The Achilles’ Heel of Strategic Management: Strategic Leadership in a Chaotic Environment

  • Halil İbrahim ÖzmenEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


The main view of strategic management thinking is analysis of external and internal environmental conditions, and determination of the enterprise’s strategies in this context. In this manner, enterprises not only position themselves but also take positions. Enterprises also specify and implement their strategies according to their positions. The person who is responsible for the management process—which includes creation, implementation, and evaluation of the strategy of the enterprise or strategic business unit—is the strategic leader. The most important function of the strategic leader is that they assume a decisive role in the strategic management process. The leadership behavior they exhibit in the implementation of strategies is the main determinant in achieving success. However, it is thought that a strategic leader who adopts the mechanical point of view of the past will not be successful in today’s complex and chaotic environmental conditions. The main reason for this is that the business world is a complex, dynamic, and nonlinear system. An analysis made according to circumstances does not result in complex and nonlinear systems. In the story of Achilles, whom Homer described in his work, his mother’s efforts were unable to protect Achilles from death. In a strategic management process, if a strategic leader continues to think in a traditional way and exhibits modernist management behavior, he or she may meet the same fate as Achilles.


Achilles Strategic leadership Strategic management Chaos 


  1. Adair, J. (2002). Inspiring leadership: Learning from great leaders. London: Thorogood.Google Scholar
  2. Amagoh, F. (2016). Systems and complexity theories of organizations. A. Farazmand içinde, global encyclopedia of public administration, public policy, and governance. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Andrews, K. (1971). The concept of corporate strategy. Homewood: Irwin.Google Scholar
  4. Ansoff, H. (1965). Corporate strategy: An analytical approach to business policy for growth and expansion. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Ansoff, H. I. (1979). A concept of corporate planning. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Ansoff, H. I. (2007). Strategic management. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. (1987). Managing across borders: New organizational responses. Sloan Management Review, 29(1), 43–53.Google Scholar
  8. Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resource and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bass, B. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectation. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  10. Beinhocker, E. D. (1997). Strategy at the edge of chaos. The McKinsey Quarterly, 1, 25–39.Google Scholar
  11. Blake, R., & Mouton, J. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston: Gulf Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Bussolari, C. J., & Goodell, J. A. (2009). Chaos theory as a model for life transitions counseling: Nonlinear dynamics and life’s changes. Journal of Counseling & Development, 87(Winter), 98–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chandler, A. (1962). Strategy and structure: Chapters in the history of the industrial enterprise. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Clausewitz, C. V. (2018). Savaş Üzerine (H. Çelikler, Trans.). İstanbul: Alfa Ya.Google Scholar
  15. Cummings, S. (1993). Brief case: The first strategists. Long Range Planning, 26(3), 133–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Day, D. (2000). Leadership development: A review in context. The Leadership Quarterly, 11(4), 581–613.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dinçer, Ö. (1998). Stratejik Yönetim ve İşletme Politikası. İstanbul: Beta Ya.Google Scholar
  18. Fiedler, F. (1976). The leadership game: Matching the man to the situation. Organizational Dynamics, 4(3), 6–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gleick, J. (1995). Kaos. İstanbul: Tübitak Ya.Google Scholar
  20. Goldstein, J. (1994). The unshacled organization. Portland: Productivity Press.Google Scholar
  21. Graen, G., & Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship-based approach to leadership: Development of leader–member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership over 25 years. The Leadership Quarterly, 6(2), 219–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Greanleaf, R. (1970). The servant as leader. Atlanta: Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.Google Scholar
  23. Halpin, A., & Hunt, J. (1957). A factorial study of the leader behavior descriptions. In R. Stogdill & A. Coons (Eds.), Leader behavior: Its description and measurement. Columbus: Ohio State University, Research Monograph No. 88.Google Scholar
  24. Hamel, G. (2000). Leading the revolution. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hard, R. (2004). The Routledge handbook of Greek mythology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Henderson, B. D. (1989). The origin of strategy. Harvard Business Review, 67(6), 139–143.Google Scholar
  27. Hersey, P., Blanchard, K., & Natemayer, W. E. (1979). Situational leadership, perception, and the impact of power. Group and Organization Management, 4(4), 416–428.Google Scholar
  28. Homer. (1990). The Iliad (R. Fagles, Trans.). London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  29. Horwitch, M. (1987). Emergence of post-modern strategic management, working paper no. 1901–87. Cambridge: MIT Sloan School of Management.Google Scholar
  30. House, R. (1971). A path–goal theory of leader effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 16(3), 321–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hughes, R., & Beatty, K. (2005). Becoming a strategic leader. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  32. Ireland, R., & Hitt, M. (2005). Achieving and maintaining strategic competitiveness in the 21st century: The role of strategic leadership. Academy of Management Executive, 19(4), 63–77.Google Scholar
  33. Jantsch, E. (1980). The self-organizing universe. London: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  34. Koçel, T. (2014). İşletme Yöneticiliği. İstanbul: Beta Ya.Google Scholar
  35. Kourdi, J. (2009). Business strategy: A guide to taking your business forward. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  36. Learned, E. P., Christensen, C. R., Andrews, K. R., & Guth, W. D. (1965). Business policy: Text and cases. Homewood, III: R. D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  37. Levy, D. (1994). Chaos theory and strategy: Theory, application, and managerial implications. Strategic Management Journal, 15(1), 167–178.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  38. Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., & White, R. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created “social climates”. Reflections, 10(2), 269–299.Google Scholar
  39. Likert, R. (1958). Effective supervision: An adaptive and relative process. Personnel Psychology, 11(3), 317–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Machiavelli, N. (2008). The prince (J. Atkinson, Trans.). Cambridge: Hackett.Google Scholar
  41. Mele, D., & Guillen Parra, M. (2006). The intellectual evolution of strategic management and its relationship with ethics and social responsibility (Working Paper No. 658). Barcelona: IESE Business School, University of Navarra.Google Scholar
  42. Mintzberg, H. (1978). Patterns in strategy formation. Management Science, 24(9), 934–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mintzberg, H. (1993). The pitfalls of strategic planning. California Management Review, 36(1), 32–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mintzberg, H. (1994). The fall and rise of strategic planning. Harvard Business Review, 72(1), 107–114.Google Scholar
  45. Mintzberg, H., & Waters, J. (1985). Of strategies, deliberate and emergent. Strategic Managment Journal, 6(1), 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Murphy, P. (1996). Chaos theory as a model for managing issues and crises. Public Relations Review, 22(2), 95–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nanus, B. (1995). Visionary leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  48. Nonaka, I. (1991). The knowledge-creating company. Harvard Business Review, 69(6), 96–104.Google Scholar
  49. Papatya G. (2017). Stratejik Düşünme: Yaratıcı Yıkıma Doğru Eleştirel Dönüşüm. Harvard Business Review (Türkiye), Ocak-Şubat, 94–99.Google Scholar
  50. Parker, D., & Stacey, R. D. (1994). Chaos, management & economics: The implications of non-linear thinking. London: Coronet.Google Scholar
  51. Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R. I. (2000). The knowing-doing gap: How smart companies turn knowledge into action. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  52. Porter, M. (1979). How competitive forces shape strategy. Harvard Business Review, 57(2), 137–145.Google Scholar
  53. Porter, M. (1985). Competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance. New York: Pree Press.Google Scholar
  54. Porter, M. (1996). What is strategy. Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 61–78.Google Scholar
  55. Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  56. Porter, M. E. (Ed.). (1986). Competition in global industries. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  57. Prahalad, C., & Hamel, G. (1990). The core competence of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68(3), 79–91.Google Scholar
  58. Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I. (1984). Order out of chaos: Man’s new dialogue with nature. London: Bantam New Age Books.Google Scholar
  59. Reddin, W. (1977). An integration of leader-behavior typologies. Group and Organization Studies, 2(3), 282–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rumelt, R. P. (1974). Strategy, structure, and economic performance. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  61. Schwarz, E. (1996). Summary of the main features of a holistic metamodel to interpret the emergence, the evolution and the functioning of viable self-organizing systems. Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Systems Science, Budapest.Google Scholar
  62. Skinner, W. (1969). Manufacturing—missing link in corporate strategy. Harvard Business Review, 47(3), 136–145.Google Scholar
  63. Stacey, R., & Mowles, C. (2016). Strategic management and organisational dynamics. London: Pearson.Google Scholar
  64. Sühreverdi, E. (1974). Yönetenlerin Yönetimi. İstanbul: Tercüman Ya.Google Scholar
  65. Sullivan, G., & Harper, M. (1998). Hope is not a method. New York: Broadway.Google Scholar
  66. Thiétart, R., & Forgues, B. (1995). Chaos theory and organization. Organization Science, 6(1), 19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Thompson, A., Peteraf, M., Gamble, J., & Strickland, A. (2015). Crafting & executing strategy: The quest for competitive advantage. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  68. Tzu, S. (2014). Savaş Sanatı (P. Otkan, & G. Fidan, Trans.). İstanbul: İşbankası Ya.Google Scholar
  69. Ülgen, H., & Mirze, S. (2018). İşletmelerde Stratejik Yönetim. İstanbul: Beta Ya.Google Scholar
  70. Weick, K. (1977). Organization design: Organizations as self-designing systems. Organizational Dynamics, 6(2), 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wernerelt, B. (1984). A resource based view of the firm. Strategic Management Review., 5(1), 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Werndll, C. (2009). What are the new implications of chaos for unpredictability? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 60(1), 195–220.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Woodard, R. D. (Ed.). (2007). The Cambridge companion to Greek mythology (Cambridge companions to literature). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Süleyman Demirel UniversityIspartaTurkey

Personalised recommendations