Henry Mintzberg is the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University. He earned his doctorate from MIT and is the founding partner of CoachingOurselves.com.
Bruce Ahlstrand is a senior faculty member in the Business Administration program at Trent University. Graduating from the University of Toronto, the London School of Economics, and University of Oxford, Ahsltrand is considered an expert in strategic management and organization theory.
Joseph Lampel is Professor of Strategy and Innovation for Cass Business School at City University London. With a Ph.D. from McGill University, Lampel works with managers in the areas of strategy, project-based learning, and business innovation.
Don’t Mind Me—I’m Just Looking at the Animals
Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel define strategy as
“a pattern, that is, consistency in behavior over time… [strategy has] to form as well as be formulated… strategy is a position, namely the locating of particular products in particular markets… strategy is a perspective, namely an organization’s fundamental way of doing things the [company] way… [and] strategy is a ploy, that is, a specific ‘maneuver’ intended to outwit an opponent or competitor” (9-14).
Competitive Schools of Strategic Management
In brief, the authors outline 10 schools of strategic management:
- The Design School: Strategy Formation as a Process of Conception
- The Planning School: Strategy Formation as a Formal Process
- The Positioning School: Strategy Formation as an Analytical Process
- The Entrepreneurial School: Strategy Formation as a Visionary Process
- The Cognitive School: Strategy Formation as a Mental Process
- The Learning School: Strategy Formation as an Emergent Process
- The Power School: Strategy Formation as a Process of Negotiation
- The Cultural School: Strategy Formation as a Collective Process
- The Environmental School: Strategy Formation as a Reactive Process
- The Configuration School: Strategy Formation as a Process of Transformation
The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of its Parts
|Photo by Arno Meintjes|
Therefore, a manager looking to implement strategy in business ought to consider the shades of gray in strategic management. Even though the authors split strategy formation into 10 separate schools, reality suggests that the field must be holistically considered.
“But those who have ultimate responsibility for all this—the managers of our organizations—can allow themselves no such luxuries. They have to deal with the entire beast of strategy formation—not only to keep it alive but also to help sustain some of its real-life energy. True, they can make use of the process in various ways: an elephant, after all, can be a beast of burden or a symbol of ceremony—but only if it remains intact as a living thing” (368).Thus, don’t let the many cracks in the armor of strategic management in Strategy Safari deceive you. Behind the network of seemingly contradictory theories resides a careful apology for strategic formulation in business management. Just as a safari provides opportunity to observe a myriad of wildlife functioning together despite the diversity of the animal kingdom, so too do strategic management schools operate when considered holistically.
If you are a manager in need of further understanding of strategic management, Strategy Safari functions as an excellent primer.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Posted by: Donovan Richards
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