Assessing/Leveraging Strategic Capital

Assessing/Leveraging Strategic Capital

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5390-8.ch005


The important community of opinion-influencers (also termed “opinion-leaders”) described in this chapter could be included as stakeholders in the implementation planning steps described in Chapter 4; if “in favor,” they can positively influence other organizational members during implementation, and if “not in favor,” the concerns of the opinion-influencers may be addressed.
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Strategic Capital is the capability to understand and support the organization’s business plan, and to execute the relevant strategy (Smith, 2005). Most organizational senior managers understand that their organization’s Strategic Capital, is linked to the emotional attitude of their organization’s workforce in response to its business plan. Consequently, developing organization-wide understanding and support for the organization’s Fourth Industrial Revolution business plan and its implementation are extremely important. In order to accomplish these objectives, the important community of opinion-influencers (also characterized as “opinion-leaders”) described in this Chapter could be included as stake-holders in the implementation-planning steps described in Chapters 4; if they are “in favor” of the plan”, they can positively influence other organizational members during implementation, and if “not in favor”, their concerns and opinions must be addressed.

In the past, supportive strategic-capital initiatives have often proven ineffective (Despres & Chauvel, 2000; Storey & Barnett, 2000; Fuller, 2001). Heiskanen (2004) has demonstrated that the widely accepted idea of strategic knowledge as the creation and property of strictly defined “professional” groups will be counter-productive in view of an organization’s broad implementation-related needs. There is a research consensus that the knowledge related to any important organizational initiative must be shared throughout the organization (Nosek, 2004; Kafai & Resnick, 1996; Resnick et al., 1993; Salomon, 1993). This underlines the imperative to share strategic knowledge not only within, but outside specialized-expert domains (Nowotny, 2003), and in addition, to develop theoretical and practical methods that transcend organizational boundaries.

Sensemaking is “the process whereby employees interpret their world to produce the sense that shared meanings exist” (Leiter, in Gephart, 1993, pp. 1469-70); and ‘sensemaking’ is the group process that routinely involves people actively interpreting their business-world via conversations and written accounts; that is via explanations and ongoing dialogue that describes and attempts to make sense of their business and social world (Gephart, 1993; Weick, 1979). This emphasis on the importance of socialization for effective (strategic) knowledge-sharing has focused attention on the prevailing organizational “culture”.

“Culture” is defined (in this context) as the shared values, beliefs and practices of all the people in the organization (Schein, 1992), and includes the impact of non-rational “people-factors” that according to Smith and McLaughlin (2003) are often ‘undiscussable’ in organizations. Given that tacit feeling-laden emotional concerns are involved People-factors are complex and illogical, as one would expect. For example, organizations typically operate under a façade of rationality, although willingness ‘to act or not’ often involves irrational issues such as the interpersonal relationships with, and trust in, management and fellow workers. This personal choice to act or not, is often perceived as negative by the organization, being linked to the ‘expressive’ areas of life rather than to the goal-orientation that drives organizations (Smith and McLaughlin, 2003). In 1973 with regard to business organizations, Egan (1973; pp. 61) wrote that “emotional repression in undoubtedly still a far greater problem than emotional overindulgence.” Forty-five years later, society still considers employee maturity as equivalent to “the control or repression of feelings,” and continues to interpret the word “emotional” in a derogatory way.

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