Strategy as Vector and the Inertia of Coevolutionary Lock-in

Strategy as Vector and the Inertia of Coevolutionary Lock-in

Administrative Science Quarterly.
2002, Vol. 47, Issue 2, Pages 325-357

To examine the consequences of a period of extraordinary success for the long-term adaptive capability of a firm's strategy-making process, this comparative longitudinal study of Andy Grove's tenure as Intel Corporation's chief executive officer (CEO) documents how he moved Intel's strategy-making process from an internal-ecology model to the classical rational-actor model during 1987-1998. His creation of a highly successful strategy vector pursued through an extremely focused induced-strategy process led to coevolutionary lock-in with the personal computer market segment, in which Intel's strategy making became increasingly tied to its existing product market. Intracompany analysis of four new business development cases highlights the inertial consequences of coevolutionary lock-in. The paper examines implications of coevolutionary lock-in in terms of its effect on balancing induced and autonomous strategy processes and exploitation and exploration in organizational learning.