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Mintzberg's 5 Ps for Strategy (1987) - Essay Example

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Critically consider the following contention: ‘Mintzberg’s 5 Ps for Strategy (1987) presents an incomplete view of the topic.’ Introduction The term ‘strategy’ has been broadly defined by many scholars from different perspectives. While most admit that there can be no comprehensive definitions of strategy, nevertheless, scholars have attempted to provide some explanations that pose as definitions within certain boundary conditions…
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Mintzbergs 5 Ps for Strategy (1987)
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Download file to see previous pages In this paper, we proceed to structure our argument thus: in brief, we summarize Mintzberg (1987) covering the key points of his paper and its implications. Secondly, we proceed to review his own works that support and contradict his proposed definitions. Thirdly, we review the works of several scholars who either support or oppose his work implicitly; this can be understood by uncovering the context of their studies. Towards the end, we proceed to integrate our findings and conclude. Critical Review Mintzberg (1987) provides five broad definitions for strategy stating that it could a Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position or Perspective. While plan and ploy fall under the same construct for his definition, there is a subtle difference in his usage of ‘ploy’. Ploy is defined as an action or strategy that is designed for someone else to react. The real action may or may not transpire in practice. Pattern is observed behavior. This results when the ground reality can be seen. Mintzberg, in his paper, refers to this as a realized strategy. Observe the parallels with one of his other research papers (Mintzberg & Waters 1985). In this paper, the authors observe that the final strategy which is enacted by the organization, also called the realized strategy may not be the one they started out with. In his earlier research, Mintzberg (1978) describes patterns as being parallel to the realized strategy, which in effect is a series of decisions taken by the firm. Being manifested in terms of the operational or pricing actions, they can be observed. Clearly, Mintzberg has been focused in developing his research ideas and theories in a sequential manner based on empirical observations. Position refers to the interaction of the organization with its business environment. In other words, here we can draw parallels with a firm operating within an industry. The strategy in this case is a question of how the firm positions itself within the environment. The final definition of strategy through ‘perspective’ seeks to locate it within the confines of the ‘collective mind’ of the organization. Mintzberg provides an internal view in this case, as opposed to the external environment defined view in the earlier definitions. Psychologists refer to this as the cognitive make-up of the organization, anthropologists refer to this as the cultural aspect and management theories discuss this in terms of the ‘driving force’. At this stage, it is meaningful to analyze the contention (our title) with references from other scholars. While there has been a flood of research into strategy definitions, some of the texts offer us more in-depth expositions. Consider De Wit & Meyer (2010) who discuss strategy from three different perspectives: process, content and context. It is appropriate to explain it further. Process refers to the thoughts, mapping and schema that reside in the individual’s mind or the collective organizational mind. Here the first stage is thinking, wherein an idea is visualized. Possibly, here one can relate to Hambrick & Mason (1983) who suggest that most strategies in any organization are conceived in the mind of the top management, who then proceed to ensure percolation through the rank and file; their conceived strategies form the future of the organizatio ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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