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The corporate strategy function: improving its value and effectiveness

Barry Brunsman (Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal Business Consulting)
Stacey DeVore (Manager at Deloitte, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Andrew Houston (Strategy Offering Lead, Slalom Consulting, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




Very few functions seem as well‐positioned as the corporate strategy function to create value. Even the name, corporate strategy, suggests access to critical information and decision‐makers, as well as distinctive contributions to the organization's most important decisions. Yet many corporate strategy functions find that their contributions are limited and they are unable to have significant, tangible impact. Understanding the opportunities to increase the value of the corporate strategy function allows managers and executives to make purposeful change to tune the function to the organization's needs.


The authors interviewed managers and executives responsible for the corporate strategy function in 11 different companies across multiple industries. These interviews identified several approaches to providing the corporate strategy function, the keys to their success, and their limitations. A simple matrix was developed that allows the corporate strategy function to be characterized and identifies opportunities to increase the impact of the function.


The authors found that increasing the impact of the corporate strategy function involves increasing the complexity of the function's contribution (e.g., from simple analysis to solution design) or increasing the scope of that contribution (e.g., from process support to solution implementation). Increasing complexity or scope requires changes to the function's organization, processes and people competencies.


Increasing the impact of the corporate strategy function has clear implications – better decisions are made, important initiatives are more likely to succeed, and the strategy function is better able to meet the organization's unique needs.



Brunsman, B., DeVore, S. and Houston, A. (2011), "The corporate strategy function: improving its value and effectiveness", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 43-50.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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