A typology of strategy tool applications
Purpose – The purpose of this research is to improve the success rate and quality of outcome when strategy tools are used in practical situations. Design/methodology/approach – Draws on post-experience teaching and uses conceptual reasoning to propose a typology of tool applications. Findings – The paper finds that strategy tools need to be used differently according to the problem needs, and hence proposes five generic modes of tool application. These draw on seven dimensions to codify the functions and cognitive characteristics in a given tool application. Research limitations/implications – The modes of application are conceptually rather than empirically derived. The paper provides conceptual background that could be used in much-needed empirical work on tool use in the strategy activity. Practical implications – The typology could be used in teaching or facilitation to encourage and help with the design of tool adaptations that are coherent and well adapted to the situation. It provides ameans for prior reflection on tool choice and application that could help reduce detrimental framing effects. Originality/value – The paper highlights the centrality of user adaptation of tools and begins to codify the effects of tool enactment. It moves debate from the tools themselves to the application of tools, which has seldom been addressed in a systematic fashion. For practitioners it provides explicit guidance on the tool adaptation process.