MGT 380 Ashford University Wk 4 Leadership for Organizations Discussion Week 4 – Discussion 1 Frame of Reference Take Assessment 9.3 (Your Leadership Fram

MGT 380 Ashford University Wk 4 Leadership for Organizations Discussion Week 4 – Discussion 1
Frame of Reference

Take Assessment 9.3 (Your Leadership Frame of Reference) in the textbook. Tally your scores and report your scores in your initial post. Also in your initial post, analyze what the scores of the assessment reveal about your Frame of Reference. Do you think the assessment is accurate? Why or why not? Would you want to change your approach? Why or why not? What are you going to do to improve or change your frame of reference as you are more involved in leadership?

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Guided Response: Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond substantively to at least two of your classmates posts.

Week 4 – Discussion 2
Vision, Mission, Strategy

What is the role of leadership as it relates to vision, mission, and strategy in an organization? Give specific examples.

Guided Response: Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond substantively to at least two of your classmates posts. 9
Leadership Strategy
Learning Outcomes
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
1. Explain the importance of corporate theory and organizational strategy.
2. Define strategic leadership and its major components.
3. Explain the role of leaders, vision, mission, and values in the strategy creation process.
4. Describe how the 7-S model and the four frames of reference assist leaders in strategy implementation.
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Walt Disney’s theory of value creation in entertainment was embodied in his vision of the
company depicted in his 1957 hand-drawn map listing key company assets and competitive
capability combinations (Zenger, 2013). He wanted to bring the world innovative, familyfriendly entertainment using a multiplatform approach. Fifteen years after his death in 1966
and into the late 1970s, however, his vision of the company was falling apart. Corporate raiders in 1984 tried a hostile takeover to sell off Disney’s assets including the theme park, film
library, and brand. Michael Eisner helped reinvigorate Disney’s vision, moving the company’s
market capitalization from $1.9 billion in 1984 to $28 billion in 1994. But his leadership style
and strategies ultimately didn’t live up to Disney’s original vision of the firm.
When Bob Iger became Disney’s CEO in 2005, the company’s growth had been stagnating
for several years. Iger’s predecessor, Michael Eisner, had an autocratic, demanding style that
worked well for the company early on, but later hindered the board’s governance process, deal
making with other companies, and overall company growth (“A Full-Time Occupation,” 2004).
Iger strategically refocused the firm to innovate by decentralizing decision making—allowing
decisions to fall to multiple people instead of just one person. He reoriented the company’s
150,000 employees around its roster of franchises, selecting and mobilizing expertise around
characters, movies, and TV shows that could be replicated in consumer products. He accelerated acquisitions, buying Pixar, and launched new products, including a Tinkerbell line and
TV programming sold through iTunes (Grover, 2007).
“Our brand is so powerful because of our heritage,” Iger said. “But you’ve got to innovate, and
not just in terms of what is new today but what will be new far into the future” (Barnes, 2010).
Building off of Walt’s original vision, he phrased the company’s mission this way: “to develop
the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products
in the world.”
Bob Iger was the protector and chief strategist of
Walt’s original vision of the firm.
Iger has been the protector and chief
strategist of Walt’s original vision of
the firm. He must keep the company
focused on a long-term vision while
watching over present-day operations, moving Disney into the future
while preserving the best of its legacy. Iger’s term with Disney has seen
the company’s stock value climb 23%
in fiscal 2010, compared with a 12%
gain for the S&P; the company’s market cap has since grown to $243.78
billion as of April 24, 2019 (ycharts,
In the previous two chapters, we
examined two different leadership skills: ­communication and leading teams. In this chapter, we focus on organizational
and leadership s­ trategy. Recent studies on strategy and leadership argue for creative and
innovative ­thinking; agile and flexible execution, especially in a globalizing world that is
hypercompetitive and digitally connected (Iansiti & Lakhani, 2014; McGrath, 2013). Strategic thinking and implementation require not only thinking outside the box, but also
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The Context and Process of Strategic Leadership: Corporate Theory and Organizational Strategy
Section 9.1
anticipating, ­forecasting, and analyzing opportunities and threats that haven’t but may
very well occur (Daewoo, Chinta, Lee, Turner, & Kilbourne, 2011). When leaders and their
teams select a strategy, they must locate and mobilize the right talent and expertise to
plan, communicate, and execute their course of action (Kim & Mauborgne, 2014; Picken,
Liang, Achidi Ndofor, & Priem, 2010).
Effective strategic leadership depends on a number of factors discussed throughout this text;
it is still persons and teams whose processes are embedded in the organization’s systems
that interact with both internal and external organizational environments and stakeholders
to bring about desired results. As McGrath (2013) noted, “One thing about strategy hasn’t
changed: It still requires tough choices about what to do and, even more important, what not
to do. . . . So defining where you want to compete, how you intend to win, and how you are
going to move from advantage to advantage is critical” (p. 70).
Leaders must establish the right strategy for their organization and then secure support from
followers and other stakeholders who help realize the strategy (vendors, suppliers, interest groups, media, and customers). Implementing, sustaining, and even changing a strategy
requires power and influence, which come with their own set of ethical issues. As always, consider your own leadership and leadership potential as you read. Assessments are available to
help you discover your own sources of visioning, leadership, and power.
9.1 The Context and Process of Strategic Leadership:
Corporate Theory and Organizational Strategy
“A leader’s most vexing strategic challenge is not how to obtain or sustain competitive
­advantage—which has been the field of strategy’s primary focus—but rather, how to keep
finding new, unexpected ways to create value” (Zenger, 2013, p. 74). This holistic approach to
understand strategy requires, according to Zenger, developing a firm’s “corporate theory”—
that is, a theory that explains “how a firm can create value by combining the company’s unique
resources and capabilities with other assets” (p. 74). The particular theory of each company
reveals how it can continue to create value.
Corporate Theory
Based on Zenger’s (2013) research into a number of highly successful companies, the
practice of such leaders as Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and others first developing a theory of
their firms’ purpose and value creation capabilities involves leaders using available knowledge and prior experiences to develop a model of the landscape and then try to anticipate
where to find value in that model. During this process, leaders start to form a vision of the
company’s capabilities and value extensions. Zenger calls this map, “Walt Disney’s theory
of value creation in entertainment” or Disney’s “corporate theory” of how the company
would work. The map identified patterns of key assets and capability combinations that
grew out of Disney’s theory, which did in fact evolve but has not fundamentally changed
over time.
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The Context and Process of Strategic Leadership: Corporate Theory and Organizational Strategy
Section 9.1
How can someone tell if an organization’s theory works? Zenger said the answer lies in examining the three “sights” of the theory: Foresight, Insight, and Cross-sight. Foresight identifies
beliefs and expectations of how a firm’s industry, customer preferences, relevant technologies, and competitor actions will evolve. Disney’s foresight was that “family-friendly visual
fantasy worlds had vast appeal” (Zenger, 2013, p. 74). This process is similar to scanning
the issues and opportunities in an environment, which we later discuss. Insight involves discerning the uniqueness of an organization’s assets and activities. Some of Disney’s original
insights included the creation of his fantasy characters that were automated. Cross-sight
involves identifying how different company assets are complementary and how these can be
combined with others to create value.
Disney saw and operationalized the interconnections of his firm’s assets and capabilities.
Those later strategies that remained true to Disney’s theory of his firm continued to evolve
and succeed in changing marketplaces. It was only when some elements of later leaders’ personalities and styles, or their processes (communications, ways of visioning) and resultant
systems (visions, strategies, organizational cultures and structures) strayed from Disney’s
theory of the firm did trouble ensue.
Steve Jobs, like Walt Disney, also developed a theory of Apple® from the outset. His foresight
was evidenced in his vision of how customers’ tastes would evolve to use individual computers and then devices, like the then Sony Walkman. He believed in the aesthetics and practicality of devices that would be consumer friendly and attractive (Zenger, 2013). His insight about
the capability and value creation of product design was partly a reflection of his personality:
“Jobs was a self-proclaimed artist, obsessed with color, finish, and shape; but he transferred
this obsession to the technology as well” (Zenger, 2013, p. 77). His cross-sight was seeing
and applying graphical user interface (GUI) technology from Xerox to personal computers in
the form of windows, menus, and icons—culminating in the Macintosh computer. Founders
like Disney and Jobs had theories of their companies that required new strategies to survive
and thrive, but elements of their original visions endured. Even though Jobs was ousted from
Apple in 1985, he returned in 1996 to revive and extend Apple’s original vision into new
product devices and designs.
Not all founders’ theories and visions of their companies maintain their original or extended
value; for example AT&T is racing to reinvent itself as the telecommunications industry moves
into a digital future. Many companies also have no theory grounding their assets or capabilities—that is, they have no organizational strategy.
Organizational Strategy
Organizational strategy is “the sum of the actions a company intends to take to achieve
long-term goals” (Johnson, 2015). Strategies also answer a key question, “How do we create value?” Michael Porter (1996), strategy guru at Harvard, said “The essence of strategy is
choosing to perform activities differently than rivals do” (Porter, 1996). Strategies provide
direction for organizations. The Roman philosopher Seneca said that if a person does not
know toward which port she or he is steering, no wind is favorable. Strategies are needed by
boards of directors (and trustees) to ensure that organizational leaders and managers are
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Section 9.1
The Context and Process of Strategic Leadership: Corporate Theory and Organizational Strategy
carrying out their responsibilities of providing direction to an organization for its shareholders and stakeholders. Strategies are also needed by employees for direction and guidance in
their work and motivation.
Three types and levels of strategy for larger organizations are corporate, business, and functional
strategies (Beard & Dess, 1981; Bryman & Bell,
2015; Robbins & Coulter, 2012). Corporate strategy involves an entire company and address the
question of what business(es) a company should
or desires to be in. Corporate strategy determines the direction that the organization is going
and the roles that each business unit in the organization plans in pursuing that direction. Business
strategy maps back to the corporate strategy and
determines how an organization should compete
in its business(es). For larger firms, each business
will have its own strategy to deal with products and
services. Smaller businesses deal with less complex
business strategies. Functional strategy overlaps
with and extends the business strategy to functional departments like research and development,
marketing, sales, manufacturing, human resources,
and finance. All strategies extend and relate to the
corporate level strategy.
Seneca famously expressed that if a
person does not know toward which
port she or he is steering, no wind is
Strategies are the first step before developing organizations’ business models (i.e., how organizations
make money; or, the designs for the successful
operation of organizations that include sources of
revenue, customers, products/services, and financing). If strategies address the question of
how value is created, business models address the question, how does strategy translate into
value? Following the business model, key performance indicators, or metrics, can be identified to address the question of how we measure our performance. Then corporations define
risk management policies and procedures that address the question, What can go wrong and
what do we do? (Larcker, 2011).
Developing strategy is a process, not an event. Although the talent, efforts, and styles of individual founders and CEOs are important in defining, overseeing, and implementing organizational strategies—as the chapter opening scenario about Disney shows—the input of senior
leadership teams and others in an organization is also necessary in helping tweak, adjust, and
redefine strategies, especially innovative strategies in turbulent, highly competitive environments. Pisano (2015) said that the most senior leaders of the organization guide the strategy
process, especially for innovation.
Innovation cuts across just about every function. Only senior leaders can
orchestrate such a complex system. They must take prime responsibility for
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Section 9.3
Strategy Creation
the processes, structures, talent, and behaviors that shape how an organization searches for innovation opportunities, synthesizes ideas into concepts
and product designs, and selects what to do.
9.2 Strategic Leadership Defined
A strategy is also defined as a comprehensive plan for how an organization fulfills its purpose and realizes its vision (Hambrick & Fredrickson, 2001). Thus, strategic leadership
involves leading with a theory of the firm, as discussed previously, and a plan: imagining
and anticipating the future, working with others to realize it, and remaining open-minded
to changing course as needed (Barnett, Greve, & Park, 1994; Miller, 2002). This type of
leadership requires constant assessment and evaluation, of both the external environment
and internal resources, and the ability to balance the two to constantly advance toward the
organization’s goals. Part of the mission of a strategic leader is to stay a step ahead of the
competition through innovative thinking and decision making (Hoskisson, Hitt, Ireland, &
Harrison, 2013).
So why do we need strategic leadership? Iger’s work at Disney shows what a difference
strategic leadership can make. A leader’s personality and personal style affects strategy
identification and implementation (Livengood & Reger, 2010). Eisner’s aggressive style at
Disney worked well during some periods of Disney’s history, but not well in later times.
Other studies have shown that strategic management can positively impact an organization’s performance, including profitability (Miller & Cardinal, 1994), while a lack of a leading strategy can negatively affect profitability by up to 44% (Finkelstein & Hambrick, 1996).
One study showed that Chinese firms that engaged strategic human resource management
(SHRM) in general were able to achieve better performance than firms that did not; Wei
and Lau (2008) noted that firms using strategic human resource management “are more
conscientious about market needs and take more initiative in developing HR practices that
are compatible with business strategies” (p. 4) and lead to better overall motivation. There
are two basic elements of strategic management: strategy creation and strategy implementation. A leader spearheads the creation of a strategy using the organization’s vision
and mission as guides for new initiatives and supporting structures (Daft, 2016), and then
implements the strategy using objectives, policies, initiatives, and supporting structures
that translate the organization’s vision and mission into practice. A strategic leader must
also model the organization’s values and foster a culture and open climate within the workplace so that the strategy can be implemented more effectively (Greenwood & Miller, 2010;
Harrison & St. John, 2002).
9.3 Strategy Creation
Forming a comprehensive strategy is no easy task. A leader must fully understand both
the environment and the organization’s core strengths, and often must combine past experience with future projections (Ireland & Hitt, 1999). Here we are referring to the highest
overall strategy of an organization, the corporate or enterprise level. Other local, or lower
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Section 9.3
Strategy Creation
level, strategies all relate back and use parts of the larger strategy. Even in midsize and notfor-profit organizations, this higher-level strategy is needed to guide the other departments,
working units, divisions, or teams in their work.
When formulating a strategy, leaders rarely work alone. They brainstorm and work with
teams and groups to analyze, question, and argue over different scenarios and options; during
this process they also align instincts with assessment (Smith & Shefy, 2004). Smith and Shefy
(2004) noted that executives use their intuition as well as facts when working with their
teams in formulating a strategy. Intuition, wrote Smith and Shefy (2004), “presents the possibility of turning ideas into action and speeding up decision-making” (2004, p. 79). In writing about Henry Mintzberg, a leading scholar of strategy and management, Morrison (2003)
noted that Mintzberg’s argument is as follows: strategic planning is about analysis (i.e., breaking down a goal into steps, designing how the steps may be implemented, and estimating the
anticipated consequences of each step).
Strategic thinking is about synthesis, about using intuition and creativity to formulate an integrated perspective, a vision, of where the organization should be heading. The problem is
that strategic planning proponents believe that analysis encompasses synthesis; that in the
best practice, strategic planning, strategic thinking, and strategy making are synonymous.
This belief, in turn, rests on the assumptions that prediction is possible and that the strategymaking process can be formalized (Morrison, 1994).
All strategies must stem from a solid foundation of vision, mission, and core values, as shown
in Figure 9.1: where we are going, what we stand for, and what we believe. Only then can we
know how we are to proceed (strategy) and what to do (implementation).
Figure 9.1: Building strategy
How we will proceed
What we will do
Core Values
What we stand for
What we believe
Where we are going
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Section 9.3
Strategy Creation
Strategy Roles of Leaders
A McKinsey study (Birshan, Gibbs, & Strovink, 2014) that surveyed 350 senior strategists
representing 25 industries worldwide found that effective organizations are t­ ransforming
strategy development into an ongoing dialogue about leadership and budget. “Some
organizations have even instituted a more broadly democratic process that pulls in
­company-wide participation through social-technology and game-based strategy development” (Birshan et al., p. 2). The authors summarized their findings into five archetypes
(we would say “…
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