Mintzberg and Waters' Strategy Model

Mintzberg and Waters' Strategy Model

Mintzberg and Waters' Strategy Model, also known as the "Mintzberg's 10 Schools of Thought," is a framework that categorizes different approaches to strategic management. The model, proposed by Henry Mintzberg and James A. Waters in their 1985 paper "Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent," aims to help organizations understand and evaluate various strategic approaches based on their characteristics and applicability.

The Model's Key Concepts

The model distinguishes between two types of strategies: deliberate and emergent.

  • Deliberate Strategy: A deliberate strategy is one that is intentionally designed and planned by an organization's management. This type of strategy is based on a clear set of objectives, goals, and intentions, and it is typically documented in a formal strategic plan.
  • Emergent Strategy: An emergent strategy, on the other hand, is one that evolves over time as an organization adapts to its environment and the changing circumstances it faces. This type of strategy is not explicitly planned or designed, but rather arises as a result of the organization's ongoing activities and decision-making processes.

According to Mintzberg and Waters, most real-world strategies are a combination of deliberate and emergent elements. They argue that organizations should be flexible and open to adapting their strategies based on the environment and the emergent situations they encounter.

Mintzberg's 10 Schools of Thought

Mintzberg further expanded on the strategy model by identifying ten distinct "schools of thought" that represent different perspectives on strategy formation. These schools can be grouped into three categories: prescriptive, descriptive, and configurational.

  • Prescriptive Schools: These schools focus on how strategies should be formulated and provide normative guidance.
    • Design School: Strategy as a process of conception
    • Planning School: Strategy as a formal process
    • Positioning School: Strategy as an analytical process
  • Descriptive Schools: These schools describe how strategies are actually formed and provide explanations for observed patterns.
    • Entrepreneurial School: Strategy as a visionary process
    • Cognitive School: Strategy as a mental process
    • Learning School: Strategy as an emergent process
    • Power School: Strategy as a process of negotiation
    • Cultural School: Strategy as a collective process
    • Environmental School: Strategy as a reactive process
  • Configurational School: This school focuses on how strategies can be transformed by analyzing patterns and configurations within the organization and its environment.
    • Configuration School: Strategy as a process of transformation

Applications and Implications

Mintzberg and Waters' Strategy Model provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the various approaches to strategic management. By considering the different schools of thought and the balance between deliberate and emergent strategies, organizations can:

  • Evaluate their current strategic approach and identify potential areas for improvement or adaptation.
  • Develop a more flexible and responsive approach to strategy formation, allowing them to better adapt to changing circumstances and environments.
  • Foster a more comprehensive understanding of strategic management and the various factors that influence strategy formation, ultimately leading to more informed and effective decision-making.

See Also