This essay is going to take a critical analysis on Mintzberg’s schools of thought. It’s going to take a closer look at Design school as well as contrasting it with Planning school, Entrepreneurial school and Power School.
“Strategy is the pattern plan that integrates an organisation major goals, policies, and action sequences as a whole. A well formulated strategy help to allocate an organisations resources into unique and viable posture based on its relative internal competencies and shortcomings, anticipate change in the environment, and contingent moves by intelligent opponent.The main role of strategy is to plan the course of an organisation in order for it to move swiftly through its environment. Strategic direction can also serve as a set of blinders to hide potential dangers. The Design School The design school is the most influential view of the strategy-formation process and sees strategy as a process of conception. It’s a clear and unique strategies are formulated in a deliberate process. In this process, the internal situation of the organization is matched to the external situation of the environment.
The original view sees strategy formation as achieving the essential fit between internal strengths and weaknesses and external threats and opportunities. Senior management formulates clear and simple strategies in a deliberate process of conscious thought – which is neither formally analytical nor informally intuitive – and communicates them to the staff so that everyone can implement the strategies. This was the dominant view of the strategy process at least into the 1970s given its implicit influence on most teaching and practice.To the design school, ultimately, there is only one strategist, and that is the manager who sits at the top of the organisational pyramid. There are times when organisations do need grand designs: a chief executive who is highly capable of synthesis can take full charge of a process of designing strategy. Furthermore it shows little about the content of strategies themselves, but instead concentrates on the process by which they should be developed.
The Design school reduces uncertainty, it’s simple to use, it’s useful in relatively stable environment and its supports strong, visionary leadership.The Design school has few limitations, the strategy has many variables and is inherently complex, its inflexible and weak in fast changing environment. The design school model applies best in its own particular niche. Above all the organisation needs a period of preconception of its strategy, at least under two conditions. First, there has to be a major change in the situation, so that the existing strategy will seriously undermine. The second has to develop the beginning of a new stability, one that will support a new conception of strategy. the design school model would seem to apply best at the junction of a major shift for an organisation, coming out of a period of changing circumstances and into of operating stability”.
The design school has developed important vocabulary by which to discuss grand strategy, and it provided in the central notion that underlines so much of the prescription in the field of strategic management, namely that strategy represent a fundamental fit between external opportunity and internal capability. This school exercises, and will continue to exercise, influence on those who see strategy as an activity principally directed towards establishing an alignment between organisation and environment”. In conclusion the design school is a vital process in the conception of an organisation which gives an organisation direction and lays the foundations for the development of an organisation. The Planning schoolPlanning School sees strategy formation as a formal process where steps such as: budgets, programs, objectives and operating plans are used. A rigorous set of steps are taken, from the analysis of the situation to the execution of the strategy. It uses urban planning, system theory and cybernetics. This school grew in parallel with the design school. But the planning school predominated by the mid-1970’s and though it weakened in the 1980’s it continues to be an important influence today.
The planning school reflects most of the design school’s assumptions except a rather significant one: that the process was not just cerebral but formal, decomposable into distinct steps, delineated by checklists, and supported by techniques (especially with regard to objectives, budgets, programs, and operating plans). This meant that staff planners replaced senior managers. The planners were the major players in the planning school process, who were urged to involve top management at key points only.There are several varieties of strategic planning which respond to different environmental challenges. Planning model squeezes out the creativity out of strategy and at the same time increases the power of control.
The Planning strategy gives clear directions, enables firm resource allocation, control and analyst can pre-screen the facts and they can judge the tested strategies. However it also makes predicting difficult and strategy can become too static. Mintzberg highlights the difference between planning and decision-making. The planning process becomes an input feeder in the black box of strategy formation and helps it deal with the outputs”.
The design school advocates the CEO as being the architect of strategy (as well as personal and organizational leader), where the planning school seems to be inclined to devolve this power to a new cast of “meta-managers”: the planners. Although the design school developed the SWOT, the planning school shows sophistication in formalizing strategy.Entrepreneurial School. Much like the design school, the entrepreneurial school centred the process on the chief executive; but unlike the design school and opposite from the planning school, it rooted that process in the mysteries of intuition.
That shifted the strategies from precise designs, plans, or positions to vague visions, or perspectives. The idea was applied to particular contexts start-ups, niche players, privately owned companies and “turnaround” situations, although the case was certainly put forward that every organization needs the discernment of a visionary leader.The Entrepreneurial School sees strategy formation as a visionary process. The visionary process takes place within the mind of the charismatic founder or leader of an organisation. The processes intuition, judgment, wisdom, experience and insight. The business environment is the central actor in the strategy making process. The organisation must respond to the forces in the business environment or be selected out. Leadership is responsible for scanning the business environment and ensuring that the organisation adapts appropriately.
Under entrepreneurship, key decisions concerning strategy and operations are together centralised in the office of the chief executive. Such centralization can ensure that strategic response reflects full knowledge of the operations. The Power School The Power School sees strategy formation as a process of negotiation. The strategy is strategy is developed as a process of negotiation between power holders within the company, and between the company and its external stakeholders.
This comparatively small, but quite different school has focused on strategy making rooted in power, in two senses. Micro power sees the development of strategies within the organization as essentially political, a process involving bargaining, persuasion, and confrontation among inside actors. Macro power takes the organization as an entity that uses its power over others and among its partners in alliances, joint ventures, and other network relationships to negotiate “collective” strategies in its interests.
Micro power focuses on internal actors conflicting with their colleagues. The proponents of this school argue that it is not possible to formulate or implement optimal strategies because the competing goals of individuals and coalitions ensure that any intended strategy will be disturbed and distorted every step of the way. By concentrating attention on divisiveness and functioning, patterns which form in conflict situations may be missed. The political dimension can have a role in organisations but can also be the source of wastage and distortion.
The power school can help to let the strongest people survive in the corporate competitive world, it ensures that all sides of an issue is fully debated, it can help to break through obstacles to necessary change, its democratic and can help to decrease resistance after a decision made. However it uses a lot of energy, causes wastage and distortion and is costly, can lead to aberrations and overstates the role of power in strategy formation. In conclusion Planning, Design and Entrepreneurial schools go hand in hand as a strategy formation as part of configuration school.Whereas Power school with its Macro analysis, leans more towards a comprehensible configuration.
The process can tilt towards the attributes of one school or another. “Some strategies seem to be more rationally deliberate, whereas others tend to be more adaptively emergent. The environment can sometimes be highly demanding, yet at other times entrepreneurial leaders are able to manoeuvre through it with ease. There are, after all, identifiable stages and periods in strategy making, not in absolute sense but as recognizable tendencies”.