n Journal of Contemporary Management - Revelling in the mess of the flat world services economy : a strategic management and organisational culture perspective

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1815-7440



An era of industrialisation is making way for what has become termed the global services economy that is essentially characterised by uncertainty, discontinuous change, extensive competition, and complex contextual conditions. In this paper strategy and culture, as two interdependent domains of management are analysed, from a traditional scientific management and a complexity theory perspective, as a means of gaining a competitive advantage within the services economy. An important conclusion derived from the analysis is that organisational culture cannot be intentionally managed to support a specific strategy that is to be implemented, as it essentially is emergent in nature. At best unfavourable emergent cultural patterns may be disrupted and favourable patterns encouraged. This has significant implications for strategic management within the services economy. It is also suggested that the rational analytical models of strategy formulation and implantation, that assumes linear causality, are no longer deemed to be an effective response to the complex nature of the services economy and that an emergent strategic process is far better suited for dealing therewith. A central tenet underpinning such an approach is the emergence of a culture that facilitates participation and open-ended discussions, enabling participants to make-sense of contextual conditions that are arising at the peripheral edge. It is a process that entails looking at the emergent context from widely different perspectives and experimenting to find a possible innovative strategic response for gaining a competitive advantage in the global services economy.

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