Closing the Strategy Execution Gap in the Public Sector

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Business

Document 1

The consistently poor implementation of strategy in the public sector has become the primary reason for poor service delivery. The focus of this proposal will be to formulate a conceptual model that can contribute significantly towards narrowing down the strategy implementation deficiency in the public sector organizations. The key research hypothesis guiding this study will be: adopting a simplified and dynamically integrated conceptual model can significantly improve the implementation of strategies in the public sector organizations. Throughout the research time, the focus will be answering the question, “is there an ideal model for strategy implementation in the public sector organizations? The methodology that will be applied is the qualitative Participatory Action Research (PAR) based on the Ghent City case studies of both local authorities as well as the state-owned enterprises. A brief literature review reveals that there is a significant lack of multi-disciplinary approach to integrating the key components for better implementation of strategies in the public service.

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Research Problem and Significance 1. Statement of the Problem The pace of strategy execution or implementation in the public sector is consistently poor and as a result, the anticipated benefits of the strategic plans are seldom realized which ultimately leads into poor service delivery. The problem is perceived to be caused by the significant gap that exists between strategic planning and strategy execution. This implies that mostly well-thought out plans are seldom implemented. Furthermore, there is limited academic literature focusing on implementation of strategies in the public sector. Primarily, the research intends to contribute positively towards a successful strategy implementation in the public sector organizations. Thus, the findings of the study will benefit not only the public sector organization but also the private sector which works in collaboration with the public sector organizations.

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Research Methodology 2. Research Objectives This research will aim at developing, testing and improving a conceptual model or management model that is appropriate for narrowing down strategy implementation deficiency in the public sector organizations. Other objectives include stablishing the key deficiencies, identifying the essential elements of the model and suggest ways of integrating these components for best outcomes. Introduction The chapter will examine and analyze the various academic literatures that are relevant to the research topic. Even though most existing literature has given attention to the experiences in the private sector, it will serve by providing the latest thinking and trends on the topic of strategy execution. The existing literature will be used to assess both the nature and size of the strategy execution gap and inform the choice of appropriate components that must be applied to narrow down the gap.

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Literature on Significance of Strategy Execution Research shows that organizational success is dependent on implementation of strategy rather than its quality (Hrebiniak 2008; Flood, Dromgoole, Carroll & Gordon 2000; Holman 1999). Speculand (2009) posits that the most significant challenge facing the field of strategic management is not the formulation of strategy but rather the execution of the strategy. According to Kaplan & Norton (2008) and Franken, Edwards & Lambert (2009), 60-80% of organizations fail to successfully execute their strategic plans and consequently, fail to achieve their strategic targets. Poor strategic plans and lack of communication has been cited as the key reasons for the wide gap in strategy execution. A survey of 1100 organizations by Schreurs (2010) reported that 15% of these companies believed they had the wrong strategy. In his survey, Axson (1999) found that 73% of staff were not aware of their company’s strategic plans and only 42% of directors were familiar with the plans.

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Lack of access to the strategic plans by the employees hinders implementation. Childress, J. R. Fastbreak: The CEO's Guide to Strategy Execution. A preprint electronic Version, the Principia Group, UK. Flood, P. Strategy Strategic Planning Society, UK. Hrebiniak, L. Making Strategy Work: Overcoming the Obstacles to Effective Execution. Ivey Business Journal. Hrebiniak, L. Mankins, M. C. Steele, R. Turning great strategy into great performance. Harvard Business Review. Pienaar Muell, R. Cronje, S. Strategy implementation: overcoming the challenge.  Management Today. Schreurs, K. Harvard Business Press.

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