Managing strategic change in a railway enterprise
The objective of this research is to investigate the way strategies are formed in a public sector organization and to assess the role of the Board-members in shaping and developing strategies. The project consisted of the following distinct steps: (1) The collection and processing of background information concerning the enterprise under study. (2) The collection and analysis of the Board's past decisions over a period of nine years. (3) The interview accounts of the members of the Board (4) The analysis of the interviews at the individual level and the construction of cognitive maps. (5) The testing of the validity of the cognitive maps of the previous stage by employing a quantitative technique in which the interviewees scored on matrices and identified the influence between elements of the strategy, the external, and the organizational environment. (6) The identification of patterns in the cognitive structure of each individual, resulting from both the qualitative (interviewing) and quantitative (matrix scoring) approaches. (7) The attempt to build theory by integrating the different sources of data and generating propositions grounded on data by relating the findings of this study to the existing literature. The major findings concerned the notion of strategy according to the Board-members' accounts. Thus, the majority of Board-members perceived strategy as something that occured outside them, something over which they had little control. The Board-members' role, as revealed in the strategy-areas studied, was a legalistic role concerning mostly ratification of proposals without active contribution to initiating and developing new strategies. It is also argued that this Board's composition, structure and processes exhibited deficiencies. The real strategist of the organization was the new General Manager who succeeded not only in creating an integrated strategy but also in getting it institutionalized (that is in establishing commitment among the people of the organization).