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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2020

Norman T. Sheehan

The global pandemic provides boards and executives an opportunity to evaluate if their organizations’ risk management systems were up to the challenge. Organizational risk…

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Abstract

Purpose

The global pandemic provides boards and executives an opportunity to evaluate if their organizations’ risk management systems were up to the challenge. Organizational risk management systems act like the body’s immune system, protecting the organization from threats. Most organizations struggled to deal with the crisis caused by global pandemic, with some failing to survive. This paper reviews the risk management steps and then examines at why some organizational risk management systems may have failed to protect their organizations from harm.

Design/methodology/approach

This topic was inspired by discussions with executives and board members of organizations dealing with the pandemic. The paper was written based on their comments and was supplemented and contrasted with a review of risk management literature.

Findings

The paper reviews what risk responses are effective in coping with the global pandemic and then discusses how a risk tool, the risk-value curve, can help boards and executive determine the optimal level of risk for their organizations going forward.

Practical implications

Boards and executives can use the risk responses and risk tools reviewed to evaluate the quality of their risk management systems in light of the global pandemic.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first to critically examine why some organizational risk management systems failed and proposes risk management tools to help organizations deal with the next global crisis.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Norman T. Sheehan, Ganesh Vaidyanathan and Suresh Kalagnanam

Most, if not all, management control tools were formulated for firms employing an industrial value creation logic (i.e., Ford, McDonald’s, and Wal‐Mart). We argue that…

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Abstract

Most, if not all, management control tools were formulated for firms employing an industrial value creation logic (i.e., Ford, McDonald’s, and Wal‐Mart). We argue that given the growth, both in number and importance, of firms employing a knowledge value creation logic (i.e., Accenture, Goldman Sachs, and Clifford Chance) and firms employing a network logic (i.e., Verizon, eBay, and Expedia) that these control tools should be revisited in light of this potentially critical contingency. This paper outlines the key characteristics of knowledge intensive firms and network service firms and then examines how these contingencies impact Simons’ (1995) Levers of Control and Kaplan and Norton’s (1996) Balanced Scorecard. We find that whilst each lever/perspective is still relevant for each value creation logic, the relative importance and thus intensity of use should vary between logics.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2009

Norman T. Sheehan and Ganesh Vaidyanathan

Researchers Kim and Mauborgne argue that firms seeking to grow in mature markets need to create new buyer value, thereby entering Blue Ocean markets, where they don't have

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Abstract

Purpose

Researchers Kim and Mauborgne argue that firms seeking to grow in mature markets need to create new buyer value, thereby entering Blue Ocean markets, where they don't have rivals. In contrast, firms fighting rivals in bloody, Red Oceans will struggle to remain profitable. To facilitate the search for Blue Oceans the paper aims to offer managers a new tool to uncover new points of buyer differentiation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws from the strategy, marketing and economics literatures to illustrate how firms can enhance performance by creating Blue Oceans.

Findings

This paper suggests that one way to generate Blue Ocean strategies is to use the fundamental building blocks of value creation. Based on extensive work with value creation logics, it proposes that there are three types of value firms can offer customers: lower prices using an industrial efficiency logic; increase user connectivity with a network services logic; or enhance the offering's fit with the user needs using a knowledge intensive logic. By combining parts of two or more of the value creation logics, managers may construct innovative bundles of attributes.

Practical implications

Blue Ocean strategies are most appropriate for companies in the mature/decline phase of the product life cycle that are suffering from declining revenues and decreasing customer loyalty. Organizations facing these pressures typically attempt to increase the bottom line by increasing marketing and branding efforts while cutting costs and trying to dodge price wars. These value renovations usually meet with little success as competitors are attempting the same moves in what is largely a zero sum game. Instead of focusing on besting rivals, Kim and Mauborgne argue firms should aim for value innovation by redefining their offerings to compete in niches where there is no competition. Applying value creation logics helps managers redefine their offerings.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to outline how combining value creation logics leads to discovering Blue Oceans.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

Norman T. Sheehan

Knowledge‐intensive firms are growing in importance yet there are few tools to help managers to analyze and improve their performance, which this paper aims to describe.

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Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge‐intensive firms are growing in importance yet there are few tools to help managers to analyze and improve their performance, which this paper aims to describe.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on Michael Porter's strategic frameworks for industrial firms. It outlines how his frameworks, in particular the five forces and value chain, need to be modified if they are to be effectively applied to knowledge‐intensive firms.

Findings

Managers of knowledge‐intensive firms need to use the old tools in new ways, if they are to improve their business models and ultimately increase their profitability.

Practical implications

The paper outlines ways for managers of knowledge‐intensive firms to improve their firm's performance. First, managers using a revised five forces can improve their value capture by reducing bargaining power of its experts, making outsourcing of expert services more attractive, or improving their reputational status. Second, the paper outlines a continuum of business models and suggests that the appropriate choice of business model depends on the firm's problem‐solving expertise, its target clients, desired risk level and aspirations. The paper elaborates on the business model by examining choices surrounding the scope of the firm's problem‐solving activities, suggesting that these allow the firm to find profitable niches.

Originality/value

This is one of the first attempts to develop strategic tools that managers of knowledge‐intensive firms can used to increase their firm's profitability.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2007

Norman T. Sheehan and Charles B. Stabell

Assists senior managers with generating new business models by mapping the competitive space occupied by knowledge intensive organizations and outlining strategic

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Abstract

Purpose

Assists senior managers with generating new business models by mapping the competitive space occupied by knowledge intensive organizations and outlining strategic positioning options.

Design/methodology/approach

Provides a conceptual paper based on studies of knowledge intensive organizations.

Findings

Based on four strategic positioning characteristics, the authors identify three types of knowledge intensive organizations; diagnosis, search, and design shops. All knowledge intensive organizations are either pure types or combinations of these types.

Practical implications

While mapping the competitive space lets managers of knowledge intensive organizations pinpoint where they are relative to their rivals, strategy involves finding unique, profitable business models. To help managers detect potential opportunities, the paper outlines a full menu of competitive positioning options. Generating new business models in this manner should allow managers to enter existing, profitable niches or establish new, potentially profitable niches.

Originality/value

Few studies delineate the competitive terrain occupied by knowledge intensive organizations and then outline competitive positioning options for knowledge intensive organizations.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2011

Rozhan Othman and Norman T. Sheehan

The purpose of this paper is to locate different value creation logic contingencies within the resource management framework. While Sirmon et al. discuss how external…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to locate different value creation logic contingencies within the resource management framework. While Sirmon et al. discuss how external environmental contingencies, such as environmental munificence, impact resource management, this paper aims to discuss a second key contingency; that is how the firm's choice of value creation logics impacts its resource management choices. This paper seeks to argue that management of the firm's resources and capabilities is contingent on the value creation logic employed by the firm.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews three value creation logics: value shop, value network, and value chain and then integrates them within the resource management framework.

Findings

A review of extant literature indicates that value shop firms, value network firms, and value chain firms enact very different environments and thus require very different resources and capabilities to support their value creation approaches. It is argued that Sirmon et al.'s resource management framework should reflect these differences.

Research limitations/implications

This paper points to new directions for research in value creation logic theory and provides a basis for future empirical work.

Practical implications

This paper argues that a mismatch between a firm's value creation logic and its resource management practices will have an adverse impact on the firm's performance.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to integrate Stabell and Fjeldstad's value creation logic theory with Sirmon et al.'s resource management framework.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2010

Norman T. Sheehan

This article integrates strategy mapping, risk management and management control into a risk‐based approach to strategy execution. It uses strategy mapping as a tool to

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Abstract

Purpose

This article integrates strategy mapping, risk management and management control into a risk‐based approach to strategy execution. It uses strategy mapping as a tool to visually depict the firm's strategy and then assess its risks. Based on this risk assessment, the firm's management control system is designed to manage those risks which are seen to have the greatest probability to negatively impact firm profitability. The proposed framework can be used on a stand‐alone basis or be used to complement Kaplan and Norton's work on strategy mapping.

Design/methodology/approach

This article draws from the confluence of the risk management, management control, and strategy mapping literatures to illustrate how firms can improve their handling of risk.

Findings

Strategy mapping is an effective tool to identify risks, while Simons' Levers of Control provides an effective alternative to manage the risks identified.

Practical implications

A firm's future profitability depends on its ability to identify and manage risk. Given that firms only profit when they successfully manage risk, the design and application of its management control system must flow from an assessment of the risks assumed in its strategy. The primary advantage of an integrated risk‐based management control system is that it allows managers, in real time, to steer the firm towards the good things that were outlined in its strategy and away from any bad things.

Originality/value

The article extends Kaplan and Norton's work by proposing strategy mapping as a tool to identify and then to help manage risks.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 April 2007

Norman T. Sheehan and Nicolai J. Foss

Almost since the inception of the resource‐based view (RBV), critics have complained that the view is weak in the prescriptive dimension. A recent statement of this…

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Abstract

Purpose

Almost since the inception of the resource‐based view (RBV), critics have complained that the view is weak in the prescriptive dimension. A recent statement of this critique is by Priem and Butler, who argue that the RBV does not address value creation. One aspect of this is that the link between resources and value creation is black‐boxed. The paper aims to argue that a Porterian activity analysis with a focus on activity drivers can remedy this weakness, and how it brings into focus important implementation issues that are neglected in the RBV.

Design/methodology/approach

The study extends Priem and Butler's critique of the RBV by examining the RBV literature in light of Porter's activity‐based framework.

Findings

The resource‐based logic has been gainfully applied in many fields other than strategy. However, because it lacks the concept of activities, the paper argues that it has not reached its full potential in the field of strategy. Formally including the concept of activities and activity drivers addresses the prescriptive shortcomings of the RBV.

Practical implications

Porter's activity drivers are “levers” that managers can manipulate to improve firm value creation in two ways: The first method involves using activity drivers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of individual activities. The second method involves improving the fit at the level of the firm's activity set. Managers may identify potentially rewarding competitive positions and then use competitive data regarding rivals' activities and drivers to gauge how successful their firm may be in capturing these positions.

Originality/value

This is one of the first attempts to address the prescriptive shortcomings of the RBV using a Porterian activity lens.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 45 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 July 2013

Vince Bruni‐Bossio and Norman T. Sheehan

As a result of the many governance failures in the past decade, new legislation, increased regulation, and best practices have been adopted by boards in an effort to

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Abstract

Purpose

As a result of the many governance failures in the past decade, new legislation, increased regulation, and best practices have been adopted by boards in an effort to improve corporate governance. Unfortunately, not all of the changes, such as increasing the number of external directors, have favorably impacted the quality of board governance. While having the majority of external directors on a board increases the board's independence from the CEO, these external directors lack inside directors' understanding of the firm's operations, customers and business model. The board members' lack of understanding presents a key challenge to CEOs, as their tenures depend on keeping their boards informed about the firm's business model. If CEOs are to succeed in this new governance climate, they need to find a way to effectively explain the business model to external directors in order to educate them, access their competencies, and ensure their long term support. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of the strategy map to communicate the firm's business model to the board.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper used the authors' experiences, a review of the literature, and a case study as a basis for making recommendations presented in the article.

Findings

Outside directors may struggle to understand the firm's business model. While some may argue this is not the CEO's problem as it is the board's role to govern and management's job to manage, the authors argue it is an important issue for CEOs for two reasons: First, if the board does not understand the impact of changes to a firm's business model then CEOs are not fully leveraging their boards' expertise. Second, if CEOs do not keep the board adequately informed about the business model it hinders, rather than helps CEOs from building open and transparent relationships with their boards. By ensuring that directors receive the right information about the organization's business model and then have the opportunity to have a constructive dialog regarding the quality of the business model, CEOs can build trusting relationships with their boards and thus ensure they succeed over the longer term.

Originality/value

Recent governance failures have demonstrated a need for better communication between boards and CEOs. This is one of the first papers to examine the role of the strategy map to communicate the firm's business model to the board.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2006

Norman T. Sheehan

The purpose of this paper is to describe four levers that managers can use to effectively implement strategy.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe four levers that managers can use to effectively implement strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

Draws on the performance management literature, in particular Simons' levers of control framework, to describe and illustrate practical examples of diagnostic, belief, boundary, and interactive controls.

Findings

To fully realize the potential of their firm's strategy, managers need to get the levers to work in concert. Failure to accomplish this may result in underperformance, a loss of reputation, or even extinction.

Practical implications

To successfully implement their firm's strategy, managers must: get employees to buy into the firm's belief system; delineate those activities that may place their firm in jeopardy and declare these off limits to employees; communicate strategy to employees by developing metrics, setting targets, and aligning incentive; and become personally involved in those decisions which relate to strategic threats and opportunities in order to shape the firm's future direction.

Originality/value

Provides current examples of each of the four levers and articulates how they need to inter‐relate with one another.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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