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The essential guide to senior management's biggest challenge
on 25 February 2003
When senior managers and executives discuss strategy, the results are often unhelpful or unenlightening. This is bad enough in a single company, but in a merger or formal partnership it can quickly result in energy sapping discussions which lead nowhere.
One of the main reasons is that there are so many deeply held views of what strategy is.
If you are a senior manager and have ever faced such a situation, then this book should be at the top of your list.
Authoritative but entertaining, it overviews and critiques the ten schools of strategic thinking which are common in the business world today. Read once through quickly, it will open your eyes to the key thoughts and terminology which characterise each school - in turn explaining why otherwise flexible colleagues can become intransigent over the meaning of a single word.
A more careful rereading will enable you to gain an overview of how different kinds of strategy relate to each other, when one school is preferable to another, and the pitfalls of following any one school slavishly.
At a further level, this book carefully refers by page number to the key texts in each of the schools. It therefore becomes an extended bibliographic study guide to a much deeper immersion in underlying theory.
Mintzberg and his co-authors have worked very hard to keep this text lucid and relatively short. It is nonetheless detailed and rewarding. If you are not sure about this book, there is a summary paper in the FT's Mastering Strategy, which should help to make up your mind.