Assess the Balance of Planned and Emergent Approaches to Strategic Management in East Kodak

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As the time has brought people to the technology world, everything seems to change dramatically including many involved industries have to adopt more flexible strategies in their strategic management in order to achieve the competitive advantage. Some argue that the strategies should be deliberately planned and executed, so the organization will have a direction and therefore act rationally (De Wit and Meyer, 2004). However, some argue that new strategies largely emerge over time, as managers proactively piece together a viable course of action or reactively adapt to unfolding circumstances. Making strategy involves sense-making, reflecting, learning, envisioning, experimenting and changing the organization, which can’t be neatly organized and programmed (De Wit and Meyer, 2004). In reality, planning and emergency approaches both are useful. Indeed it is likely that they could both be seen within organizations at the same time, or at different times to different degrees, they should not be seen as independent or mutually exclusive (Johnson el al, 2005). In general, planning is valuable for routing activities that require to be efficiently organized. While planning is less suitable for non-activities, it will require the emergency strategy to do new things. But both approaches are needed to be able to apply in practice. Therefore, some advocate that ‘we shall get nowhere without emergent learning alongside deliberate planning’ (Harrison, 2005). In the view of Mintzberg and Waters, strategy is a combination of deliberate plans and emergent adjustments over time (De Wit and Meyer, 2004). That is, both approaches are necessary if an organization is to succeed. In this essay, I will assess the balance of planned and emergent approaches to strategic management in Eastman Kodak. Due to the company proper utilization of both planned and emergent approaches in response to transform a photographic company into a world leader in digital imaging, it achieved its targets and further development. Strategic management is characterized by its complexity, so it is necessary to make decisions and judgments based on the conceptualization of difficult issues (Johnson el al, 2005). Indeed there are many approaches related to the management of strategy. One keen argument is about the planned and emergent approaches to strategic management. On the one hand, the orthodox view is that strategy is deliberate and should be deliberately planned and executed, therefore, managers would like to forecast the future and to orchestrate plans to pursue an intended strategic course (De Wit and Meyer, 2004 & Harrison, 2005). On the other hand, it is evident that in some cases strategy simply emerges from a stream of decisions, which Mintzberg and Waters (1985) labeled ‘emergent strategy’. According to this perspective, managers learn what will work through a process of trial and error. Making strategy involves sense-making, reflecting, learning, envisioning, experimenting and changing the organization (De Wit and Meyer, 2004). However, in practice, as we already realized that both deliberate strategizing and strategy emergence seem to have advantageous characteristics. For example, deliberateness creates commitment, while emergence allows for flexibility; deliberateness gives direction, while emergence allows for opportunism; deliberateness facilitates fixed programming, emergence allows for ongoing learning (De Wit and Meyer, 2004). This places managers in a paradoxical position. In fact, a firm can’t be fully committed to detailed and coordinated long-term plans, while simultaneously adapting itself flexibly and opportunistically to unfolding circumstances, ongoing learning and unpredictable political and cultural processes. In Mintzberg and Waters’ view, few strategies were purely deliberate or emergent, but usually a mix between the two (De Wit and Meyer,...
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