکداری خصوصی اسپانیا ، 1983-1997
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|18256||2005||31 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||14824 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Scandinavian Journal of Management, Volume 21, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 235–265
This research explores the main facilitating and inhibiting factors behind strategic change in a single-industry context characterized by substantial environmental turbulence. Based on a dynamic and additive framework which includes theoretical arguments from the traditional strategic management and ecological approaches and an extensive review of several key empirical studies on the antecedents of strategic change, our study captures the cumulative effect of certain external and internal factors for and against strategic change. The results indicate that strategic change has been a frequent event in the chosen industry context. In this setting, the main facilitating factors behind strategic change have been linked to certain factors in the external context (environmental events linked to deregulation process and density) and in the internal context (CEO succession and tenure). But, alternatively, it can also be observed how other factors from both the external context (other environmental events associated with the liberalization process and industry concentration) and from the internal context (size) have acted as potential forces inhibiting the strategic transformation process experienced by most of the firms examined. We conclude by discussing the possible use of our framework in future research, with a view to further extending our understanding of potential antecedents of strategic change.
Probably one of the most relevant debates in the literature of strategic change concerns how and why organizations change their strategies (Ginsberg, 1988; Rajagopalan & Spreitzer, 1996 and Van de Ven & Scott, 1995 provide extensive reviews on this topic). In particular, a growing interest can be observed in seeking to identify the fundamental types of factors that elicit strategic change in firms over time. However, after more than three decades of research on this topic the findings to emerge from a large body of empirical studies produced by a variety of researchers are contradictory, and the basic question—what type of factors can be considered as constraining or promoting factors behind strategic change—remains open to discussion. The results are sometimes completely different, depending on the theoretical position and method adopted by the individual researchers. Consequently, as Rajagopalan and Spreitzer (1996) and many others have pointed out, the continual accumulation of contradictory findings currently being drawn from very concrete theoretical viewpoints is adding little to researchers’ understanding of the antecedents of strategic change. In view of this, the main purpose of the present study is to examine from different theoretical perspectives the factors that explain strategic change (as either facilitating or inhibiting factors) in a population of financial firms that has been undergoing continuous and radical shifts in its environmental conditions over the last two decades. After exploring whether strategic changes undertaken by firms in this industry have been rare or common in response to new environmental conditions, we seek answers specifically to the following questions: (1) what were the main environmental factors associated with this industry that have facilitated or inhibited the likely occurrence of strategic change? (2) what were the main organizational factors that have impeded or reinforced the probability of strategic change? and (3) has the firm's chief executive played a significant or a non-significant role affecting the probability of strategic change? In seeking to answer such questions we have used a longitudinal and additive framework. This framework is the result of an extensive review of several key empirical studies. It is also a direct consequence of the simultaneous introduction of factors and widely diverging theoretical arguments from two of the most important research streams that have been examining the antecedents of strategic change over the last three decades, and that have usually been viewed as the poles on a continuum, namely, traditional strategic management (TSM) and the ecological approach. With the help of this framework we seek to evaluate empirically the theoretical validity of various arguments relating to the two perspectives and, thus also their capacity to make predictions about the concrete set of factors associated with each of the two that have affected the likely occurrence of strategic change and the direction (facilitating or inhibiting) in which they have done so. In fact, an important supplementary aim of our investigation has been to show that in order to understand better the facilitating and inhibiting antecedents of strategic change we need to consider factors and theoretical arguments from both approaches. To examine all these issues empirically we estimate different models that include factors associated with each approach separately and others applying to them both. The most important ways in which we hope our investigation will make an important contribution can be summarized as follows: first, to redirect the attention of strategic change theory to additive and time-related frameworks for some of the antecedents of strategic change in a more specific way; second, to design a new method which can facilitate replication for future research on this topic in similar settings; and finally, with the help of the framework developed here, to go some way towards systematizing more than three decades of continuous and contradictory research on this important topic in the literature on organizations.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
After more than thirty years of continuous and contradictory research in the literature on strategic change, we have endeavoured to test in this study a set of hypotheses of a longitudinal and additive framework concerning the antecedents or, more specifically, some of the most important inertial and inductive factors behind strategic change, in a particular industry context, namely Spanish banking over a period characterized by great environmental turbulence. We first attempted to identify the extent to which firms change their competitive strategies. Next, we considered in our analysis the particular environmental, organizational and chief executive characteristics to which strategic change occurs is a response in these firms. Five sets of findings emerge from our study. First, we have found that efforts at strategic adaptation in this industry in response to considerable environmental shifts have not been as rare as the structural inertia model indicated, since a very large number, and a large proportion, of the banks have in fact made changes in their competitive strategies over time. In any event, our study suggests the value of considering only a bank's ability or willingness to change its competitive strategies over time, but not its need to change. More future research about this issue, in line with the empirical work done by Zajac et al. (2000), is needed. Second, our results suggest that any future strategic change research would benefit from a combination of factors from two of the theoretical and empirical traditions that have shown most interest over the last three decades in identifying the main facilitating and inhibiting factors behind strategic change, namely the TSM and the ecological approaches. Third, as both approaches would lead us to expect, the present study describes firms responding to certain specific environmental conditions with a significant increase in the likely occurrence of a change in their strategic orientation. This outcome has been explained here in terms of the new opportunities that the deregulation process and the growing competitive rivalry (relating to concentration and density) brought to the Spanish banks during the period under study. In a kind of mirror image of this conclusion Zajac and Kraatz (1993, p. 99) claim that “the absence of strategy changes—if environmental conditions are relatively unchanging—would not be surprising”. In some cases, however, we did find that the occurrence of some specific environmental events coupled with industry deregulation did not in fact lead to a greater probability of strategic change over time. This last finding is inconsistent with the findings reported by Smith and Grimm (1987), Zajac and Shortell (1989), Ginsberg and Buchholtz (1990) and Haveman et al. (2001), but is consistent with the conclusions reached by Kelly and Amburgey (1991) and Ruef (1997) in different settings. The positive and significant influence of the linear term of density on the likely occurrence of strategic change may mean that the incumbent banks have perceived new entrants as posing a very serious strategic threat, and as a direct result of this may have reacted to the apparent threat by altering their strategies. An interesting avenue for future research will be to investigate whether new entrants can really trigger new strategic responses on the part of the incumbents. Four, in line with the ecological approach (Hannan & Freeman, 1984) and with previous empirical studies (e.g., Delacroix & Swaminathan, 1991; Fombrun & Ginsberg, 1990; Kelly & Amburgey, 1991; Ruef, 1997; Stoeberl et al., 1998) we found support for the prediction that large firms were less likely than smaller ones to experience changes in their core characteristics. This result draws attention to the fact that Spanish banks have been subject to rigidity associated with size. In others words, we can conclude that large size has acted as an important inhibiting barrier to strategic change in the Spanish bank industry. It can in fact be observed that the larger Spanish banks have more market power and more slack resources, but that they are simultaneously more bureaucratic and thus more prone to inertia than smaller banks. However, it is very important to emphasize that this does not mean that large Spanish banks have not changed their competitive strategies at some point in the period under analysis in response to new environmental conditions. On the other hand, our findings do not provide support for the inertia-theory prediction that the age and structural complexity of banks were associated with the likely occurrence of strategic change, either as an inertial or an inducing factor. Several empirical studies made in different settings have found similar results for age (e.g., Aldrich, Zimmer, Staber, & Beggs, 1994; Boeker, 1997; Haveman, 1993; Stoeberl et al., 1998). Five, in line with the contention of TSM theorists, our results imply that CEOs have had a very important influence on the direction adopted by Spanish banks over time, as a result of their strategy decisions, and that this applies not only when banks were being founded, as the ecological theory predicts. In particular, our results suggest that one way in which banks may attempt to overcome potential inertial tendencies is by selecting new CEOs, who may help them to cope better with changing environmental demands. As prior research (e.g., Barker & Duhaime, 1997; Wiersema, 1992) has also indicated, this result appears to support the theoretical logic that the introduction of a new individual into the top management group provides a means for altering the nature of strategic decision-making in a bank. However, unlike the results and theoretical arguments of previous research (e.g., Boeker, 1997), our findings do also emphasize the importance that a lengthy CEO tenure can have regarding the likely initiation of changes in strategy when environmental conditions are going through some fundamental shift. Such significant environmental shifts can drive long-tenured CEOs to initiate the necessary strategy changes to ensure their banks’ chances of survival, since this is clearly the only way they can ensure a suitable fit with the new environmental conditions. On the other hand, our findings seem to suggest that if a long-tenured CEO adopts a passive attitude to new environmental conditions, then his or her bank's chances of survival can be noticeably reduced. One possible interpretation supporting the idea that CEOs with long tenure will be more prone to initiate strategic change, is that they have had sufficient time to develop a broader knowledge base for dealing with the new environmental threats as a direct consequence of their greater accumulated experience. In this situation, the history and past practices of CEOs may be exploited to solve the problems that new environmental conditions typically involve, rather than inhibiting the actions that ought to take. This can apply especially in the case of many long-tenured CEOs of Spanish banks. It is interesting to note that many of them were in charge of their banks at a time earlier than the period analysed here (the end of the 1970s and the early 1980s), during which some very important environmental transformations did occur. Ultimately, the need to anticipate and/or maintain a suitable fit with new environmental conditions seems a reasonable explanation for the result that changes in CEO and long CEO tenure both have a positive impact on strategic change. Nor, however, do we rule out other possible motives to motivate this result. In fact, we recognize that in some banks the positive effect on the likely occurrence of strategic change of either CEO succession or CEO tenure may be driven by the acknowledgement of a poor performance in the more recent past. In view of this, it would be very interesting for future research to look at the possible moderating effect of recent past performance in the relationship between strategic change and CEO characteristics. The findings of our research seem to suggest that when managers perceive the need to change their firms’ competitive strategies to fit new environmental conditions, it is very important that they have an integrated view. Specifically, our results show that to accomplish the necessary changes in strategy in order to ensure organizational survival in rapidly changing environments, it may be essential that managers have a perfect understanding of the specific type of internal and external factors that can motivate strategic changes, or act as barriers, or be neutral, vis-à-vis such changes. Managers’ knowledge of the potential effect of these factors together with, most importantly, their willingness to initiate strategic change, can represent a necessary albeit not sufficient condition for such a change successfully. Nonetheless, managers should remain aware that ultimately the achievement of such change will depend on the resource bundles that their firms possess. To sum up, like Ginsberg (1988), Fombrun and Ginsberg (1990), Ginsberg and Buchholtz (1990) and Zajac and Kraatz (1993, p. 85), we repeat in conclusion by stating that any relevant future theory of strategic change will benefit from the careful consideration of both stimulating and impeding forces relating to strategic restructuring. At the same time, and in line with Pettigrew (1987) and Pettigrew (1990), our results suggest to us that it may be absolutely necessary in future research to perform longitudinal studies that include factors associated with the internal and the external contexts. All these considerations become explicit in our time-related and additive framework of strategic change. 5.1. Limitations, additional future directions and main contributions Although the results of our study can provide a valuable addition to the literature on strategic change, several limitations should be noted. First, the underlying causal assumption of this research is that changes in particular environmental, organizational and CEO characteristics may lead to changes in strategy. It is probably also likely that changes in strategy may lead to changes in environmental and organizational factors and the types of CEO selected. It would be very interesting for future research to explore the effect of strategic changes on industry rivalry, organizational factors and the types of CEO selected. Second, our investigation includes a significant set of factors but we do not claim to have considered all possible promoting and/or constraining factors that could predict the likely occurrence of strategic change in banking firms. In particular, it may be necessary to consider more explicitly whether institutional forces may put pressure on banks to conform to norms in their environment, and to explore the extent to which the role played by certain firm-specific factors (tangible and intangible resources) could be significant—along the lines followed by Kraatz and Zajac (2001), for example. It would also be very interesting to examine other managerial characteristics not included here, since much prior empirical research has already demonstrated that various characteristics relating to the top management team (such as the replacement of some of their members, size, heterogeneity with respect to age, tenure, educational and functional background, etc.) have an important impact on the probability of strategic change (e.g., Bantel & Jackson, 1989; Boeker, 1997; Wiersema & Bantel, 1992). Another limitation of the present study has been its focus on a particular industry that has been exposed to enormous environmental turbulence. A potential criticism of our study is thus that the results depend on the specificities of the particular industry. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that while our variables are admittedly industry-specific and our findings strongly dependent on the idiosyncrasies of the selected industry, our framework and methodological design are not subject to the same criticism. If we assume that certain factors may be relevant in one industry but not in another, or relevant at one time but not at another it would be crucially important for future research to continue exploring the same question of potential antecedents of strategic change in different and similar settings characterized by environmental turbulence and by stability across countries. A fourth important limitation has been our focus on a single strategy level, namely business strategy. Research within the same industry that explores other strategy levels—corporate or functional levels—is needed in order to verify whether our findings are maintained. A final limitation has been our focus on a particular kind of core characteristic, namely strategy. More empirical work on change in other core characteristics—goals, forms of authority and technology—and even in some peripheral ones, using a similar framework and methodological design, is also needed. Despite these major limitations, the results of our investigation are important for several reasons. On the theoretical side, our findings suggest that future empirical research focusing on a particular perspective of strategic change would be incomplete and misleading. In line with Zajac (1992, p. 90), we claim that only multidisciplinary perspectives which consider the main forces and counter-forces for strategic change can provide future empirical studies of this transcendental issue with a sustainable intellectual advantage. As in most empirical studies in this line of research, our assumption here is that the effect of different antecedents of strategic change remains stable over time. Nevertheless, it would be very interesting for future research to examine whether, at some specific point in time, certain factors facilitate and others inhibit strategic change. We have accomplished a preliminary empirical study in order to explore this issue. Although the results of this study are not shown here, we can say already at this stage that the effect of different facilitating and inhibiting factors affecting strategic change do not remain stable over time. The explicit examination of this fundamental issue, which to our knowledge has not received sufficient attention in prior research on strategic change, may have transcendental theoretical and methodological implications for future research on this topic. On the methodological side, our investigation makes two contributions that could facilitate future replications. On the one hand, we have benefited from the great potential of the MCLUST grouping algorithm, used here to determine the SGs as an indispensable step for defining the strategic change of the firms studied. The basics of this grouping method allow an objective procedure to determine critical outcomes from cluster analysis, i.e. the number of the resulting groups. Indeed, this method makes it possible to achieve greater neutrality when researchers have to define the concrete strategy followed by firms over time. In fact, the estimated effect of reference parameters—independent and control variables—remains statistically significant, and with few changes, in all the random and fixed-effects models considered. Regarding the regression analysis, we also suggest panel data formulations in order to effectively control any unobservable firm-specific effects that would be likely to distort estimates if they were not controlled, as is the case when cross-sectional models of logistic regression are used.