Deliberate and emergent strategies are two extreme poles and different real strategies lie between these two ends. The few advantages of Emergent strategies are such as Opportunism, Flexibility, Learning, Entrepreneurship, and building support. By opportunism we mean that the employees’ o f the organization should not be burdened. They should be free and even given mental freedom so that they stay active and grab unanticipated or unpredictable opportunities as they emerge in the business. This way the flow of creativity into the organization would also be smooth and improvisation would be high.
The basic aim of this is that having emergent strategy, the employees will not be restricted to following rule books or procedures but use their best knowledge and skills to solve issues and grab opportunities which would best serve their company and career. Flexibility is another advantage of emergent strategies where you do not commit before on actions and investments. The organization keeps looking and considering old and new options and select one which is appropriate according to the scenario. If an organization commits then it has to abide to it to protect its image.
However, emergent strategies give firms that leverage of not committing to serve in the best interest of the organization. Learning is a lot in such places where strategies are developed or where strategies emerge. This creates a learning environment. Entrepreneurship, this is letting people to try and find out what works best. This establishes an entrepreneurial environment and when so much freedom is given employees make very careful decisions preparing the feasibility report or pros and cons. Building support is very important in an organization when strategic changes are made.
In emergent strategy time is available for this adjustment of support. Emergent strategy would be very effective in organizations where huge investment is to be made or a major strategic change is occurring or the organization is highly dynamic and on the constant go. If the organization’s operations are among the ones mentioned above or fall in the proximity of the above said scenarios the emergent strategy may be the most effective. However, a combination of emergent and deliberate may also be a good method.
Retail outlets if considering switching from manual sales recording to point of sales could use emergent strategy as this is a major strategic change. Companies who are to go under expansion could consider benefiting from emergent strategies. Organizations which have a defined hierarchical control and follow bureaucracy or have role culture, for these it may not be suitable to use this strategy. Certain environmental conditions indirectly forces organizations to adopt emergent strategy. Under unpredictable, highly dynamic, constantly changing environments emergent strategies usually are the most effective.
Under very competitive environment planned strategy or a combination may work out o be the best as trial an error affordability would be a negative process. Rosabeth Kanter has very well defined emergent strategy as improvisational theatre because companies who follow emergent strategies also encourage learning environment and where learning takes place improvisations are at peak. The employees become experts and keep improvising till they are satisfied wit one methodology. However, it may not be afforded by all organizations. The cost element of doing something with certainty and something with uncertainty may be high.