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CSO's Role in Times of Uncertainty

2013

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the University of St. Gallen’s Institute of Management (IfB-HSG) have completed a survey of more than 50 chief strategy officers (CSOs) of the largest firms in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. The study reveals the roles of strategy work and CSOs in times of increasing uncertainty.

The CSOs agree that the increased uncertainty due to the markets’ volatility and other issues has a significant impact on firms’ corporate development. Most CSOs consider a leaner strategy process as the key to coping with the current situation.

The chief strategists of successful firms consider the long-term developments, so-called megatrends, such as climate change, urbanization, and demographic change, and integrate these into their firms’ strategic planning processes. Interestingly, CSOs of successful firms regard megatrends as opportunities, while strategy heads of less successful firms see them as threats.

A comparison of our study’s results with those of the previous year shows that CSO activities in the areas of strategy process management, corporate development, and portfolio management have become more important. In addition, strategy implementation, which is part of the CSO’s core role, has gained in importance.

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