Discuss the uses and abuses of strategic planning and suggest, with the aid of examples, other ways to strategise.

Essay by sineadktr3College, Undergraduate December 2007

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This assignment will begin by looking at some academic definitions of strategy. With an emphasis on strategic planning, it will examine the concept of pure deliberate and pure emergent strategy. The author will introduce Mintzbergs and Walters's strategic continuum and the assignment will explore some of the types of strategy that fall along this continuum with a view to ascertaining possible uses and abuses of each type. Having examined strategic planning, the author will discuss Mintzbergs other definitions of strategy and will show with the aid of examples other methods of strategizing.

In his book, Strategic Planning (1979), George Steiner, considered a key figure in the origins and development of strategic planning, defines strategy as that which top management does that is of great importance to the organization. For Steiner, strategy refers to basic directional decisions and consists of the important actions necessary to realize these directions.

Mintzberg (1987a) asserts that there are five formal definitions of strategy: plan; ploy; pattern; position; and perspective.

This assignment will focus on planning for the interim and will examine the other definitions later on in the assignment.

Strategy is generally perceived as a plan or an intended course of action. It is important to set a direction for an organization and a plan is at the core of the achievement of that goal. A strategy is considered to be premeditated and deliberate. A planned strategy can be either general or specific. According to Mintzberg and Walters (1985) a strategic plan is an analytical process of establishing long-term goals and action plans for an organization.

Strategy can also be viewed as 'a pattern in a stream of decisions or actions'. If strategy as a plan refers to a deliberate, intended strategy that may or may not be realized, then strategy as pattern suggests that...