Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Strategy As Series Of Decisions

However, the strategic process is dynamic, evolutionary and emergent. A noted theorist in strategy, Henry Minztberg, described strategy as "a pattern in a stream of decisions."

Mintzberg's View Of Strategy

Mintzberg's view of strategy has at least two implications. First, strategy is not one decision but must be viewed in the context of a number of decisions and the consistency among them. Second, the concept means that the organization must be constantly aware of decision alternatives.

Strategy may be viewed as the rationale that governs the organization's choices among its alternatives. Traditionally, strategy has been viewed as simply a result of the planning process. A company's goals are set in motion, an its intended strategy is undertaken to achieve them.

According to Mintzberg, this view of strategy solely as a deliberate process ignores a wide range of other possibilities. Mintzberg distinguished between deliberate strategy and emergent strategy. Figure 7-1 shows Mintzberg's types of strategy.

In some cases, a firm may not intentionally set strategy. Its strategy may simply emerge form the grass roots of the organization as a result of its activities. Emergent strategies can also be the result of the implementation process.

Alterations in goals and "course corrections" may produce strategies that vary from their original design. For these reasons, the study of strategy must extend beyond study of the planning process. However, deliberate and emergent strategies may conceived as two ends of a continuum along which real-world strategies lie.

Therefore, Henry Mintzberg and James A. Waters have developed the concept of strategy as "a pattern in a stream of decisions," by elaborating along this continuum various type of strategy uncovered in further research. These include strategies labelled planned, entrepreneurial, ideological, umbrella, process, unconnected, consensus and imposed.

An understanding of how these different types of strategies blend into each other and tend to sequence themselves over time in different contexts could reveal a good deal about the strategy process.