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The strategic importance of top management resistance: extending Alfred D. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Strategic Organization
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)100-112
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/08/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We investigate the role of top management resistance against bottom-up initiatives for strategic change. While resistance has been mostly considered leading to inertia and rigidity by maintaining a particular strategic path, some scholars make the counterintuitive point that resistance could also be a facilitator of change. In this essay, we argue that such a generative perspective of top management resistance has important implications for strategy research. To do so, we draw on Alfred D. Chandler’s historic account of the emergence of the M-form at DuPont at the beginning of the 20th century. Based on this case, we illustrate three generative mechanisms of top management resistance for strategic change: the reframing, restructuring and the recoupling of strategic initiatives. We build on these generative mechanisms in order to develop implications for future research.