Why Are Strategic Decisions Different from Other Kinds of Decisions? How? Why?

Topics: Strategic management, Decision making, Risk Pages: 3 (808 words) Published: April 17, 2008
Why are strategic decisions different from other kinds of decisions? How? Why?

Strategic decisions differ from other kinds of decisions because they are broad in scale, resource intensive, long term in nature, and surrounded by uncertainties. Strategic decisions are rare and usually have no precedent to follow, they are significant, resource intensive and require a lot of commitment at all levels. In addition, strategic decisions set the standard upon which lesser decisions and future actions are based.

There are three main methods of making strategic decisions namely entrepreneurial, adaptive and planning. There is a fourth method, logical incrementalism that is largely regarded as a combination of the first three. The planning method is more rational and is thus used in most situations.

The process of strategic decision making begins with an evaluation of the organization’s current performance and governance structure, this is followed by an external and internal assessment of the organization’s environment (S.W.O.T analysis). The results of the analysis help determine problem areas, threats to defend against and opportunities to seize. An action plan or strategy is then developed, implemented and evaluated.

However, the strategic decision making process must deal with four barriers: Rate of environmental change (volatility), unpredictability of change (uncertainty), the intricacy of key decision factors (complexity), and vagueness about the current situation and potential outcomes (ambiguity).

The relevance of volatility to decision making stems from the competitive nature of the business. Organizations seek increased profit, market share or both. Even when great strategic alliances such as “the one world” alliance among air carriers are formed, it is with a view toward attaining a competitive advantage in relation to another strategic alliance.

Strategic decisions are complicated not only by the rate of change in the global...

References: Bourgeois, L.J. III, and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt. 1987. Strategic decision processes in silicon valley: the anatomy of the living dead. California Management Review (Fall): 143-145.
Daft, R.L., J. Sormunen, J. and D. Parks. 1988. Chief executive scanning, environmental characteristics, and company performance: An empirical study. Strategic Management Journal 9: 123-139.
Dess, Gregory G. 1987. Consensus on strategy formulation and organizational performance: competitors in a fragmented industry. Strategic Management Journal 8: 259-277.
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. 1989. Making fast strategic decisions in high-velocity environments. Academy of Management Journal 32 (3): 543-576.
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., and Bourgeois III. 1988. Politics of strategic decision making in high-velocity environments: toward a midrange theory. Academy of Management Journal 31 (4): 742-753.
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., and Mark J. Zbarecki. 1992. Strategic decision making. Strategic Management Journal 13: 20-22.
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. 1990. Speed and strategic choice: how managers accelerate decision making. California Management Review (Spring): 39-54.
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