Are You Sure You Have Strategy

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MgtS 4481 Sec. 5
Geoffry Bell, Ph. D.
February 6, 2012
Hand-In Summary 1

Hambrick and Fredrickson’s literature review, Are you sure you have strategy? focuses on the key components of a strategy. Its purpose is to expand on the past 30 years of strategic frameworks and help us identify what actually constitutes a strategy. When executive call everything strategy, they create confusion, so this article works to dispel the misconception many executives and scholars hold that a strategy is a catchall term used to describe whatever they wish. Instead, Hambrick and Fredrickson persuade us that a sound strategy, or as they define – an integrated set of choices, incorporates five separate elements that must work together to create one unified strategy. These five key elements, which are guided by the company’s mission, objectives and strategic analysis form the strategy - consisting of these domains of choice: arenas, vehicles, differentiators, staging, and economic logic. Consideration should be placed on all five elements, and not just a few components of a strategy. These elements call not only for choice, but also preparation and investment. It is important that they align and support one another. Finally, only after the design of all five elements can the strategist plan other supporting activities that are needed to reinforce the strategy such as functional policies, organizational arrangements, and operating programs. The arenas element is the most fundamental choice a strategist makes. It answers the questions, where will the company be active? It includes what product categories, market segments, geographic area, and core technologies to include. The challenge in this step is to be as specific as possible – the strategist needs to include not only where the business will be active, but also how much emphasis will be placed on each. Vehicles, the second element of a strategy, is a choice about how the company will get there – or in related...
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