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Mintzberg 5 Ps of Strategy

In: Business and Management

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The Strategy Concept I: Five Ps for Strategy*
Human nature insists on a definition for every concept. The field of strategic management cannot afford to rely on a single definition of strategy, indeed the word has long been used implicitly in different ways even if it has traditionally been defined formally in only one. Explicit recognition of multiple definitions can help practitioners and researchers alike to maneuver through this difficult field. Accordingly, this article presents five definitions of strategy-as plan, ploy, pattern, position, and perspective-and considers some of their interrelationships.

To almost anyone you care to ask, strategy is a plan-some sort of consciously intended course of action, a guideline (or set of guidelines) to deal with a situation. A kid has a "strategy" to get over a fence, a corporation has one to capture a market. By this definition, strategies have two essential characteristics: they are made in advance of the actions to which they apply, and they are developed consciously and purposefully. (They may, in addition, be stated explicitly, sometimes in formal documents known as "plans," although it need not be taken here as a necessary condition for "strategy as plan.") To Drucker, strategy is "purposeful action"', to Moore "design for action," in essence, "conception preceding actionn2 A host of definitions in a variety of fields reinforce this view. For example: in the military: Strategy is concerned with "draft[ing] the plan of war.. .shap[ing] the individual campaigns and within these, decid[ing] on the individual engagement^."^ in Came Theory: Strategy is "a complete plan: a plan which specifies what choices [the player] will make in every possible ~ituation."~ in management: "Strategy is a unified, comprehensive, and integrated plan.. .designed to ensure that the basic objectives of the enterprise are a c h i e ~ e d…...

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