Miles and Snow's Strategy Model in the Context of Small Firms

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Miles and Snow have produced a typology of business-level strategies. As opposed to corporate-level strategy, i.e.,decisions related to what businesses should the firm be in, business-level strategy is related to how the organization competes in a given business (Hambrick, 1983). Miles and Snow proposed that firms in general develop relatively stable patterns of strategic behaviour in order to accomplish a good alignment with the perceived environmental conditions. Their typology involves four strategic types: defenders, prospectors, analyzers and reactors. The authors have described them as follows: "1. Defenders are organisations which have narrow product-market domains. Top managers in this type of organisation are highly expert in their organisation's limited area of operation but do not tend to search outside of their domains for new opportunities. As a result of this narrow focus, these organisations seldom need to make major adjustments in their technology, structure, or methods of operation. Instead they devote primary attention to improving the efficiency of their existing operations. 2. Prospectors are organisations that almost continually search for market opportunities, and they regularly experiment with potential responses to emerging environmental trends. Thus, these organisations often are the creators of change and uncertainty to which their competitors must respond. However, because of their strong concern for product and market innovation, these organisations usually are not completely efficient. 3. Analyzers are organisations that operate in two types of product-market domains, one relatively stable, the other changing. In their stable areas, these organisations operate routinely and efficiently through use of formalized structures and processes. In their more turbulent areas, top managers watch their competitors closely for new ideas, and then they rapidly adopt those that appear to be the most promising. 4. Reactors are organisations in which...
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