Strategy Execution: One Size Does Not Fit All: Evidence from Italian Middle Market

  •  Silvia Vernizzi    
  •  Andrea Beretta Zanoni    
  •  Claudio Zuccolotto    


Despite several studies highlighting the gap between strategy formulation and strategy implementation, strategy execution continues to be considered one of the greatest challenges in strategic management. Beginning from this premise, the present study explores how the gap between strategy formulation and implementation is perceived by middle-sized Italian companies. The basic idea of this study is to verify whether the difficulties that are widely reported in the strategic literature and empirical research of translating strategy into practice also arise in the context of Italian firms, and to examine which are the greatest barriers to successful strategy implementation. To address the research aims, we conduct a survey analysis of 544 middle-sized firms located in Northeast Italy. The findings of the analysis highlight how the main sources of the gap between strategy formulation and execution can be traced to two main factors: the processes through which the implementation step is conducted and the competences and skills necessary to effectively achieve the execution results.

This paper contributes to the existing literature by conducting empirical research on the relevance of strategy execution in the Italian context. The study also has practical implications through its demonstration of the importance of some managerial tools that are highly useful in effective strategy execution.

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