Is Strategy Analysis Only for Deliberately Strategies?

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Is Strategy Analysis Only for Deliberately Strategies?
Gandhi Heryanto, Member
As we know, there are two kinds of theory about strategy, namely the deliberate strategy approach from Porter and the emergent strategy approach from Mintzberg. The last is the view that strategy emerges over time as intentions collide with and accommodate a changing reality. Emergent strategy is a set of actions, or behavior, consistent over time, a pattern of realized actions that was not expressly intended in the original planning of strategy.

Because strategy analysis seems more related to the planning process on formulating a strategy, my question is whether the emergent approach strategy will also require strategy analysis (strategy validation, check) as described in the strategy analysis knowledge center?

Strategy Analysis Makes your Emergent Strategy Visible
Bernhard Keim, SIG Leader
The problem I have with Emergent Strategy is a very simple one: it heroizes past successes by putting the tag "strategy" on it. It might declare past actions as well founded and mingles successful tactics with deliberate strategy, e.g. being more customer oriented delivers better results.
But I wouldn't call this a strategy even if it delivers success. Strategy is a bigger beast. Emergent strategy is made out of a lot of small bits, that form to a better picture. But from time to time you have to catch it, challenge its limits and work out its hidden potential. That is where strategy analysis (validation, check) can come in.

Strategy Analysis Should Lead to Future Capture
Kailash Chandra Mishra, Member
In the dimension and trajectory we are operating in, strategy analysis can't be confined to Porter or Mintzberg compacts. Strategic drivers accelerate to attain disruptive velocities with shifting destinations. Now understanding of strategy lies in defining all that is possessed as wealth but all accretions are from unattached generations of future. But one need not have pre-existing wealth to capture the unattached future.
Can we create a conceptual framework as disruptive as the phenomenal world to which it seeks to leap?

Validation of Emergent or Deliberate Strategy
Ian van Jaarsveld, Member
If there isn't any research/validation within any strategic process or framework that is initially adopted, this would in my opinion, create additional chaos, confusion and waste of time. Brainstorming at the outset is designed to result in a somewhat chaotic lack of order.
It is the strategic process that through research and initial validation, creates order from the chaos and results in an emergent strategy that hopefully results in certain direct (deliberate) strategies. Because the DNA of the strategy process is about constant review, checks, balances and validation, validating the strategy therefore is imperative to whatever approach is adopted or designed.

gerson perez, Member
I think the emergent apparent always requires strategy analysis... But the assessment does not always have to happen within the formal structure of the organization.

Deliberate, then Observe what Emerges
edward sevume, Member
I am afraid to say that in the rear-view mirror, we could regard everything happening in the past, actions of groups etc. as strategy. That would provide us with a wobbling assumption that we were acting consciously with mapped out strategies (it could be the case).
I would prefer deliberating and then review to find out what happened afterwards, lessons learned etc. This way, we could talk about emerging observations that we could term as strategies. But all along, doing deliberations.

Strategy is Predictive
Alex, Member
Logically it is not possible to predict with only facts - from past or present observations. Strategy is trying to predict the external changes and adapt the internal resources to it. It is therefore a theory.
Whether the theory arrives deductively and deliberate or emergent and inductive is immaterial as the strategy is tested by thought experiments - running figures, assessing practicalities, checking suitability, feasibility and acceptability. Once the corporate responsible persons implement the chosen strategy then it must be adaptable, as the initial predictions will turn into agreeable and disagreeable observations over time.
Logically, strategy can only be a theory. Therefore whether it is deliberate or emergent is immaterial - whether it is good or bad predictive theory is subject to its adaptability and the constant analysis of observed outcomes mentioned already. 'Does it predict well?' is the simple question to be asked. 29-7-2018

Strategy is about Making the Right Changes in Time
Bernhard Keim, SIG Leader
@Alex: A survey published in HBR January 2017 ("Are you Solving the Right Problems") found that a full 85% of C-Suit managers agreed that their organizations were bad at problem diagnosis, and 87% agreed that this flaw carried significant costs. What they struggle with is not solving problems, but figuring out what the problems are. Better solutions nearly always come from an alternative explanation for - or a reframing of - the problem. It's not the predictions that mainly cause the problems, but the assumptions strategies are based on. Making the right assumptions and figuring out wether they are still valid, is the hard part of strategy analysis.

The problem with every strategy is not the intention, but the approach. Following a strategy blindfolded will not deliver superior results. This is like following the Leader. He thinks for us, he cares for us. Does he? No, because he can't. Thinking is something we can do only ourselves. The same holds for strategy. Strategy might be the result of someone's thinking, it cannot replace the necessary strategic perspective in our thinking and daily decision making.

The quality of strategy shouldn't be measured by the likelihood that it predicted the outcome well. Whether you predicted the future results well, future will tell you. But when future starts to talk, it is already too late to change it. 30-7-2018

Strategy Requires Iteration
Alex, Member
There is no doubt that theory generation - to make a strategy - is an iterative process. The theory should solve the identified problem. Research showing that managers are poor at problem identification is not new. That poor assumptions make poor strategies is not unknown either. Hence the phrase ´hope is not a strategy´.
Bernhard, you are correct in arguing an iteration process but strategy is still necessarily predictive in nature and as the facts change so must the strategy. 30-7-2018

Strategy Should Be More Than Coffee Cup Reading
Bernhard Keim, SIG Leader
@Alex: Strategy needs a specific kind of thinking to become successful. It is a cognitive activity that produces certain thoughts that are important within the framework a company acts in.
Strategic thinking tries to overcome the current status quo by introducing possible alternative outcomes, that might affect the company's future.
That way it raises awareness for change that might happen in the environment and the necessary decisions the company has to make and implement already today to match the challenges that are resulting from these future alternatives so that the future of the company fits the future environment.
This type of prediction is based on the validity of assumptions. Therefore (in strategy analysis) we have to challenge our assumptions again and again. Our mental models have been derived from the past. But future is not a perpetuated past. Change is the only constant we should expect. Strategy is a poise and willingness to handle these changes. 30-7-2018


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