The aim of this research was to introduce a model for implementing strategic decisions in Tehran’s cultural domain. With regard to the complexity of this problem, the Q method was chosen for the study. This method is used when the researcher deals with the general, combined, multidimensional, complicated, and misunderstood concepts.
The result of this study was an indigenous model, the elements of which were determined based on the opinions of elites and experts and classified using the existing patterns and frameworks. Although the overall framework of this model is similar to that of Okumus, Pettigrew, and Whipp in terms of classification of factors related to content implementation, internal and external backgrounds, and outcomes, this represents a new model, appropriate to Iran’s culture and values because it includes new components in background and content, particularly as
the result of the natural difference between the religious culture and management in Iran and the dominant culture in West.
Keywords: strategic decisions, implementation model, strategy, strategic management, culture, Q method, Tehran
Geopolitic and political behavior of governments : The political behavior of governments is influenced by a set of factors and fields which have mutual and very complicated relation with each other. If the foreign policy is regarded as a type of a government’s attitude toward the international system and also a direction selected for accessing and protecting its interests and objectives, then the conditions, variables and factors which affect the state and type of attitude and also the choice of procedures should be studied and analyzed. Some thinkers have studied the decisive principles of governments’ behaviors as the following factors: national interests and objectives, national security, national sovereignty, and nationalism. Some others have considered some variables including values and beliefs, historical and cultural fields, the general image of international policy, inferences, internal problems and public opinion, the internal demands and the structure of international system as being decisive. In addition to the above statements, the role of some variables including the national power, the geographical position and geopolitical status, the unions and coalitions is also very significant. From other perspective, in order to provide a conceptual framework for understanding the foreign policy, the effective factors in foreign policy of countries can be classified as the fixed and changing principles of foreign policy. The fixed principles of foreign policy include:
1- The structure of international system
2-The geographical-political features.
3- The economic system, public and political culture of a country and the changing principles (i.e. the structure of political system and its governors) which include:
3-1- Definition of interests
3-2- The belief system
3-3- The process of decision-making and data-processing
James Rosenau is one of the thinkers who has studied the state of connection between two levels of minor and major analysis through formulating a hypothesis in the foreign policy(Soltani nejad, 2006: 111-113) . At the minor level, the four factors including the individual personality of decision-makers, the role of government and the social factors, and at the major level, the international environment are considered as essential in the analysis of effective factors in the foreign policy-makings. Rosenau believes that the foreign policy should be studied based on a hypothesis which indeed clarifies the state of relation among the effective factors in foreign policy-makings. The personality variables include the spiritual and mental features, the orientations and inferences of individual from the events and phenomena and also the effective beliefs and values of individuals in the process of decision-making. The social variables including ideology, the level of political culture in a society, the level of ethnical unity and convergence are the result of culture, history and the ethnical common points of a society which affect the process of political orientation of a country. (Soltani nejad, 2006: 111-113)
Geopolitics and regional cooperation: In determining the political changes, the geopolitics has been regarded as an equation or rule to explain the history. And indeed from this perspective, geopolitics reveal the dependence of all political changes to a reality called territory (Bayat, 2009: 288). Also, efforts are being made to study the historical and present conflicts regarding geopolitics. Based on this science, the will of humans and great leaders are not the only determinants for course of history and society; rather, the natural environment and the geographical discipline of a country have the most influence on its destiny.
In short according to this group, geopolitics is the study of international relations and conflicts in terms of geography. Although it seems that the societies gradually develop technologically, the experimental effect of natural factors is reduced in politics and in a sense, the ancient governments depend on the geographical factors more than the allied societies. But in the theoretical domain, the faith in the effect of geographical factors on politics has changed the issues concerned by geopolitics (Bayat, 2009: 288)
In geopolitics theory, it is believed that the countries having geographical symmetry often form regions of bilateral and multilateral relations and their foreign policy is largely affected by each other. The more the geographical symmetry, the more the mutual effectiveness will be. Based on the type of mutual relation and political and cultural similarities and economic complementation they are expected to have convergence. So, the common geographical features include those which form the infrastructures of regional convergence. In some of these regional structures, the regional power poles do not have the necessary cohesiveness, and as the result there will be ground for effectiveness of those power poles which are located outside the region in the regional cooperation model (omidi, 2006: 127)
We are willing to express our gratitude to all the professors and researchers who have helped and guided us in conducting this research. Special thanks to the deputy of infrastructural development in the expediency council
In the last two decades, formulation of strategy was regarded as the most important stage in the process of strategic management, even more significant than the implementation and control. However, the recent studies indicate that the strategy implementation, as the key necessity of a top performance, has gained priority to the strategy formulation (Kaplan & Norton, 2000: 1). According to the statistics given by Bigler (2001: 29) and Miller (2005: 544), 70 to 90 percent of the formulated strategies have not been implemented at proper time, with appropriate outcomes. It seems that these outcomes are the result of failure in implementation process, rather than the formulation stage. Some of the studies conducted by Kaplan indicate that less than 10 percent of the strategies are implemented successfully (Kaplan, 2007: 38).
Another point is that a major part of the studies regarding the strategic management have been conducted in developed countries (Mellahi & Sminia, 2009: 1-8). More than half of the published studies have been conducted in America and Canada or they have emphasized on the experiences of the North American countries. If Europe is also added to this group, the western hemisphere seems to cover about 90 percent of the strategic management publications (Saetren, 2005: 559-582). According to the studies, the implementation strategies developed in the liberal environment of the West may have limited application in other fields (Toole, 2000: 263-288), because the scientific theories and experiences reflect the environment in which they have been developed (Hofstede, 1980, cited by Van Der Mass, 2008: 7). Also, the management behavior models do not adequately consider the role of culture in formation of individual behavior, particularly in non-western environments (Bailey et al, 1997: cited by Van Der Mass, 2008: 7). Moreover, reviewing the related literature, Kiggundu et al found that the executive theories developed for the western communities did not operate in the organizational environments of developing countries because they presumed some circumstances which were not valid for the above mentioned environments. They identified three main reasons for inappropriateness of the common executive theories in developing countries: different cultures, different economies, and different political measures and institutions. As the result, the existing literature regarding the strategy implementation may not be applicable in non-western environments ( Kiggundu et al, 1983: 66-84).
This is a scientific study in which an indigenous model of implementation has been introduced for fulfillment of the strategic decisions in Tehran’s cultural domain using the strategic management and based on the environmental conditions and circumstances.
The city is the junction of economic, social, and cultural activities. The city is a place for testing the capabilities of the management system. The management capacity of the governmental and public systems can be inferred from the management of big cites (Urban Planning and Processing Company, 2003: 2). Nowadays, the cities and particularly the metropolitans are the prominent examples of the turbulent environments. In the big cities, a group of governmental or non-governmental institutions are interacting in order to fulfill their objectives (Urban Planning and Processing Company, 2003: 38). In the last decades, development of cities in our country has caused numerous problems in the environmental and cultural dimensions. The growth in public activities on one hand, and lack of appropriate cultural and social mechanisms for organizing new conditions on the other hand, have always threatened the necessary space for development of the cities. The statistical and non-statistical reports regarding the process of social breaks and increased disorders in the form of illegal behaviors made the authorities and planners to implement some plans and decisions in order to reduce the damages and crimes (Musavi, 2003: 1). Like other big cities of the world, Tehran has tested different programs in the course of urban planning changes. A brief look at the plans and programs of the past is indicative of some problems in implementation stage. Therefore, it seems that in addition to selection of strategies, programs, and strategic decisions, the development process requires a revision in the implementation stage. In this course, it is necessary to pay attention to the cultural dimensions as the main condition and basis for development. This study wants to find out the way the strategic management knowledge should be used in order to implement strategic decisions in Tehran’s cultural domain with regard to the Islamic nature of public culture and the environmental conditions.
Methodology of research:
This study aims to provide a model for implementing the strategic decisions in Tehran’s cultural domain.
The research question is as follows: “what is the appropriate model for implementing the strategic decisions of Tehran’s cultural domain?
In the present study, it is highly important to use a method appropriate for the combined and complicated nature of this research which results from different dimensions of the construct (strategic decisions of Tehran’s cultural domain) and the multidimensionality of its scaling. This method should provide a system for analysis of the participants’ attitudes. It should also be able to find out the underlying layers of respondents’ opinions and attitudes, because the research topic which has a cultural nature cannot be dealt with in some cases. Also, it is believed that the Q methodology has a high precision in exploring the issues related to the general decisions and policy-makings. However, this is not possible for other methodologies (Dryzek & Braithwaite, 2005). Therefore, the Q methodology is selected as the appropriate method for the present study.
The main support for this presumption is that the attitude is observable because it can be transferred. Also, there are a few different attitudes and perspectives in each case (Robbins & Krueger, 2000: 636-648). The Q methodology uses these opinions for creating different attitudes ( Webler et al, 2009).
With regard to the research topic, the elites and the individuals involved in strategic management and cultural affairs (with sufficient information regarding Tehran) form the statistical population of this research. The samples were selected from among the professors in Tehran’s universities and Qom’s Hawza, relevant institutions such as the strategic studies center of the expediency council, high council of Cultural Revolution, ministry of Islamic culture, social-cultural deputy and social-cultural organization of Tehran’s municipality. The strategic management elites were also selected from among the strategic managers and PhD students of strategic management. In total, 50 individuals were selected and a questionnaire including the necessary information was distributed among them. Of these 50 questionnaires, 44 were answered by the individuals and 36 questionnaires became the basis for information processing. In this study, the structured Q sample was used based on the comparative model. The research questionnaire included 119 items derived from the interviews and discussions. It had a 7-item Lickert scale and its reliability was confirmed by the judges and revealed to the participants.
- Implementation frameworks:
In the early 1980s, conceptual, descriptive, or conceptual-descriptive frameworks of implementation were developed. Each framework relates different types of variables. The important assumption among all these frameworks is that there should be a proportion among the variables for accomplishment of an implementation process. All researchers have emphasized that there are continuous interactions among these variables and these constant interactions allow the implementation process. However, most of these researchers have only listed or diagrammed the implementation variables. Then, after individual explanation of the variables, they have pointed to their significance in implementation process. It seems that none of the previous studies comprehensively explained and evaluated the interaction among variables and the effectiveness on other variables and the overall process and as the result, the implementation (Okumus, 2001: 327-338).
Based on the critical review of the previous frameworks, ten key variables including strategy formulation, lack of environmental certainty, organizational structure, culture, operational planning, communications, allocation of sources, staff, control, and outcome were identified. The former researchers have classified the implementation variables as several groups including content, context, process, and outcome. This classification is mainly derived from the works of Pettigrew regarding the strategic change management (Pettigrew, 1985; Pettigrew et al, 1992). There is no consensus on the classification of variables, but some recommendations have been made by the former researchers.
It seems that these researchers have considered the strategic content as the general strategic direction of the organization. However, it is claimed that the strategies are strategically formulated and implemented and the existing variables affect and support the classification and the process. But these variables are less controllable than the procedural variables (Bryson & Bromiley, 1993; Schmeltzer, 1992). The operational variables of the process are considered as the most-used variables which are directly involved in the implementation process (Okumus, 2001: 327-328).
- Classification of frameworks:
Based on the characteristics and limitations, the implementation frameworks and models can be classified in three groups:
1- The primary frameworks: these frameworks are mainly concerned with the description of necessary factors for strategy implementation. These frameworks help the conceptualization of strategy implementation. Most of the components of these frameworks focus on representation of what is needed by the organization and what should be done for establishment of strategy implementations. However, these frameworks do not provide considerable understanding regarding the characteristics of strategy implementation and the detailed decision-makings. The frameworks introduced by Hambrick and Cannella, McKinsey, Ohmae, Hussey, Galbraith and Kazanjian, Roth, Schiger and Morison, Herbiniac, Yheap, Thomson and Strickland, Pennings, Dobni, Lofman, and Sterling are placed in this classification. Here, the first three frameworks are discussed briefly:
Hambrick and Cannella framework:
Hambrick and Cannella introduced an implementation framework based on an experimental research project. They identified five implementation levers or five major sensitive points including the commitment of sources, secondary policies and plans, structure, reward, and staff, which should be considered by the strategists. These elements are intertwined and they should reinforce each other. The distinguishing aspect of their research is their emphasis on the role and significance of communications at the time of strategy implementation. Hambrick and Cannella noted that one of the most effective factors in strategy implementation is the involvement of the staff in development and negotiations regarding the strategic items. The new strategy, with its different nature, requires a change. The groups which have some interests in the old strategy or are not able to predict the products of new strategy will resist this change. Therefore, the accomplishment of a program requires the strategist to persuade the key beneficiaries for having their supports (Hambrick & Cannella, 1989: 278-285).
McKinsey 7S framework:
Based on the study conducted by Peters and Waterman in 1980 regarding the best American companies, the McKinsey 7S framework was developed for identifying the key factors of superior performance of these companies. This framework recommends that following the strategy formulation, the managers should focus on organizational structure, systems, common values (culture), skills, methods, and staff in order to guarantee effective implementation (Peters & Waterman, 1982: 47). Despite the enthusiasm of famous publishers for the McKinsey 7S framework, this framework only focuses on the internal elements of the organization. Also, it is not clear how the managers make sure of the successful implementation of strategy. Moreover, there is no explanation regarding the interaction between organization and its environment and the organizational changes in this framework. However, the external factors including the economic efficiency and accessible sources are also of equal importance. Although the strategy may be aligned with all the objectives, there are some potential obstacles to strategy implementation, such as the communication channels or the accessibility to the sources, which should be under the focus of managers.
This framework provides some guidelines regarding the necessary decision-makings for changing the strategy implementation into a totally dynamic process and also some criteria for evaluating the quality of necessary decisions regarding a highly flexible implementation process so that it allows a quick change for adaptation of strategy to the new conditions. The stable competitive advantage is the result of three elements including costumer, competitor, and company in a strategic triangle (Ohmae, 1983: 45).
2- The tartibi frameworks: these include the frameworks which recommends the tartibi, logical implementation models. It is often difficult to follow these models in the complicated implementation situations. Although the step-by-step process facilitates the understanding of models for the managers, excessive facilitation or ignorance of dynamic or reflective interactions between the stages may result in more limitation of these models. The frameworks introduced by D. Vasconcelos, Hacker et al, Noble and D. Feo, and Johnson are placed in this group.
Hacker et al framework:
Based on the work of Collins and Huge (1993), Hacker and Akinyele proposed a deployment and implementation model (Hacker & Akinyele, 1998: 45-52). They distinguished between deployment and implementation, and considered deployment as a transition between planning and implementation (Hacker et al, 2001: 221-240). In this model, the deployment consists of four steps. The implementation follows the deployment stage and includes three steps of executing the operational programs of the project, checking the performance and stabilizing the advancements. According to Collins and Huge (1993), the advantage of identifying the middle deployment stage is that these activities can be related to the strategic objectives and as the result, the complexity of implementation stage may be reduced and the focus will be set on the project management. Although the conceptual identification of deployment and implementation stages should be done individually, the strategy deployment, and strategy implementation have a similar definition and are used interchangeably in most literature regarding the strategic management. The difference between these two terms proposed by Hacker and Akinyele (1998) has not been welcomed (Saunders, 2005: 60).
Based on an investigation regarding five different productive companies, Noble introduced a general four-stage model for strategy deployment. The first stage is strategy development which is called the pre-implementation stage in the model. This stage emphasizes that strategy formulation by a cross-functional group can help common understanding, higher sense of belonging, and strategy transfer. The next stages include organization, process management, and maximization of cross-functional performance. The main purpose of this study is to find the cross-functional accomplishment factors. Noble identified five management levers including objectives, organizational structure, leadership, communication, and incentives for the strategy implementation (Noble, 1999: 19-28).
De Feo & Johnson framework:
De Feo and Johnson believe that ten steps are necessary in order for a strategy to be a constructive part of the organizational culture (De Feo & Janssen: 2001: 4-6):
- Set a perspective with a major focus on the customer
- Agree on the mission. This clarifies the destination or the philosophy of organization existence.
- Develop major strategies which are effective in fulfillment of perspective
- Create special, measurable strategic objectives
- Create the required values among the staff through education and communication
- Convey the company’s policies
- Provide a top management including the support for innovations of strategy implementation.
- Determine the short- term and long-term objectives for changing the programs into projects.
- Measure the development by the key performance indices
- Check certain developments and gaps between the current conditions and the objectives.
One of the limitations of the proposed models is their linear approach in which deployment is described as a step-by-step process. The experience-based, step-by-step models are process-oriented and do not usually include the wider context of strategy formulation and strategic control. Also, when multiple processes are performed simultaneously and affect each other dynamically, the innate complexity of deployment will be ignored. However, the step-by-step models are valuable for introducing certain duties in each stage of deployment and also for communication among its dimensions.
3- The procedural framework: these frameworks emphasize the importance of context and process but they do not provide the details for important actors and the role and effect of factors in the implementation stage. Frameworks proposed by Pettigrew and Whipp, Zajak et al, Kaplan and Norton, and Okumus are placed in this group.
Pettigrew and Whipp framework:
Pettigrew and Whipp proposed a conceptual model for management of strategic change in organizations. This model determines three levels or dimensions of strategy implementation including the context, content, and process. The internal context is related to the internal effective factors such as sources, capabilities, and culture. The external context and conditions are related to some factors including economy, political and social environments. Prior to any strategic decision-making in an organization, it is important to be totally familiar with the organizational context and conditions. Understanding of the context can help the individuals to make decisions based on strategic content. The strategic content includes the qualitative and operational objectives of the organization. Based on their studies, Pettigrew and Whipp introduced five pivotal factors which allow the successful implementation of strategy (Pettigrew & Whipp, 1991).
- Environmental evaluation including constant control of the internal and external environments
- Bringing a change including the establishment of proper atmosphere and culture for strategy implementation
- Human sources as the assets and talents
- Relating the strategic and operational changes for creating synergy
- General adaptation
A change strategy should have clear and stable qualitative objectives, be compatible with its environment, be facilitative, and provide a competitive margin (Leslie, 2008: 56-57).
Kaplan and Norton framework:
Kaplan inferred from the research data that the control processes in organizations focus on the short-term performance, and that the fulfillment of long-term objectives has rarely been evaluated (Kaplan, 1995: 6-13). In order to represent this gap, Kaplan and Norton created the balanced evaluation method with a combination of the function or feedback indices (outcome indices) and performance incentives (conductive indices), and then, they linked the strategy map to the strategy deployment. They stated that the balanced evaluation method can be considered as a strategy for implementation. The strategy maps and balanced evaluation methods relate the strategy implementation to the organizational perspective. Based on a case study regarding an American company, Kaplan and Norton understood that the strategy map of the strategic change implementation and control of a focused productive organization helped a non-focused customer-oriented organization and improved the ultimate performance (Kaplan & Norton, 2000: 167-176).
Okumus defined some of the implementation factors and provided a conceptual framework through classification of these factors in as four groups of content, context, process, and outcome. Following some experimental researches, he found that these factors are decisive in the implementation process of the companies under study (Okumus, 2000: 329). He also considered the implementation of multidimensional project, organizational learning, and cooperating with foreign companies as the new elements of implementation. Based on his research findings, he proposed a new framework and stated that this model is a combination of some factors which allow the change process altogether. However, he claimed that the procedural factors are usually used in an on-going process through a synergic method, and that proper control and understanding of the conditions under which the strategies are implemented enjoy particular importance. Furthermore, based on his research, he claimed that implementation of strategic decisions is usually done without proper proportion between the strategy and implementation factors (Okumus, 2001: 336-337). Any inconsistence with one factor affects other factors, and as the result, the implementation process. Therefore, establishment of solidarity among the implementation factors in complicated and dynamic change situations cannot be done easily. According to these frameworks, it is evident that different factors should be simultaneously taken into consideration at the time of strategy formulation or implementation and strategic decision-makings. Okumus determined 11 key pivots including:
1- Weak formulation of strategy; 2- lack of environmental certainty; 3- organizational structure; 4- lack of control on organizational culture for strategy implementation; 5- ambiguous leadership roles; 6- lack of operational program; 7- non-allocation of sources; 8- lack of communication; 9- deficiencies of the staff and human sources; 10- lack of control; lack of outcome
The data derived from the questionnaires were analyzed by Quanel software. Based on the achieved matrices, the correlation among participants was determined, and three different groups were identified through Q factor analysis. Twenty-two respondents were classified as the first group. According to the agreed items of the first group who had a standard score above +1, and as the result, had more agreement, it is evident that this group paid more attention to the structural items which were extracted from the literature regarding strategic management implementation. The second group included 8 respondents. These respondents paid more attention to the religious culture and the conditions of urban management and preferred content items, in a way that the first 10 agreed items which gained the highest standard score were derived from the religious culture or deal with the Tehran’s cultural conditions. The second group chose a combination of items.
The commonalities of groups based on their mean standard score:
In order to determine the commonalities of the groups, the mean standard score of each group was calculated through Quanel software. Based on the results (Tables 1 and 2), the respondents had consensus on 51 items, out of 119 items. This consensus included 30 agreements and 21 disagreements. Usually, the Z scores of 1 or above 1 are considered positive, while the Z scores of -1 or less than that are considered as totally negative. The Z scores between 0.25 and 1 or -0.25 and -1 are considered relatively positive and relatively negative, respectively (Badii, 1976: 22). Therefore, a total of 25 items had a positive or relatively positive score and 17 items had a negative or relatively negative score. Other agreed items (±0 to 0.25) were not individually studied as the result of less significance (a total of 9 items).
The necessity of public participation with a mean standard score of 1.23 (item 69) was the most-agreed item. This was derived from the content of ASH-SHURA: 38 (and whose affairs are a matter of counsel) and AAL-E-EMRAN: 159 (and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs) and was selected by the respondents together with the following item: “there is no guarantee for fulfillment of the strategy implementation without public participation”. The participants also agreed on item 112 that “consult with the citizens in the process of decision-making and implementation is an appropriate way to grow individuals’ thinking and wisdom and create an opportunity for participation in decision-making and performance”. The mean standard score of this item was equal to 0.59. This item was derived from AAL-E-EMRAN: 159 and the related interpretations and was also emphasized by some of the interviewees. If the meaning of items 60, 63, and 80 is taken into consideration, it can be concluded that the respondents seriously believed in the necessity of public participation and this type of participation is derived from religious democracy and culture. It also indicates their meaningful disagreements with the imperious management, particularly in the cultural domain.
Item 107: “the values of religious culture are not defined with the modern language”. Having a mean standard score of 1.20, this item was the second agreed item among the respondents. If item 85 (we develop the culture with external norms, without religious faith and belief), with the mean standard score of 0.4 is taken into consideration, it can be concluded that the respondents believe that the religious values can be reinforced through changing human attitude and this change is made when people hear the understandable message of religious culture and accept it with their heart.
Item 6: “it is necessary to have a model or framework for successful implementation of strategy”. Based on the status quo of Tehran’s cultural domain, it is evident that the current activities in the field of strategic decisions implementation do not follow a certain model. High correlation among the participants regarding the agreement on this item (with a mean standard score of 1.03) indicates that it is highly important to base the implementation process on an agreed model. This attitude emphasizes the significance of present study.
Item 43: “motivation and sense of belonging in the staff is an element of success”. The meaning of this item is also reflected in studies conducted by Alexander and AL-Qamdi regarding the strategy implementation and also the frameworks introduced by Noble, Okumus, and Janssen. Agreement on this item with a mean standard score of 1 indicates its high significance and represents the respondents’ concern about the human factor in implementation. The fact that the staff are regarded as the human capital in the management of human sources is accepted by the participants and is considered as an effective factor in accomplishment of implementation process.
Table 1) the statements with which the respondents agreed
|The agreed items||Mean standard score|
|Q69||There is no guarantee for fulfillment of the strategy implementation without public participation||1.23|
|Q107||The values of religious culture are not defined with the modern language||1.20|
|Q6||It is necessary to have a model or framework for successful implementation of strategy||1.03|
|Q43||Motivation and sense of belonging in the staff is an element of success||1.00|
|Q4||lack of any process for operating and transferring the social-cultural decisions to the organizational body leads to failure in implement||0.92|
|Q63||If the culture of the target society is not taken into account, implementation of strategic decisions will not be successful||0.85|
|Q57||The influence of power and policy on implementation of strategic decisions cannot be ignored||0.85|
|Q108||The scientific dominance of the cultural decision-makers and administrators has an important role in public acceptance.||0.83|
|Q80||It is expected that the administrators recognize the culture and consider the problems of citizens||0.66|
|Q60||Participation of the staff in strategy formulation leads to their cooperation and coordination in implementation stage.||0.66|
|Q70||One of the challenges is the presence of different effective factors in the social and cultural affairs of urban management, which is out of the control of municipality and city council||0.61|
|Q61||No precise and informed evaluation is made regarding the obstacles to the implementation of strategic decisions.||0.61|
|Q112||Consult with the citizens in the process of decision-making and implementation is an appropriate way to grow individuals’ thinking and wisdom and create an opportunity for participation in decision-making and performance||0.59|
|Q66||Urban management through strategic control of the factors related to the outcome and evaluation of objective fulfillment can direct the implementation of strategic decisions in the right course||0.59|
|Q86||The cultural evolution in society requires some experienced and skillful individuals||0.49|
|Q45||The reward system will be effective in implementation process when the allocation of rewards and encouragements depends on the fulfillment of functional goals||0.49|
|Q87||No appropriate ground has been set for implementation of social-cultural decisions||0.44|
|Q27||Failure in prediction of the future events has been the reason for failure in fulfillment of the cultural objectives.||0.43|
|Q64||The contextual factors are often ignored in implementation of cultural decisions.||0.41|
|Q85||We develop the culture with external norms, without religious faith and belief||0.40|
|Q47||No proper attention is paid to the empowerment of the staff in implementation process.||0.37|
|Q103||Successful implementation of strategic decision requires kindness towards people and avoidance of aggression.||0.36|
|Q114||The necessary emphasis is not placed on the group work in implementation of social-cultural decisions.||0.33|
|Q44||Prior to implementation, there should be a consensus on the decisive executive measures.||0.28|
|Q17||The implementation administrators should have applied knowledge.||0.27|
Item 4: “lack of any process for operating and transferring the social-cultural decisions to the organizational body leads to failure in implement”. This item had a mean standard score of 0.92. In literature regarding implementation, one of the major factors of success in strategy implementation is to operate and transfer the strategic decisions to the body of organization. Lack of attention to this factor has resulted in strategy failure in different cases. Some experts including Kaplan, Norton, Pettigrew, Whipp, Okumus, Pierce, Robinson, D. Vasconcelos, Hacker et al, and Noble emphasized the importance of this statement. This statement was also taken into consideration in interviews with the internal authorities and experts.
Item 63: “If the common values (culture) of the target society are not taken into account, implementation of strategic decisions will not be successful”. This item gained a mean standard score of 0.85. In literature regarding the implementation, the importance of organizational culture is considered in discussions regarding a change in organization or implementation of a strategic decision. In this regard, many experts including Pettigrew, Whipp, Okumus, Pennings, Hussey, Peters, and Waterman emphasized the importance of this issue and considered this factor in their models. As stated in the research literature, the religious culture has a mission beyond that of capitalism culture. The second point is that this item is designed in relation to the target population which is the citizens. With regard to the interviews and the contents of the religious culture, the culture is believed to shape the public thought and behavior. Therefore, any decision-making which is contrary to the common values of the society reduces the possibility of its success.
Item 57: “The influence of power and policy on implementation of strategic decisions cannot be ignored”. This statement gained a mean standard score of 0.85. Some experts including Pennings, Okumus, and Bardaj have emphasized this statement. In a wide-ranged field study conducted in the domain of Iran’s urban planning and headed by Pirzadeh, this factor has also proved to be effective. If this item which indicates the influence resulting from the presence of power factors in implementation of the cultural decisions and item 70 which considers the presence of different effective factors in cultural affairs and urban management as some challenges, are taken into consideration, the importance of widespread field studies for removing the obstacles to implementation will become evident in item 61.
It is interesting that item 61 gained a mean standard scare of 0.61, equal to that of item 70.
Item 66: “Urban management through strategic control of the factors related to the outcome and evaluation of objective fulfillment can direct the implementation of strategic decisions in the right course”. This item had a mean standard score of 0.59. Although the control issue is considered as the third stage in strategic management discussions, according to the strategic management experts, it is regarded as one of the necessities of success in strategy implementation. This statement is derived from the opinions of Okumus, Pennings, Kaplan, Norton, Pierce, Robinson, and Hussey.
Item 86: “The cultural evolution in society requires some experienced and skillful individuals”. This statement had a mean standard score of 0.49. This item refers to the significance of acceptance of authorities by people, because the cultural evolution in a society depends on the evolution of human beings and attainment of human virtues. Therefore, not only the content of cultural decision is important, but also the administrators should be committed to it and should be accepted as a model by people. Emphasis on the quality of being experienced indicates that the necessary experience for doing affairs and making cultural change has been important for the respondents.
Item 45: “The reward system will be effective in implementation process when the allocation of rewards and encouragements depends on the fulfillment of functional goals”. This item had a mean standard score of 0.49. In the literature regarding the strategy implementation, the importance of reward system and its relation with the performance and fulfillment of objectives has been given particular attention. Some experts including Kaplan, Norton, Okumus, Peters, Waterman, Hussey, Galbraith and Kazanjian, Thompson and Strickland, Pennings, Herbiniac, Hambrick, Cannella, Alexander and Al-Qamedi have addressed this issue.
Item 87: “No appropriate ground has been set for implementation of social-cultural decisions”. This item had a means standard score of 0.44. Lack of attention to the appropriate ground has been considered as an important factor in strategy failure. Therefore, many experts including Pettigrew, Whipp, Okumus, Alexander and Al-Qamedi believe that no accomplishment is made without providing appropriate ground. Also, as some of the internal experts have stated, lack of attention to this point is one of the lost rings of implementation. Item 64 which said “the contextual factors are often ignored in implementation of cultural decisions” was also given a mean standard score of 0.41 by the respondents.
The items with which all groups disagreed:
The participants of this study had consensus about disagreement on the content of 21 items. Meanwhile, disagreement on 17 items was high or relatively high. The important point is that the respondents showed serious opposition to item 119. This item stated that “implementation of strategic decisions in Tehran’s cultural domain has been successful”. Following a general evaluation of respondents regarding the successful implementation of social-cultural decisions in Tehran which faced the highest opposition, the mean standard score of this item (-2.83) was more than two times of their highest agreement with an item (i.e. item 69 with a mean standard score of 1.23). This common attitude indicates that the expectations of respondents have not been met in Tehran’s cultural domain. The presence of different players whose roles are not defined in this domain has left the following question unanswered: “can the inconsistency among different systems and players be regarded as a reason for this level of failure? Or are there other reasons involved?
Item 95: “Tehran’s demographic context in terms of different races and traditions is an obstacle to an effective implementation of strategic decisions in the social and cultural domain”. Although the demographic context has been considered as one of the obstacles to the fulfillment of strategic decisions in cultural domain based on the results of a field survey and the opinions of some urban management experts, the respondents seriously disagreed with this item (with a standard score of -2.10). This considerable consensus on disagreement about this item indicates that most of the respondents believe that the failure in urban management in cultural domain stated in item 119 is the result of some factors other than the difference in races and traditions.
Item 28: “It is not possible to replace the inefficient managers”. The respondents showed a significant disagreement with this statement (with a mean standard score of -1.99). This item is derived from another research in field of Iran’s urban planning published in 2008. According to this study, impossibility of replacement of the inefficient managers is considered as one of the obstacles to implementation.
Item 113: “The faith and trust of decision-makers and administrators does not have a considerable influence on fulfillment of strategic cultural-social decisions”. This item, which was extracted from the content of AAl-E-EMRAN: 159 and AL-ANFAL: 65 and adversely stated, faced disagreement of respondents. The mean standard score of -1.95 indicates that the respondents considerably emphasized the role of faith and trust of decision-makers and administrators in accomplishments. This is one of the evident differences of the religious culture-which is responsible for growing elevated human being and establishing justice in the society- with the secular cultures. It is worth mentioning that in the previous studies, no reference has been made by the experts of strategy implementation in the West to these qualities.
Table 2) the statements with which all respondents disagreed
The disagreed items
|Mean standard score|
|Q46||The responsibilities are not properly and precisely determined in most cases.||-0.28|
|Q48||An appropriate working environment supports the strategy implementation.||-0.33|
|Q101||Some experts emphasize the role of organizational accumulated experience in strategy implementation.||-0.53|
|Q53||The required values can be created through education.||-0.55|
|Q34||Most of the cultural decisions deviate from the main objectives in the implementation stage.||-0.59|
|Q11||Some experts emphasize the role of organizational accumulated experience in implementation of the strategy||-0.67|
|Q49||The implementation steps are not checked in terms of compatibility||-0.71|
|Q40||The staff cannot relate the strategy to their duties||-0.73|
|Q26||Fear of resistance leads to failure in implementation of many effective strategic decisions||-0.76|
|Q32||The implementation cannot be accomplished without the confidence in fulfillment of objectives||-.80|
|Q97||Backwardness of urban culture from the skeletal-spatial changes is an obstacle to the formation of appropriate urban and citizenship culture in important stages the urban life||-0.83|
|Q76||Prolongation of the implementation process results in failure||-0.86|
|Q35||The cultural decisions of urban management do not depend on the priorities of religious culture||-1.45|
|Q113||The faith and trust of decision-makers and administrators does not have a considerable influence on fulfillment of strategic cultural-social decisions||-1.95|
|Q28||It is not possible to replace the inefficient managers||-1.99|
|Q95||Tehran’s demographic context in terms of different races and traditions is an obstacle to an effective implementation of strategic decisions in the cultural domain||-2.10|
|Q119||Implementation of strategic decisions in Tehran’s cultural domain has been successful||-2.83|
Item 35: “The cultural decisions of urban management do not depend on the priorities of religious culture”. Serious disagreement of the respondents with this item (with a mean standard score of -1.95) indicates that the respondents put more emphasis on implementation, factors, contexts, and outcomes than the nature and goals of decisions, though they believe that the implementation of strategic decisions has been unsuccessful in this domain.
Item 76: “Prolongation of the implementation process results in failure”. The respondents disagreed with this item with a mean standard score of -.86. However, a review on the reasons and factors of failure in strategy implementation based on the studies conducted by Alexander and Al-Qamedi through field survey indicates that prolongation of the implementation process is one of the obstacles to the goal fulfillment. This conclusion can be analyzed in two ways. First, the internal experts have identified so many effective factors in this domain that this factor is not very important among them. Second, they believe that the nature of strategic social-cultural decisions is different from that of other strategies and strategic decisions and that the issue of quality if beyond the importance of time.
Item 97: “Backwardness of urban culture from the skeletal-spatial changes is an obstacle to the formation of appropriate urban and citizenship culture in important stages the urban life”. This item had a mean standard score of 0.83. In this statement, the respondents were asked about the relationship between their living place and their life style. According to one attitude, there is a mutual relationship between the city which is the social, political, and demographic unit and the living place for human being, and the religion which determines the life style of human being. Therefore, the city should gain a particular face using the Islamic thought and culture. In other words, the architecture, view, and atmosphere of the city should be based on the patterns and symbols of Islamic and Iranian culture so that the city can have a religious and national identity. Therefore, this attitude emphasizes the renovation of urban identity and establishment of culture in the city.
Item 32: “The implementation cannot be accomplished without the confidence in fulfillment of objectives”. This item had a mean standard score of -0.80. This statement which was raised by some of the experts including Hanson was not welcomed by the respondents.
Item 26: “Fear of resistance leads to failure in implementation of many effective strategic decisions”. This item had a mean standard score of -0.76. Some experts including Bear, Jordan, and Richardson have claimed that in addition to the resistance to the changes which is one of the factors of failure in implementation, fear of resistance may sometimes prevent any measure to implement strategic decisions.
Item 40: “The staff cannot relate the strategy to their duties”. This item had a mean standard score of -0.73. Many experts including Kaplan, Norton, Pierce, Robinson, Pettigrew, Whipp, Alexander, Okumus, Galbraith, Kazanjian, Hussey, Peters, Waterman, and Al-Qamedi have also such statement. However, the internal experts disagreed with this statement.
Item 49: “The implementation steps are not checked in terms of compatibility”. This item had a mean standard score of -0.71. The respondents disagreed with this statement which was derived from the opinions of Noble, Okumus, Kaplan, Norton, and D. Vasconcelos.
Item 11: “Some experts emphasize the role of organizational accumulated experience in implementation of the strategy”. This item had a mean standard score of -0.67. The content of this item was only observed in the statements of Miller et al.
Conclusion and recommendation:
The Q methodology seeks to find the thinking patterns of the elites. With regard to the performed statistical operations including the factor analysis and the rotation of factors, the items which were emphasized by any of the groups were determined as the belief elements of each group based on the standard Z score. Finally, 51 agreed items were determined. With regard to their mean standard score, the items were arranged and analyzed. Finally, with regard to other data derived from the analyses and interpretations, the items which had a higher mean standard score (±0.25) were considered as the basis of the model. Some frameworks which had an acceptable classification of factors, particularly the frameworks proposed by Okumus, Pettigrew, and Whipp, were used in order to organize the factors. However, the differences between Tehran’s internal and external contexts and the western environments under study, particularly emphasis on the values of religious culture, resulted in an indigenous model, which was considerably different from the existing frameworks.
The last point is that the dominant attitude regarding the strategy implementation puts more emphasis on the hard dimensions and that the soft dimensions are less taken into consideration. This study which was carried out in the cultural domain has found different results. This may be the result of Tehran’s environment which is different from the contexts of North American and West Europe or it may be rooted in the difference between the cultural domain and other domains. In this study, out of 25 factors related to the successful implementation, 17 are considered as soft and 8 are considered as hard factors, which have a proportion of more than two to one. Also, out of the first 10 factors which have more important roles, 8 factors have a soft dimension and 2 factors have a hard dimension, with a proportion of four to one. One of the important findings of this study is that emphasis on the soft dimensions, which are probably ignored most of the times, has a prominent importance in a successful implementation.
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1 . Assistant Professor and Faculty Member of the University and Higher National Defense Research Institute..Mmahya1392@gmail.com