Strategic decision-making under uncertainty: fixing stability and change in public organizations

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Strategic decision-making is essential to public organizations. Public organizations pursue strategies that ensure stability for their intended societal purpose. Yet, uncertainty challenges stability. Organizational theories have mainly regarded the relation between stability and change as incompatible. Accordingly, this is reflected in the strategy literature paradigm of synoptic formalism promoting stability and logical incrementalism responding to change. The limitations of this distinction have been acknowledged with attempts to bridge the two of them. However, less is known about how public organizations actually manage to balance stability and change in strategic decisions fraught with uncertainty. In response, we engage in an inductive study of a public organization in the aerospace industry. The study aims to better understand how organizations rooted in the traditional static processes manage the challenge of introducing dynamic processes in adapting to changes. We indicate three types of approaches dealing with uncertainty: a static approach named ‘fixing’ focusing on the outcome of the process, a dynamic approach named ‘flexing’ focusing on the process itself, and a hybrid approach named ‘flixing’ which actively balances the outcome and process of strategic decision-making. Hence, our empirical findings enhance the understanding of strategic decision-making under uncertainty in balancing stability and change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019
Event79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Boston, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019


Conference79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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