The New Normal: The Impact of Remote Working on the Effective Implementation of Strategy: A Multi-case Study of Multinational Enterprises

Teresa Ho Dang & Mikkel Gade Henrichsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the impact of IT-facilitated remote working on strategy implementation, meaning how virtual working arrangements affect the operationalization of a clearly articulated strategic plan. IT-facilitated remote working has become an increasingly prominent practice due to COVID-19 and local government restrictions. As a result, enforced remote working has drastically shifted the implications on how management in organizations approach the implementation of their strategies, to attain the most value of their strategic intent. Therefore, this study aims to explore and understand how remote working has influences the effective implementation of strategy. This leads us to answer the following research question: “How does remote working triggered by COVID-19 influence the operationalization and effectiveness of strategy implementation in MNEs?” Through a qualitative multiple case study based on four case organizations, namely Novo Nordisk, Ramboll, B&O and Mindshare Denmark, we uncover four reoccurring themes that are integral for MNEs to consider to ensure effective strategy implementation under remote working. Specifically, these are 1) recognition of hidden costs of coordination, motivation and learning, 2) diffusion of strategies, 3) autonomous strategic behaviors and 4) the role of decision-making on effective implementation. Based on a comprehensive analysis of these, we develop three propositions which identify relationships on how IT-remote working impacts effective strategy implementation. Under remote working, the study finds an increase in the hidden costs of coordination, motivation and learning, which hinders the ability of firms to effectively implement strategies. In extension, the study uncovers that MNEs increased autonomy in the diffusion of strategies. This increases the potential of autonomous strategic behaviors, which are those that deviate from a strategy’s intent, thus negatively impacting effective strategy implementation under remote working. Lastly, this thesis finds that the provision of decision-making authority with guidance is integral to mitigate the negative consequences, which enables effective strategy implementation. The authors believe that the findings of this thesis hopefully can provide a foundation for future research, as the practice of remote working is considered to continue beyond the pandemic.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages133
SupervisorsTorben Juul Andersen