Classical schools and other schools of strategic thinking Essay- by EduBirdie

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The classical school of strategic thinking

Other Schools of Strategic Thinking

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Reference List

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Strategic thinking focuses on creating creative dialogue among people that shape the direction of the organization. The aim is to make the dialogue quite proactive in order to improve the operations of the organization. Strategic thinking is a mean of understanding the key drivers of business as well as improving the conventional thinking through dialoguing with the others (Mintzberg, 1996, 96).

It is a main component of strategic planning and it uncovers the potential of the company’s management in order to create valuable opportunities for the growth of the company.

Strategic thinking entails thinking, planning and acting strategically in order to ensure the success of the business (Lampel & Mintzberg 1999, 21). There are various schools of strategic thinking that have been developed in order to explain the meaning of effective strategic thinking. The purpose of this essay is to discuss classical school and other schools of strategic thinking.

The classical school of strategic thinking

The classical school of strategic thinking was come up with during the industrial revolution when factories in the industries faced management problems. There were vast labor dissatisfactions and the management was unsure on how to deal with the situation. The other issue was how to train the employees to make them loyal members of the organizations.

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The key objective of this school of thought was to determine the best way that could be used to undertake and manage tasks (CliffsNotes, 2010, 1). The classical school of strategic thinking was broadly categorized into classical administrative school and the classical scientific school of thought. The classical scientific school was developed to satisfy the need to improve efficiency and productivity within the factories.

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The main aim was to ensure that the most work is done and reviews that the workforce has the most desired skills to do the work. This should be done through scrutinizing the skills possessed by the workforce and also paying more attention to the work process. The main proponents of the scientific classical school are Lillian Gilbreth, Fredrick Taylor, Gantt and Frank whose contribution led to the development of the classical scientific school.

The administrative school on the other hand concentrated on the total organization where emphasis is laid on the developing managerial principles in the organization. The proponents of the administrative school based their study on the flow of information in an organization.

Management ?

Their main emphasis is to understand how the organization operates and how it can be improved to increase the performance of the organization. One of the greatest proponents of this school, Max Weber, argued that the organization should not be managed personally because people will be loyal to their personal supervisors instead of the organization itself. Weber believes in a bureaucratic structure of the organization where there are rules to be followed by the members of the organization.

This way, he believed, would detach the organization from the personalized management. He condemned the European organizations for personalizing their management which he described as family-like system of management. The other proponents of the administrative school include Henri Fayol, Mary P.F., and Chester B. whose contributions were very significant in the development of the school.

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Other Schools of Strategic Thinking

Many theorists have come up with various schools of thought in their attempt to describe the issue of strategy in business management. These schools have greatly enriched the classical school of strategic thinking. The question that has brought about the emergence of these schools is why some strategies fail while others succeed.

One of these schools is The Planning School that describes strategy systems as conscious processes of formal planning (Mintzberg, 1990, 171). This school argues that the strategy systems are subject to control and can be decomposed in to various distinct steps.

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The other school is The Design School of strategic thinking. This school describes strategy systems as processes of conception and deliberate action of conscious thought (Goold M. 1992, 169). This school also asserts that the chief executive officer has the responsibility of controlling the strategy systems in the organization. The Positioning School of Strategic Thinking has its roots in economics. This school describes the strategy systems as analytical processes that are carried out by the analysts in the organization.

The strategies of business management are described as being identifiable and generic in nature (Chakravarty, 2005, 1). The Entrepreneurial School on the other hand explains system strategies as strategic processes that organizational leaders have in their mind. This school argues that the strategies are long-term plans of the organization and that they define the vision of the organization (Segars & Grover, 1999, 202).

There is also Cognitive School whose notions are based on psychology. The school describes that there are cognitive processes in the mind of the strategist and they determine the success of the strategies implemented. The Learning School is also based on psychology of the strategists and the strategy systems are taken to be processes that are learnt over time. The Power School of strategic thinking asserts that strategies are a result of power game within the organization and is therefore believed to have its roots in politicology (French, 2009, 59).

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The other school is Environmental School which has its origin in biology. This school describes strategy systems as reactive processes resulting from the reactions of the organization to the external environment (Kemp & Ashish, 2003, 1). The environment therefore determines the strategies adopted by the organization.

The Cultural School also affords a description of strategies in business management. The school is based on anthropology and describes strategy systems as collective processes of social interaction of members in the organization. The social forces of culture in this case play a big role in shaping the strategies of the organization. The last school in this list is called The Configuration School that describes strategy as a form of organization transformation (Miller, 1986, 236).


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The strategy systems are a complex process defined by several factors that are described in the above schools of strategic thinking.

Reference List

Chakravarty M. 2005. The 10 schools of strategic planning . India: India Limited. Web.

CliffsNotes. 2010. Classical Schools of Management . New York: Wiley Publishing Inc. Web.

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French S. 2009. Re-thinking the foundations of the strategic business process. Journal of Management Development Vol. 28 No. 1, 2009 pp. 51-76.

Goold M. 1992. Research Notes And Communications Design, Learning And Planning: A Further Observation On The Design School Debate. Strategic Management Journal (1986-1998); Feb 1992; 13, 2; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 169.

Kemp J. & Ashish J. 2003. The 9 Schools of Strategic Thinking . New York. The Free Press. Web.

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Lampel J. & Mintzberg H. 1999. Reflecting on the strategy process. Sloan Management Review; spring 1999; 40, 3; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 21.

Miller, D. 1986. Configurations of Strategy and Structure: Towards a Synthesis. Strategic Management Journal (7,3, 1986: 233–249).

Mintzberg H. 1990 . The Design School: Reconsidering The Basic Premises of Strategy management. Strategic Management Journal; Mar/Apr 1990; 11, 3; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 171.

Mintzberg H.1996. Reply to Michael Goold. California Management Review; Summer 1996; 38, 4; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 96.

Segars H. & Grover V. 1999. Profiles of Strategic Information Systems Planning. Information System Research ; Vol.10, No. 3, September 1999. Pp. 199-232.

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