The fall and Rise of Strategic Planning

Henry Mintzberg positions this article in the Classical vs. Emergent strategy debate and challenges the efficacy of formalised strategic planning by indicating that such an approach has led to the fall of strategic planning because its rigid and inflexibility means “strategic planning often spoils strategic thinking”. The article promotes a new way of planning which is an emergent strategic outlook that is hailed as bringing back the rise of strategic planning. Although the article is promoting an emergent form of strategic planning and states that “most successful strategies are visions, not plans” it doesn’t totally discredit the need for formal planning. Miller and Cardinal (1994) states successful organisations will anticipate and address environmental turbulence through strategic planning. Whilst the article supports this view, it offers an expansion by stating such planning should not be to identify one right strategy but instead a supporting tool for the decision maker’s to use for the consideration of issues. The essence of strategy making conveyed in the article is through learning. The emergent process looks at the strategy process as a journey which involves active experimenting and interlinks Strategic Analysis, with Development and Implementation (Scholes et al 1999), so supporting the stance “we sometimes act in order to think”. The analogy used the describe the planning activities of the formalised approach whereby they go off to the mountains and through activities “strategies are articulated by 5pm” illustrates that there is an innovative and imaginative element which the rational formal process lack and leads to its failure to synthesize experiences.
Figure1: Mintzberg Basic Design School Model

follows the view of Bryson et al (2009) that “strategic planning is a pulling together a variety of actors and actants”. However as the article develops and an emergent tone is introduced.that is a consistency of behaviour” is an environmental pull notion that is presented by Mintzberg. This shows that although the Design School and Planning school emerged from the mid 60’s era their difference was the application of imagination/innovation in the design school. It’s contradictory of strategy being a pattern and perspective because the formal ways don’t give such outcomes. Using patterns supports the idea of the Learning school which the article is an advocate for. ploy. The means of . to adapt to a changing environment. Attention is paid to the planning of a strategy and no emphasis is placed on the implementation of that strategy. The 5p’s literature surrounding Mintzberg’s work gives an insight into his views and can be used to understand the foundations and assumptions of the article. It shows an input into the creation of strategy is Managerial values which are gained from experiences. Strategy as a pattern ". position and perspective can be used to explain why there is a dislike for rational methods to forming strategy because it seeks to find the “right answer. Assumption that strategies are formulated before executed is conveyed through his view of strategy needing a planner and then a doer. Ahlstrand and Lampel in the book Strategy Safari. It detaches itself from the perspective view on Planning School which is to create machine like autocratic environments for strategy. The assertion that planning should produce “broad visions”. the article represents this by showing current planning as strategic programming “articulating and elaborating strategies that already exist” and the strategy-making process should be: "capturing what the manager learns from all sources” De Geus (1988) in his article “Planning as learning” echoes some of what is adopted by the author and which provide clarity on the role of planning in learning. The author writes that formal planning provided managers with a method of “carrying out those strategies” and this was one of its downfalls. The usefulness of using Mintzberg’s notion and embellishing it with the guidelines is that it conveys the real purpose of effective planning. Strategy is defined as a race to an ideal position and a creation of a unique and valuable position by Prescriptive writer Porter. This encapsulates his view on strategy. However the same analytical approach that Porter favours does not deliver the unique and valuable position because it has been “dependant on the preservation and rearrangement of established categories” and so there is not a formation of anything to birth a new unique strategy. which is to change the mental modes that decision makers carry. pattern. it treats implementation either as an issue of gaining prior group commitment through coalitional decision-making or strategy emerging in an almost-implemented form within the firm (Bourgeois & Brodwin 1984). The article talks of the need to learn and produce new perspectives but De Geus gives us the guidelines on how to ensure that Learning produces the results and concludes “the only relevant Learning in a company is the learning done by those who have the power to act”. Such a descriptive outlook exposes some of the flaws that these mechanisms bring to organisations.Figure1 shows the formulation of the design model to which some of the emergent tones of the article can be placed. the result of which cannot be narrowly defined. By seeking to ensure planners work outside of the strategy goes against the traditional role play involved in strategy planning and implementation. Strategy being a plan. the outcome.

analytical planning process which deceives managers into thinking that they are planning strategically and hence improving future organizational performance. Ambrosini and Bowman (2003) learned from their research into managerial consensus and corporate strategy that perception of consensus of corporate strategy has more influence on behaviour than formal statements of strategic intent.achieving that vision incorporates experiences of “others throughout the organisation” and this illustrates an assumption of an organisational culture promoting consensus and support that will enable everyone to agree on a strategy based on their individual learning’s. Strategy making needing to “function beyond the boxes to encourage the informal learning that produces new perspectives” is a key foundation influence for the article. By saying that organisations ought to adopt an approach where broader visions are conceived is strength of the article because it offers a rough guidance of the destination they need to arrive at and then allows for that strategy to be moulded according to what can be identified from learning to give them and this offers perspective. However there are simplistic solutions offered on how to best maximise strategy planners. organisational and culture literature to identify how to facilitate innovation before combining it to produce the best strategy. it is built on the assumption that employees can synthesize useful elements of their experiences and conveys those into strategies. Baldwin et al 1997 discuses evolution of learning strategies and identified “the dynamics of rapid change and heightened competition mean that organisational success will be increasingly dependant on learning” This forms an assumption of the article and is an underlying reason why the author is writing the article. Although a realistic approach to planning and getting a fresh new strategy. The emphasis is placed on cognitive information processing and elaborating on incoming information from issues faced in the daily grind to produce a different strategic outlook for the firm. companies have to employ their own experiences and learning because that is what sets them apart from another organisation in the same industry. which is inline with what the 5P’s. Schuler and Jackson (1987) linked competitive strategy with the characteristics of managers and one of the conclusions was the need for managers to abandon the status quo and adapt their strategies to the market place. “Real strategic change” requiring the invention of new things and innovation is a constant message throughout the article. Examining the fallacy of formalisation is a part of the article voices Mintzberg’s views regarding bureaucratic. “The forces that embed innovation into an organisation are quite different than those that guide strategy” (Bodini 2010). “Changing labels won't improve poor processes or teach planning skills to those who lack them” (Power 2004) whilst this a valid statement the article does go . The article focuses on the reasons why formal planning has failed however the argument used to promote the alternative style of planning lacks depth and isn’t as convincing as could be on how it can be used to create advantage. However there is a failure on the author’s part to explain to us the relationship between strategy and innovation. The author could have used managerial frameworks. Promoting such an approach shows that to get the best strategy. The relevance of this outcome is that it provides an extension on the work of Ambrosini and Bowman and shows details of the environment and mindsets in which emergent strategies can work. There are convincing parts of the article that warns of tunnel vision and recognise planning must involve both analysis and thinking.

Through the use of easy to understand examples we were told of a new way.on to mention the “planners as catalyst” who pose questions and “challenging conventional assumptions”. This provokes the argument that perhaps this whole article missed the trick because it focused on roles and talked in depth about what was wrong and perhaps should have focused on the design processes and introduced elements such as scenario planning because it tackles changing of mindset and brings awareness of the potential costs and benefits and offers “a continuous improvement approach to strategy” (Wright 2000). Although the article was written with a bias it was able to show that strategic planning is not only about the formal mechanisms but quintessentially it’s about experiences from those in the business used to set a long term vision. the article presented and argument for strategic planning in which the author was a proponent for a non rationalised planning method. Word Count: 1649 . By bringing attention to the issues of the formal mechanisms we became aware of the problems it brings. In conclusion. but not management application was incorporated in the article to show how to achieve the benefits of the learning viewpoint.

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