How then, should a company decide which broad path, or strategy, to commit itself Pankaj Ghemawat consolidates contemporary research in economics and . Abstract. Commitment: The Dynamic of Strategy, by Pankaj Ghemawat. Ghemawat’s Commitment makes recent results in game‐theoretic industrial organization. Commitment versus Flexibility? Show all authors. Pankaj Ghemawat. Pankaj Ghemawat · See all articles by this author. Search Google Scholar for this author.

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But the whole idea of identifying a success factor and commitment chasing it seems to have something in common with the ill-considered medieval hunt for the philosopher’s stone, a substance that would transmute everything it touched into gold. This lack of concreteness and the complications it creates are clearest in the case of “soft” success factors.

Summary Strategy has focused, for the most part, on success factors. As a result, the cojmitment of strategy lay dormant for a while. The University of Melbourne. It does not adequately account for the constraints imposed both by past decisions on current ones, and by current ones on those yet to come. Lack of Necessity In view of the other defects of success factors, it would be useful if strategic theories that traded on them contained a self-justification, a reason why more-or-less elaborate theories are necessary in the first place.

The Persistence of Strategies.

Commitment is to be thought of as the cause of strategic persistence. Yet surely there was more to its success than the architecture of its system. The managerial tendency to abstract about strategy in terms of success factors should already be clear. The University of Melbourne Library.

More precisely, the success factor approach rests not only on abstract objects which have been deemed necessary to strategy but also on hermetic laws about their effects.

This is an arbitrary assumption that restricts the generality of such theories. Luck A second popular way of denying that strategic thinking can make a difference is to assert that luck is all, that ex ante uncertainty is the only reason for ex post differences in the performance of organizations. It will become required reading for thoughtful practitioners as well as practitionersto-be in the s.


This list has covered only a few fashionable success factors, not all the ones that are proposed in the case of Wal-Mart. According to one inspired analyst’s report, loading trucks to minimize store space devoted to the back room, unpacking boxes, scheduling part-time labor, displaying jeans to promote tie-in sales of hats, juggling fixture heights for maximum impact and hundreds of other activities had all been analyzed not just answered by the company over the years.

Other suppliers National Library of Australia – Copies Direct The National Library may be able to supply you with a photocopy or electronic copy of all or part of this item, for a fee, depending on copyright restrictions. This is not the first time that the defects of the success factor approach have been discovered. Predetermination One popular way of denying that strategic thinking can make a difference is to assert that choices are, for practical purposes, predetermined.

The success factor approach does nothing to curb that temptation. None of your libraries hold this item. Ghemawat’s discussion of these important ideas is concise, studded with detailed examples, based on rigorous research and, above all, practical.

Open to the public Book; Illustrated English Show 0 more libraries It would not be sensible, however, to base the entire edifice of strategy on them, for four reasons.

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Pankaj Ghemawat: Commitment

In other words, market power allowed Wal-Mart to hang on to some of its cost advantage as a discounter instead of being forced to pass all the savings on to its customers. These 4 locations in New South Wales: The inference that leadership is important does not tell managers how to improve their leadership quotient. Since strategy does demand such a focus, this compromises the usefulness of the success factor approach.

Open to the public 89 Wal-Mart also managed to replenish the stock in its stores twice a week on average, compared to once every two weeks for Sears, Roebuck and K Mart. Free Press August Length: It is in this rather troubling sense that theories that trade on undervalued success factors may be suspect rather than merely arbitrary in their parametric assumptions.


Wal-Mart’s precursor, run by Sam Walton, was a chain of five-and-dimes in rural Arkansas that had become the most successful franchisee of Ben Franklin stores in the country. A contingent perspective on success factors would imply that the ones to focus on depend on the specifics of the situation.

Its logic can be used for diagnostic purposes, such as the valuation of business, and most broadly, it win force managers to think about important issues that they may have tended to ignore. To cap things off, there had historically been little separation of ownership and management at the top of the pyramid.


How then, should a company decide which broad path, commiment strategy, to commit itself to? To make matters worse, the success factor approach doesn’t really pankajj the necessity of thinking nonmyopically in the first place. Borchardt Library, Melbourne Bundoora Campus. It suggests no rationale for trying to grasp reality through the idealization of a success factor or two instead of groping at it through trial and error.

History suggests a concise answer to that question. Having to track the full complement of success factors flagged in the case of Wal-Mart would virtually be equivalent to having to track everything.

The most alluring expedient was to hunt for stable bases of success, for success factors. The failure of the success factor approach has led some to abandon the quest for managerially useful abstractions that motivated the field of strategy.

But Barnardp. These 2 locations in Queensland: Wal-Mart had clearly gone to great lengths to learn how best to handle details.