Strategic reorientation in former public utilities: the example of UK electricity

Ghobadian, Abby and Viney, Howard (2002). Strategic reorientation in former public utilities: the example of UK electricity. Management Decision, 40(7) pp. 634–646.



Much current discussion of strategic content focuses upon the elaboration and refinement of existing strategies, rather than upon the demands of strategic reorientation. This lack of attention is particularly in relation to organisations undergoing market liberalisation. Consequently, our understanding of the complex outcomes resulting from the deregulation of industries is yet nascent. This paper reports empirical research undertaken in the United Kingdom aimed at identifying viable combinations of corporate and business level strategy within a regulated environment, the recently privatised UK electricity industry. The conclusions reached by the authors suggest that despite the introduction of competition to the industry, companies seeking superior market performance face limited options in their choice of strategic content. Key success criteria for companies in competitive segments of the industry are the achievement of critical mass and of some form of integration, while companies operating in regulated segments may face a very limited choice of strategic approach.

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