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Strategic Planning and Adaptation in the East Asian Context

Fowler, Randolph West (2015) Strategic Planning and Adaptation in the East Asian Context. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The existing literature on strategic adaptation rests on a model with cultural assumptions about the nature of adaptive behavior, emphasizing low power distance values and antecedents, and the notion that adaptation is intrinsically a bottom-up process. In light of Asian organizations’ presumed top-down management style, it must be asked whether these firms are predisposed to be non-adaptive, or if there is some other means, not represented by the current model, by which they adapt. This is necessary to achieve a more theoretically complete view of adaptation, without assuming the current model is intrinsically generalizable across the globe. A mixed methods approach was used for answering the research question of how (and if) Asian organizations plan for the future while adapting to the present. Qualitative research was conducted on 14 organizations, spanning 6 East Asian regions. The presumed “long-term orientation” of Asian firms was called into question during this process, and additional individual-level data was collected specifically on this subject. This research makes several major contributions. First, an alternate “top-down” model of adaptation was uncovered, involving low autonomy of lower- and middle-level managers, but fluid communication from bottom to top, enabling informed but authoritarian adaptive decision-making exclusively at the behest of top management. Second, the existing literature on long-term orientation is probed for weaknesses in methodology and conceptual clarity, and for claims of applicability to the business sphere; improved methodology is designed, increasing conceptual specificity, and testing the time orientation of actual business behavior. Third, the qualitative study reveals 8 salient facts about time orientation in East Asian businesses, providing a more in-depth understanding, the sum of which does not suggest a long-term timeframe. Fourth, the individual-level study shows a startling and precise consistency across cultures in economic trade-offs between present and future, suggesting such decisions are unaffected by cultural considerations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Strategic Adaptation, Long-Term Orientation, Power Distance, East Asian Business Practices
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School
The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School > Centre for International Business University of Leeds (CIBUL)
Depositing User: Mr Randy Fowler
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2016 12:00
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2016 12:00
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11917

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