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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article first explores the concept of flexibility in theories of strategic management. Subsequently, it provides a more dynamic approach in strategic management in which strategic flexibility is considered as a constructive friction between change and preservation, in particular between routines and dynamic capabilities, learning and unlearning, and administration and entrepreneurship. On the basis of this paradox of flexibility, the article develops a strategic framework that distinguishes the building blocks needed to analyse and discover viable strategic positions in various competitive environments. In this framework, flexibility is a managerial as well as an organization design task. The managerial task involves the creation of capabilities for situations of unexpected disturbance. On the basis of the variety of these capabilities and speed of response, four types of flexibility are distinguished: steady-state, operational, structural, and strategic flexibility.

Keywords: strategic flexibility, competitive advantages, strategic management, change and preservation, organization design task, operational flexibility

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