The Strategy Safari

Lampel Henry Mintzberg

Authors Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel provide the oft-cited "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe as a backdrop to their discussion on the ten schools of management (Design, Planning, Positioning, Entrepreneurial, Cognitive, Learning, Power, Cultural, Environmental, and Configuration), because while at the outset they indicate that "we are the blind people and strategy formation is our elephant", since "everyone has grabbed hold of some part or other and 'railed on in utter ignorance' about the rest" because "no one has had the vision to see the entire beast", the authors end their discourse by showing that there is not necessarily one safari beast with which to contend, but multiple, although "we shall never find [the whole beast of strategy formation], never really see it all". Corresponding to each of these ten schools is a different view of the strategy process - strategy formation as a process of conception, strategy formation as a formal process, strategy formation as an analytical process, strategy formation as a visionary process, strategy formation as a mental process, strategy formation as an emergent process, strategy formation as a process of negotiation, strategy formation as a collective process, strategy formation as a reactive process, and strategy formation as a process of transformation. The chapter introductions to each of the schools provide superb historical information, and the last chapter discusses the evolution of the the ten schools and provides an excellent bulleted summary table that whimsically assigns different beasts to each school as well as easy-to-remember homilies such as "take us to your leader" for The Entrepreneurial School, "I'll see it when I believe it" for The Cognitive School, and "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" for The Learning School.

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