A study of strategy within the shipping business

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Maritime management (MPMAR), MSc
Lutteman, Anders
Eriksson, Victor
The offshore industry is a volatile and financially demanding industry. The Black Gold is the single most important factor for the offshore industry. Having a strategy on paper and deliver it in reality are two different things. This thesis tries to link strategy from an academic perspective with how an expanding shipping company in the offshore segment delivers upon their strategy. The purpose is not to try and fill a gap between the worlds of academia and business. The aim is instead to describe the strategic difficulties connected with running a business in a volatile shipping industry. The method used is a Single Case Study of the company Offshore AS, backed up by four in depth interviews with relevant people in the organization management. The concept of going back and forth between the empirical and theoretical results gives content to the discussion and analysis which has been created in a simultaneous process defined by the methodological concepts called Systematic Combing and Generation of a Research Question Through Problematization. From a theoretical perspective, not only literature from the field of strategy and shipping has been used but also from the organizational, as well as psychological field. The choice of literature has been governed by what interviewees chose to put weight on during the interview process. Findings show that Offshore AS has a desire to pursue strategic work and develop its business further as it grows. The company is constantly facing change and new arising tasks means that they constantly find themselves putting out fires. The strategy of Offshore AS does not follow a clear path from A to Z. Instead it emerges over time. This could be described metaphorically- they have a short period when they are in a still, wide part of the river where they can think and reflect upon their strategy and be proactive. Occasionally they find themselves in a narrow, much stirred part of the river where the strategic work is set aside and changed into putting out fires. Within the organisation views of strategy and its implementation are not aligned nor shared across the organisation and the more they expand the more complex the situation becomes. This reality is being described in a model where Porters and Mintzberg different takes on strategy have been used to both support and challenge the normal view of what strategy is in reality as well as within academia. To conclude, Offshore AS evidently has two different views on the best strategy to reach these goals. There is no congruence between middle and top management's view of strategy and how important it is. These paradoxes are presented through the model and the authors conclude that the assumed room to maneuver based on the concept of “time” is dependent on what angle or perspective the viewer, researcher, or executor of strategy is choosing as their point of reference. Nevertheless, Offshore AS has an interesting period ahead and its major challenge is to better formulate and share its strategy throughout the whole organization.
Transport , Transportteknik och logistik , Transport , Transport Systems and Logistics
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