3 Dimensions of Strategic Change

Andrew Pettigrew and Richard Whipp highlights three dimensions of strategic change in their book 'Managing Change for Competitive Success' (1991) :


1. Content (Objectives, Purpose and Goals)

The content of change aims to answer the question "WHAT"


2. Process (Implementation)

The process of change aims to answer the question "HOW"


3. Context (The Internal and External Environment)

The context of change aims to answer the question "WHERE"


Vector Study Approach

Vector Study, claims that organizations' strategies can be measured and expressed as vectors with certain direction and magnitude. Strategic change in an organisation is basically the change of the direction of organisational strategy vector. Conceptually the term of  strategic change or the dimensions of strategic change approach of Pettigrew and Whipp is very important. However it is not measurable thus manegable. Vector Theory might fulfill this gap.


Pettigrew and Whipp emphasize the continuous interplay between these change dimensions. The implementation of change is an "iterative, cumulative and reformulation-in-use process." Successful change is a result of the interaction between the content or what of change (objectives, purpose and goals); the process or how of change (implementation); and the organizational context or where of change (the internal and external environment).


Based on substantial empirical research, they also present five central interrelated factors belonging to successfully managing strategic change:


1. Environmental assessment (continuous monitoring of both the internal and external environment [competition] of the organization through open learning systems)


2. Human resources as assets and liabilities (employees should know they are seen as valuable and feel trusted by the organization)


3. Linking strategic and operational change (Intentions are implemented and transformed through time, bundling of operational activities is powerful and can lead to new strategic changes)


4. Leading change (Move the organization forwards; creating the right climate for change, coordinating activities, steering. Setting the agenda not only for the direction of the change, but also for the right vision and values)


5. Overall coherence (a change strategy should be consistent (clear goals), consonant (with its environment), provide a competitive edge and be feasible.