Barriers to Strategy Implementation

Barriers to Strategy Implementation

Reza Aboutalebi (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch039

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It is believed that the first Internet-based shopping system was invented by Michael Aldrich in 1979 that was used initially by the Tesco Company, the largest food retailer in the UK (Tkacz & Kapczynski, 2009). Although e-commerce has its own business features such as online transaction (See-To, Papagiannidis & Westland, 2014), online risk (Flanagin, Metzger, Pure, Markov, & Hartsell, 2014), information disclosure (Sharma & Crossler, 2014), and e-satisfaction (Wu, Gide, & Jewell, 2014), according to strategy guru Michael Porter (2001) developing exclusive strategies for Internet-based businesses that are independent from non-Internet-based strategies would be unwise and conflicting.

Due to various obstacles in implementing e-commerce strategies, Tesco and other first movers could not capitalize on the potential of online business (DaSilva & Trkman, 2014). Although pioneer companies were expected to face some difficulties in implementing e-commerce strategies, after more than 35 years many companies are still experiencing barriers in implementing e-commerce strategies or other strategies in online commerce.

In a pessimistic perspective Sparrow (2000) claims that the emphasis on simple contingencies, and the attempt to create a ‘fit’ against them is an illusion that does not match reality. In reality managers have to create, comprehend and manage a complex series of ‘dualities’ within their organizations. These are frequently counter-intuitive, such as the need to both differentiate and integrate the organization, to focus on low-cost as well as high value-added elements, and to enter into both competition and partnership within the same organization (Beynon-Davies, 2012). He states that few employees believe that the strategy would be implemented in line with the plan largely due to uneven and poor management skills, poor comprehension of roles, insufficient co-ordination, unclear lines of accountability and lack of commitment (Sparrow, 2000, p. 16).

Dearlove and Crainer (2014) who are more cynical than Sparrow, by questioning the rationality of strategy implementation, believe that by the time the strategies are implemented, the original problem has changed and new and significantly different challenges have emerged. This perspective is an unreasonable and counterproductive idea that would lead to organizational failure because organizations cannot and should not avoid strategy implementation and rely on day-to-day planning instead (Miyashita, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internal Process Barrier: A faulty internal function or an intra-organizational matter that prevents damages or causes the demise of internal processing functions.

External Process Barrier: An issue that may disrupt inter-organizational processes.

Internal Outputs Barrier: An inner-firm issue that partly or totally hinders potential internal outputs of a strategy execution system.

External Feedback Barrier: A difficulty that can block or reduce access to undistorted external feedback.

External Inputs Barrier: An outer-organizational input that has a negative impact on the execution of e-commerce strategies or a difficulty that reduces positive effects of external inputs.

External Outputs Barrier: An internal or external factor that limits or damages external outputs.

Internal Inputs Barrier: An obstacle that originates from inside an organization and prevents smooth or full flow of entrants into the strategy implementation system.

Internal Feedback Barrier: A shortcoming that may harm frequent and fair flow of the feedbacks generated from inside an organization.

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