A Diagnostic Tool to Determine a Strategic Improvisation Readiness Index Score (IRIS) to Survive, Adapt, and Thrive in a Crisis

Paul Hughes*, Robert E. Morgan, Ian R. Hodgkinson, Yiannis Kouropalatis, Adam Lindgreen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Crises for business-to-business (B2B) firms are characterized by unexpected or unanticipated severe threats that are highly uncertain where strategic response times are low in which executives are victim of overwhelming time pressures to action fast strategic responses to these events—as the threats bring to question the viability and survivability of the firm. Consequently, crises provoke a profound impact on executives' sensemaking, as they attempt strategically navigate these events. We bridge thinking around crisis management with theories of strategic decision-making and conclude that strategic improvisation is a vital mechanism that enables effective management interventions to be executed as a means of surviving, adapting, or potentially thriving under challenging circumstances. We derive a theoretically grounded framework of five strategic imperatives underlying our 10C Strategic Imperative Framework for improvisation readiness. First, we develop the Improvisation Readiness Index Score (IRIS) as a means for executives to diagnose their organization's improvisation readiness according to the requisite strategic imperatives. Second, we present a three-step guide for executives to consider for managing through readiness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)485-499
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Crisis
  • Strategic improvisation
  • Improvisation readiness
  • Resilience
  • COVID-19
  • Strategic implications

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