International Journal of Accounting, Banking and ManagementVol. 3, No. 1, February 2015, pp. 1 - 14, E-ISSN: 2333 - 7206Available online at www.ijabm.comResearch articleAN INSIGHT INTO STRATEGICMANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATIONPRACTICES OF HANDICRAFT EXPORTORGANISATIONS IN GHANAStephen Banahene1 and Godfred Agbevanu2School of Business, Christian Service University College, Kumasi, Ghana 1Unibank Ghana (Kejetia Branch Manager), Kumasi, Ghana200233 (0)246 165 77411 and 00233 (0)207 379 9332E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected]: Stephen Banahene, School of Business, Christian Service University College, P. O. Box3110, Kumasi, Ghana. E-mail: [email protected] work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.ABSTRACTToo often, promising strategic plans never come to fruition. This applies to both large and small organisations inall industries. Based on documentation methods, this paper has classified strategic management theories intoanalysis and implementation.This research aimed at highlighting implementation practices among handicraft export organisations in Ghana tocomplement academic work in strategic management, hitherto, have been limited to strategic analysis and withconcentration on large organisations.A qualitative mode of enquiry, using structured questionnaire and interview with key stakeholders in handicraftexport business was used. In all, 46 handicraft export managers were interviewed. Multi method samplingtechnique was used to select these handicraft export organisations whose managers served as the respondents.1

International Journal of Accounting, Banking and ManagementVol. 3, No. 1, February 2015, pp. 1 - 14, E-ISSN: 2333 - 7206Available online at www.ijabm.comThe study analysed the key environmental factors on strategic management implementation into challenging andenablers. The study found that economic and international factors were very important to strategic managementimplementation and also posed severe challenges to handicraft export organisations in their implementationpractices. Though technological and monitoring and evaluation were very important to strategic managementimplementation, they were not critical environmental factors as rated by handicraft export organisations.Interestingly, almost all the internal factors were very important to strategic management implementation thestudy did not considered them as challenge to Handicraft Export Organisation. Lastly, political and socio-culturefactors were challenging to handicraft export organisations but they were presented as not too important tostrategic management implementation.Therefore, it is important to consider economic and international factors in strategic managementimplementation especially for organisations that are into export activities. Copyright IJABM, all rightsreserved.Keywords: strategic management, implementation, practice, survival-based, knowledge-basedINTRODUCTIONIn business world today, ‘strategy’ has been the most overused and misused term. Everybody seems to have a‘strategy’ for everything. By attaching the term ‘strategy’ to an activity, it somehow becomes more important,but in reality very little may actually be done. Whiles strategic analysis and implementation may appear to besimple; achievement involves many complex interdependent or even conflicting tasks. Different managementtheories have successfully explained good part of what constitute strategy analysis on one hand, and on anotherhow such strategies can be implemented.Too often, promising strategic plans never come to fruition. A common cause of such failures includes abreakdown in implementation – the internal processes and events needed to bring the strategy to life. It ishowever noted that, formulating a consistent strategy is a difficult task for many management teams, making thestrategy work, thus implementing it throughout the organisation and over time, is even more difficult.Two dimensions determine the success of any strategy: the strategy that has been formulated and theorganisation’s ability to implement it. According to Bonoma (1984), Berry and Parasuraman (1991), and Piercy(1997) the appropriateness of any strategy is determined by the effectiveness of its implementation. The fourgeneral position options established by Bonoma’s matrix are shown BLEMFAILUREBadImplementationFormulationFigure 1: Strategy Formulation and Implementation2

International Journal of Accounting, Banking and ManagementVol. 3, No. 1, February 2015, pp. 1 - 14, E-ISSN: 2333 - 7206Available online at www.ijabm.comSource: Adapted from Bonoma, 1984When organisation has appropriate strategy formulation with good implementation, success is the outcome. Thisis the ideal position for organisations as it presents little or no problem. As regards Chance, the strategyformulation is inappropriate, perhaps it lacks detailed analysis or not building on existing strength. However, itmay be saved by good implementation. This good implementation may be achieved by adopting and adaptingfrom a weak opening basis and, with luck, do what is required. Nevertheless, this position is always associatedwith high degree of risk. The Problem position indicates that, the organisation is doing the right things badly.The strength of strategic formulation is dissipated by poor implementation. Often the true value of the strategy isnot fully recognized and it is dismissed as being inappropriate. With Failure position, there is no win situation.Failure at all levels indicates danger of struggling on with implementation and simply ‘throwing good moneyafter bad strategy’. Organisations should learn from situations of strategy formulation and implementation.However, effective strategy implementation depends on;(i)The organisation’s understanding on fundamental principles of implementation. This requires thatstrategy implementation should deal with both human aspect of business and more objectiveprocesses to management. McKinsey’s ‘Seven-S’ model provides a useful summation of theseideas. The figure below illustrates the fundamental principles of implementation;HUMANRESOURCEASPECTShared ValuesPROCESS ASPECTIMPLEMENTATIONStyleStaffResource deploymentStructureSystemsSkillsFigure 2: The McKinsey’s Seven-SSource: Adapted from Drummond and Ensor. (2004)(ii)Assessing the implementation of each strategy. This is about how easily the strategy fit into currentactivities. Not too surprisingly, the easier the fit the less likely implementation problems are tooccur. The concern here is largely about the level of change associated with the implementation.The greater the change, the greater the management challenge and the greater the perceived benefitof the change needs to be. Hence, there is a need to consider the potential pay-off and the amountof change required to achieve. Figure 3 illustrates the relationship between change and importance;3

International Journal of Accounting, Banking and ManagementVol. 3, No. 1, February 2015, pp. 1 - 14, E-ISSN: 2333 - 7206Available online at www.ijabm.comHighLowOverhaulSynergyOverkillLimited ImpactLowImportance of ChangeLevel of Change in Current OperationsHighFigure 3: Strategic FitSource: Adapted from Drummond et al. (2004)With regard to Overhaul, strategic implementation requires high degree of change in current operations andorganisation must expect increasing levels of resistance and risk as the strategy has limited fit with currentactivities. There must be a compelling strategic reasons and significant support for this strategy implementationto become successful. Such implementation takes place during organisational restructuring, downsizing,mergers or overhauling business culture. Under Synergy, the combined effect of high importance and relativelylimited change offers a potential ‘easy ride’. Problems should be limited and risk of failure is reduced. Thismeans that organisations need to be sure it has the required synergy before embarking on this route. TheOverkill presents high risk and limited impact of importance. Care is needed in order not to alienate staff anddisrupt activities. Limited Impact strategic implementation occurs where low levels of change affect relativeunimportant areas of activities. Often a series of such activities can yield incremental change. This couldrepresent a stage-by-stage approach to change, where relatively minor changes are introduced over a period oftime. This option of incremental activity can be used where resources are limited or a phased consolidatedapproach is deemed more appropriate.Despite the importance of both analysis and implementation to strategic development, a number of studiesconducted to understand what contributes to the success of organisation’s strategy have been focused onstrategic analysis. Many of the strategic analysis have adopted the resource-based view (RBV) of theorganisation as the theoretical basis of their studies and argue that the competitive advantage of organisations issourced primarily in the organisation’s ability to access and acquire rare and inimitable resources that createbetter value for customers. These resources are considered as indicators of organisation’s performance levels inthe market (Lynch, 2003; Mintzberg, 1987; 1990; 1994: Peteraf, 1993: Stacey, 1993: Porter, M. E. 1980; 1985)While resource-base view has been instrumental in explaining the performance differences among organisations,arguments have been advanced that the mere possession of resources is insufficient to generate superiorperformance. For instance, Barney and Arikan (2006) have stated that, the assumption that appropriate strategicaction will automatically follow from the recognition of valuable resources within the organisation is anintellectually naïve one. The two authors argued that, while organisation’s resources have a more or less directimpact on the strategic courses and action an organisation may pursue implementation of such strategies torealize value creation potential remains an under-researched topic. On a more important note, how resources canbe applied through strategic decisions to create superior value and competitive advantage for organisationsremain an unclear study area. The current literatures mostly shed light on how the capabilities of organisationsenable them to formulate appropriate strategic choices that match their resources with opportunities in theirexternal environment. However, mechanisms that ensure successful implementation of the chosen strategies arenot discussed. While there is assumption that organisations should establish appropriate structures to match their4

International Journal of Accounting, Banking and ManagementVol. 3, No. 1, February 2015, pp. 1 - 14, E-ISSN: 2333 - 7206Available online at www.ijabm.comstrategies, research has shown that there is a lot of incongruence between strategy and structure (Duysters andHagedoorn, 1995; 1996).METHODOLOGYIn this study, the researcher used questionnaire on 46 (Zikmund W.G. 2002; Saunders, M., Lewis, P., andThornhill, A., 2009) managers of Handicraft Export Organisations in Ghana who have been consistentlyexporting at least in the last five years within the handicraft product line as allowed by the American Growthand Opportunity Act (AGOA). In addition, two (2) officials of trade institutions were interviewed on the subjectof strategic management implementation of the Handicraft Export Organisations. Multi method samplingtechnique was used to select those Handicraft Export Organisations in the following handicraft areas; Kente(traditional textiles), statuettes (wood), brass ware, ceramics, jewelry, basket wares and other assorted handicraftproducts. Quota sampling technique (appendix 1) was used because the different strata put together reflect thetotal face of the handicraft sector. In each of the participating organisation groupings, simple random samplingmethod was used to select the participating organisations for the study (Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis, andAdrian Thornhill 2009; and William G. Zikmund 2002). The study also used secondary data by consideringrelevant academic peer reviewed journals.DISCUSSIONS ON STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATIONPRACTICES(i)Implementation FactorsAnalysis of respondents’ data revealed three key factors that Handicraft Export Organisations consider duringimplementation of their strategies. These are the planed strategy, general economic environment, andcompetitors’ action. The analysis of the ecological environment is emerging as major markets of handicraft aredemanding answers to the general ethical issues facing handicraft sector. On the other hand, communication ofstrategic implementation issues and analysis of political and socio-cultural factors have been indicated as factorsnot considered adequately in Handicraft Export Organisations strategic implementation process. It is also clearfrom the data that, Handicraft Export Organisations seldom make changes during strategic implementationprocess. Appendix 2 shows statistical information on the rating of the factors that affect strategic managementimplementation.(ii)Implementation Factors which are ChallengeThe following criteria were used to classify implementation factors as severe, average and low challengingfactors:(i)If the combined percentage of very challenging and challenging exceed 60% it is classified assevere factor.(ii)If the combined percentage of very challenging and challenging is between 50% and 60% it isclassified as average factor.(iii)If the combined percentage of very challenging and challenging is below 50% it is classified aslow factor.Given the information as presented by the respondents, four factors namely economic, political, socio-cultureand international factors were rated as severe factors that affect strategic management implementation. On the5

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