Strategic Control

What is Strategic Control?

Strategic Control is a critical management activity that focuses on monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of an organization's strategy and its implementation against the set goals and objectives. It involves assessing whether the strategic actions are moving the organization in the desired direction and making necessary adjustments to the strategy or its execution in response to changes in the internal or external environment. Strategic control ensures that the organization remains aligned with its strategic vision, adapts to new challenges and opportunities, and achieves its long-term objectives.

Purpose and Role of Strategic Control

The primary purpose and role of strategic control include:

  • Alignment: Ensuring that the organization's strategic actions remain aligned with its goals and objectives, even as conditions change.
  • Feedback: Providing timely feedback to decision-makers about the progress and effectiveness of the strategy, enabling informed decision-making.
  • Adaptability: Allowing the organization to respond and adapt to changes in the competitive environment, industry trends, or internal capabilities.
  • Performance Improvement: Identifying areas where the strategy or its implementation can be improved for better results.

Types of Strategic Control

Strategic control can be categorized into four main types, each serving a distinct purpose:

  • Premise Control: Focuses on monitoring the assumptions or premises on which the strategy is based. It helps in identifying any changes in the external or internal environment that may affect the validity of the strategy.
  • Implementation Control: Involves evaluating whether strategic plans are being implemented as intended and whether they are producing the desired results. It allows for adjustments in tactics or operations to ensure strategic goals are met.
  • Strategic Surveillance: A broad-based control that scans for events or trends that could affect the strategy. It involves keeping a constant watch on a wide range of sources for signals of threats or opportunities.
  • Special Alert Control: A rapid response mechanism triggered by unexpected events or crises that require immediate attention. It enables the organization to respond quickly to protect or leverage its strategic interests.

Process of Strategic Control

The process of strategic control typically involves the following steps:

  • Setting Benchmarks: Establishing clear metrics or performance indicators that reflect the strategic objectives of the organization.
  • Measurement: Regularly measuring performance against the established benchmarks.
  • Evaluation: Analyzing the performance data to assess the effectiveness of the strategy and its implementation.
  • Adjustment: Making necessary adjustments to the strategy or its execution based on the evaluation to address identified issues or capitalize on new opportunities.

Challenges in Strategic Control

  • Complexity: The complexity of modern organizations and their environments can make strategic control challenging.
  • Data Overload: The vast amount of data available for analysis can be overwhelming, making it difficult to focus on relevant information.
  • Resistance to Change: Organizational inertia and resistance to change can hinder the adjustment of strategies in response to feedback.
  • Timing: Finding the right balance between responding quickly to changes and allowing enough time for strategies to show results.


Strategic control is vital to strategic management, ensuring that an organization's strategy remains effective and responsive to the changing business landscape. By systematically monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting strategic actions, organizations can maintain their strategic direction, improve performance, and achieve long-term success. Despite the challenges, effective strategic control enables organizations to navigate uncertainty and capitalize on opportunities, sustaining their competitive advantage.

See Also

Strategic control is a critical phase in the strategic management process, focusing on monitoring and evaluating the execution of strategic plans to ensure that organizational objectives are achieved. It involves assessing the performance of strategies in action, making necessary adjustments to align with goals, and responding to any changes in the internal or external environment.

  • Strategic Planning: Explaining the process of defining strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating resources to pursue this strategy. It's important to understand how strategic control is used to monitor the success of strategic planning.
  • Performance Measurement: Discussing various metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) used to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies. This could include financial ratios, customer satisfaction metrics, and operational efficiency indicators.
  • Feedback Loops: Covering how feedback obtained through strategic control processes is used to make informed decisions, allowing organizations to adjust strategies or operations in response to internal or external changes.
  • Balanced Scorecard: Detailing a strategic planning and management system used to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals.
  • Benchmarking: Explaining the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices from other companies to identify areas for improvement.
  • Risk Management: Discussing the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unforeseen events.
  • Change Management: Covering strategies for managing change within an organization to ensure that changes are smoothly and successfully implemented to achieve lasting benefits.
  • Corporate Governance: Highlighting the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled, focusing on the relationship between the board of directors, shareholders, management, and other stakeholders.
  • Strategic Leadership: Discussing the role of senior executives and leaders in guiding and influencing the strategic direction of the organization, including how they oversee the strategic control process.
  • Corporate Strategy: Explaining how strategic control fits into the broader context of corporate strategy, including growth strategies, stability strategies, and retrenchment strategies.
  • Environmental Scanning: Highlighting the importance of continuously monitoring the external and internal environments as part of strategic control to identify any significant changes that may affect strategy execution.
  • Strategic Flexibility: Discussing the ability of an organization to remain flexible and adapt strategies in response to changing market conditions, competitive pressures, or other external factors.