Strategic Management Review > Vol 3 > Issue 2

Strategic Transformation and the Problem of Inertia

Constance E. Helfat, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, USA,
Suggested Citation
Constance E. Helfat (2022), "Strategic Transformation and the Problem of Inertia", Strategic Management Review: Vol. 3: No. 2, pp 325-337.

Publication Date: 21 Jul 2022
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Strategic renewalinertiaroutinescoordinationorganization design


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In this article:
Sources of Inertia 
Strategic Transformation 


The Achilles heel of strategic transformation is the tendency of organizations to resist change. Richard Rumelt's (1995) chapter on "Inertia and Transformation" catalogs the critical sources of firm inertia, considers how firms can overcome inertia and develops a formal model of the process of strategic transformation. I first discuss the sources of inertia that Rumelt identifies, which is what his chapter is best known for. Then I discuss his competence-based model of strategic transformation, in which cross-departmental coordination plays a prominent role, and suggest ways to augment his analysis of the relationship between task skills, coordination, and strategic transformation. As part of the discussion, I situate Rumelt's examination of inertia in the context of the literature at the time and draw links to subsequent research.



Strategic Management Review, Volume 3, Issue 2 Special Issue in Honor of Richard Rumelt
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.