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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Alex Lowy and Phil Hood

The authors suggest a new approach to strategic decision‐making methodology: focus on understanding the dilemmas confronting your organization. For leaders, the learning…

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2977

Abstract

The authors suggest a new approach to strategic decision‐making methodology: focus on understanding the dilemmas confronting your organization. For leaders, the learning produced from wrestling with dilemmas is often more important than answers to them. Big challenges tend to be complex, ongoing in nature, and highly resistant to simple “fixes”. Therefore, before the leader can provide the strategic direction to guide organizational efforts, he/she must first recognize, define and deal with the prime dilemmas of the day. Dilemmas fall into two categories: direction‐setting, and culture‐setting. Several examples of each are presented as well as three action steps: recognition, definition, and translation.

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Alex Lowy

Abstract

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 45 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2014

Alex Lowy

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795

Abstract

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

Alex Lowy

This paper aims to show how a common aspect of complex problems is that they often contain some form of paradox. By addressing the inherent paradox, decision‐makers can

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2888

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to show how a common aspect of complex problems is that they often contain some form of paradox. By addressing the inherent paradox, decision‐makers can better understand and solve complex problems.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies nine paradoxes that are encountered with surprising frequency in corporate decision making.

Findings

The paper finds that learning to recognize the most frequent types of problem‐solving paradoxes and their influence will save leaders some frustration, and perhaps help them and other members of the management team do a better job of navigating their firm's opportunities and challenges.

Practical implications

The paper explains why the only way to make truly “rational” decisions is to invent parts of the picture that do not exist because they lie somewhere in the future or beyond our ability to calculate.

Originality/value

By identifying nine seemingly illogical paradoxes that often thwart “rational” decision making, and suggesting how to deal with them, the author offers a handy guide for leaders.

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Strategy & Leadership, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Alex Lowy, Philip Hood and Eli Singer

The authors have identified a new type of innovator that combines the rascal‐like idealism of Robin Hood with the network‐based business models of early internet

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1464

Abstract

Purpose

The authors have identified a new type of innovator that combines the rascal‐like idealism of Robin Hood with the network‐based business models of early internet businesses to revolutionize many markets. These innovators are initially non‐profit entrepreneurs who develop organic, cellular, distributed network structures to accomplish their work. They use financial, transportation and communications networks in novel ways to circumvent normal barriers to market entry.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors studied the business practices and culture of a number of these network idealists.

Findings

Network idealist succeed by undermining at least four of the barriers to market entry. They use networks to ramp up scale quickly. They differentiate by appealing to idealistic or radical impulses, often creating a charismatic brand in the process. They overcome capital requirements by using contributed labor and public infrastructures. And, they skirt the regulations that restrict innovation in many industries.

Research limitations/implications

As network idealist organizations like Craigslist mature, researchers will need to analyze how their business model changes and develops.

Practical implications

An incumbent options matrix describes four strategies available in response to network idealist competition: eliminate, join, barricade, align.

Originality/value

The authors identify a new and very successful form of competition, explain its strategies, and suggest ways to counter attack.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Alex Lowy

There is a recurring and universal set of competing forces that strategy implementers must manage, and their ability to marshal resources and hearts while maintaining the…

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2253

Abstract

Purpose

There is a recurring and universal set of competing forces that strategy implementers must manage, and their ability to marshal resources and hearts while maintaining the current business depends very much on how six key dilemmas are handled.

Design/methodology/approach

The author identifies the six dilemmas and offers a leaders’ guide to managing them.

Findings

Dilemmas do not signal that a strategy is flawed or that leadership is failing. Rather, they are part and parcel of the strategy implementation process; they present consequential choices that need to be understood and addressed.”

Practical implications

Realism dictates that legitimate dilemmas need to be acknowledged and addressed directly and fully.

Originality/value

The leader who is first to recognize and effectively manage the dilemmas of strategy implementation will likely gain a headstart in organizational transformation.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 43 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2008

Alex Lowy

The paper aims to analyze how the best leaders articulate a crucial issue that contains trade‐offs and risk and then blaze a new path for their group or organization. This

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1890

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to analyze how the best leaders articulate a crucial issue that contains trade‐offs and risk and then blaze a new path for their group or organization. This is the “art” of dilemma management: the ability to address the shifting needs, drivers and opportunities occurring in and around the business, and then actively working to understand, defend and capitalize on them.

Design/methodology/approach

Dilemma analysis has five steps: step 1: map the symptoms in two stages; step 2: identify the core dilemma; step 3: analyze and reframe using eight archetypal dilemmas; step 4: resolve gaps; and step 5: plan and implement.

Findings

The paper reveals that every leader needs to have a dilemma agenda. The agenda should include two categories of leadership dilemmas: direction‐setting and culture‐setting. The direction‐setting agenda defines what is of competitive strategic importance (such as, diversify or grow) while the culture‐setting agenda focuses on the values, mood and energy of the enterprise (such as emphasize a task or relationship focus).

Practical implications

To successfully handle dilemmas, start by redefining what you mean by success itself. In place of “win”, think “understanding,” instead of “profit” think “sustainability”, and so on.

Originality/value

The paper reveals the big payoff for exploring organizational dilemmas is a more complete understanding of both sides of an issue and learning to transcend disabling impasses that are fueled by fear and ignorance.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

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711

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Dilemmas do not signal that a strategy is flawed or that leadership is failing. Rather, they are part and parcel of the strategy implementation process. They present consequential choices that need to be understood and addressed.

Practical implications

The paper provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world’s leading organizations.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

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Strategic Direction, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Just because it’s often the case that people learn from their mistakes, it doesn’t mean you want to carry on making them as part of your learning process. It’s much the…

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1091

Abstract

Just because it’s often the case that people learn from their mistakes, it doesn’t mean you want to carry on making them as part of your learning process. It’s much the same thing with dilemmas – defined in the dictionaries as problems that seem incapable of a solution or situations necessitating two equally undesirable alternatives. Just because you can learn from them doesn’t mean you welcome them.

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Strategic Direction, vol. 20 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Robert M. Randall

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215

Abstract

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 45 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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