Strategic Initiatives in the Intraorganizational Ecology: An Investigation of Multi-level Goals

Document Type



product development; capital investment; operational efficiency; strategic initiatives

Identifier Data


Academy of Management

Publication Source

Academy of Management Journal


Strategic initiatives are temporary group undertakings intending to add or renew organizational capabilities and include projects focused on new product development, capital investment, operational efficiency or market growth. The development of strategic initiatives is susceptible to a variety of goals at the individual, departmental, organizational and initiative levels. Despite these multi-level goals, research on strategic initiatives does not take a holistic perspective and either assumes the initiative team to be a cohesive whole or focuses on the team itself and ignores the presence of multi-level goals acting on the team altogether. In this paper, our objective is to understand the impact of multi-level goals for the development of strategic initiatives within the intraorganizational context. We take a configurational approach to classify goals at different levels and argue that advancing the initiative in the resource allocation process requires specific team processes to manage different multi-level goal configurations. We also argue that such advancement can in turn influence both the variety and diversity of goal differences in the team. Our theory building contributes to behavioral theory, and specifically contributes to research on strategic initiatives and goals.