Title: Heading for decline? The significance of disturbances in strategic management

Authors: Hannamari Heino; Juha Tuunainen

Addresses: Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE), University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9, FIN-00014, Finland ' Department of Management and International Business, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FIN-90014, Finland

Abstract: This paper will address problems in strategic management process from the perspective of organisational decline. It will review the literature on early warning signals of decline and contribute to an understanding of their role in organisational development. To facilitate more advanced theorising about early warning signals, the paper will draw from cultural-historical activity theory suggesting that early warnings should be conceptualised in terms of organisational disturbances that act as visible evidence of developmental contradictions. By combining activity theory with strategy process research, the paper will open up an avenue for organisational analysis to better understand the nature of weak signs of decline and provide a better basis for their resolution. The conceptualisation will be illustrated by referring to a case example of a firm operating in service production.

Keywords: organisational decline; early warning signals; cultural-historical activity theory; contradiction; strategic management process.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSCM.2018.091634

International Journal of Strategic Change Management, 2018 Vol.7 No.2, pp.139 - 159

Received: 01 Sep 2016
Accepted: 03 May 2017

Published online: 08 May 2018 *

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