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Corporate Strategy Theory : Critical Evaluation Add in library

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Question :

The process researcher have shown again and again the real world messiness of strategy formulation and implemention. The implication is that it is impossible to analysise everything up front and predict the future, and that the search for economically optimal decisions is futile "(Johnsion, G. Scholes K. and Whittingtor, R. 2010 Expoloring corporate strategy text and cases, prentice Hall P. 17)".

Answer :


Strategy as the subject has moved long way in the last fifty years and still existed. In the starting, strategy was related to the task of the manager and most obvious; it started taking form of the business policies that were run by most of the universities like Harvard that started this course in 1960 (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington 2010). The question posted is that what one can do when they become the chief executive of the organization. This approach relies over the common experiences of all the executives in the company and not based on some theory.


Literature review

Mintzberg and Waters (1985) mentions that all process researchers have tried to shown the actual world about the messiness of both the strategy formulation and strategy implementation. The implication related to it is that it is quite impossible to easily analyze everything front and also predict the future, by mentioning that the search for the economically optimal decision is quite futile (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). It is much better to work, instead of going against it, and messiness of the company (Mintzberg and Waters 1985). This implies that accepting the managers in making the decisions that has actually much to do with the politics of the company and the culture and history of the organization, as they have to do with the strategic economics and these strategies might get derailed in its implementation (Knights and Morgan 1991). In this context, exploring the complexities and imperfections is actually even more effective rather than ignoring it, as in certain approach of economics (Knights and Morgan 1991).

A very variant stream related to the strategy research is lead through the Henry Mintzberg in 1970s that is drawn through the psychology and sociology and it also tries to argue that people were not prepared and is world is challenging place for relying over the analysis and the planning (Paine 1994). The studies of the process approach relates to the strategic decision making and the change process (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). It is noted that the contingency model of the Mintzberg tries to presume that exist the reciprocal relationship among the structure and strategy, and this strategy is actually formed under the part of ongoing, and process of mutually constructive (Jarzabkowski 2005).

As per the procession perspective, strategy is referred as the process, instead of any state. It is noted that the process researchers have tried to shown that the actual world disorder in the formulation and implementation of strategy that makes it quite impossible in analyzing everything up front as well as predication of the future (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). It is quite futile for conducting the research for the economically optimal decisions (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). It might be accepted that the managers might take the decisions that are related to the politics, culture as well as history of the organization as they have to do with the strategic economics (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012).

It is noted that in the 21st century has emerged and enhanced the acceptance of the researched new stream, which tries to provide the promising ways for coping up with the reality of the organization (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). There are three highlighted factors such as: complexity theory, which is actually drawn through the physical sciences and could be used easily for supporting in managing the messy world of the company (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). As per the researchers like, Kathy Eisenhadt and the Ralph Stacey, the principles related to the complexity theory could be used easily for achieving the order and the progress within the social world like the behavioral stable pattern and the species that are well adapted and seems emerging in the natural world (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). The complexity theory hand offs methods, instead of the approaches that are heavy-handed in the traditional management are best to cope up with the actual world companies (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). Complexity theory is considered as the inspiration in the strategy like the ideas lens (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012).

Discourse researchers like David Knights has tried to drawn the theories of sociology of language in order to point out towards the how to discourse the actual ways in which one talk about the organization along with its shapes about the actual reality (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). The perspective of discourse specifically highlights about how mastery related to the strategy language could be considered as resource for the managers by which one could easily gain the power and the influence in order to set up the identity and the strategist legitimacy (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). In this context, by knowing about the talk strategy is considered as the main skill in the life of the organization (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). The insights of this particular view are actually encapsulated in the discourse lens of the strategy (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012).

Strategy as the practice by the researchers has tried to build over the traditions of psychology and sociology towards examining the close and the real practices of the managers within the strategy formulation and implementation, by developing the detailed understanding about the techniques and the strategies involved into it (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). In certain ways, all these researchers are trying to return towards the actual case approach followed by the Harvard general manager’s views, but now in this time, it tries to seek towards underpinning with the systematic research (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). The promise related to the strategy as practice research is considered as the increased capacity towards designing the practical process of strategy and training the skilled as well as reflective practitioners that permit for the actual complexities and the unintended results of the organizations life (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). Therefore, it is noted that half of the strategy research has tried to produce various ways towards approaching the strategy and all this could be provided by the valuable insights (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000).

It is noted that the emergent strategy is explained as the pattern that is actually realized despite or either in the absence of the intentions (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). It is also evident that the model of Mintzberg tries to differentiate the strategy that originate through the leadership intention of the organization and also conduct plans through the forming of strategy in the absence of the lying intentions (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). There exists the possibility that certain strategies could not be easily realized, but all the realized strategies try to imply the presence of these patterns (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). These patterns might either be considered as emergent or either deliberates (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012).

The process perspective of the strategy tries to differentiate the strategy that was originated through the plans and through the formed strategy without any kind of intention (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). It is noted that the strategies that were emerged by the actions in the moment comes under the process view (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). All the gathered goals as well as goal compliance are actually combined with the actions of an individual, which could lead towards the changing strategy through the intended, plans (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000).


Process approaches to strategy

It is noted that teaching is dominated through the attempts for replicating the situations of real business within the classroom through the students exposure in various case studies related to strategies issues (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington 2010). In paralleled it is noted that they are developed in the 1960 and 1970 for creating influence over the corporate planning. In this the stress is placed over trying to analyze the different influence over the well being of the organization in the way to explore the threats in doing future developments (Johnson, Scholes and Whittington 2010).

It took the form of approach of high systematic approaches in the planning that incorporate the techniques of mathematics of the economics and operational research (Arsen 1991).  This approach is considered as dominant legacy in the study (Baron and Hannan 1994). It is assumed that the managers can try to make best decision for the company that could be based over the finding from all possibility about the world of organization and then accordingly make the analysis of alternatives (Baron and Hannan 1994). This approach is highly influential, for instance, it gives rise to the specialist department of corporate planning in the organization in both the private and public sector, mainly in 1970 (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). 

It is noted that 3-5 years strategic plans were overtaken by the events and there response is still two folded (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). On the other side, academics have tried to develop the increasing body of the research through pointing out the implications related to various strategies for the organizations that give financial performance (Lovas and Ghoshal 2000). This kind of research is known as the content approach, and its main purpose is to focus on the content of various strategic choices like, internationalization, innovation as well as diversification (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012).


Implementation issues relating to planned and emergent strategy

Both the approaches came under the consideration of the criticism in the 21st century last decade (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). Although it is noted that the case study method is important as it helps in bringing the actual life in the classroom and on own policy of old business approach that lacks in the actual research (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). There are certain evidences that could make the sense along with certain theoretical framework that help in generalizing the single cases (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012). Next the analytical approach included in the specialized departments of the corporate planning tries to prove poorly and is not able to cope up apparently dynamic as well as competitive business world that started in late 1970s (Mantere, Schildt and Sillince 2012).


Analysis of models

For the content researchers, the main question is that what sort of strategy could be applied for performing the best under what kind of conditions (Levy, Alvesson and Willmott 2003). They even try to argue that the managers try to gain benefit through the lessons which are drawn from the researchers for the purpose of taking the strategic decisions (Levy, Alvesson and Willmott 2003). Strategic planning and analysis is quite effective if it is underpinned through the rigorous evidences of research (Levy, Alvesson and Willmott 2003). The key academic discipline that tries to inspire the research is known as economics through the work done by Michael Porter in the structure of industry in 1980s along with resource theories in 1990, mainly the exemplary in this context (Levy, Alvesson and Willmott 2003).

On the other side, a quite variant stream of research is adopted that is led through the Henry Mintzberg as well as Andrew Pettigrew, in order to drew the psychology and the sociology through arguing that the individuals are quite imperfect and this entire world is too complex in order to have heavy reliance over the planning as well as analysis, and economics research is also rigorous (Mintzberg and Waters 1985). Since 1970s, they along with their followers has tried to develop the strategy of process approach that tries to study the actuality of taking the strategic decision making along with process of strategic change (Mintzberg and Waters 1985).


Strategy as the practice is considered as stream of the strategy process research that relates with the understanding about how the emergent strategy comes into existence. Its main aim is to welding all the previous strategic thoughts proposed by the schools. It is considered undoubtedly also as the huge societal trend, as there are many managers in the company that doesn’t include the fair practical perception of both the strategy and the management. Therefore, strategy as practice is selected as the perspective in the working of the company.



Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R. 2010. Exploring Corporate Strategy, Text and Cases. Prentice Hall.

Jarzabkowski, P. 2005. Strategy as practice, an activity based approach. Sage Publications.

Arsen, D.D. 1991. ‘International and Domestic Forces in the Postwar Golden Age.’ Review of Radical Political Economics Spring and Summer, 3, pp. 1-45.

Baron, J.N. and Hannan, M.T. 1994. ‘The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Sociology.’ Journal of Economic Literature September, 4, pp. 1-67.

Mintzberg, H., and Waters, J. 1985. Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent. Strategic Management Journal, 6, pp. 257-272.

Mantere, S., Schildt, H., and Sillince, J. A. 2012. Reversal of Strategic Change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(1), pp. 1-56.

Lovas, B. and Ghoshal, S. 2000. Strategy as guided evolution. Strategic Management Journal, 21, pp. 875-896.

Levy, D. L., Alvesson, H. and Willmott, H. 2003. Critical approaches to strategic management. London: Sage.

Knights, D. and Morgan, G. 1991. Corporate Strategy, Organizations and Subjectivity: A Critique. Organization Studies, 12, pp. 251-273.

Paine, L. 1994. Managing for Organizational Integrity. Harvard Business Review, 3, pp. 106-117.

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