This article is about the role of strategist i.e. CEOs within the organizations and attempted to present a case in point of discussing how the corporate identities tend to change over the period of time and it is the CEO, the leader of the organisation who basically shall call the shots in reshaping the overall corporate strategies of the firm considering the internal as well as external environment of the firm. And to do so, what derives the strategists to attempt to change the reality about the organisation is a clear purpose. Purpose should be the driving force behind the strategy and strategy shall be fluid in nature.
The existing theory of leadership defines leadership into different contexts i.e. leadership is a combination of personality traits or leadership is a name of follower perception etc. (Yukul, 1989). What is important with leadership is the fact that it attempts to put non coercive influence on the followers to get things done. (Marcoulides et. Al, 1998). Within this regard, it was often argued that the main task of leadership was always to provide vision and direction to the organisation and it was the job of the management to put that vision and strategy into action through different tactical strategies. However, latest concepts, though less theorized, suggest that leadership has a greater connection with the strategy and those leaders i.e. CEOs need to have a tactical understanding too in order to make organisations click in an intense competitive environment.
If we take that argument and compare with the argument put forward in this article, we may come up with a conclusion that the author has attempted to create fusion of strategy and tactics i.e. amalgamating strategy with the functional reality of the organisation. In this regard, the old theories of leadership i.e. great man theories of leadership may justify the argument of the author however, as we evolve and consider the complex and fluid nature of organisations, we will come to know that when strategy is trickled down the line till line managers, it can create potential leaders too with greater insight into correcting the situation at hand however, in the words of author, strategy is a way of life for company thus the transformational leadership theories may also be considered to justify the argument of the author.
Earlier concepts of leadership outlined a varying degree of diversity and innovation into the overall concept of leadership. However, as the organisations are evolving and becoming more fluid or radix as Schneider (2002) call new organisations therefore the overall role of the leaders has changed too. The contingency model of leadership suggested that leadership emerges due to situations at hand thus what is essentially comprise of a good leader is the fact that how good he is turning the situation into an opportunity.(Houghton & Yoho, 2005). If we consider the situational model of leadership, the argument of the author, to some extent can be substantiated with the existing set of leadership theories. However, since organisations are combination of different variables therefore singling out CEOs as the only drivers of strategy within the organisations is a bit loud claim.
Strategy and Organisation
Kuwada (1998) argued that organizational learning is a response to the fluid nature of the competition and external environment faced by the organisations however since organizational learning result into strategy formation, therefore the basic drivers of organizational learning are diverse and the strategy is driven out of them through a generation mechanism. However, the argument of the author is largely focused on just one aspect of organisational change and evaluation and that is the strategist. What is left behind is the fact that, though a good leader helps organisations to know the truth about them, but that realization is a continuous and fluid process itself. It is the culmination of events that bring CEOs to take actions and change the strategy.
Though it may difficult to argue that whether business side or the economics side of doing business is dominant while making strategies however what is important is the fact that it is a combination of both.(Rumelt, et. Al, 1991). Leadership may be entitled with providing the vision to the organisations and a sense of direction however, leadership is not just a name to rationality and skills but it is also a combination of emotions, character and identity as argued by Panckhurst (2001). These facts suggest that like strategy, leadership itself is a fluid concept which has kept on changing over the period of time and with the innovations in the modern literature on management.
Historically, firms have evolved mostly keeping in check of the external realities however complacencies crept in when organisations started to rely on their internal strengths only. This was in fact an attempt to stick to the very purpose for which the organisations were founded therefore the argument of author may not be substantiated that this is a relatively new phenomenon. If IBM stuck to its original philosophy of inventing technologies, it was doing so because this was what IBM supposed to do according to the vision and strategy of its leaders i.e. strategists. However, its failure to learn was the main cause behind its stagnancy in the market which resulted in its subsequent down fall. The failure of leadership to clearly read the external environment is in fact a counter argument against the author because what author means is that some CEOs who succeed, carve out a new reality for organisations and who fail to achieve the same may not come under the umbrella of the relationship between leader and strategy.(Ashby & Diacon, 2000)
The argument of author are though can be corroborated by the existing theories of leadership however, there are still lot of strategic factors which are not accounted for while putting forward the argument in favor of the role of CEO and the strategy. What is important to understand is the fact that change in strategy is a continuous process and change takes place due to the events happening in the past. What culminates into failure for the organisations is a process of construction and deconstruction of different variables related with the business. The role of leadership may not succeed if functional realities about the organisations are not known to the CEOs therefore in this regard; different theories such as great men theories, personal charisma as well as expert power may serve as the valid justifications behind the argument of putting CEOs at the forefront of the strategy however, changing the fate of organisations is not just a singular work but it is a combination of different organisational layers and depends largely upon how communication flows within the organisations.
Steve Jobs may be the man behind resurrection of Apple but very few know that the idea of IPod, which virtually brought Apple in forefront, was the idea of engineers working in the assembly lines for Apple. Thus linking or making strategy as the only priority right of CEOs is somewhat a flawed argument.
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