Mintzberg’s Ten School of Thought
In strategic management, the Ten Schools of Thought model by Henry Mintzberg is a framework that explains approaches of defining a strategy; it can be in the form of a design, a plan, positioning, consumerist, cognitive (subjective); it can be learning; it can be power-centric; it can be culture-centric; it can be environment-centric; or it can also be configured (formative).
Mintzberg is a globally-acclaimed academician and author on business and management. The model describes each school in strategic perspective and provides a critical viewpoint; it acts as a good overview for strategic management.
- Design – strategy as process of deliberate formulation: Views strategy development as a process of realization, where it is about achieving a fit between the organization’s internal abilities and external possibilities. The SWOT Analysis is often used here.
- The strategy is a fit between internal capabilities and external potentials.
- Design thinking is a process that uses creative approaches from designers’ toolkits to solve problems.
- Planning – strategy as a formal process: Praises the advantages of formal strategic planning to a great extent and arms itself with formal procedures, training, analysis and lots of numbers. Inspired by Igor Ansoff among others.
- The process runs towards planning the entire strategy in a rigorous manner so that the firm gallops ahead.
- Proper prediction is essential when using this school of thought.
- Positioning – strategy as an analytical process: This school is heavily influenced by Michael Porter’s ideas that stress that strategy is dependent on the way the company is positioned in the market and the industry. Typically views strategy development as an analytical process, where you have to choose the right strategy among a limited amount of generic types.
- Entrepreneurial – strategy as a visionary process: Emphasizes the manager or leader’s central role as the one who create the strategy and carry the vision. This means that the strategy is flexible and can be adapted to the leader’s experiences.
- In it, the environment can be influenced and manipulated.
- Cognitive – strategy as a mental process: Examines what happens in the mind of the strategist and sees strategy as a mental process, where there is room for creative interpretations. Strategists, of course, have different cognitive styles. For instance extrovert (Sociable Person) or introvert (deserved & Shy) thinking or feeling.
- In it, the organisation depends a lot on ‘mental maps’ for making strategies.
- Learning – strategy as an emergent process: Views strategy as an emergent process. This means that strategies occur as people gain more knowledge of a situation and of the organization’s ability to handle it. This way, the formulation and implementation are intertwined.
- Power – strategy as a process of negotiation: Considers strategy as a result of different power plays both within and outside the organization. Negotiation is a central element of the power school.
- Cultural – strategy as a collective process: Strategy creation is viewed as a process that is rooted in the social power of the culture. It focuses on common interests and integration.
- Environmental – strategy as a reactive process: Focuses on the powers that surrounds the organization. A company’s strategy depends on events occurring in the surroundings and the organization’s reaction to them.
- Configuration – strategy as a process of transformation: Views strategy as a process that transforms the organization. This school describes a strategy’s relative stability that is interrupted by occasional dramatic leaps to new stages.