Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dynamic Model of the Strategy Process

Several theorists have recognized a problem with this static model of the strategy process: it is not how strategy is developed in real life. Strategy is actually a dynamic and interactive process. Some of the earliest challenges to the planned strategy approach came from Linblom in the 1960s and Quinn in the 1980s.

Charles Lindblom (1959) claimed that strategy is a fragmented process of serial and incremental decisions. He viewed strategy as an informal process of mutual adjustment with little apparent coordination.

James Brian Quinn (1978) developed an approach that he called "logical incrementalism". He claimed that strategic management involves guiding actions and events towards a conscious strategy in a step-by-step process. Managers nurture and promote strategies that are themselves changing. In regard to the nature of strategic management he says: "Constantly integrating the simultaneous incremental process of strategy formulation and implementation is the central art of effective strategic management." (?page 145). Whereas Lindblom saw strategy as a disjointed process without conscious direction, Quinn saw the process as fluid but controllable.

Joseph Bower (1970) and Robert Burgelman (1980) took this one step further. Not only are strategic decisions made incrementally rather than as part of a grand unified vision, but according to them, this multitude of small decisions are made by numerous people in all sections and levels of the organization.

Henry Mintzberg (1987) made a distinction between deliberate strategy and emergent strategy. Emergent strategy originates not in the mind of the strategist, but in the interaction of the organization with its environment. He claims that emergent strategies tend to exhibit a type of convergence in which ideas and actions from multiple sources integrate into a pattern. This is a form of organizational learning, in fact, on this view, organizational learning is one of the core functions of any business enterprise (See Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline (1990).)


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