Examining Organizational Improvisation: The Role of Strategic Reasoning and Managerial Factors
Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32926
Examining Organizational Improvisation: The Role of Strategic Reasoning and Managerial Factors

Authors: Darwina Arshad, Paul Hughes


Recent environmental turbulence including financial crisis, intensified competitive forces, rapid technological change and high market turbulence have dramatically changed the current business climate. The managers firms have to plan and decide what the best approaches that best fit their firms in order to pursue superior performance. This research aims to examine the influence of strategic reasoning and top level managers- individual characteristics on the effectiveness of organizational improvisation and firm performance. Given the lack of studies on these relationships in the previous literature, there is significant contribution to the body of knowledge as well as for managerial practices. 128 responses from top management of technology-based companies in Malaysia were used as a sample. Three hypotheses were examined and the findings confirm that (a) there is no relationship between intuitive reasoning and organizational improvisation but there is a link between rational reasoning and organizational improvisation, (b) top level managers- individual characteristics as a whole affect organizational improvisation; and (c) organizational improvisation positively affects firm performance. The theoretical and managerial implications were discussed in the conclusions.

Keywords: Organizational improvisation, strategic reasoning, firm performance.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1085950

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 2612


[1] Beinhocker, E.D. and Kaplan, S. 2002. Tired of strategic planning? The McKinsey Quarterly 2002 Special Edition: Risk and Resilience: 49-56.
[2] Mintzberg, H. 1987. The strategy concept I: Five Ps for strategy. California Management Review, 30(1): 11-24.
[3] Stacey, R. 1993. Strategy as order emerging from chaos. Long Range Planning, 26(1):10-17.
[4] Brews, P.J. and Hunt, M.R. 1999. Learning to plan and planning to learn: Resolving the planning school/learning school debate. Strategic Management Journal, 20(10): 889-913.
[5] Thompson A.A. and Strickland, A.J. 1998. Strategic Management: Concepts and cases. New York: McGraw-Hill.
[6] Rosenberg, M.1999. Improvisation promotes innovative thinking, company flexibility. Canadian HR Reporter. Toronto, 12(10): G9-G10.
[7] Urbany, J.E. and Montgomery, D.B. 1998. Rational strategic reasoning: An unnatural act? Marketing Letters, 9(3): 285-299.
[8] Hammon, J.S., Keeney, R.L. and Raiffa, H. 1998. The hidden traps in decision making. Harvard Business Review, 2-11.
[9] Cunha, M.P. e., Cunha, J.V. d., and Kamoche, K. 1999. Organizational improvisation: what, when, how and why. International Journal of Management Review, 1(3): 299-341.
[10] Cyert, R. M. and March, J. G. 1963. A Behavioural Theory of the Firm. Englewood Cliffs N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
[11] March, J. G. 1978. Bounded rationality, ambiguity, and the engineering of choice. Bell Journal of Economics, 9: 587-608.
[12] March, J. G., and Simon. H.A. 1958. Organizations. New York: Wiley
[13] Thompson, J.D. 1967. Organizations in Action. New York: McGraw- Hill.
[14] Webber, M., Morgan, and M., Dickson, R. 1999. The effect of improvisation on decision-making in a volatile environment. Journal of Organizational Leadership, 1(1): 46-59.
[15] Truman, P.1996. Intuitively yours? Management Services. Enfield, 40(10): 16-17.
[16] Crossan,M. and Sorrenti, M. 2002. Making sense of improvisation. In K. N. Kamoche, Cunha, M.P. and Cunha, J.V. (Ed.), Organizational Improvisation. London: Routledge.
[17] Moorman, C. and Miner, A.S.1998. Organizational Improvisation and Organizational Memory. The Academy of Management Review, 23(4): 698-723.
[18] Vera, D. and Crossan, M. 2005. Improvisation and innovative performance in teams. Organization Science, 16(3): 203-224.
[19] Leybourne, S.A. 2006. Managing change by abandoning planning and embracing improvisation. Journal of General Management, 31(3): 11-29.
[20] Klein, G. 2003. Intuition at work. New York: Currency Doubleday.
[21] Kamoche, K. Cunha, M.P. and Cunha, J.V. 2002. Organizational Improvisation. London: Routledge.
[22] Burke, L.A. and Miller, M.K. 1999. Taking the mystery out of intuitive decision-making. Academy Management Executive. 13:76-91.
[23] Aram, J.D. and Walochik, K. 1996. Improvisation and the Spanish manager. International Studies of Management and Organization, 26(4): 73-90.
[24] Leybourne, S. and Sadler-Smith, E. 2006. The role of intuition and improvisation in project management. International Journal of Project Management, 24(6): 483-492.
[25] Leaptrott, J. 2006. The Dual Process Model of Reasoning and entrepreneurial Decision making: A field study of new childcare ventures. The Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 11(2): 17-31.
[26] Cunha, M.P. e., Cunha, J.V. d., and Kamoche, K. 2002. Organizational improvisation: what, when, how and why. In K.N. Kamoche, Cunha, M.P. and Cunha, J.V. (Ed.), Organizational Improvisation. London: Routledge.
[27] Vera, D. and Crossan, M. 2004. Theatrical improvisation: Lessons for organizations. Organization Studies, Sage Publications available at http://oss.sagepub.com.
[28] Whittington, R. 1996. Strategy as practice. Long Range Plan, 29(5): 731-735.
[29] Crossan, M., Cunha, M. P., Vera, D., and Cunha, J. 2005. Time and organizational improvisation. Academy of Management Review, 30(1):129-145.
[30] Akg├╝n, A.E. and Lynn, G.S. 2002. New product development team improvisation and speed-to-market: an extended model. European Journal of Innovation Management, 5(3): 117-129.
[31] Akg├╝n, A. E., Lynn, G. S., and Yilmaz, C. 2005. Learning process in new product development teams and effects on product success: A socio-cognitive perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 35(2): 210-224.
[32] Akg├╝n, A.E., Byrne, J.C., Lynn, C.L. and Keskin, H. 2007. New product development in turbulent environments: Impact of improvisation and unlearning on new product performance. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 24(3): 203-230.
[33] Dillman, D.A. 2007. Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method. (2nd Ed), USA: John Wiley & Sons.
[34] Nunnally, J.C. 1978. Psychometric Theory. New York: McGraw-Hill..
[35] Eipstein, S, Pacini, R. Denes-Raj, V. and Heire, H. 1996. Individual differences in intuitive-experiential and analytical-reasoning thinking styles. Journal of Personality and Social and Psychology, 71(2): 390- 405.
[36] McKibbon, K. A., Fridsma, D.B. and Crowley, S. 2007. How primary care physicians- attitudes towards risk and uncertainty affect use of electronic information resource. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 95(2): 138-146.
[37] Souchan, A.L. and Hughes, P. 2007. Improvising export decisions: A contingency theory perspective. International and Cross-cultural Marketing, Track 8.
[38] Mintzberg, H. and Waters, J.A. 1985. Of strategies, deliberate and emergent. Strategic Management Journal: 6(3): 257 - 272.