Emergent corporate strategy
CORPORATE STRATEGY is the direction an organization takes with the objective of achieving business success in the long term. Recent approaches have focused on the need for companies to adapt to and anticipate changes in the business environment. The development of a corporate strategy involves establishing the purpose and scope of the organization's activities and the nature of the business it is in, taking the environment in which it operates, its position in the marketplace, and the competition it faces into consideration. Strategic management is a relatively young subject. It has its roots in the economic and social theories of the 1930s and 1940s - perhaps even earlier. It only really began to emerge as a separate topic in the 1960s and 1970s. Even today, there is only partial agreement on the fundamental principles of strategic management with many views, ideas and concepts. Among the numerous early contributors, the most influential were Alfred Chandler, Philip Selznick, Igor Ansoff and Peter Drucker. Alfred Chandler recognized the importance of coordinating management activity under an all-encompassing strategy. Interactions between functions were typically handled by managers who relayed information back and forth between departments. Chandler stressed the importance of taking a long term perspective when looking to the future. In his 1962 ground breaking work Strategy and Structure, Chandler showed that a long-term coordinated strategy was necessary to give a company structure, direction and focus. He says it concisely, “structure follows strategy.” Times change and concepts evolve so by the 1980s one can choose between two pathways when developing a strategy for a corporation, non-profit organization or an institution: the prescriptive and the emergent approach. Deliberate strategy is goal-orientated. It asks: what do we want to achieve? Emergent strategy is means-orientated. It asks: what is possible, with the means we have at our disposal? Already in 1985 Mintzberg and Waters were publishing: ˮOf strategies, Deliberate and Emergentˮ were they stated that deliberate strategy is realized as intended whereas emergent strategy are patterns of consistence realized despite, or in the absence, of intention. There are 8 different types of strategy between the two poles of deliberate and emergent strategy: planned, entrepreneurial, ideological, umbrella, process, unconnected, consensus, imposed. Many authors have defined the two approachments in different ways. In Linch’s view a prescriptive thinking is one whose objectives are defined in advance and whose main elements have been developed before the strategy commences. Such an approach usually begins with an analysis of the outside environment and the resources of the company. The objectives of the organization are then developed from this. There then follows the generation of strategic options to achieve the objectives, from which one (or more) may be chosen. The chosen option is then implemented. This full range of activities is called the prescriptive strategy process. Henry Mintzberg, in his work, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, was a critic of the analytical approach arguing that label strategic planning should be dropped because strategic planning has impeded strategic thinking and also because unpredictable events, such as the introduction of new regulations or technologies, will regularly act to force the original strategy off its course. From a contrary point of view Ansoff shows that firms in fast-paced, competitive environments who use a systematic process for strategic planning very often go on to dominate their marketplace. Their logical, analytical approach allows them to devise predictive and pre-emptive strategies from which they can meet new opportunities head on. For instance, in 1995 EasyJet used incredible foresight to introduce low cost flights allowing it to take advantage of a more cost-conscious...
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