Discuss the use of descriptive characteristics in strategy formulation. What are some of the descriptive characteristics of successful organizations as identified by Peters and Waterman? [3 Marks]
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Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, in their book, In Search of Excellence based on interviews and background research on 43 of the Fortune 500 companies, came out with eight common themes or factors, also known as the descriptive characteristics of these successful companies.
This book was published in 1977 and since then it has become a book of reference.
They argued that these descriptive characteristics if applied to any organization and are found to exist the organizations can prosper.
Though many researches feel that these characteristics should be applied with caution.
- These eight descriptive characteristics are:
Bias for action
- There action was a strong emphasis upon experimentation; people were encouraged to try out new ideas and approaches.
- Closeness to the customer
- They are dependent on their customers for their continued success.
- Autonomy and entrepreneurship
- They value and foster innovation and taking risks.
- Productivity through people
- They view employees as the key sources of ideas for improvements in quality and productivity.
- Strong value systems
- Top managers tended to see their role as that of managing the values of their organizations.
- Stick to the knitting
- They stayed close to what the knew and could do well.
- Simple organization structure
- They keep corporate staffs small and do not use complex matrix structure.
- Decentralization authority
A high degree of autonomy and great deal of emphasis in individual initiative.