Strategic Management: Theory and Practice

In theory and practice, strategic management is a process, which provides organisational managers with the ability to formulate, implement, and evaluate strategic processes, which are required to effectively pursue and achieve organisational goals (Deming 22). Researchers have established that managers use the management process to discriminate between different strategies and to identify the most appropriate strategies to pursue and achieve the long-term success of businesses (Teece 12). A number of studies show that management practices and processes form the strategies, which managers employ to pursue organisational goals (Deming 23).

Deming views the strategy to be the discourse, which is implemented without considering the perceptions, practices, contents, and objectives of the management process (24). Some authors view strategic management to be a mechanism of implementing the management processes because of the truth that is contained in the discourse (Xin 24). The discourse is regarded by different authors as a mechanism to generate and sustain political power and managerial practices in society (Xin 24). A critical review shows that the perceptions about management are based on the symbolic and ideological discourse and not as an instrument for managers to pursue and achieve organisational goals. Here, “managerial practices and organisational structures are viewed as inherently political” (Xin 24).

According to Teece, different authors view strategy from different perspectives, which leads to the conclusion that strategy is not monolithic (45). Here, strategy is perceived as a tool or a ploy to deceive and outflank competitors using unpredictable maneuvers, which are deceptively implemented with a lot of sophistry and deviousness.

In the microeconomics of industrial organisation, strategy is seen as a position, which provides a conceptual framework for managers to execute their managerial tasks (Shover and Bryant 143). The distinct difference here is the hierarchy of the relationships between different economic units, which are idealised as the concepts of perfect competition and market powers. Different authors use economic analysis as a tool to define strategy and to advise firms on how to optimise profits in different market segments to make abnormal profits (Xin 24). Strategy is seen as a process that incorporates different elements, which enable organisations to build barriers and sustain monopolistic structures (Shover and Bryant 250).

Some scholars including Teece have established the argument that strategy is a concept, which relies on interpretive, linear, logical, and adaptive models of analysis and has heavily critiqued the technocratic and prescriptive approaches of defining strategy (178). Here, the linear model functions on the premise that initiatives, goals, and the allocation of resources function on a predetermined plan. The argument is within the definition of strategic planning.

The purpose of strategic planning is to pursue and achieve long-term goals (Teece 182). The interpretive model is viewed as an emerging model, which factors the attitudes of individuals and emphasises communication. Here, communication uses symbols and languages as the methods for passing across the information. The interpretive model defines strategy as emerging and not a planned phenomenon. The argument here is that strategy cannot be a planned phenomenon. It draws on negotiation, learning, and adaptation to actualise it because it is a process that is functional and inevitable.

Different theories and models agree that strategy is a process, which functions on the cognitive model and the institutional theory of thinking. Here, a manager’s perceptions about the external environment in, which an organisation is set influences the decisions and the actions made by an organisation (Teece 182). On the other hand, constructivism emerges from the perceptions developed from the institutional theory of thinking. Here, normative pressure and cognition are regarded as the elements, which shape the practices and norms of organisations. That results in a strategic management model, which managers use to make decisions at the corporate level and in the management of the day-to-day activities.

The systematic development and critiquing of the concept of strategy borrows from different theories and perspectives. The three such concepts, which have attempted to crystallize the meaning held about strategy, include hegemony, power, and the critical theory (Teece 182).

Here, the ‘critical approach gives explanations about strategy using the constructive strategic discourse as the element managers use to create and regenerate power and relations. Here, a combination of ideology, power relations, and economic concepts provides the explanations on the effect of the ‘‘critical approach’ in explaining strategy. However, some critics argue that the ‘critical approach provides scanty explanations and guidelines on how to implement the strategy. In a rare explanation, the use of SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to develop strategy has strongly been criticised using the ‘critical theory.

The argument is that the approach is merely a suggestion that has not been used by many of the most successful companies, which regard the SWOT analysis as a recipe. The problem here is that Porter’s suggestions, which are based on the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis have colonised the thinking of organisational managers.

On the other hand, hegemony, which is based on the structural organisation of ideas, provides the ground to argue that the historical economic performance of an organisation should be aligned with the existing political structures to enable managers to coordinate different social groups into a dominant alliance (Deming 23). Meaning, “material payoffs, intellectual leaderships, moral success, and political compromise provide combine to create a strong foundation of a hegemonic block of customers” (Xin 24).

However, such a process of creating management strategies is not complete. The process is critiqued as being complex, contradictory, and it provides an insecure foundation for establishing alliances, which are bound to cover any existing windows of opportunity. Here, the application of resources on subordinate groups is not explored exhaustively. Here, a radical departure of hegemony from the critical approach is evident.

Towards the end of this study, it is evident that the strategic management process borrows from different elements, which include power and politics among others. The argument is that strategic management is based on the establishment of corporate legitimacy, dominance, structures, stratagems, and discursive practices (Deming 23). Such approaches can be used as tools to achieve the organisational goals, objectives, strong market positions, a disciplined labor force, social legitimacy of the organisation, better formulation of government policies, and competitive business environments (Deming 23).

In conclusion, the strategic management process has been explained using different models and theories. The models and theories explain the advantages of formulating the management strategies, which provide long-term benefits to organisations (Taylor 180). However, it is critical to understand that the strategic management process depends on the contributions of each member of an organisation, which is not simply a preserve of the managers (Taylor 180).

Works Cited

Deming, Zeng. Research on the Barriers to Knowledge Transfer of Industry Technology Innovation Strategy Alliance and Its Countermeasures.” Information Studies: Theory & Application 2 (2012): 016. Print.

Shover, Neal, and Kevin M. Bryant. “Theoretical explanations of corporate crime.” Understanding corporate criminality 3 (1993): 141-176. Print.

Taylor, Edward W. “An update of transformative learning theory: A ‘critical review of the empirical research (1999–2005).” International Journal of Lifelong Education 26.2 (2007): 173-191. Print.

Teece, David J. “Business models, business strategy and innovation.” Long range planning 43.2 (2010): 172-194. Print.

Xin, Liu. “Research on Cultivating Strategy of Company Core Competition.” Value Engineering 22 (2010): 034. Print.

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