The purpose of this paper is to revisit and rationally reconstruct the role of planning, strategic management, and strategic balance, in a context of managing change. The general problem dealt with is: “When is it possible to design and manage a balanced strategic change process under conditions of rapid high‐frequency change?”
The paper revisits the development of strategic management and contains a rational reconstruction of core assumptions relevant to managing change. In the first section, the historical origin of strategic managements approach to change is rationally reconstructed. The next sections analyze and interpret core assumptions underlying the strategic management approach to planning and change. The next section explicate the conceptual strategic hierarchy showing that developments in strategy make theories of planning and control more abstract and complex, but nevertheless preserve the idea of planning and control as a demand for strategic balance. The last section inserts this discussion into a change management framework pointing to a practical paradox emerging and addressing a possible solution.
It is argued that a practical paradox emerges between the time horizon inscribed in concepts of strategic management and planning and the empirical demands to it under the pressures of high frequency change.
The paper directs attention to a new perspective on managing change as an experienced change/stability ratio, which may help dissolving the practical paradox managers faces in keeping up with strategy.
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