University of Oulu

The process of strategy formation in software business: three cases from Kainuu region, Finland

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Author: Laari-Salmela, Sari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2009
Publish Date: 2009-11-13
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in Auditorium 300, Department of Information Processing Science, Kajaani unit (Linnankatu 6, Kajaani), on 24 November 2009, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Saku Mantere
Professor Reima Suomi


Literature on strategic management has largely concentrated on strategy formulation, or, the analysis of strategic content, whereas limited attention has been given to the implementation of strategy, or the analysis of the strategic process. This study represents process research and approaches strategy as practice.

The aim of this study is to increase both empirical and theoretical understanding of the nature of the processes or generative mechanisms through which the strategies are formed in small software companies — i.e., to open up the ‘black box’ of strategy formation.

The field of strategic management studies is mapped with the help of reviews and meta-theoretical analyses conducted by other researchers, shedding light on the content aspect of strategy. To understand the process and context of strategy, the network perspective and the research of change are reviewed. Based on the literature review and data analysis, an a priori model is developed.

The empirical research is based on the analysis of the development process of three entrepreneur-led software companies located in Kajaani, Finland, and the research is conducted as a process research using the method of a multiple case study.

Based on the data analysis and the a priori model, the generative mechanisms inside the process of strategy formation in the case companies are identified: situational and transformational mechanisms, formed by the interplay of Network Visioning and Organising, and action-formation mechanism, formed by the interplay of Strategising and Organising.

By opening up the ‘black box’ of strategy formation, this study increases the understanding of the reality of small software companies and the effect of the context of software business on the development of the companies. Recognising the different elements affecting strategy formation may help the companies to be aware of the mechanism affecting their development and to guide the development in the direction deemed appropriate.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-9281-1
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-9280-4
Issue: 539
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2009. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.