Five Ps for strategy
Henry Mintzberg (1996)
* Mintzberg, H. (1996) 'Five Ps for Strategy1 in Mintzberg, H. and Quinn, J. B. (1996) The Strategy Process, London, Prentice Hall. Originally published in extended form in California Management Review (Fall 1987). * Human nature insists on a definition for every concept. * Strategy has long been used implicitly in different ways even if it has traditionally been defined in only one. * Explicit recognition of multiple definitions can help people to maneuver through this difficult field. * Accordingly, five definitions of strategy are presented here—as plan, ploy, pattern, position and perspective—and some of their interrelationships are then considered.
A. Strategy as Plan
* Anyone you care to ask, strategy is a plan [ some sort of consciously intended course of action, a guideline (or set of guidelines) to deal with a situation. ] * By this definition, strategies have two essential characteristics: * They are made in advance of the actions to which they apply, and * They are developed consciously and purposefully.
* A host of definitions in a variety of fields reinforce this view. For example: * In the military: Strategy is concerned with "draft[ing] the plan of war ... shap[ing] the individual campaigns and within these, deciding] on the individual engagements" (Von Clausewitz, 1976:177). * In game theory: Strategy is "a complete plan: a plan which specifies what choices [the player] will make in every possible situation" (von Newman and Morgenstern, 1944:79). * In management: "Strategy is a unified, comprehensive, and integrated plan ... *
B. Strategy as Ploy
* As plans, strategies may be general or they can be specific. * There is one use of the word in the specific sense that should be identified here. * As plan, a strategy can be a ploy, [ really just a specific "maneuver" intended to outwit an opponent or competitor. ] * Focusing on the general process of bargaining, that views strategy in this way and so focuses attention on its most dynamic and competitive aspects. * For example, in his popular book, Competitive Strategy, Porter (1980) devotes one chapter to "Market Signals'1 (including discussion of the effects of announcing moves, the use of "the fighting brand," and the use of threats of private antitrust suits) and another to "Competitive Moves" (including actions to preempt competitive response). As well as Schelling (1980) did.
C. Strategy as Pattern
* A pattern in a stream of actions (Mintzberg and Waters, 1985). * Strategy is consistency in behavior, whether or not intended. * Thus the definitions of strategy as plan and pattern can be quite independent of each other: plans may go unrealized, while patterns may appear without preconception. To paraphrase Hume, strategies may result from human actions but not human designs (see Majone, 1976-1977). * As the following figure represents:
Intended realized strategy strat
D.Strategy as Position
* Strategy is a position[a means of locating an organization in what organization theorists like to call an "environment." ] * By this definition, strategy becomes the mediating force -or "match," * Hofer and Schendel (1978:4)- between organization and environment, that is, between the internal and the external context: 1. In ecological terms, strategy becomes a "niche";
2. in economic terms, a place that generates "rent" (that is "returns to [being] in a 'unique' place" (Bowman, 1974:47)); 3. in management terms, formally, a product-market "domain" (Thompson, 1967), the place
* Grant in the 1860s, "Strategy [is] the deployment of one's resources in a manner which is most likely to defeat the enemy,“ * Richard Rumelt 1980s, "Strategy is creating situations for...
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