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Planned Strategy vs Emergent Strategy

Disscuss about the Strategy Planning and Implementation Research.

In the modern day business, competition among different organizations has become more intense than ever. Every business fights for the top position and aspires to leave the competitors way behind them. The series of actions and reactions which an organization follows in order to achieve its goals is known as corporate strategy. These actions are highly correlated and can be very complex in nature. The main aim of corporate strategy developed by any organization is to make the most of the opportunities available to them and minimize the threats in order to magnify their chance of successful goal attainment. The complete collection of these steps and decisions to act, react, or not to take any steps at all, form an integral part of corporate strategy (Mintzberg, 2015). 

This report discusses two major types of strategies known as Planned Strategy and Emergent Strategy. Mintzberg and Waters (1985) divided organizational strategies into two major categories i.e. Analytical/Planned and Emergent. There are certain strategies that possess the features of both analytical and emergent strategies, giving rise to another kind of corporate strategy which can be called Analytically Emergent strategies. The report focuses on Planned and Emergent strategies, the main differences of these two kinds of strategies, how these strategies are relevant to the working of an organization and finally the advantages of these strategies to different stakeholder of the business.

Planned strategy consists of an intended series of steps that are considered to be most suitable for attaining decided business goals. These kinds of strategies are normally explained in detail within the action plan of an organization. Planned approach to strategy development mainly recognizes where the firm is now and what course of action is to be followed in order to achieve its predetermined goals. This kind of strategies clearly lays down the role and duties of different individuals in order to reach where the organization wants to go. It also defines the timing of actions and reactions to be carried around (Mintzberg & Waters, 1985).

Emergent approach towards developing strategy on the other hand, does not involve a great deal of pre planning. Henry Mintzberg was the first person who coined the term ‘emergent’ that explained the continuous evolvement in the strategy of an organization so that it is capable of keeping up and also overtaking the external factors of the marketplace in order to achieve the set goals. The real life situations tend to be very different from what is anticipated by the strategy planners. As the world is moving really fast, every new day brings an altogether different set of opportunities and threats (Root, 2017). There is a constant need of the organization’s action plan to be dynamic and flexible. Emergent strategy focuses on the evolvement of both internal and external factors, whilst adapting to new changes and challenges quickly.

Practical application of Strategies


 

Planned Strategy

Emergent Strategy

1.      A pre-planned course of action is laid out.

1.      The strategy is developed with less planning and more focus on everyday changes

2.      Static in nature.

2.  Dynamic in nature.

3.      More focus on internal factors and predictions (Chatterjee, 2009).

3. More focus on everyday changing external environment factors.

 4.     The role of every individual in the organization is defined in detail.

       4. The role of individuals is not pre-determined and the best person to handle the situation is given the charge (Manuwa, 2014).


The  life of a student works in a similar way to a business organization. There are goals, a mission, a vision and an action plan to achieve the goals. Strategy is not only required on the academic front but is also needed to achieve personal goals. Both Planned Strategy and Emergent strategy have their own perks and flaws, depending on the situation. But personally  a mixture of both these approaches to devise strategies which can be termed as ‘Realized Strategy’ is the best suited type of strategy (Hoskisson, Eden, & Lau, 2000).

A realized strategy can be defined as a strategy that one actually ends up following. They are a mixture of a planned strategy that covers a series of actions and decisions to achieve the goal and an emergent strategy that shows what one did in the case of unexpected challenges. While being the leader of a group project my planned strategy was to equally allot different sections of research for everyone in the group (Ligrani, 2014). A course of action was decided and the role of different individuals was defined. Unfortunately, one of our group members fell sick and could not contribute. I instantly had to change the portion of research allotted to everyone in order to cover the sick member. This was the emergent strategy that helped me to get through the unseen challenge (Aarons, 2014). Now during this practical experience, the realized strategy that I developed for the future was working ahead of the deadline. If one plans to achieve the goal, working ahead of time is a must. It makes the strategy flexible and adaptable.

The stakeholders of any organization are highly interested in the profits. Stakeholders favor the strategy that results in profit maximization. There is no hard and fast rule as to which one of these strategies can fetch a higher profit. In fact the approach to strategy development depends greatly on the nature of the business. If the organization’s environment is predictable and stable, planned strategy can be very effective. On the other hand, if the organization is highly sensitive to external environmental factors, then emergent approach to strategy development should be adopted. But again, the best strategy is a mixture of both these approaches (Linton, 2017).

Frederick Smith while studying at Yale in 1966 had to develop a business plan for a company as a part of his coursework. In his plan he explained a delivery system that would acquire effectiveness by channelling parcels via a central hub and then transfer them to their final destinations (Enterpreneur India, 2008). After some years, Smith started Federal Express (FedEx), an organization that closely followed the strategy laid out in his plan for a business plan in his classroom. Today, Frederick Smith’s personal wealth has exceeded $4 billion, and FedEx ranks eighth among the World’s Most Admired Companies according to Fortune magazine. The planned approach to strategy, hence helped Smith to create an actual company from a business plan on paper (Donahoe, 2011).   

Benefits to Stakeholders

Emergent strategies can also lead to huge success. The Southern Bloomer Manufacturing Company was created to make underwear of heavy cotton fabrics to make them suitable for use in prisons and mental hospitals. It was servicing the requirements of around 140 facilities, but unfortunately, this was creating a large volume of scrap fabric. One day, the cofounder Don Sonner visited a gun shop and noticed that the material of patches that was used to clean the inside of the gun barrels was of poor quality. He instantly spotted an opportunity to use his scrap fabric (Bloomberg L.P., 2017). The patches that the gun shop sold to clean the inside of gun barrels were of poor quality. The patches gained popularity quickly were in high demand among the military, police departments, and individual gun enthusiasts. In a short period of time, Southern Bloomer sold millions of pounds of patches every year. Hence, a normal trip to a gun store gave rise to an excellent emergent strategy (Jones & Hill, 2014).

Conclusion

To conclude, I would say that stakeholders can be more inclined towards a planned strategy as it clearly defines the mission and vision of the organization. The stakeholders can be sure of what they are getting themselves into. There is a sense of security in this kind of strategy. But emergent strategy holds great importance when it comes to facing unexpected challenges and threats. Emergent strategy can also be very effective to take advantage of sudden opportunities. Hence a strategy that is a mixture of both these approaches would give best results to the stakeholders.

References

Aarons, G. (2014, March). Practical Application of Frameworks and Strategies for Evidence-Based Practice Implementation Research. Retrieved from https://cred.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2424186

Bloomberg L.P. (2017). Southern Bloomer Manufacturing Co.Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com: https://www.bloomberg.com/profiles/companies/0145047D:US-southern-bloomer-manufacturing-co

Chatterjee, N. (2009, May 01). Intended or Emergent what is the ultimate strategy adopted by an organisation? Retrieved from https://niranjanchatterjee.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/intended-or-emergent-%E2%80%93-what-is-the-ultimate-strategy-adopted-by-an-organisation/

Donahoe, J. (2011, March 21). Forbes: Fred Smith’s fortune grows to $2.1B. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2011/03/10/forbes-fred-smiths-fortune-grows-to.html

Enterpreneur India. (2008). Fred Smith.Founder of Federal Express Corp: An Overnight Success. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/197542

Hoskisson, R., Eden, L., & Lau, C. (2000, June). Strategy in Emerging Economies. The Academy of Management Journal, 43(3), 249-267. Retrieved from https://www.rcmewhu.com/upload/file/20150528/20150528111138_3012.pdf

Jones, G., & Hill, C. (2014). Strategic Management: Theory: An Integrated Approach. Cengage Learning. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Qy8aCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=planned+strategy+vs+emergent+approach+to+strategy&ots=o8rLZnHXws&sig=CyegnEi94WxjqKpjzbNWvs-vNFg#v=onepage&q=planned%20strategy%20vs%20emergent%20approach%20to%20strategy&f=false

Ligrani, K. (2014, March 26). Narrowing the Gap between Intended and Realized UX Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.effectiveui.com/blog/2014/03/26/narrowing-the-gap-between-intended-and-realized-ux-strategy/

Linton, I. (2017). What Are the Benefits of Stakeholder Communication? Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-stakeholder-communication-38875.html

Manuwa, A. (2014, June 30). Deliberate vs. Emergent Business Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140630061420-296333353-deliberate-vs-emergent-business-strategy

Mintzberg. (2015). Crafting strategy. HBR. Retrieved from https://partnersinperformance.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mintzberg_Crafting_Strategy_HBR.pdf

Mintzberg, H., & Waters, J. (1985). Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent. Strategic Management Journal, 6(3), 257-272. Retrieved from https://strategy.sjsu.edu/www.stable/B290/reading/Mintzberg,%20H,%201985,%20Strategic%20Management%20Journal.%206%20pp%20257-272.pdf

Root, G. (2017). Advantage & Disadvantage of Emergent Strategy. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantage-disadvantage-emergent-strategy-10070.html

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