Abstract: Although strategy is not a new academic field, there are few studies on how strategy is really implemented by organizations (ATKINSON, 2006, HUTZCHENREUTER & KLEINDIENST, 2006, MEERS, 2007). Analyzing articles published in the main journals of strategy in the last 26 years, Furr, Thomas, Goussevskaia (2008) concluded that studies on strategic implementation have been scarce in the literature. Also, some studies (ATKINSON, 2006, HUTZCHENREUTER & KLEINDIENST, 2006, MEERS, 2007) focusing on investigating strategic implementation report that most strategic intentions are not implemented, which confirms the challenge of this topic. However, the problem is not only strategic implementation per se, but also the context in which strategy is implemented. Strategy implementation in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is an example of such contextual difficulty. For instance, some authors (COHEN, MARCH & OLSEN, 1972; COHEN & MARCH, 1974; MARCH & OLSEN, 1976; DAHRENDORF, 1995) argue that universities (a type of HEIs that is the object/phenomenon of this study) cannot be managed, which in turn makes any attempt to develop strategies in this context questionable. However, the competitive context in which institutions of Higher Education, in general, and universities, in particular, are inserted has become fiercer than ever. The number of HEIs in Brazil and Rio Grande do Sul increased, respectively, 92% and 113% between 2000 and 2006. In Brazil, the number of seats available in universities increased 116%, while the number of registered students increased only 74%. Furthermore, the context of long distance education provides additional challenges for HEIs. In this sense, the use of strategy techniques, in general, and implementation of the strategy, in particular, in the context of private IES becomes fundamental. This research focus on studying if strategic intentions of a specific private university in the sate of Rio Grande do Sul really become strategic actions. Moreover, we will look for patterns of behavior and factors pertaining to success or failure in achieving the strategic intentions.
Author: Daniel Pacheco Lacerda