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© 2004 Nick Pelling - Nickpelling@Nickpelling.com - MBA Dissertation

© 2004 Nick Pelling - Nickpelling@Nickpelling.com - MBA Dissertation

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05/11/2014

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62
© 2004 Nick Pelling -nickpelling@nickpelling.com- MBA Dissertation - Kingston University Business School, Surrey, UK 
 
This chapter aims to visualise the knowledge networks implicit in Henry Mintzberg’s TenSchools of strategic management. By mapping how all their certainties and uncertaintiesare interlinked, the intention is to build up a deeper understanding of the relationshipbetween
ideology
and approaches to
strategic management 
. The diagrams presented hereutilise a consistent visual language, and are built on a common framework (comprisingthe three Keatsian uncertainties).
 
KeatsianUncertainty
Modern knowledge (creation) process Modern knowledge ([re-]use) process Dialectic knowledge (negotiation) process Uncertainty - Mystery Quandary / Problem 
PassiveCertaintyActiveCertaintyImplicitCertainty
Knowledge actively generated and internally maintained Knowledge generated according to given rules and theories Knowledge passively assumed: typically brought in from outside 
 
Figure 4a: The visual language used here to express networks of knowledge
This school is quintessentially defined by the Harvard Business School GeneralManagement Group’s (1965) textbook “Business Policy: Text and Cases”.
1
Conceptually,this has a simple two-stage approach: (1) from close (textual) examination of a (casestudy) company, determine its
internal capabilities
(its strengths and weaknesses) and its
external possibilities
(its opportunities and threats); then, (2) “Establish Fit” between
1
 
Learned, E. P.; Christiansen, C. R.; Andrews, K. R.; Guth, W.D.
(1965) “Business Policy: Text andCases”. Homewood, IL: Irwin.
4.0 - MINTZBERG’S TEN SCHOOLS
4.1THE DESIGN SCHOOL
“Strategy Formation as a Process of Conception”
 
63
© 2004 Nick Pelling -nickpelling@nickpelling.com- MBA Dissertation - Kingston University Business School, Surrey, UK 
 
internal and external aspects. [p.24]
2
This sees strategy formation as a purely mentalprocess (“formulation”), while the gritty process of actually executing it(“implementation”) is put to one side. Mintzberg helpfully includes a diagram:-
 
(Case study)
InternalappraisalExternalappraisalDistinctivecompetenciesKey successfactors
(Choice?)(Choice?)(Imagination?)
CreationofstrategyChoice ofstrategyEvaluation
FormulationImplementation
ManagerialvaluesSocialResponsibilityThreats andopportunitiesin environment
 
Strengths andweaknesses oforganization
 
Figure 4b: Basic Design School Model (after Mintzberg (1998) [p.26])
In more detail, the challenge is to resolve
decisionistic (present-tense) uncertainty
by (a)inferring (internal) Strengths/Weaknesses and (external) Opportunities/Threats[“SWOT”] from the case study, (b) inferring internal “Distinctive Competencies” and
2
Square-bracketed page-numbers in this chapter refer to Mintzberg’s (1998) “Strategy Safari”
 
64
© 2004 Nick Pelling -nickpelling@nickpelling.com- MBA Dissertation - Kingston University Business School, Surrey, UK 
 
“Key Success Factors” from the SWOT analysis, and (c) intuiting a best-fit strategy,while considering both “social responsibility” and “managerial values”.The first task is to establish whether this is closer to
dialectic
logic or to
modern
logic:what is perhaps most telling about the whole school is the innate
certainty
of the Harvardclassroom - this points to a reliance on a positivist, determinist, dialectic logic.Furthermore, the central conceit is that both past and future are ‘easy’ - i.e. that the worldof case studies (and of companies in general) is both
so
perfectly knowable and
so
 deterministic that decision-makers have neither mysteries nor problems to contend with,only
quandaries
(but for which there is a calculable optimal solution). That is, the schoolviews strategy merely as the end-product of a process of 
scientific optimisation
, the bestfit between (internal)
Capital
and (external)
 Destiny
.
 
Myths
"Strengths &Weaknesses"
Internal CapabilitiesDecision-MakingLegends
"Strategies"
Ideas
"Key SuccessFactors"
Facts
"DistinctiveCompetencies""EstablishFit"
External EnvironmentStories
"Opportunities& Threats"
(Capital) (Destiny
(PastMysteries)(FutureProblems)Laws
"Case Studies"
PresentQuandaries
Responsibility & Values 
"InternalAppraisal""ExternalAppraisal"
 
Figure 4c: The Design School’s knowledge network 
Yet, this whole methodology is based not on scientific (deductive) reasoning, but onhistorical (inferential) reasoning, stepping
backwards
from the case-study. As practised,‘SWOT analysis’ comprises two stages: (1) a programmatic textual process for extracting

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