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What is strategy?
When we think about the word strategy do we think of it as a plan in order to meet the targets we want to achieve or is it a position taken to obtain set goals in an organization/ company for example a company taking a business of low cost provider. We may also think strategy as a perspective which provides a view, a better picture of all the actions, decisions and directions for the purpose of the desired outcomes within the organization's environment and their influence in a particular business market. Last but not the least we might refer strategy to a pattern of the decisions and actions to supersede competitors through a product/ service in a particular market.
Concept of strategy according to Henry Mintzberg
According to Henry Mintzberg in his 1994 book "The Rise and fall of Strategic planning" focused on strategy being used by people in different ways. The commonly used strategic ways are as follows:
Strategy is a Plan: This describes the word "How" which allows achieving your target/ goal from one end to the other.
Strategy is a Pattern: It is a pattern in terms of actions delivered for example a company uses high end strategy to market expensive products to maintain standard, Quality and supersede competitors.
Strategy is a Perspective: a vision that provides direction to achieve outcomes.
Strategy is a Position: it reflects the decisions involved in the deliverance of the organization's service/product in a particular market.
Concept of strategy according to Michael Porter
Michael Porter in his 1996 Harvard Business Review article and 1986 book, Competitive Strategy points out that competitive strategy is all about being different and unique. He added, "It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value"
The basic concept of strategy comes from a military background and it is now widely practiced in a variety of business. The adoption of the strategic concept from that of the military into the business was considered to be easy as it was modest. As in the military and likewise in the business, strategy is bridging the gap between tactics and policy.
Being very specific in defining strategy is not easy as the different perspectives on strategy vary. Thus a very broad conception of strategy according to De Wit and Meyer in their book (2010), Strategy, Process, Content, Context, is,
"A course of action for achieving an organization's purpose"
Strategic Management is a process which is lead by different ways. According to many other text books including De Wit and Meyer (2010) the Strategy process is a linear progression trough a number of distinct steps. As in this competitive market organizations tend to go through a process in order to achieve best outcomes. This process is divided into different stages which includes, strategy analysis, strategy formulation and implementation stage.
The report evaluates the three strategy dichotomies of the strategy process contained in the following perspectives:
Figure -1: Strategy process and its Aspects.
STRATEGIC THINKING (Logic vs. Creativity)
A lot goes on in the mind of a strategist prior to the process of strategy implementation. Strategists are constantly engaged with problems during the strategic process. These paradoxes that arise during the strategic process can be challenging in different situations and the right type of action taken to resolve them. According to the Rational or logical reasoning perspective the demand and need of constant market analysis and its capacity assumed to gain advantage from the market should be based on actual facts. Logical thinking will provide a better understanding of the opportunities and threats upon critical analysis of the environment. Creative thinking is the opposite of logical thinking as a logical thinker will only be able to draw conclusions on success of strong arguments thus the thinking is limited and based on formal rules where as creative thinking does not have set boundaries and the thinker can think beyond the set rules and draw conclusion. Creative thinking gives a bigger picture and vision for the future created in the real sense. It holds a higher risk but often needed when identifying and diagnosing strategic problems. As creative thinking and logical thinking are opposite, the demand of both can be contradictory yet they are needed at the same time, (DeWit and Meyer, 2010). The best example of creative thinking is Apple Inc case study (DeWit and Meyer 2010) as their strategy involves creative innovative products and service in the competitive market. (Refer Appendix A).
STRATEGY FORMATION (Deliberateness vs. Emergence)
It is the process which determines the steps formed by organizations or individuals prior to its action. The process by which an intended strategy is created is called "Strategy formulation" (DeWit and Meyer 2010). Mainly top positions in an organization is responsible for strategy production. Managers do not only get themselves involved in the process of strategy formation but also in the ways it will be strategically implemented. When we think strategically we examine that deliberateness and emergence in the process of strategy formation cannot be kept apart. The major fact with strategy is that it deals with both, the plans made for the future and the process to implement those plans to achieve the aims demanding flexibility and adaptability. Deliberate strategy is more towards logical thinking and reflects the formal process of strategic planning and is based on actual facts, but the future is unpredictable and it becomes a foremost need of organizations to deliver their actions and adapt according to the unfolding circumstances providing them opportunity of experimentation and trails in a particular market.
A strong interconnection of such strategy is observed in the example of UPS case study (DeWit and Meyer 2010), (Refer Appendix B).
STRATEGIC RENEWAL (Revolution vs. Evolution)
When we talk about competitive markets in this changing world, dynamic environment, new technologies, transforming economics and customer demand all aspects are subject to constant changes in a challenging environment. For an organization to meet challenges and face threats in the market it is important to implement strategic changes to remain in harmony with the external environment. (DeWit and Meyer 2010).
A change that breaks the old framework is said to be Revolutionary change and the change that is incremental is referred to as gradual change. Both the approaches are vitally essential in reshaping organizations despite of having conflicting qualities.