Mintzberg 5 Ps of Strategy Essay

9451 Words Jan 2nd, 2014 38 Pages
The Strategy Concept I: Five Ps for Strategy*
Human nature insists on a definition for every concept. The field of strategic management cannot afford to rely on a single definition of strategy, indeed the word has long been used implicitly in different ways even if it has traditionally been defined formally in only one. Explicit recognition of multiple definitions can help practitioners and researchers alike to maneuver through this difficult field. Accordingly, this article presents five definitions of strategy-as plan, ploy, pattern, position, and perspective-and considers some of their interrelationships.

To almost anyone you care to ask, strategy is a plan-some sort of consciously intended course of action, a guideline (or set of
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*"The Strategy Concept I: Five Ps for Strategy" by Henry Mintzberg. Copyright O 1987 by The Regents of the University of California. Reprinted from the California Management Review, Vol. 30, No. 1 . Fall 1987. By permission of The Regents.



Defining Strategy


Tbe Strategy Concept I: Five Psfor Strategy


As plans, strategies may be general or they can be specific. There is one use of the word in the specific sense that should be identified here. As plan, a strategy can be a ploy, too, really just a specific "maneuver" intended to outwit an opponent or competitor. The kid may use the fence as a ploy to draw a bully into his yard, where his Doberman Pincher awaits intruders. Likewise, a corporation may threaten to expand plant capacity to discourage a competitor from building a new plant. Here the real strategy (as plan, that is, the real intention) is the threat, not the expansion itself, and as such is a ploy. In fact, there is a growing literature in the field of strategic management, as well as on the general process of bargaining, that views strategy in this way and so focusses attention on its most dynamic and competitive aspects. For example, in his popular book, Competitive Strategy, Porter devotes one chapter to "Market Signals" (including discussion of the effects of announcing moves, the use of "the fighting brand," and the use of threats of private

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