Auftragstaktik for Business Organizations in Volatile and Uncertain Environments: a Competence-Based View

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Author: Jochen Wittmann, Global Panel Foundation, Germany
Email: wittmann@globalpanel.org
Published: December 12, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijbm.2.2.02

Citation: Wittmann, J. (2017). Auftragstaktik for Business Organizations in Volatile and Uncertain Environments: a Competence-Based View. IAFOR Journal of Business & Management, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijbm.2.2.02


Abstract

Dynamic and uncertain environments present challenges for business leaders and the governance of businesses. This encourages entrepreneurs and senior managers to look at other domains confronted with similar developments, such as the military sphere. Similarities to the military world are obvious: the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz (2010) characterizes war and conflict as non-linear, ambiguous and chaotic, meaning that military organizations have to adapt to perform well. Creveld (1985) underlines the high relevance of command and control systems for the military, focusing on coping with uncertainty, reducing complexity and enabling adaptability and flexibility. Consequently, recent business and management research has been looking at the flexible management concepts and governance modes used in high performance organizations, especially in the military sphere. Shilling et al. (2008) point out the innovative and adaptive side of Auftragstaktik (AT) as a governance mode that successfully formulates leadership and organizational processes across functional areas and is an essential element of management and leadership (Creveld, 1985). AT is able to address these governance challenges within business organizations.

In this conceptual paper, the author demonstrates that the military governance mode of AT, developed by the Prussian-German General Staff System and modified for the German Federal Armed Forces, is useful for business organizations in volatile environments, exemplified by the competence-based view.

Keywords

Auftragstaktik, competence-based view, anomic behavior, strategic flexibilities