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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | Finnish Business Communication | 2015
Thesis number: 13946
Top management perceptions of linkages between understanding, accepting and executing strategy: A case study
Author: Heikkinen, Sara
Title: Top management perceptions of linkages between understanding, accepting and executing strategy: A case study
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: Finnish Business Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; strategia; strategy; johtaminen; management
Pages: 83
Key terms: strategy communication; strategy implementation; management communication; internal corporate communication; corporate strategy; strategic management
Top management perceptions of linkages between understanding, accepting and executing strategy: A case study

Objective of the Study:

The objective of this study was to explore the case company's top management team's perceptions on understanding, accepting and executing strategy and see in what ways these stages are linked and what kind of implications the linkages have. The study aimed to answer one main research question: From the perspective of management, what are the linkages between understanding, accepting and executing strategy?, and two sub-questions: 1. How is the strategy process perceived by the management of the case company, 2. From the management point of view, what are the main challenges in executing a new strategy?

Methodology and the Conceptual Framework:

This study was qualitative in nature and used a single case company design. The data was collected through eight semi-structured interviews and all the interviewees were in managerial positions in the case company. Thus, the study is focused solely on the perceptions of managerial level employees. The conceptual framework of the study was constructed based on the previous literature in the field. The framework illustrates the linkages from planned strategy to realized strategy, where communication has a central role in aligning the planned strategy with the realized strategy and thus, in the optimal situation, effective communication leads to understanding of the planned strategy.

Findings and Conclusions:

The main findings of this study show that there are strong linkages between understanding, accepting and executing strategy from the management point of view. Moreover, the findings suggest that there are some conditions that must be met before one can move from understanding to executing strategy. This study adds to the previous strategy literature the elements of change of mindset to realize a new strategy, and the need for having a strategy which the employees perceive as realistic and achievable and which seems to be working in practice. These factors increase the acceptance of the strategy and the likelihood of successful strategy execution. The conceptual framework of this study was revised on the basis of the main findings and new elements were added to it.

Key words: strategy communication, strategy implementation, management communication, internal corporate communication, corporate strategy, strategic management
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