It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: The Forces Affecting Implementation of Strategies for an Information Technology Project in the Department of Defense

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Virginia Tech

Public strategy is a widely discussed concept, which especially in an election year is often proposed as a means to improving administrative operations. Over the last 40 years, there has been an explosion in the number of books written about strategy. The academic community and the public have been bombarded with countless, theories, models, frameworks, approaches and schools about strategy. We have seen the rise and fall of strategic planning and the movement from strategic management to strategic leadership to strategic thinking. Despite the plethora of solutions, some to problems yet to be discovered, both the private and public sectors continue to see strategies fail. How can it be that strategies still fail when we have so many people available who know how to make them succeed? This study uses an information technology project in the Department of Defense as a field study to determine why the strategies for that project succeeded or why they failed. The research draws on concepts from the Delphi Technique, Force Field Theory, classic strategy literature and public administration to identify and map various levels of forces extant in the implementation environment for those strategies.

Force Field, Implementation, Public Administration, Public Strategy