Strategic Management in High-Technology Firms: An Exploratory Study

By Homa Bahrami
1983| Working Paper No. 697

This paper reports the findings of an exploratory study, examining strategic management tasks and practices of ten electronics firms in Northern California. These firms confront two significant challenges: first, their operating environment is characterized by rapid and continuous metamorphosis in products, markets and competitive environments; second, from an organizational perspective, there is a need to cope with rapid expansion in the size of the firm and its scope of operations. Their combined impact exert a powerful influence on their strategic management tasks and organizational mechanisms devised to address them. The findings of the study indicate that strategic management processes are instituted typically during the adolescent stage of the firms growth, addressing such critical tasks as: communication within the rapidlygrowing organization, managing the balance between autonomy and synergy, development of product migration strategies and in specific instances, managing the interface between the entrepreneurial subsidiary and the large parent firm. This paper describes how ten companies manage these tasks, by reference to organizational mechanisms devised to address them.