Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

3. The Collaborative Approach

This approach extends strategic decision-making to the organization's top management team in answer to the question "How can I get my top management team to help develop and commit to a good set of golas and strategies?"

The strategic leader and his senior manager (divisional heads, business unit general managers or senior functional managers) meet for lengthy discussion with a view to formulating proposed strategic changes.

In this approach, the leader employs group dynamics and "brainstorming" techniques to get managers with differing points of view to contribute to the strategic planning process.

The Collaborative Approach overcomes two key limitations inherent in the previous two. By capturing information contributed by managers closer to operations, and by offering a forum for the expression of managers closer to operations, and by offering a forum for the expression of many viewpoints, it can increase the quality and timeliness of the information incorporated in the strategy. And to the degree than participation enhances commitment to the strategy, it improves the chances of efficient implementation.

However, the Collaborative Approach may gain more commitment that the foregoing approaches, it may also result in a poorer strategy.

The negotiated aspect of the process brings with several risks -that the strategy will be more conservative and less visionary than one developed by a single person or staff team. And the negotiation process can take so much time that an organization misses opportunities and fails to react enough to changing environments.

A more fundamental criticism of the Collaborative Approach is that it is not really collective decisions making from an organizational viewpoint because upper-level managers often retain centralized control. In effect, this approach preserves the artificial distinction between thinkers and doers and fails to draw on the full human potential throughout the organization.