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Henry Mintzberg (1994), one of the leading authorities in the area of strategic

management, by contrast, clearly emphasizes that strategic thinking is not merely
"alternative nomenclature for everything falling under the umbrella of strategic
management". It is a particular way of thinking with specific and clearly discernible
characteristics. In explaining the difference between strategic planning and strategic
thinking, Mintzberg argues that strategic planning is the systematic programming of pre-
identified strategies from which an action plan is developed. Strategic thinking, on the
other hand, is a synthesizing process utilizing intuition and creativity whose outcome is
"an integrated perspective of the enterprise." The problem, as he sees it, is that traditional
planning approaches tend to undermine, rather than appropriately integrate, strategic
thinking and this tends to impair successful organizational adaptation.
2.2. Equilibrium as stable configuration: Mintzberg
Mintzberg's (1979) theory of organizations is a synthetic theory using elements from
systems theory, decision-making theory, and contingency theory. His theory is built up in
steps that are parts in his book. Mintzberg describes his interpretation frame in the first
part of
his book. This interpretation frame consists of five coordinating principles, five basic
organizational parts, and five (unrelated) theories in the form of systems of flow. In the
second part, definitions are given of structure variables. These definitions are stated in
of the interpretation frame. The third part of the book explains a series of hypotheses
contingency variables, intermediary variables, and structure variables. In the fourth part
of the
book, a major hypothesis is added, namely the existence of five stable organizational
configurations that are based on the organizational parts and coordinating principles in
interpretation framework. This means that Mintzberg defines one state for each
in terms of all relevant variables (contingency variables, intermediary variables, and
variables4). If this state equals one of the stable configurations, the state is, in our terms,
equilibrium state. The maintenance of equilibrium is no explicit topic in Mintzberg's
The rules that connect age and size with other variables, however, lead to the implicit
4 Contingency variables:
- history-related variables (organizational age, organizational size);
- technical system characteristics (technical system regulation, technical system
- environmental variables (environmental stability, environmental complexity,
environmental diversity,
environmental hostility);
- human interest variables (ownership, member needs, fashion).
Intermediary variables:

This corresponds to a gamma-space approach. Disturbing mechanisms (amongst others): .growth of the power of one of the organizational part.. . The state of an organization can be represented as a point in the gamma-space.speed of response needed.diversity of the work. . five equilibrium points exist corresponding to the five stable configurations.growth of bureaucracy as a coordination mechanism. The rules connecting design parameters. contingency factors. where he uses an ensemble of points (each point depicting a system) in his statistical reasoning.comprehensibility of the work. In Mintzberg's theory. . .predictability of the work. In the gamma-space of an organization. .aging of the organization. Mintzberg's theory has no explicit performance criteria. and intermediary variables stated by Mintzberg can be seen as stating statistical correlations between variables that hold for large numbers of organizations. perhaps by reorganization. and at some point in time have to jump to another favorable equilibrium point. . conclusion that organizations will gradually shift away from their equilibrium point because of processes of growth and aging. This feature also resembles Boltzmann's use of the gamma-space. . 1993: 165-167) relevant variables. an organization is described as a whole using 38 (see Gazendam. .changing technology.growth in size of the organization.