What is STRATEGIC CONTROL? What does STRATEGIC CONTROL mean? STRATEGIC CONTROL meaning – STRATEGIC CONTROL definition – STRATEGIC CONTROL explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Strategic control is a term used to describe the process used by organizations to control the formation and execution of strategic plans; it is a specialised form of management control, and differs from other forms of management control (in particular from operational control) in respects of its need to handle uncertainty and ambiguity at various points in the control process.
Strategic control is also focused on the achievement of future goals, rather than the evaluation of past performance. Vis:
The purpose of control at the strategic level is not to answer the question:’ ‘Have we made the right strategic choices at some time in the past?” but rather “How well are we doing now and how well will we be doing in the immediate future for which reliable information is available?” The point is not to bring to light past errors but to identify needed corrections to steer the corporation in the desired direction. And this determination must be made with respect to currently desirable long-range goals and not against the goals or plans that were established at some time in the past.
As with other control processes, strategic control processes are at their core cybernetic in nature: using one or more ‘closed loop’ controls to ensure that any observed deviations from expected activity or outcomes are highlighted to managers who can then intervene to correct / adjust the organisation’s future activities. John Preble noted the need for these controls to be ‘forward looking’ when used to control strategy, to give controls that are “future-directed and anticipatory”.
Strategic control systems cannot “…wait for a strategy to be executed before getting any feedback on how well it is working. Since this might take several years…”
A related concern for strategic control processes is the amount of time and effort required for the process to work: if either is too great the process will either be ineffective or be ignored by the organisation.
Various authors have proposed that all strategic control systems necessarily comprise a small set of standard elements, the absence of any one of which makes strategic control impossible to achieve (e.g. Goold & Quinn, Muralidharan). The four elements proposed by Muralidharan are:
1. the articulation of the strategic outcomes being sought
2. the description of the strategic activities to be carried out (attached to specific managed resources) in pursuit of the required outcomes;
3. the definition of a method to track progress made against these two elements (usually via the monitoring of a small number of performance measures and associated target values);
4. the identification of an effective intervention mechanism that would allow observers (usually the organisation’s managers) to change / correct / adjust the organisation’s activities when targets are not achieved.
These elements imply an active involvement by senior managers in the determination of the strategic activities pursued by the component parts of an organisation, and this has led some to observe that strategic control is most effective in organisations that focus on a single market or area of activity. In organisations undertaking a mix of diverse / unrelated activities (e.g. traditional conglomerates) simpler forms of financial control are more common and perhaps more effective.