In pursuit of information: evaluating strategic plans

Publication Date03 November 2019
AuthorCigdem Baskici,Yavuz Ercil
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
In pursuit of information:
evaluating strategic plans
Cigdem Baskici and Yavuz Ercil
Center for Strategy and Technology, Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey
Purpose The purpose of this study is to proposea measuring system based on the information ow to
carry out a more preciseassessment of strategic plans.
Design/methodology/approach An action research method is used with system dynamics. The
indicatorsobtained from the strategic plans were assessed through informationrecords.
Findings The output of thisstudy is a dynamic model which is produced by theworkows and processes
in which decision-makerscan apply experiments. By this means, it can be used as a measuringsystem based
on informationows produced within the organization.
Practical implications The rst practicalimplication is that it can be possible to measure how much of
the current workows matched the strategic goals. Second, it can be possible to measure how much the
budget allocated to the strategicplans corresponds to the amount of the total works. Third, it gets abilityto
managersto provide the opportunity to carry out experimentsthrough the designed model.
Originality/value As it uses information ows as measuring variable, this study is one of the novel
approaches in strategy measurementsystems. It also promises high efciency and effectivenessbecause the
assessment of goals and actionsin strategic plans are sources of information which shed a light on the future
strategicoptions to the decision-makers of the organizations.
Keywords System dynamics, Information ow, Dynamic modelling, Strategic assessment
Paper type Research paper
The purpose of this study is to propose a measuring system based on the information ow to
carry out a more precise assessment of strategic plans. For the sake of achieving this purpose,
on one side, we answer the research question of how to assess of strategic plan can be possible.
In this paper, strategic plan is dened as a roadmap which determines the use of all the tangible
and intangible resources in an organization (Black and Boal, 1994;Grant, 1991;Kraaijenbrink
et al., 2010;Penrose, 1959;Teece et al., 1997;Wernerfelt, 1984). Strategic plans reshape
organizations in structure and in actions in accordance with strategy (Andersen, 2001;
Chandler, 1990;Eisenhardt and Brown, 1998;Mintzberg, 1978). In the soul of implementation of
the strategies, strategic plans build on strategic aims, goals and actions (Ansoff, 1965;Chaffee,
1985;Mintzberg, 1973). In strategic perspective, the measurement has largely been associated
mainly with assessment (Basili et al., 1994;Geurs and Van Wee, 2004).
On the contrary, this study is a struggle to use informationas an indicator in the process
of assessment of strategic plans. The basic motivation behind this struggle is that the
information is live, speedy,objective and transparent. Bit (or information entropy) is used as
the unit of measurementof information (Anderson and Johannesson, 2006;Haykin, 2006).
Measuring the performance of strategic plans is extremely difcult in its nature. This
difculty can be paraphrased in two headings. First is due to the requirement of concrete,
static and objective indicators. It is highly difcult to assign realistic indicators to
performance factsin both measurement and assessmentprocesses. Measurement is:
strategic plans
Received18 March 2019
Revised22 August 2019
Accepted23 September 2019
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.50 No. 2, 2020
pp. 185-201
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-03-2019-0037
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
[...] a process of assessing the performance against pre-determined measures, based on key
success factors (KSF) which may include measures of deviation from the norm, tracking past
achievements and measures of output and input (Millmore et al., 2007, p. 530).
Assessment is dened as the process of determining the level of performance in strategic
actions (Huang, 2009;Premkumarand King, 1994;Wholey, 1999;Van Der Sluijs et al.,2005).
In this context, it is possible to argue that the quality of the indicators directly affects the
quality of the measurementsystem.
Second is about the competency. It is highly difcult to create a competency in
knowledge management (KM) systems in supporting the processes in the planning,
implementation and assessment phases of the strategic actions (Acur and Englyst, 2006).
The improvement of KM competency not only lowers the cost required to provide the
organization with the knowledge and experience that enhance the quality of managerial
decisions (Gurbaxani and Whang, 1991;Malone et al.,1987), but also provides valuable
advantages such as making decisions more quickly, responding quickly to the changes
happening around and exibility (Porter and Millar, 1985). Gaining KM competence which
may limit all these important effects is difcult because it requires time and a strong
intellectual accumulation.
In addition to these challenges, the establishment of an effective and dynamic strategic
measurement system promisesimportant gains to organizations. Utilization of effective KM
in the eld of strategic measuring endeavors is quite useful in terms of increasing the
quality of strategic decisions becauseassessment of strategic plans is a feedback cycle that
may only be observed in the long run and long time. Moreover,because strategic actions are
usually the subject of a multistakeholder interaction, their monitoring and coordination
costs are rather high. Since real-time follow-up of the success criteria of strategies decided,
planned and put into practice can resolve these problems, it may provide added value on
behalf of managers (Bartelet al.,2007).
This study promises high efciencyand effectiveness in strategic measurement systems
because the assessment of goals and actions in strategic plans are sources of information
which shed a light on the future strategic options to the decision-makers of the
organizations. It is considerablyvaluable to assess the information ows behind the actions
next to the basic resources,such as money, time and labor used for actions in strategic plans.
Within this framework, thisstudys main concern is to examine a strategic measurement
system that may enable managers,who have difculty in monitoring the real-time status of
many strategic plans and projects and their interaction with stakeholders of the strategic
plan, to see the decided successcriteria in real time and in the long term. In this study action
research is used. The application is developed in public organization and results are
simulated by a computer-based modeling to generate different experiments with system
Since the main assumption of this research (strategies are dynamic, unique and
characteristic for organizations) requires to use a dynamic approach, we use system
dynamics as a modeling tool. In traditionalapproaches, there is an implicit assumption that
resources are durable and plans are static in researches. In this perspective needs of agility
or adaptation in strategic plans mostly refer to crisis. In reality few resources are totally
durable, absolutely nontradeable, never replicable or impossible to substitute(Warren,
Current study brings this new perspective on the subject in following parts. First, we
discuss traditional ways of approaching to the question in the literature. Following the
literature main structure of our approach is presented. Findings and conclusions are
discussed afterthe research design and experiment conducting parts.

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