In this article we suggest that the result of a strategic decision-making (SDM) process is not only an initial decision, but, more importantly, also strategic momentum. With this concept we mean a combination of insights gained in the issue at hand and the collective commitment created to act on the decision and to use those insights to subsequently adapt the actions where necessary. The more turbulent the context of the SDM process, the less relevant the initial decision becomes and the more relevant the strategic momentum that results from that process. We hypothesise that the higher the quality of the SDM process, the stronger the resulting strategic momentum will be and that SDM process quality is driven by rational, political and cultural behaviour.
We have developed this perspective on SDM on the basis of existing literature and have explored it in a detailed evaluation of six SDM-cases in European multinational finns. This evaluation has confinned in many respects the relation between high process quality and strong strategic momentum. For instance, we have found a strong cOlTelation between the level of rationality in the decision making process and the levels of insight and collective commitment achieved. We also have found that cultural behaviour stressing open
communication coincides with high levels of collective commitment. For some other causal relations our data set is too limited in range or simply inconclusive, such as for the impact of political behaviour on strategic momentum. A surprising finding from our evaluation concerns the sustainability of strong strategic momentum. In a second wave of evaluation interviews, some four to six years later, we found high levels of strategic momentum still to exist with the original participants in the SDM process. Opportunities for further research as well as limitations to the findings presented are discussed.
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