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The Design School: Reconsidering the Basic Premises of Strategic Management

Author(s): Henry Mintzberg
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Source: Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Mar. - Apr., 1990), pp. 171-195
Published by: Wiley
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Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 11, 171-195 (1990)

Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Among the schools of thought on strategy formation, one in particular underlies almost all
prescription in the field. Referred to as the 'design school', it proposes a sinmplemodel that
views the process as one of design to achieve an essential fit between external threat and
opportunity and internal distinctive competence. A number of prenmisesunderlie this model:
that the process should be one of consciously controlled tholught, specifically by the chief
executive; that the model must be kept simple and informal; that the strategies produced
should be unique, explicit, and simple; and that these strategies should appear fuilly
formulated before they are implemented. This paper discusses and then critiques this model,
focusing in particular on the problems of the conscious assessment of strengths and
weaknesses, of the need to make strategies explicit, and of the separation between formulation
and implementation. In so doing, it calls into question some of the mnostdeep-seated beliefs
in the field of strategic management, including its favorite method of pedagogy.

The literature that can be subsumed under are labeled the entrepreneurial school (concerned
'strategy formation' is vast, diverse and, since with strategy formation as a visionary process),
1980, has been growing at an astonishing rate. the cognitive school (a mental process), the
There has been a general tendency to date it learning school (an emergent process), and the
back to the mid-1960s, although some important environmental school (a passive process). A final
publications precede that date, such as Newman's school, also descriptive, but integrative and
initial piece 'to show the nature and importance labeled configurational, by seeking to delineate
of strategy' (p. iii) in the 1951 edition of his the stages and sequences of the process, helps
textbook Administrative Action (1951: 110-118). to place the findings of these other schools in
Of course the literature on military strategy goes context.
back much further, in the case of Sun Tzu This paper addresses itself to the first of these
probably to the fourth century B.C. (Griffith, in schools, in some ways the most entrenched of
Sun Tzu, 1971: ix). the ten. Its basic framework underlies almost all
A good deal of this literature naturally divides prescription in this field and, accordingly, has
itself into distinct schools of thought. In another had enormous impact on how strategy and the
publication (Mintzberg, 1989), this author has strategy-making process are conceived in practice
identified ten of these. Three are prescriptive in as well as in education and research. Hence our
orientation, treating strategy formation as a discussion, and especially critique, of this school
process of conceptual design, of formal planning, can in some ways be taken as a commentary on
and of analytical positioning (the latter including the currently popular beliefs in the field of
much of the research on the content of competitive strategic management in general. Our intention,
strategies). Six other schools deal with specific however, is not to dismiss so important a school
aspects of the process in a descriptive way, and of thought, but rather to understand it better
0143-2095/90/030171-25$12.50 Received 14 December 1987
?) 1990 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Revised 22 May 1989

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1971. concepts to design 'grand strategy. possibly the first reflection of this informal conception-the use of a few essential approach. really established this school's or match. Moore's paper of that environment' (Christensen. as we shall see later. 95-98.' or 'comparative advantage' edition of the Newman textbook might make him (the latter more commonly used in the context the real father of the concept of business strategy of public policy). which gives rise to an attempt to place editions to co-author Kenneth Andrews (who it into its own viable context-the types of also published this material separately (Andrews. planning school).' 'competitive.' 'differen.2 that underlie it. first 2 Undoubtedly encouraged by the fact that in the early years this group trained by far the largest number of doctoral I Thus Lindgren and Spangberg (1981: 26) refer to this as students in business policy. the 'fit school. Bower. In the words of the design school's concept of business strategy and its relationship best-known proponents: 'Economic strategy will to structure.' Of these Strategyand historian Alfred Chand- concepts the most essential is that of congruence ler (then at MIT). though less specific. or even the in particular-almost certainly this school's best concept of business strategy itself. The clear congruence between the view of strategy Andrews text followed in 1965.g. 1986: vii) do viewed as a rather extensive review of a book not stand up to scrutiny. That group has pursued its own in the Reilley piece of 1955 (see also McKinsey. in his book Leadership in Administration. as reflected Business School. then into the basic premises dominant voice for this school of thought.3 entitled Business Policy: Text and Cases. and Guth) and quickly became the This paper probes first into the basic model of dominant textbook in the field. and Porter. Christensen. Even Ostensibly the simplest and most fundamental earlier. that has had a major impact on the field of Some of the basic concepts that underlie the strategic management. In this sense this paper can also be this group at Harvard (e. there is a 1932. although in private correspondence an organization's 'strengths and weaknesses. at least as published. based on many of the the case study method. book quoted from above. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and appeared in 1965 (by Learned. as well as the the design school. 1987) ) stands as the most outspoken In conducting this investigation we draw widely and one of the clearest statements of this school. on the literature of this school. the same year formation that it has promoted for several decades that Igor Ansoff published his highly successful and its own pedagogical requirements in using book Corporate Strategy. There followed an article by Hamermesh.' with this author. 1983: 173).' These Newman of the Columbia University Business capabilities or qualifications have been variously School in the same year (see especially 1963: referred to as 'distinctive competence. Another key publication in 1962. for early suggestions of this thinking)). That leads to a critique of this Certainly its text portion. although mention also has been made be seen as the match between qualification of the sophisticated discussion of 'Managerial and opportunity that positions a firm in its Strategies' in David G. Newman has expressed the The design school has generally been associated belief that the overall ideas may have originated with the Business Policy group at the Harvard in the McKinsey consulting practice. 1982: 164)1 'Capture Seymour Tilles in 1963 (then a Harvard Business success' seems to be the motto of the design School lecturer) entitled 'How to evaluate corpor- school. Andrews. Bower. Andrews. Mintzberg and so place it into its natural context. attributed in the various school.172 H. design school. strategy for. is a 1955 article by view of strategy formation is as a process of Reilley. or more simply (and broadly) in academe. the passage noted earlier in the 1951 tial. 1980a. title in 1959.' 3 Porter (1981: 610. a co-author in the 1982 and This content downloaded on Sun. would (as we shall see) appear to have been first stated in the academic world by a Berkeley sociologist ORIGINS OF THE DESIGN SCHOOL named Philip Selznick. 'find out what you are good at and match ate strategy'. and a textbook chapter by William it with what the world wants and needs. thereby open up thinking in the field in general. organizations and of situations most suited to it. originated with known. published in 1957. same concepts (but more in the spirit of the The Christensen et al. but use one text although claims that this school.

67-68). Warren. Secondary 4 To this could be added Tregoe and Zimmerman's book Top Management Strategy (1980). there is 'the implementation of strategy in the early 1960s (Christensen. although it also reflects increased attention to the planning school. is shown here in Figure and Brandenburg in 1962 entitled 'Anatomy of corporate planning'. Selznick wrote that: the few left that represented them in their pure form.. 43ff. Note should also be made of comments by Chester model (similar to Andrews' own figure of the Barnard in a 1948 book (p. although not a textbook. vi).comprised of a series of subactivities which viii. the 'Andrews' text'. writes of how the ideas in the original text (the 'LCAG paradigm. reference relevant variations in its earlier editions as well as the latest one.. most others favoring the more elaborated Leadership sets goals. but shall also whatmustbe soughtor achievedif the institution is to survive(pp. We shall draw primarily on and (2) the external expectations that determine the 1982 edition of this textbook. 169) which seem to be in the spirit of the design school. Although its detail and elaborated steps place this 1. but strategy' (pp. of the discussion of 'administrative development of 'economic strategy' (p. the second on 'imple- of cases' (p. 1987 editions of the Harvard textbook. 99)). Andrews.' his study of the Swiss watch industry in a note and a series the first on 'determining'. the authors write that the content of decision [as must] what a companyshould do. The research question in 1959 when Kenneth Andrews reported Andrews' text of 1982 splits into two 'books. (Gilmore appraisals of the external and internal situations. and Brandenburg note in a footnote that 'we are indebted to Dr.. the latter revealing strengths in our planning framework' (1962: 61). 187). and in the discussion that follows. obscured by differences in terminology. 62. . it into the organization's social structure' (pp. by the 1980s the Christensen et al. In the Preface to the first edition do must also be brought into the strategic of the Harvard book.. 'model' (p. and of bringingthese two numerous parallels with Harvard thinking that should not be considerationstogether in optimal equilibrium. of the management. . rendition of the design school has had over the In defining the mission of the organization. referring to it as competencesthat exist within the organization. a point we shall return to later. 98). definitions. Consistent with the attention accorded in the last paper clearly in the planning school. menting corporate strategy. emphasis is placed on understanding the values The latest Newman text (Newman. an aspect of the process that came to be names of the four original authors) were 'subsequent[ly]' called implementation. [Ansoff's] work offers of ability and power. published in 1987. Indeed. years-as well as its clarity and forcefulness of leaders must take account of (1) the internal expression-we shall use it as a primary source state of the policy: the strivings. 10-18) in the Hardwick and Landuyt textbook with other elements of his discussion added (see by that title in 1961. 1982: . and of an article by Gilmore also his figure on p. the model places primary emphasis on the steps is the same model as that of the design school. and given the impact that this some extent what it must do . citing in particular Ansoff's Andrews summarizes the essence of his model5 book Corporate Strategy. but in doing so takes renditions of the planning or positioning schools. The Design School 173 Subsequently these ideas embedded themselves THE BASIC DESIGN SCHOOL MODEL in the management literature. leadership is not only to make policy but to build 3 Continued.. underlying these text. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Igor Ansoff for introducing the concept of synergy the former uncovering threats and opportunities to us and for his assistance in clarifying a number of steps in the environment.) Ansoff published a rough version of his approach in article form two years earlier (Ansoff.) and noted that 'the task of relatively minor. Selznick also coined the term 'distinctive compe- although the changes from 1965 to 1987 were tence' (pp. .4 account of the conditions that have already determinedwhat the organizationcan do and to Accordingly. although in the 1982 version they refer to the core idea having developed Finally. This content downloaded on Sun. and neither book references any work by authors of the other (although Edmund Learned. inhibitions. Ansoff went to press with his similar ideas in the same year (1965) as Porter's co- as authors' originally did. In fact. 12). as well as its social responsi- 1987) remains largely in the spirit of this school (in chapter IWe should point out that Andrews himself rejects the word 4 at least). textbook was one of In his 1957 book. translated and extended by others. 1964). company might do in terms of environmental did himself note the similarities in a book published with opportunity. 1965: vii). emphasis. the the intellectualprocessesof ascertainingwhat a senior author of the first edition of the Harvard textbook. and McGill. what the executives of a company want to and coverage' [1966: 94]).' although he referred there to an initial unpublished paper of Our depiction of the basic design school 1958.) and weaknesses of the organization. the book 'is the outcome of about ten years of case and course development' (Learned et al. and Bower. H. co-author Bower is more precise in a 1986 publication: 'The problem of corporate strategy was first phrased as a are primarily administrative' (p.of decidingwhat it can do in terms Sproat one year later: 'Significantly.' after the 62-63).

initially book (Christensen et al. On external appraisal. but 12 of these come from Michael new material (pp. 'identifying corporate com- evaluated. and market-related fruits of experience' (p. touching on a implemented. This content downloaded on Sun.. appeared next to each other in the previous edition of the literally spliced into the Andrews' text. and unsupported flashes of strength are not as although others have developed some of these dependable as the gradually accumulated product- themes more extensively. variety of points.174 H. 1. Basic design school model bilities. 183) and the idea that 'individual the rest of the 838-page book being cases). 167 and 179) are identical to those that Porter's work on Competitive Strategy (1980). 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The match between these elements leads in the 1982 edition. such as the difficulty 'for sive discussion of any of these issues (the whole organizations as well as for individuals to know text portion of the 1982 book numbers 114 pages. which are then internal appraisal. with the chosen one subsequently petences and resources. the section on to the creation of strategies. themselves' (p. Mintzberg External Internal Appraisal Appraisal Threats and Strengths and opportunities in weaknesses of / environment organization / ~~~key success distinctive / \ ~~~factors competences CEvleation of Strategy Figure.6 Likewise. Andrews' section on This ties back to an important theme in Selznick's 'The nature of the company's environment' totals 6 The sentences immediately preceding and following this 20 pages. Andrews does not provide exten.' is brief. 185). 1978: 251).

' to quote Andrews process (backed up by a fair amount of text). Mintzberg. pp. But it is the central best one. Andrews offers his choice before it diverges again to ensure two brief chapters well after he has developed implementation across the entire organization. a publications as well. He lists 12 steps in the implementation this being a 'creative act. the framework dealing with external and internal Andrews. Some of these tend to be planning and even the positioning schools). 7 In their book Inplemnenting Strategy. what list that seems to encompass any aspect of the more could be said. role of these elements (e. a (1982: 186). however. and one is to be Below we discuss seven basic premises that selected. out from formulation. 543). Indeed. Hrebiniak and Joyce Tilles published first on this subject in an indeed refer to implementation as 'all the remaining article entitled 'How to evaluate corporate components' (1984: 29). There is an ambiguity here. if this were true. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . assume that alternate strategies (in other from the design school so much as reason- words. egies have been produced. not the secondary qualifications. who formally lead the organization-and social Finally. underlie this school. virtually all of the literature of this responsibilities-specifically the ethics of the school makes clear that. The assumption. by this school to be taken into consideration elaborated these ideas in a most succinct (1980) in strategy-making. because it replaces strategies within Running through all of the literature that we strategy. once strategy is designed society in which the organization is embedded. if fundamental premises about the process of coupled. however. On the actual generation of strategies. 105. alternate conceptions of the business) will strategies formed through a tightly controlled be evaluated to select a single one (Andrews' process of conscious human thought. while Rumelt.7 psychology to probe inside the strategist's mind. 109). others implicit. as if the process draws on most authors in this school accord values and a variety of data to narrow down to convergent ethics secondary attention. 1980: SCHOOL 43 and Ohmae.' by combining Tilles's list of six criteria with other intrinsic to its very 'character' (1957: 67). nevertheless values-the beliefs and preferences of those retaining the spirit of the design school. themes of a work that form the impression left usually implicit-is that several alternative strat. p. it explicit. the next step in text. It is not action that receives the greatest attention 1976). Tregoe and Zimmerman. number of writers associated with this school do try to characterize the result. Interestingly. besides an emphasis on specific. for example. conscious process of thought that organizations tend to produce only a single solution. elements of the model. in particular seeking to distinguish some core or dominant element of PREMISES UNDERLYING THE DESIGN the strategy (e.g. These are organizational and sophisticated (1979) way. that 'commitments to ways of acting and strategy' (1963). With the show implementation on the diagram as flaring notable exception of Selznick (1957). This has an important implication. rather than considering an identified with this school are a number of organization's intentions as a set of distinct. although all are at one time or another the model is to evaluate them and choose the qualified in his discussion. In effect. because even writers such as Andrews. however. Action text. strategies (as tends to be done in the strategy formation. Raisinghani and Theoret. little is here also is the one place where he becomes rather written in this school. 1982). it is then implemented. is clear on the subordinate appraisals. 105-108) followed responding are built into the organization. We at least as perceived by its managers. who clearly view strategy formation as a custom-made Premise 1: Strategy formation should be a process of design (for which there is evidence controlled. a graduate Figure 1 shows two other factors considered of the Harvard doctoral program in policy. short of trying to use cognitive strategy process not considered in formulation. The Design School 175 book. The same tends to be true of other design school In lieu of describing the process. with the reader. evident. and agreed upon. in other words. Andrews (pp. but they are always treats them as an integrated concept. This content downloaded on Sun.g. This is especially so in the Andrews' Once strategies are created.

no matterwhat. Leadership is lacking when it is needed. 543). which means pattern in action to these ends. Andrews' text p. to design an enterprise distinctively adapted emergent strategy. But this is perhaps made most clear officer: that person is THE strategist in his comments that. 'defines adequacy of strategy. Mintzberg and Waters. reiterates the point most clearly. (hence Zand (1981: 125) refers to this school as see also Premise 5). 'this "command-and-control" process clear of intuition on one side (non. Andrews comments that planning.But the elucidationof goals can at the expense of the chief executive's central transcendincrementalismto make it a series of role. for example in the comment intended because of the opportunism which at that managers 'know what they are really doing' the beginning of this book we declared the only it they make strategy as 'deliberate as conceptual enemy of strategy' (pp. 93). 185)-it To the design school. Likewise. On zation and monitors them through elaborate intuition. in a new passage in his 1987 text. formally (e. while the model may be simple. Andrews contrasts 'purpose' with default than by positive error or sin. Mintzberg follows. it is not necessarily natural (p. 828-829). or more simply. concerned with determining and monitoring the ality. exposed to 'improvisation. at the apex of the organizational hierarchy. 15. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and on page 545 In this edition. and with securing and pany's course into the almost indefinite future' developing the people needed to carry out the (1987: xi). leader. This theme runs through all of something very different from what was originally Andrews' writings. in reference to his 'thesis' about 'conscious strategy' that Premise 2: Responsibility for that control and should be 'consciously implemented' (Andrews' consciousness must rest with the chief executive text. of others in the strategy formulation process. forays and experimentsevaluated continuously It might be noted that this premise not only against stated goals to result in the deliberate amendmentof strategyor in the curtailmentof relegates other members of the organization to strategicerosion (pp. On page 3 of while Andrews presents a definition of strategy his text. he associates the whole field with the in his 1982 text that makes reference to pattern 'point of view' of the 'chief executive or general (p. on page 19. Corporate strategy. 1978. readily influenced by short-run opportun- (p. At the end of his text he claims that 'a istic trends' (1957: 25). with adapting the firm to products and markets-and determines the com. 105-106). 20). ultimately there is only must be learned.g. and to see that that design becomes over time that is not driven by central intention a living reality' (1957: 37). and control systems' (1985: 'if [strategy] is implicit in the intuition of a strong 117). the organization is likely to be weak and Again.' As we shall soon discuss. 553-554) 8 Andrews' words are reminiscent of those of Selznick: 'When institutional leadership fails. Once more Andrews (Mintzberg. in the 1987 text Andrews widens the participation Strategywill evolve over time.' not over time (p. in his 1982 text. it is perhaps more often by Likewise.8 possible' (1981: 24). he statesman-whether of a nation or a private writes of the need to change 'intuitive skill' into association-to define the ends of group exist- 'conscious skill' (p. It will be affected by the consequencesof its especially in the 'innovative' corporation. the origins of this can be found in the demands the strategy makes upon it are likely Selznick: 'it is the function of the leader- to remain unmet' (pp. p. the 'rational architect' model). once the strategies have been fully strategy may suddenly be rationalized to mean formulated. changes in its enviroment. budgeting. And as for his view of ence. and the institution drifts. as in all the others.' 'planned progress' with 'drifting' vagrant pressures. 6). but not implementation. and that is the manager who sits 6). he entitles a section 'the makes clear that he means pattern among and president as architect of organizational purpose' across 'goals and policies.176 H. for example. one strategist. Andrews strategy or to help with its constructive revision equates emergent strategy with 'erosion:' or evolution. he manager'. for example. This content downloaded on Sun. mentality allocates all major decisions to top conscious thought) and emergent strategy on management. Andrews he writes that 'the general manager is principally clearly means to associate strategy with intention. 1985). which imposes them on the organi- the other (where action drives reflection). Andrews is careful to position his view of this In Hayes' terms. In fact.

. 'a set of constructs' (1984: 558). if elaboration is the problem. Later. elegance and vigor'. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . cited have much to do with business. all of the research on organization to be accounted for and then navigated through structure is dismissed with the comment that 'the but not interacted with. input to strategy is not just atheoretical but decidedly anti-theory. virtually ignores the mechanisms of planning discussion of the ethics discussion in terms of the on the grounds that. to consider these references. Andrews adopts a position in the text that environment to a minor role. on planning he writes that 'this book This is most clearly reflected in Andrews' . a position he seems the 1982 edition of the text. footnotes] comprise a relevant but incidental This premise. social responsibility of the managers rather than they miss their mark' (p. . . the problems of our attention' (p.' rather it serves as an On the latter Andrews added: 'The disciplines 'informing idea' (p. . then just one aspect of a larger problem associated even theory and research can pose a threat. altogether (except for the directors. instructive Andrews to tread a fine line throughout his text. The text went on to note that 'research has been for some time under way. Knowledge generated for to call) the model is the belief that elaboration one set of ends is not readily applicable to and formalization will sap it of its essence. with the design school-the relegation of the Thus. (It is. 6). Neither suffices(Learnedet al. nor is it 'really a "model. who Andrews We have already noted Andrews' stand on believes must review strategy (1980b. 108). added is the formulating a coherent strategy begin to get out statement that 'the books referred to [in the of hand' (p. This content downloaded on Sun. there are 39 between nonconscious intuition on one side and of them to theoretical works in the footnotes of formal analysis on the other. of which 31 are by to characterize as 'an act of judgment' (p. the most valid literature for our purpose is not that of writes: 'When the variety of what must be known cannot be reduced by a sharply focused strategy general statements but case studies' (p. As Andrews a modest claim on our attention. 12). but their Fundamental to (what we nonetheless prefer purposes are not ours. of very little use in managing a live orgnaization' Premise 3: The model of strategy formation (p. with a 10).. ." economics. in so dismissing planning at this point. 10). . unsystematicallyreportedexperienceof individ- 14). Moreover. for the relationships designated by the concept are not quantifiable. In all.sociology. This also seems to differentiate clearly the design 9 Interestingly. school from the entrepreneurial school on one Andrews resurrects intuition: 'All the knowledge.or mathemat- ics. the other. 6). 6). 1981)). This another' (p. in fact. This. detached from strategy. These to the capacity of a single mind and when the comments survived virtually intact to the 1982 edition. formation but not an intrinsic part of the process. the most significant change being that range of a company's activities spans many research now 'begins to make a claim on industries and technologies. but it vengeance. or. together with the first. formal analysis of certain also precludes external actors from the process of its components). The introduction to the first edition of the must be kept simple and informal textbook contained the following comment: The Preface to the Harvard textbook contains a quotation by Andrews that 'the idea of corporate A considerablebody of literaturepurportingto make generalstatementsabout policy-makingis strategy constitutes a simple practitioner's theory. literature of organization theory is by itself . 554). professional side and the other prescriptive schools of planning attitudes and analytical and administrative skills in the world cannot fully replace the intuitive genius of some of the and positioning on the other (one emphasizing natural entrepreneurs you will encounter in this book' (p. but premise in fact goes with the last: one way to is not yet advanced enough to make more than ensure that strategy can be controlled in one mind is to keep the process simple. elaboration of the same basic model. 182). intuition. in fact. as Rumelt puts it. 1965: 6). The Design School 177 subordinate roles in strategy formation. he adds in the text that this 'is not a uals or the logicalprojectionto generalmanage- "theory" attended in the rigorous sense by ment of concepts taken from engineering. is Of course. For example.psychology. It generally reflects either the a kind of Everyman's conceptual scheme' (p. forces source of knowledge'. .9 the sheer power of outsiders. in existence.

Hofer and Schendel refer to what we are environment. Michael Porter's views (centrally located (Andrews' text. . contained perhaps half the so that others in the organization can understand amount of text. it should be noted that Edward P. References their being kept simple to cases. 5). more results from the process-the grand strategy. or even the claims about the literature virtually all the writers of this school. a strong implication Premise 4: Strategies should be unique: the best that strategy as perspective appears at a point in ones result from a process of creative design time. p. process reduces to 'choice. as well as the Preface.' 'the the way in which distinctive competence.' 'the strategic decision. articulated.. It is not process fully formulated possible to make useful generalizationsabout the nature of these variablesor to classifytheir As noted in passages cited above. questions assumptions fundamental to philosophy' (1978: 203). only a them: 'The unstated strategy cannot be tested or small proportion of those emanating from the Harvard Business School. 18 from Harvard. It is the big picture that Thus the Porter graft does not take. if at all possible.' Premise 6: These strategies should be explicit 10 For the record. The 1987 edition of the Andrews' book contested and is likely therefore to be weak. contains 24 such references. This is no to infiltrate the model. or references within the cases themselves. Darwinian view of strategy formation but the Biblical version. In other words. the design Harvard Business School. in other words. As suggested above. and. in contrast with the 'principles of obvious example: management' approach at the other. Writing in support of the positioning into that portion of the text on assessing the school. and organizational values are (p.)1"' school says little about the content of strategies It might be noted that this treatment of theory themselves. the combined is or should be unique' (Andrews' text. he clearly student there. ready to be implemented. which also favors text portion of the book. Mintzberg faculty members or doctoral students at the As a result of this premise. In common with of the co-authors. xiv. if possible. p. A strategy must be explicit to be effective and This content downloaded on Sun. As noted that process above all should be a 'creative act' earlier. 1985). And ideas are contained in the same book. were not included. sheep all in one direction' although imitation 'does not constitute the assurance of soundness.' a word he uses often. entrepreneurial decision . to build on distinctive in the positioning school) were literally spliced competence. The text on either side of it. A source was considered to emanate from Harvard if at least one author was on the staff or was a doctoral difficulty of updating (see pp. other theory has not been allowed overall concept of the business. an importantly. References were counted rather than sources. he believes itself. but instead concentrates on the extends even to the work of a co-author whose process by which they should be developed. 96-97)). so While Andrews accepts various reasons for not that in a few cases the same source was referenced more articulating strategy (such as confidentiality or than once. organi. not any system of general variables. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Lest this criticism be extended unfairly to all views these as necessary evils. It therefore follows that strategies have to be referring also in the Preface to the 1987 edition tailored to the individual case: 'In each company. 187). with strategy the final concep- tion! There is. assumption is that the strategist is able to line p. the senior that strategies should at least be explicit to those author of the original edition of the textbook. it is the specific situation How else could Andrews have assumed that the that matters. The choice of objectivesand the formulationof policy to guide action in the attainment of objectives depend upon many variablesunique Premise 5: Strategies emerge from this design to a given organizationand situation.178 H. 186). Learned. at one extreme of Porter's work (1980. . calling the design school as the 'situational however. Stronger words are offered on page 109: up alternative strategies before him to be 'sometimes the companies of an industry run like evaluated so that one can be definitively chosen. yet twice the number of references. fully formulated. and entitled who make them and. To take just one the field. . [once] identified' zational resources. italics added). this school possiblecombinationsin all situations(Andrews' offers little room to incrementalist views or text. articulated Organization Theory and Policy. emergent strategies. . in his book published together with Sproat in 1966. to 'this decision. these are all the references found in the and.

only after these unique. 59). 541). so that they can be understood by people conventional command and control procedures who have only brief time to devote to the (p. required to make a success of whatever is tation. status. as noted earlier he does qualify him. achievement is a foregone conclusion. and announces it as fixed policy. as if the existing structure does not bear on the If strategies are to be so articulated. In his 1982 text Andrews wrote that 'strategy formulation is itself a process of organization. tucking into his text here decisions 'by reducing the world of detail to be and there either nuances that soften their considered to those central aspects of external character or else comments that acknowledge environment and internal resources that affect the unfortunate reality. been added to the 1987 text. have often led . responsibility. rather than the masterly conception of a single Premise 7: Finally. for example: Of particular interest to Andrews is the role False hope. at least in blown. strategy helps organizations make better virtually all of them. 86).' while we see it as the business will one day be more widely tested a not unreasonable caricature of his own text! at board level' (p. that they can be articulated to the directors. 543).' not 'achieve. 834). In 1987 he even contrasted this school makes between the formulation of 'constructive engagement' with 'archaic notions strategies on one hand and their implementation of authority. p. 828). 105-106). But conceives strategy single-mindedly. . organization: 'The power of strategy as a simplify- ing concept enabling independent directors to Andrews rejects this view for all but 'the know the business (in a sense) without being in entrepreneurial startup stage. . explicit. easily stated to be easily understood. then action.' writes Andrews (p. around these two topics 'for the sake of orderly zational is to be considered anew: 'Until we know presentation' (1982 text. 827). Yet his rationality-diagnosis. hierarchy.' 1984: 246). He also acknowl- the strategy we cannot begin to specify the edges that 'we should look first at the logical This content downloaded on Sun. that 'the formulation of strategy is and processes' (p. While these seven premises are clearly evident plicity to complex organizations' (p.' writes Andrews. though the cases in the book have been arranged the state of structure and everything else organi. is a simple reason for the the word used is 'implement. and expects it to be promptly executed by subordinates under simple. so board of directors into pro forma approval. 'a conception of strategy brings sim. Central to this distinction is the associated Andrews also accepted that 'in real life the premise that structure must follow strategy.' formulated can they then be implemented 'an activity widely shared in the hierarchy of We have already noted the sharp distinction management' (p. it also new strategy. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 55-56. as compared with the the company and bear on the definition of its preferred ideal. as of outside directors in strategy formation: he well as zest for power. and on the other. 551). Andrews' qualifications 'Simplicity is the essence of good art. exclude others' (pp.) intended' (p. see also pp. 554). processes of formulation and implementation are As Andrews puts it: 'Corporate strategy must intertwined' (exist in a 'reciprocal relationship' dominate the design of organizational structure (1987: 853)). 82). . 120. and simple strategies are fully 'technically or otherwise complex organizations. to believes that they must be actively involved at the assumption that the chief executive officer least in the evaluation and review processes. 835). . full- mind' (p. talks the this can only happen if strategies are explicit. and naivete. 'change model. Consistent with classical notions or centralized decision making ' (p. The Design School 179 specific enough to require some action and appropriate structure. To in Andrews' text. (It is of interest that 'Commitment . The assumption seems not finished when implementation begins' even to be that each time a new strategy is formulated. follows that they have to be kept rather simple: to the point. prescription. in other words.' the involvement of whatever number of people is assumption being that given proper implemen. major justification for this seemed to be the the design school clearly separates thinking from generation of commitment to the strategy emanat- acting (see Bourgeois and Brodwin on their ing from the apex of the organization's hierarchy. oversimplification. A number of them have also business' (p.

6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . go interview the strategist). is it reasonably able to the continuing commitment to deliberateness: 'It encompass? is not only possible but also essential to plot a course into a future that cannot be foretold . is natural if he is not in order to cope with the organizational reality to undermine his own position. Yet mystifying the whole process locks it into the he is careful to avoid association with what he inaccessible (and unteachable) realm of intuition. 'Aside from headings. extension. between a sense of direction planning and positioning schools on one side. Research results that have put not just 'for the sake of orderly presentation'!11 parts of it under suspicion were not considered. decades after the original Andrews' text. two question-research of course does. as Andrews put As Andrews so keenly argued. if you want to find out how strategy is it conceptually in a dynamic process (Andrews. including while his real commitment remains to the premises even the same qualifications (see for example. . And elsewhere in of organizations. In a personal reply to Andrews. if there was a relationship. Mintzberg proposition that structure should follow strategy themselves as. But of course. . one The writings of the design school can be critiqued can easily come up with quite a different model on a number of levels. Nor the same chapter headings (save an application does he pursue these qualifications at any length. in The fact is that the premises of the design school other words. the school has denied itself the can doubt for which model Andrews stands. see also the comments on Japanese CRITIQUE OF THE DESIGN SCHOOL management on pp. and the straitjacket. at least some well illustrated by the book by Norman Berg of the time. and responsiveness to changing opportunities which by elaborating the model shift it from the * . entrepreneurial school on the other. 553). The inter- relationships of a complex interdependency cannot be if not before. distinguishing it particularly from the focus and flexibility. his beliefs about the central conceptualization of Business Policy as a field theory kept him from using even this rich data separates formulation from implementation for anything base to build better theory. new sections also make clear tion or prescription. all. whether for purposes of descrip- the 1987 edition. pp. This problem is differ from the prescribed model. Certainly after 1965. except temporary conceptual convenience. the source of it in a memo to his colleagues in response to comments this data and inspiration for the model was to be the author made in a talk given at the Harvard Business School in 1976: concrete case-the description of one firm in one whatever our preferences. made. One obvious question that arises from a number indeed. to this dichotomy. however. who provided. I concluded that with respect since the model has barely changed since then. understoo J as The outstanding question is how large is that reactive improvisation. By ultimately remaining true to its premises. but he pre. at the end to the divisionalized firm). going further Andrews positions the design school in its own in the 1987 text to discuss 'a balance between niche. vi-vii). strategy-the whole thing really is a 'model' after In the 1982 text Andrews acknowledges emer. Room for variation. then intelligently discussed all at once. there was no reason to. In perhaps the most of strategy formation. The question is: do headings matter?!' We Of course. 11 Or 'temporary conceptual convenience'. or niche: how much of the viable strategic behavior following one's nose' (p. .180 H. that strategy also follows structure' (p. its supporters might contend that shall return to this later in our discussion. with the Most are presented as asides or afterthoughts. which by and innovation must be provided' (p. 84). xiii. we may be doing the same thing. 99). . and chance to adapt. muddling through. Ironically. calls extreme incrementalism. also of Harvard. What is being related the model had to drive the writing of cases (for can usefully be stopped and examined before reinstalling example. not vice-versa. gent strategy as well (e. almost cludes the results of research from his text. Adding all these qualifications together. 552). p. no reader general sense. that 'the structure and processes in combine to form their own tightly integrated place will in fact affect the strategy' (p. of course. Corporate strategy need not be a realm of judgement to that of analysis.' (p. 28-33). if the model of these qualifications is why practice seems to could not be elaborated upon. the model was good enough in 1965 and remains This content downloaded on Sun. let us avoid the allegation that situation. Andrews does not address the (1984). same points made in the same ways.g. 1976: 4). 83).

than his secondary qualifications. often not only don't organizations core idea of the book was developed in the early do these things. premise that all strategies should be made explicit. That course weaknesses. These concern the testament of a religious prophet. aspects of the model-first. the premises of the model deny certain with certain of the premises of the design school important aspects of strategy formation. We shall con- half on implementation remains (at the time of clude the critique by considering the relationship this writing) in a state of flux after several years between the design school model and case of searching for a new formula. the influ. but it has never been point. 821)). This suggests that while the design school of corporate strategy (Book One) and the framework. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . while the second formulation and implementation. This content downloaded on Sun. in the most and even that one sometimes exhibits a level of fundamental sense the two interpretations are generality and a tone of inevitability that seems not really different. But it has not. that they have accepted the most basic ones comings in this critique. powerful assumptions. and refashioned in the spirit of the positioning and finally the assumed dichotomy between school as Porter articulates it. including (notably in keeping the process simple and incrementalism and emergent strategy. The Design School 181 so today. In our view. We develop our critique by considering specific viii). and the introducing the planner and analyst into the full participation of actors other than the chief process alongside the chief executive). This format has stood the test of time' (p. after that the has been moved into the first year of the program. both descriptively and prescriptively. doers. study teaching. dogmatic. indeed. a critique of which will Indeed one sometimes wonders whether. and correspondingly that the organization to their credit. time. before closing the paper with a Strategy can locate a system in a niche. they should 1960s]. One point should be made before we probe into the details. Both are underlaid by some overly simple in places and. It must be interpreted by his central thrust rather describes but one approach to strategy formation. to indicate how they renders most of the following a critique of those narrow its perspectives to certain contexts (as schools as well. it can easily go out of context. italics added). that such thought must not only take prescriptions. We wish to elaborate on these short. the fact executive. then the assumed sequence of still splits into two on these lines. even in their own school. Leaving aside the however. to propose was a framework. that 'the text is dispersed throughout the book so as to permit a step-by-step consideration of what is involved in corporate it is unfair to take apart a model-a specified strategy and in the subactivities required for its formulation sequence of prescriptive steps-when all he meant and implementation' (p. This is what appropriate for this school. indeed no one model can be. to a lesser extent also in ence of existing structure on strategy. but formulation strategy followed by structure. if not the model. In wrote that 'our teaching focus then [when the other words. the belief about the as attested to by recent difficulties and changes need for a conscious assessment of strengths and in the Harvard MBA Policy course. do the premises of most of the other schools). Two). emphasizes the determination not. but by all accounts. As schools of planning and positioning have broken noted. quote a critical company executive must separate the work of thinkers from that of in the final case of their 1982 edition (p. as today. strategies unique. its contribution has been profound. like the underlie our own argument. we are interpreting his writings too literally. 11. these assumptions often prove In the Preface to this 1982 edition the authors false.12 even leaving aside the fact that an author good enough. or else if 'the whole idea is just precedence over action but must precede it in one big fat platitude' (as the Harvard authors. it comprises a central role of conscious thought in strategy set of profound truths subtly buried in simple formation. We shall not promote this contention. as ambiguities in Andrews' own writings on this we shall point out later. may never go out implementation of corporate strategy (Book of date. Andrews might well argue that 12 Or even his support for the specific model: for example. The reader is asked to seems to have happened to the design school bear in mind that although the other prescriptive itself with respect to strategy formation. at times. but in delineation of the contexts we believe to be most so doing narrow its perspective.

commodity- But the problem of assessing strengths and like products through an efficient chain of weaknesses may go deeper still. Might com. Stevenson's by conscious thought. Andrews. internal capability has to be The similarities of the discount store business- assessed with respect to external context. Starting out with a conventional design school view of these (see p. We can see this most clearly in a approaches. But as how products were displayed. The point we wish to emphasize is: how distinctive to application (Radosevich. 53). they are then ready to design strategies. 1970: 350. in other words. see also Dimma.182 H. But does even that specify competence will prove to be a strength or a them precisely enough? weakness. they moved simple. restaurants may have looked very different. though not offering such lists. weaknesses may be unreliable. rather than as one question the value of formal assessment of learning. etc. and hopes. the ment agreed precisely on the strengths and assessment of strengths and weaknesses. if inadvertently. in making an appraisal of the organization's Some writers offer specific lists of potential capabilities comes in the light of a specific deal- strengths and weaknesses for all organizations. How does an organization know its strengths The overall impression left by this study is and weaknesses? On this. while of the past-with an external frame of reference. 'few members of manage- fundamental step in the formulation process. (And The point we wish to make came out most the conclusion suggested from such experiences clearly. do (p. experience. basic. assessment. This content downloaded on Sun. and checked out. did not work out well.' In general. assume that types of strengths and weaknesses Every strategic change involves some new exist in general.g. perishable. moved about we have already mentioned. there is a tendency by customers. much as do students the context of a problem. Stevenson Our critique of the design school revolves around asked managers to assess their companies' one central theme: its promotion of thought strengths and weaknesses in general. fast-food restaurants. Lenz supermarket chain we studied (Mintzberg and (1980) critiques the use of an 'organizational Waters. Mintzberg Assessment of strengths and weaknesses: under the title 'Defining corporate strengths and thinking vs. all bound up with judgement supported by analysis. In its retail diversification efforts. the only real value are. no organization with a particular organization-its competences can ever be sure in advance whether an established are distinctive to itself. Having decided what these his subjects. etc. strengths and weaknesses have 'to be defined in petences of an organization. weaknesses exhibited by their companies' (p. the taking would only associate strengths and weaknesses of some kind of risk. Overall. 1978: 148-150)? discovery of what business it was to be in could And can any organization really be sure of its not be undertaken on paper. the strengths and under emphasize weaknesses (e. In other words. biases.' or to quote one of in a case study class. but Katz. 'As I see it. executives sitting around a table discussing the their 'most common single complaint' being that strengths. aspirations. but had to benefit strengths before it tests them. weaknesses. did.-were in the design school to slight the environment in apparently overwhelmed by the subtle but differ- favor of a focus on the organization itself (which ent characteristics of merchandising-styling. 1982) was surprised to learn that discount frame of reference'-usually based on some stores. 1974: 360. and distinctive com. on the other hand. even did. may manifest itself in a tendency to overstate obsolescence. the rest of the time it is just an academic exercise' while others. In fact. distribution much like the supermarket business petences not also be distinctive to time. a step into the unknown. Therefore. the design school that the detached assessment of strengths and is quite clear-by consideration. could the firm have known ahead of time? The see also Hofer and Schendel. 1985: 251). 65). empirically? from the results of testing and experience. strategy formation above 'the results of the study brought into serious all as a process of conception. in a study carried out at is that strengths generally turn out to be Harvard by Howard Stevenson (1976). independent of action. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . One gets the image of managers seemed to understand the problem. ostensibly so different. which seemed so compatible with its food abstract ideal or a comparison with the situation store operations. published far narrower than expected and weaknesses. a In his article on 'strategic capability'. 55). On the other hand. learning weaknesses'.

hardly troops. 1985)). but in many support the organization. the process. wrote that 'once it genuinely thinks of its business Making strategy explicit: promoting inflexibility as taking care of people's transportation needs. a number of mistakes until it gradually learns but also the organization itself. as the businesses they managed. By overemphasizing strategy. then prime function of knitting people together to structure must play a major role in determining 'provide coherence to organizational action' strategy too. far broader (see Mintzberg and formation. Obviously no organization Claiming that strategy must take precedence over can undertake such activity without a prior structure amounts to claiming that strategy must assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. These all sound like excellent reasons for have a broader implication. Since the assessment of organizational articulate strategy are. Yet take precedence over the established capabilities the vast majority of experiences reported in the of the organization. 1981: 24). as the left foot strategy as evidence of fuzzy thinking. in which the acquiring firm has to make design school slights. applications too easy. the problem is perhaps best illus.g. nothing can stop it from creating its own Once strategies have been created. Nothing except the limitations of its own among other things. also Quinn. except when they move together. Structure may be what works for it. by constraining and conditioning it (Rumelt. via the extravagantly profitable growth' (p. strategy can generate support-can rally the While this may be an obvious point. the slate clean when it changes its strategy. determined by it. a basic input to strategy formulation. so to speak. often more While the design school tends to promote the important. dictum. in a few words organization jumps to a new position. No ongoing organization ever wipes McHugh. And they are-so long as our critique of this school's model of strategy all the conditions are right. reasons not to articulate strategy. The most important This content downloaded on Sun. Strategy on a piece of paper. therefore. and the that related diversification is above all a learning ability of the stategist to act rather freely. that and since structure is a key component of only by making strategy explicit can it serve its this. which strike at the basic assumptions of the that structure should follow strategy and be design school. Many organizations have come to grief over just trated by Levitt's (1960) popular 'marketing such a belief. What. The Design School 183 consequently. this school generally considers an unwillingness to articulate Structure follows strategy . 1980: 28). housing the organization's capabilities. but it cannot be altered at will just 1982. strategy and structure both of railroad). in fact its model also accepts the The reasons generally given for the need to opposite. In effect. and third. transportation instead walking. But there are other. it does encers. that structure follows themselves by broad mission rather than narrow strategy as the left foot follows the right in product or technology (e. The idea was enticing. cation by acquisition. that only an explicit strengths and weaknesses is an intrinsic part of strategy can be discussed. debated (e. Andrews. not an arbitrary fly airplanes? Levitt. While recognizing some reasons for not making strategy explicit. our conscious assessment of strengths and weaknesses italics). 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The Nowhere does this come through more clearly past counts. and follows could detach managers from the realities of the it. that an articulated as well as guiding it. 33.g. if it ever does (see Miles. not just the environment. malleable. 1980: 380). first. and in practice than in attempts at related diversifi. that firms should define We conclude. None takes precedence. just as does the environment. . And in the writings because a leader has conceived a new strategy. a cerebral exercise that each always precedes the other. of academe. would enable railroads to formation is an integrated system. and reassure outside influ- disputed even within the design school. a marketing professor but sequence. first articulated by Chandler (1962). the structure is a significant part of that past. and the model. then the model calls for distinctive competences! their articulation. here arguing in the spirit of the design school. or else of follows the right political motive. clearly an uintenable prop- popular press and published research suggests osition. . an important one in articulating strategy. second. investigated. myopia' conception.

that to act you must first know what you (Kiesler. of the formulation and reformulation of strategy. Mintzberg of these is that the strategist is sure-knows Another reason not to articulate strategy is where he or she wants to go. all internal decisions.184 H. How can Andrews' company The potential danger of a little knowledge come 'to grips with a changing environment' needs to be recognized: the possible trivialization when its 'strategy is [already] known' (1981: 24)? and distortion of the subtle needs of a complex And how can its managers promote the necessary organization. purposes? In other articulating strategy is that while strategists may words. sometimes organizations also need to function coordination. Thus. There is. the design school implicitly assumes standing. then do. explicit essentially bring us back to the need to nical and informational needs. are The formulation-implementation dichotomy is blinders designed to focus direction and so to central to the design school-whether taken as block out peripheral vision. and has few serious that pronouncements of it. the periods during which strategies must evolve. But strategy brings simplicity to complex organiz- organizations have to cope with conditions of ations' (p. want to accomplish. And Our point is that organizations must function the problems can magnify when outsiders are not only with strategy. (including students learning about it) think. In superficial. 1978: 17). the problems of making strategy events. this is just explication of a strategy-even having someone another version of the basic form of rationality articulate what he or she is about to do anyway. need should not lead us to believe that it is When strategists are not sure. tech. behavioral and power relationships. should people concerned with strategy be sure for now. Perhaps that is why Andrews finds such strong which cannot happen instantaneously. True enough. at intelligent opponents so that they come together least in some contexts. Sure strategies must often at a precise moment' (Quinn. breeding a resistance to later change form. in terms of formulation and more deeply imbedded it becomes in the habits implementation? of the organization as well as the minds of its How can anyone really question this distinction. they can a tight model or a loose framework. often necessarily doubts about the viability of that direction. they can never be sure forever. Andrews argues that 'a conception of conditions of stability or predictability. a danger in analytical. external environmental To summarize. even when it makes sense to articulate strategies. as implied in the reasons for wanting them. 1971). they had better natural for strategies to appear fully developed not articulate strategies. Explicit strategies. strategists. As Wrapp has noted. the dangers of doing detaching thinking from acting so must still be recognized. but also during periods involved in the process. Think first. This content downloaded on Sun. But is the impede strategic change when it does become distinction a valid one for conceptual and necessary: to put this another way. Indeed be made explicit. The questions are: during periods of unpredictability. and actions of view strategy formation as a learning process. even pedagogical. The danger during such periods is not in an organization's history. 'It is managerial resistance to the inclusion of outside virtually impossible for a manager to orchestrate board members in strategy-making. in fact. But this speculative tendencies into firm commitments. for all the reasons given all of a sudden. sometimes it changes when its own board of directors uses is impossible to articulate direction 'clearly that articulated strategy 'to prevent the company enough so that everyone in the organization from straying off its strategic course'-(1980b: 32)? understands what they mean' (1967: 95). that underlies western thinking-in its simplest locks it in. can engender a false sense of under- other words. But at what price? uncertainty too. and support.' the reification of temporarily to articulate clear strategies. because they appear to be Separation of formulation from implementation: viable well into the future. when they when? and how? and when not? There is cannot possibly hope to articulate any viable undoubtedly a need for closure at certain points strategy. the alone behave. 554). moments when the the lack of explicit strategy but exactly the process of strategy formation must be suspended opposite-'premature closure. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Moreover. even board members. evidence from the or even the assumption that formulation must laboratories of cognitive psychology that the precede implementation? After all. for purposes of investigation. let The more clearly articulated the strategy. nor should it allow us to ignore above.

only requires execution. what we and articles on implementation (such as Hrebiniak prefer to call 'machine bureaucracy' (Mintzberg. The Design School 185 The organizational form that corresponds to In recent years there has been a spate of books this dichotomy is the classical hierarchy. the external from Japan. stand in the rest of the organization are perfectly willing direct antithesis to the confusion and involvement' to proceed as directed from the center. and Joyce. in hierarchy without significant loss or distortion. . but the of the factory floor. despite their first-hand of behavior?' (1978: 103). It above all emphasizes the distinction strategies are successfully realized-the figure between the few people on top who are allowed cited by Fortune writer Walter Kiechel (1984: to think and the many below who are supposed 8) that 'fewer than 10 percent of American to act.' or to first activity with authority over those occupied translate their terms into ours. 22). 1984). . Feld (1959). Machine bureaucracy is common in mass corporations' implement their intended strategies. noted the Majone and Wildavsky point out that to study sharp distinction that is made between the officers implementation is to raise 'the most basic question in the rear. and endow officers engaged in the irresistible unfolding of a tautology. government clerk's service? In how many does It may change unpredictably. As they characterize the experience. To use a quotation Feld (p. the implementors within the organization who This content downloaded on Sun. destroying ance to the intended strategy comes from the carefully formulated strategies in the process. It was deemed 'wildly inflated' by Tom Peters!- dominates thinking in the consulting profession they call for more attention to the implementation (most of whose techniques promote this form of process. . . or even from the strategy itself. Unfortunately.' technology). but be a root cause of the vicious cycle of the a major and sometimes unpredictable force to decline in productivity and loss of international be reckoned with. can only implement the plans given 'planning-and-control model of implementation. often it is not. These 'organizations place a higher value which sounds to us like the design school model on the exercise of reason than on the acquisition in the public sector. Noting that few intended 1979). environment in which it is to be implemented. who. the environment simply renders the strategy a failure. This 'is based on the of intended strategy into realized strategy through assumption that their position serves to keep a 'suitable . 15) meant for the the organization that is supposed to do the military. and the troops How can ideas manifest themselves in a world on the front.' executives are advised. including the If one side of the formulation-implementation military. 'good implementation is the of experience. dichotomy does not work. the transformation by the second' (p. 'Manage culture. industry seems to In other cases it is not the environment but be caught' (1982: 226). "production function" '. plans and controls. production and the mass provision of services. meaning them informed about what is happening to the goals. the salesman's call. . who have the power to formulate about the relation between thought and action: plans and direct their execution. only problems it raises are ones of control' (p. This. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . . structure). implementing. calm and detachment. the formulation-implementation dichotomy: that All that would be fine were only the world data can be aggregated and transmitted up the cooperative. [which] is supported by the the human side of the equation-incentives and hierarchical structure of military organization indoctrination' (p. Ohmae goes so far as to suggest environment is not some kind of pear to be that 'separation of muscle from brain may well plucked from the tree of external appraisal. so that the intended detached formulation render the organization strategy becomes useless. It many cases for good reason. is the assumption fundamental to 114). then effort must be In his article on the dysfunctions of traditional invested in the other. and the the direction of the flow of information' (p. in fact.S. and in government. 'and-to take care of army as a whole . ignored because it is deemed 'tactical'? Speaking Despite implications to the contrary. 15). in how many contemporary organi. competitiveness in which U. or it may remain so ineffective? In how many is critical information unstable that no specific strategy can be useful. military organization. 106). zations do 'the conditions most favorable to Sometimes the 'implementors' who make up rational activity. in big business (outside of high or 'pay more attention to your control systems. whether the resist- is an assumption that fails often. 'the perfectly pre-formed which establishes in specific detail the stages and policy idea .' them.

in part at least. the design school draws itself organizations dependent on a great deal of into two questionable assumptions in particular: sophisticated expertise. a marvelous example of the latter in his descrip- Certainly much formulation is ill-conceived. then the 'formulator' may have to 'implement' him zations. but within their context 'opportunistic.) the capable strategists there. or continues to act even if one does not. at least by Consulting Group. tries them out tentatively. viable after implementation. But sometimes they are ditions at least. once realized. be few. one or the other of these right-minded people who do what they do to assumptions proves false. Under some con- 1976 and Scheff. implementation. and second that the environment is or small-minded ones who do not understand the sufficiently stable. Implementational failure can also occur without takes time to figure out after an unexpected shift- inhospitable environments and resistant organi. serve the organization despite its leadership. or one too complex They may resist implementation because they to be comprehended in a single brain. 1973). 1980. be narrow-minded first. Pascale (1984) provides both concepts. Kress. by distinguishing formulation from comprehended in one brain-for example. Here. is unpredictable-or perhaps more commonly. In other words. as for the Boston into the future. because it is rooted in the their way to implementation.' as Andrews claims. in one central place. that mode. the know the intended strategies to be unfeasible. we would like to take a position beyond to experiment and learn. strategies. while the formulators may small group)-develops some preliminary ideas. to new strategy. or at bureaucrats too wedded to their traditional ways least sufficiently. The problem can lie in the strategy itself. brilliantly deliberate. or at least predictable. They are not robots. True. tion of how the Honda Motor Company execu- just as much implementation is badly executed. (In the 1987 textbook (p. implementation dichotomy lies a set of very vi). or herself. 'drift' is another vagaries of intuition. but such (Majone and Wildavsky. thinking and action indeed. 1978). where power is highly centralized in a flexible 'Slippage' is a term used in the public sector organization (Mintzberg. Mintzberg resist. as noted to mean that strategic intentions get distorted on earlier. of itself or more productively perhaps. perhaps in and Koehler and Springer. They may. but the environment an unsuitable external environment. tends to be dismissed by term used there for realized strategies that differ the design school. no intended strategy can ever thinker exercises close control over the actions. as in high-technology This content downloaded on Sun. or bloody-minded ones who prefer ensure that the strategies formulated will remain to go their own way (e. interpretations.' Perhaps for him. tries functioning at different levels and in different again. the implementors are typically many. Group's (1975) inference of that strategy as Behind the premise of the formulation-. If the necessary information can be realizing them or. be so precisely defined that it covers every The leader-here Andrews' one strategist (or a eventuality. that the formulator can be fully. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . informed to formulate viable to know a good new strategy when they see one. in contrast to the Boston Consulting formulation and implementation in the first place. in implementation. tives in the United States backed their way into But often the fundamental difficulty lies not in their highly successful motorcycle strategy of the either side. of course. The inevitable formulation and implementation is characteristic result is some slipping between formulation and of the entrepreneurial mode of strategy-making. but in conceiving a distinction between 1960s. Thoenig and Friedberg. opportunism can be necessary.g. closely associated: the For one thing. as a means however. To state this more Where there is too much information to be formally. it may sometimes be from intended ones. Moreover. they will fail in comprehended in one brain. But. much as Quinn (1980) described the 327-328). Andrews comments that 'Japanese manage- ambitious assumptions: that environments can ment appears to be more truly strategic than always be known. In an unstable environment. must proceed in tandem. believing is seeing. dichotomy has to be collapsed. modifies them. each with their own values and process. and continues until a viable strategy units and places (Rein and Rabinovitz. 1979: emerges. nor are the Such close control of a leader over both systems that control them airtight. in one of two that the organization will not be capable of ways. it almost always does.186 H. 1961). Lipsky. 1978: 105. currently and for a period well improvisatory.

' Burgelman (1983) is described by the senior author of the Harvard on 'corporate entrepreneurship. the reluctance in certain quarters to adapt the model dichotomy between formulation and implemen. 1984. should do. his making of the distinction conceptually idea'-in fact contains some ambitious assump- led him to underestimate the important role tions about the capabilities of organizations and of such learning. this produces learning which alters actions in good part determine thoughts. the dichotomy collapses in the And then. individually and especially their leaders. the design school. so that strategies can be articulated and implementation can begin. Two days later it's on to Xerox making as a learning process. Here. Here is how the process on 'logical incrementalism. and the traditional method of case study teaching should. by implicitly circumstances. 1985). As Lipsky puts it. Andrews' great mistake was caution. denied processes THE DESIGN SCHOOL AND THE CASE that have often proved critical to the creation of STUDY METHOD novel and effective strategies.' as Majone and Wildavsky McHugh. then. The design tation does hold up. school model matches perfectly the pedagogical while it may be true that 'literal implementation requirements of the case study method. and concept.' and egy may have to be worked out on a collective Mintzberg (1987) on 'crafting strategy. McHugh (1985) on a 'grass roots model. alternate strategies proposed. Even though he recognized the To conclude this critique. over time. but realized Both situations-'formulators' implementing strategies have emergent as well as deliberate and 'implementors' formulating-amount to the characteristics. Andrews and his colleagues note repeatedly. Kennedy High School process that 'learning' becomes a better label.') basis. may help to explain why there has been so much so that. in strategy formation. and 'implementation' should be used only with zations are learning. sometimes what is achieved is close students are handed a document of 20 or so enough. petences identified. Intended strategies exist. Here words like 'formulation' same thing in one important respect: the organi. and is action. Mintzberg and tation as evolution. implemen. distinctive com- may be groping its way toward a new strategy. The 1978: 116). it opportunism. all before class is dismissed so that it can then do so. thought must be so bound up appear all ready to argue what it is that General with action in an interactive and continuous Motors or the John F. for what happens then is Bear in mind that time is short: the external 'formulation-implementation'. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .' Mintzberg and textbook: This content downloaded on Sun. just an 'informing practice. assumptions that break down in collectively. despite some inevitable slippage. In other words. in 80 minutes. as is literally impossible' (Majone and Wildavsky. and universities-then the strat.. see Quinn (1980) or Texas Instruments. hospitals. And here is where we might expect pages that contains all the available information viable application of the design school model. and strategies also emerge. Out of all this discussion comes a whole range We believe that the relationship between the of possible relationships between thought and design school model of strategy formation and action. whole or in good part under many common More generally. as should the design school model of dismissing organizational learning by considering strategy formation. are a whole other direction: the 'implementors' become the range of possibilities in between-'implemen- 'formulators' (Hardy et al. (For models of strategy. followed by adjustments to action. The Design School 187 firms. however. assuming that strategic learning somehow takes place in one head for a limited period of time and then stops. and then the environment. (1978) put it-where there is thought. so that thought. more or less. especially during or the evening before class (alongside the other immediately after a major unexpected shift in cases they must prepare for that day). The organization environment must be assessed. on the organization in question. then there tation is 'turned on [its] head' (1978: 397). or may simply be coping until things settle down and these evaluated. They study it Other times. perhaps most common. to other views of strategy-making. so on. There are times when thought does. this seemingly intertwining of formulation and implementation in innocent model-for Andrews. precede action and guide it primarily.

enabling the students conscious and controlled. it dominates beliefs in practice too. In where formulation (thinking) is possible while other words. 1982: ix-x). what good is that in the classroom schools. proponents of this school might and it dictates that formulation must precede argue that this is a small price to pay for bringing implementation. 89). stood. on the generations of managers who of future general mangers? We do this first by have graduated from schools that rely on this disciplined classroom drill with the concept of strategy. the process of selecting and ordering data so To quote Livingston (1971). ment firsthand or to assess feedback from their how else can the faculty proceed but to keep actions. Of course. 79. This difficulty may explain the neglect in business education of the art of implementation in favor of the realities of the rice paddies and for too long the analysis of potentially ideal strategies' (p. how can those corporate capacities implement-then it may well have done them and industry opportunities be effectively related? and their organizations a terrible disservice. But need the reality-even the strategies must be deliberate and explicit. but do nothing does this 'drill in the formal and analytic' have about. that this formulation must be reality into the classroom. 83. spelled out his is to open up the students' perspective beyond approach to military strategy as Secretary of the design school model. 1966: get results is harder to teach and to learn in a classroom 70). Mintzberg how do those of us interested in management What effect has such case study teaching had education strive to contribute to the development on practice. 'one best way' thinking is alive and implementation (acting) is not?13 well in the practice of strategic management. but written and taught foreign policy is to be. in Christensen et al. then build the military forces to successfully conduct this 13 In his 1987 book. Andrews acknowledges that 'How to strategy' (quoted in Smalter and Ruggles. or as the foundation of the formulation and implementation are intertwined thinking behind the planning and positioning in practice. to make strategy. .' the problem of management education is its 'secondhanded- But how can a student who has read a short ness:' 'Managerial aspirants are iequired only to resume of a company possibly know these things? explain and defend their reasonin. . this analytic classroom process encouraging superficial strategies that violate the focuses attention on a key administration skill. they can remain strengths and weaknesses? Where. they are poorly prepared to learn and the model simple. .' Thus. especially to presume that grow as they gain experience' (pp. Drill in the formal and analytic-what pedagogy? If that has left managers with the is the current strategy of the firm? What are its impression that. by the chief executive to gain exposure to many different organizations. in the firm's in their offices with documents summarizing the perceived industry. are profit and service oppor. deaf to the calls to learn from the devastating This content downloaded on Sun. situation and think-formulate so that others can tunity? And. many 'are not able to learn from on the students when they finally do enter the their own firsthand experience . a Harvard professor that management asks the critical questions at the time himself. Since they executive suite? have not learned how to observe their environ- Given the requirements of case study teaching. He did just this in Vietnam.' they 'are rarely exposed complex organization? Can the 'critical questions' to "real" people or to "live" cases.. And even if it is accepted that in its pure form. also formerly of only this way? Is there not another option. as the architect of strategy. in his classic article 'The appropriate to a particularsituation (Christensen. and to assume the necessity for fully The fact is that the design school model developed and explicit but nonetheless simple dominates not only the world of pedagogy. 84. distinctive competences of their organizations. formulate a military from a broader point of view? strategy to carry out that policy. which the Harvard Business School. ix). either strategies. organizations can be quickly and easily under. distant from than on the scene. Here 'reality' of the 20-page case-be dealt with in is how Robert McNamara..188 H. Moreover. not to carry How can words and numbers on paper possibly out their decisions or even to plan realistically substitute for the intimate knowledge of a for their implementation. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .' but rather really be asked through the process of 'selecting to 'problems or opportunities discovered by and ordering' this kind of data? And what effect someone else. myth of the well-educated manager. and that the resulting True enough. indeed even to use Defense: 'We must first determine what our cases themselves to do so. which they discuss.

but her experience does in question. maybe genius. year update of strategy' (Tregoe and Zimmerman. entitled Powerplay (Cunningham and Schumer. What makes this a 14 terribly ingenious idea. But she became very attached and technique in particular. Agee the firsttime they met after her departure founder of Strategic Planning Associates. if it has given them the 6). learn about on the issue under discussion here: your industry and your own distinctive com- petences by immersing yourself in the details and There is nothing in Powerplay to support Cunningham'scontentionthat she is a business trying things. . but really wanted 15 terribly important and limited. based on the design path to implementation' (pp. 1986: 191). But that may be the very many of the consulting firms that specialize in essence of the problem. himself a Harvard MBA. his The Strategy. so that they problem may be most acute in diversification by can be evaluated on the spot. seems to have driven a number of practitioners and consultants back to the simpler design to it. director or student. The Design School 189 results.' 'he must foster course. although that is precisely what he offers. But at what cost undertaken by detached executives sitting up in strategic thinking? And strategic action? in executive suites designing strategies quite Andrews claims that 'graduates of a demanding independently of any intimate understanding of Policy course feel at home in any management the organization's real strengths and weaknesses. working days are required for the review and one. In the early 1980s. Cunningham leaped from To quote from a popular book by two consultants: the Harvard MBA program to the personal 'Four or five working days over a two-month assistantship of William Agee. Electric Company: 'Borch had a sense that he even manager. you know what this means? . .' 'In the end. which often appear to have been discussions in the boardroom.'"4 mainlyof genuflectingin front of a deity called As for Andrews' proposals about directors. 'the controlof Bendixto Allied Corp. for example. Case study acquisition. Typical is the article by Walker Lewis (1984). he says: ' "Of CEO must be an informed generalist. . go in Fortune magazine.' graduate of the course Andrews had in mind. developed strategy. it is the CEO who must serve as the force behind a return to basic integrated strategies in the 1980s. Near concept enabling independent directors to know as I can tell.' and 'he must prod the corporation along the If the case study method. simplify strategy. deal of publicity. Can anyone.What effective strategy. and limited time to find out. And at the book's emotional CEO and corporate strategy in the 1980s: back to basics. 6). As noted earlier. the reveal the problem in its extreme. a comprehensively And they cry (1984: 142). really know an organization wasn't looking for lots of data on each business without being in it? The time of directors is unit.. Her chapter about learningcurves and over a few years you'll be able to develop an other B-schoolbuzzwordsseems infantile.' It climax. the late strategies clearly and simply. frustration with the planning school she does not say. get many people involved. 2. It's your responsibility. it means herehe noddedat me-"won't be in our hands. impression that 'you give me a synopsis and I'll This content downloaded on Sun. . no one little discussionthereis of actualbusinessconsists can do it for you. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Kinsley published a scathing review of it made in saying: 'It's too complicated for us. The the building of comparative advantage. Later she wrote a book on those experiences. Called in with limited knowledge of the industry She may not be typical. 'How's The Strategy going?' she asked school model. has encouraged leaders to over- concludes his article with the claim that 'coming to terms with these changes requires more than the old answers' (p. at one point hitting precisely back and do your own homework. it consisted of getting Bendix out the business (in a sense) without being in the of a lot of fuddy-duddyold-fashionedproducts and into glitzy high tech. situation and know at once how to begin to This 'one best way' thinking applies also to understand it' (p. as Agee realizes he's going to lose rediscovers all the elements of that model. chief executive of period are required to set strategy.The Strategy is what Mary and Bill were up to when nasty-minded people claim about 'the power of strategy as a simplifying thought they were up to somethingelse."' setting a corporate direction based on . 1. Mary Cunningham is a this field-the so-called 'strategy boutiques. Lewis school model. Two or three the Bendix Corporation. Ironically.' 'good strategic Strategy that we've worked on so hard"-and management requires taking the wide view . let alone a good one. 1980: 120).. There is not a -lot of money to be 1984). 6). 834) might be more of a problem about an earlier chief executive of the General than a solution. With a great design school provides a most convenient model.. and entitled 'The from Bendix. they must be briefed through short significant pages of data and analysis' (quoted in documents and snappy presentations that articu- Hamermesh. Or consider the comment of one manager business' (p.

although with nuance. In other words it is not Andrews' what amounts to a much more demanding qualifications that will hold the model in check assumption-the strategist must have the so much as an alternate depiction of the process. at The assumption of the single strategist some- least under certain circumstances (indeed much times does hold up: a chief executive (perhaps in using cases as pedagogical devices too). much in the design school to recommend it. We also reject the model even the weekend retreat of executives where it tends to be applied with superficial (although this may culminate the process). The a continuum. That brain has full. the situation is associating strategy-making with deliberate. capability to predict the changes that will This content downloaded on Sun. Not tralized behavior and of slighting the equally only must the strategist have access to the important needs for emergent behavior and relevant knowledge base.' if it has denied strategy That is why the field of strategic management formation as a long. but rather the assumption of by sufficient access to. But that had the effect of implemented-in other words. intimate knowledge base model and then add qualifications to it. hold still. and difficult process has need for these different schools of thought. Here the situation must be relatively simple. The potential Our critique has not been intended to dismiss the for centralizing knowledge must be backed up design school model. This critique may sound extreme. One brain can. We see a set of four in particular. Rather it describes the strategist who has Andrews thought it sufficient to delineate one developed a rich.190 H. the organization. relatively stable or at least predictable. of learning. We might add that he or she can formation must above all emphasize learning. what needs to be known to conceive an 1985)-makes no more sense. In particular. remaining in their appropriate context. subtle. This precludes the image of tainty and unpredictability. We do not 1. since it overstates intended strategy that will have relevance well equally. before a new intended strategy has to be sometimes less. there is information relevant for strategy formation. the quarterly directors' meeting. as we shall discuss below. for creating strategy. that it somehow represents the organization and its situation to enable the 'one best way' to make strategy. But by positioning these two at ends of beyond the period of implementation. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . in principle. we can begin to delineate the meeting customers where the real information conditions that should encourage an organization may have to be dug out. then it may be a major to tilt toward the design school model end of the cause of the problems faced by contemporary continuum. only know the organization by truly being in notably in circumstances of considerable uncer. the strategist must know the 'grass roots model' (Mintzberg and McHugh. but there must also organizational learning. cen. involving a base of knowledge that can be comprehended in one THE DESIGN SCHOOL: CONTEXT AND brain. can take full charge of the process is. albeit not when it is applied without a depth of one who is rather clever and especially adept understanding of what a particular organization at synthesis. the organization. But teamed up with other top managers). if it has encouraged managers to so long as each is considered carefully in its own detach thinking from acting. Mintzberg give you a strategy. impression left was that this was the way to make 3. handle all of the believe it is. or- needs along it. Another extreme-what be some sense of closure on that base: at we have elsewhere presented under the label of some point in time. strategist to understand in a deep sense what we reject the model where we believe strategy is going on. and experience of. The over a substantial period of time. the detached CEO in which much power over strategy-making has with a pithy report. or ones of complexity the case study classroom. the 'quick-fix' consulting to be granted to a variety of actors deep inside contract. CONTRIBUTION 2. offices instead of getting into factories and Accordingly. understanding of the issues in question. detailed. the its universality. intimate knowl- edge of the situation in question. and how it must sometimes learn. The relevant knowledge is established and set strategy. sometimes more. organizations. we can begin to consider real-world world must. in other words.

this is a model to be applied only in single leader (Mintzberg. It is a framework for continual to articulate it. even simple structures with only in certain circumstances. for example. referring to the 'quick reversal. they must have the time. authority and a relatively stable context of We would normally expect the provoking operations. favor for his model (although he would hardly there has developed the beginnings of a new use the label we are about to apply to it). The Design School 191 come about. They therefore require in key shift in market demand. Once certain kinds of organizations. Andrews recognized problem solving.' periods when creates it-and then articulates it fully at a point 'large commitments of resources must be made' in time so that everyone else can implement it or 'key uncertainties are resolved. and even there under way. the apply best-its own particular niche. structure tends to be simple-flexible. 1979: chapter 17). of fresh strategic thinking on the part of new in fact. the design school the period of reconception of strategy in an model would seem to apply best at the junction existing organization. In other words. leaders. This a period of chaangingcircumstances and into one is structure characterized by a centralization of of operating stability. one that will support a new conception the one that appears to be most appropriate for of strategy. very responsive to the dictates of a words. The organization in question is prepared to There is another context where the design cope with a centrally articulated strategy. And that can result from the introduction to the organization happen effectively only when the future can. 4. without any need reformulation. the energy. In other elaborated. In a way. triggered. Machine the external condition of the organization. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 215-216). previously supported the existing strategy. Newman recog. a and stable strategies. And. and stability. even continuously. This period of determined strategy. as Rumelt has tion') allows him or her to change strategy put it. For school model might apply. see also Henderson. be known. For direction in order to compete with its more another. not the problem solving itself' this when he sought to distance his model from (1980: 365. This content downloaded on Sun. the product of an entrepreneur with a vision who created the organization in the first place. a school model. Or. even in times of reconception. however. And second. so to speak. by conception together-defines it if not actually 'milestones in major programs. often has to be the will to do that implementation. established rivals (or position itself in a niche and the resources to implement a centrally free of their direct influence). coming out of bureaucracy' (Mintzberg.' But in so doing he what we call this period of reconception. a technological periods of reconception much of what the design breakthrough. 'a good strategy does not need constant gradually. First. These conditions suggest some clear contexts in Context describes structure as well as time and which the design school model would seem to situation. there initial conception of strategy is. In the context described above. Above all is the entrepreneurial leaders may not follow the design organization that needs a major reorientation. What this means is that individual maximum period since the last full review' (1982: learning must come to an end before organi. Yavitz and Newman also suggest school has to offer: a process whereby someone that what they refer to as 'total reassessment' in central command somehow pulls the new can be proactive too. because the leader's considerable personal discre- nized this early. also distanced it from some of the most creative there was a major change in the situation that strategy-making behavior found in organizations. 1979: 38). typically used in mass production change to be one of a crisis or problem in and the mass delivery of services. non- related to time as well as situation.' or simply 'a and then pursue it. of course. 1979: chapter 18). new conception of its strategy. for bureaucracies commonly pursue highly articulated example a major realignment of competition. is what we call 'machine of major shift for an organization. since it must have a clear sense of willing to defer to a central strategist. and that is the new one thing. others in the organization must be organization. so that The structural context Andrews seemed to it has been seriously undermined. of course.' tion (including personal control of 'implementa- the 'sharp break' (1967: 117). the entrepreneurial context and its reliance on Two conditions would seem to characterize intuition and 'opportunism. Such strategic reassessments may also zational action taking can begin.

Indeed. bureaucracies' and 'adhocracies' cannot rely These organizations are. after which it tends to of this school's specific premises may fall away. For example. 6 Jan 2013 11:15:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1978. ironically. we are further as prescribed. Formal implementation. 1978). planning. 1977: 9. formulation does not. incentive systems. our own for real application. that by trying to position the design machine bureaucracies are not mobiles to effect school model free of intuition on one side and strategic change but stabiles for the continued planning on the other. after all. strategies as novel conceptions) is not entrepreneurship for major reformulation and really compatible with machine bureaucracy. and to its more entrepreneurial mode opportunity and internal capability. but must instead tilt mechanisms proposed in the design school's own toward the learning end of the continuum. These impor- of strategy-making.' to use Porter's and creative form of strategic management (one phrase. the design school model tends here call from the design school for a personalized to get 'caught in the middle. Thus. also Normann. Mintzberg But there is an interesting anomaly here. therefore. 19 and Bower. favored in different types of organizations. not to mention the articulation of grass roots orientation (Hardy et al. machines on the conventional prescriptive approaches to dedicated to the pursuit of efficiency in very strategy-making. the machine bureaucracy finds it making the case for the impact of structure on strategy (see difficult to change its strategy later. The late. the whole array of positioning school oriented. in Learned et al. strategy itself. In other the central notion that underlies all prescription words. to reformu. in the J.192 H. 1970: 286-287). 1985). perhaps we should not. Our own suspicion is that there of reconception as provided for by the design is probably a predisposition toward mass production or mass school model. model literally? In assessing the real contribution impedes reformulation. of this school. Can we conclude. 16 Note that. nature.g. Andrews left it little room pursuit of given strategies.. in such 'turnarounds. Indeed. typically machine bureaucratic in faithful use of that model. idea' has been profound. new ones-in part because of the constraints as we have argued elsewhere. implemen. in describing the strategy-making process it: by articulating strategy and implementing it. settle back down to its old machine bureaucratic way of functioning.. should we take the design school to resist it. as well the model (even the framework) may have as that of Miller and Friesen (1984). use of the model itself discourages later use of I. model of implementation-performance meas. suggests restricted application and often be overly simpli- that major reformulation in machine bureaucracy fied. 'professional imposed by their own standardized procedures. In other words. tilts toward the personalized intuition of strategist. and it has provided practices and impose a new vision. Case case. In a sense. and detached forms of control. at least until it has developed tant contributions will stand no matter how many a new realized strategy. or specific domains. set directions rather than champions of radically which depend on expertise for their functioning. 1986) suggests that chief type of organization where leaders can exercise executives of machine bureaucracies tend to be 'judgement' but not rely on intuition or analysis?'5 caretakers of existing strategies-fine-tuners of As for more complex types of organizations. perhaps mainly marginal research on strategy formation (Mintzberg. whether design. For while Our own evidence (Mintzberg. developing strategies that are more emergent in ures. 1965: 82-102). The design school has power is centralized around a single leader who provided important basic vocabulary by which acts personally and decisively to unfreeze existing we discuss grand strategy. toward the analysis of planning for the more which tends to rely on standardized procedures routine pursuit of strategy. although the role of the intuitive leader in trying to effect turnaround in them in a personalized way may be tation fits. initial more evident in the cases than in the theory (e. its own procedures impede the service organizations. this school's contribution as an 'informing typically occurs through a form of revolution.16 act not to promote change in strategy but To conclude. The implication of this is that while the machine bureaucracy may occasionally require a period 15 A study of the cases favored by the design school may be instrumental in this regard.' the organization in this field. namely that strategy represents tends to revert to the more flexible simple a fundamental congruence between external structure. 1984. various other control nature through processes that have more of a procedures. This content downloaded on Sun. as noted earlier-once in place Mintzberg and McHugh.. strategic change in the machine bureaucratic Mintzberg et al.

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