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Extensive but accessible analysis from a Design perspective,
This review is from: Contemporary Strategy Analysis: Text and Cases (Paperback)
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Contemporary Strategy Analysis is a well-written text book composed of theory, case studies and analysis, written from the Design School of Strategy perspective.
The case studies vary from the breezy and general, such as the analysis of HM The Queen and Lady Gaga, to highly technical and detailed, such as the 18 page discussion of Eastman Kodak's Quest for a Digital Future. This is a judicious method, since the lessons learned from the 'Strategy Capsule' studies, as the short studies are termed, and the full-blown chapter-length case studies are quite different. Readers may be particularly interested in the 'Manchester United: Preparing for life without Ferguson' section, as there is now an opportunity to directly compare the intended strategy, as set out here, with the club's strategic performance with Ferguson gone.
The overall strategic approach of this book could be described as 'SWOT-plus'. The author explains early on the relationship of his approach to the SWOT model, though he points out the fundamental weaknesses of SWOT and demonstrates effectively why a more nuanced approach is necessary, which can take account of something being both a strength (Alex Ferguson's skill as a coach) and a threat (the fact that he was nearing retirement). Nonetheless, the book's fundamental perspective is finding a strategic fit between the company and its environment, and therefore fits into what Mintzberg terms (and the book acknowledges to be) the Design School.
There is a brief discussion of the Design and the Emergent Schools, but author Robert M. Grant does not seem to take into account the other schools described by Mintzberg in Strategy Safari: The Complete Guide Through the Wilds of Strategic Management, and, indeed, the most recent references to Mintzberg's work are from the 1970s.
Overall this is a very good and helpful book, lucidly written and well structured for those looking for a particular strategy area or case study. My only quibble is that the chapter end-notes are not supplemented with a unified bibliography at the end.