Emergent Strategy

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Description of Emergent Strategy. Explanation.


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What is Emergence?


Emergent Strategy and Deliberate StrategyIn general, an emergent phenomenon occurs when a (high) number of simple (or complex) entities operate in an environment, forming more complex behaviors as a collective. Emergent behaviors occur due to intricate causal relations across different scales and feedback, known as interconnectivity. The emergent property itself may be either very predictable or unpredictable and unprecedented, and represent a new level of the system's evolution. Emergent behavior is very hard to predict due to the immense number of interactions between components of a system, which increases exponentially with the number of components, thus potentially allowing for many different results to emerge.


Definition Emergent Strategy. Description.


Emergent Strategy is the vision or process towards strategy formation in organizations that emphasizes the benefits of letting the strategy emerge as things gradually becoming apparent. Try before you commit. Strategy is viewed as an ongoing process of constant learning, experimentation and risk-taking. It is an adaptive, incremental and complex learning process in which the ends and means are intertwined and often specified simultaneously. It is the opposite of Deliberate Strategy.

The ends are rarely announced or recorded in a Formal Planning document, and when they are, they remain broad, general and non-quantifiable.

The means develop or evolve over time as the organization learns from environmental developments and interactions.

It does not mean that emergent strategists do nothing upfront and react completely ad-hoc to things as they evolve.

Benefits of emergent strategy formulation. Advantages

  • Opportunism. Organizations must retain the mental freedom to grab unpredictable opportunities as they emerge. See: Scenario Planning

  • Flexibility. Organizations must keep their options open, by not committing to early to actions and investments. See: Real Options, Strategic Agility, Dynamic Capabilities

  • Learning. Letting strategy emerge provides the environment to learn. See: Organizational Learning

  • Entrepreneurship. The best way to find out what will work is to let people try. This is conducive to an entrepreneurial spirit to emerge. See: Chaos Theory

  • Building Support. Major strategic change causes considerable resistance in organizations. So time to build support for it is important. See: Appreciative Inquiry

Emergent Strategy Forum
  Emergent Strategy Allows Mistakes
Strategy isn't a collection of previous actions which worked well. We have to recognize, understand, and evaluate prior successes and mistakes - and build a strategy on that foundation.
Emergent Strategy is useful for allowing disruption into th...
  Strategic Navigation Theory
Strategic Navigation: Conceptual Framework.
Within the last decade of the twentieth century, a new ground was broken in the area of strategic management. William C. Miller (1993) was at the forefront in this breakthrough. His idea on this new pa...
  Evolution of Strategy
Having re-read the introduction to "Emergent Strategy" I ask if it has not been misnamed? I raise this question on the following grounds:
1. Identification of strategy in business is an evolutionary process - it cannot be forced;
2. The tim...
  Emergent Strategy and Serendipity
Emergent strategy is a new concept to me and one I have difficulty accepting it as realistic. Can anybody give me a successful example of this strategy that is not Serendipity (Editor: ~the accident of finding something good or useful while not speci...
  The Paradox of Deliberate and Emergent Strategy
Mintzberg and Waters (1985) state that few strategies were purely deliberate or emergent, but normally a mix of the two is used. Understanding the internal political dynamics of the organisation and detailed analysis of the external environment is es...
  Implementing Emergent Strategy. Requirements
To implement an emergent strategy process, organizations need to:
1. Scan their environment constantly
2. Audit the delivery processes for its improvement at a shorter intervals of time (for example one month duration of implementation). Th...
  Emergent Strategy also Reflects Changes in the Firm
Strategy should be based on providing unique and valuable solutions for the firm (client). In that sense, as clients change the strategy must adapt too. While the strategy's basic foundation should probably remain the same - how the strategy is appli...
  Emergent Strategy is a Considerable Approach
Emergent strategy is not an intended strategy but it pops out as an organisation works towards achieving their intended goals and objectives.
It is important to consider this perspective besides planned strategy, because business circumstances c...
  Definitions of Emergent Strategy
Emergent strategy, is a strategy that is not carefully pre-planned; it is discovered in the lack of purposes, or in an unexpected form possibly as a result of changes in the environment; alterations in the personnel, who may have different perspectiv...
  Not-for-profit Emergent Strategy
Do you think that this concept of strategy shaping is applicable for a not-for-profit organisation?...

Emergent Strategy Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group


Best Practices - Emergent Strategy Premium
  Unrealized Emergent Strategy
Are UNREALIZED emergent strategies still valuable to an organization and its management? How? Thanks for your input......

Expert Tips - Emergent Strategy Premium

How to Become a Self-tuning Enterprise: Advanced Experimenters

In an HBR article of June 2015, Reeves, Zeng and Venjara argue there's a new way to apply algorithmic principles that enables organizations to constan...
Usage (application): Organizational Agility, Strategic Agility, Real Options, Emergent Strategy

Strategic Planning versus Strategic Thinking (Mintzberg)

According to Mintzberg (1994) many people wrongly consider Strategic Planning (SP) to be a synonym for Strategic Thinking (ST). But they should be con...
Usage (application): Strategic Planning, Strategic Thinking, Emergent Strategy, Deliberate Strategy

Entrepreneurial Strategies in Emerging Markets

Chanvatipsakul and Wongsurawat (2013) examined the reasons why SMEs are successful in entering emerging markets while big companies with more resource...
Usage (application): Emergent Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Innovation

Resources - Emergent Strategy Premium

Two Recent Trends in Leadership

Business thought leader John Spence presents 2 important trends in leadership:
  1. BEHAVORIAL: Spence argues there is a move from

The Nature and Complexity of Organizational Change

Presentation about organizational change. The presentation discusses and highlights the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of (organizational) ch...
Usage (application): Change Management, Organizational Change

Top 5 Strategy Pitfalls

Strategy is complex and companies are making many mistakes while working on it. Stuart Cross identified 5 frequent strategy pitfalls to avoid:
Usage (application): Strategy Errors, Strategy Traps, Strategy Barriers, Strategic Planning, Strategy Process

Deliberate versus Emergent Strategies

Presentation about deliberate versus emergent strategies. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Introduction
2. Deliberate ve...
Usage (application): Deliberate Strategy, Emergent Strategy, Strategy Formulation

Henry Mintzberg on Management and Emergent Strategy

McGill Professor Henry Mintzberg shares some background on his historic and recent thinking on management and strategy development, mentioning some of...
Usage (application): Background on Mintzberg, Emergent Strategy Development.


Emergent Strategy


Emergent Strategy


Emergent Strategy


Emergent Strategy

Compare with: Deliberate Strategy  |  Logical Incrementalism  |  Strategy Dynamics  |  Chaordic Organization

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