The process of strategic management is all about the major initiatives that are taken by top management of a company. It entails for specification of mission, vision as well as objectives of organization. This further helps in developing of policies and plans so as to achieve the desired objectives (Alkhafaji, 2003). This is further followed by proper allocation of resources in the right direction leading to achievement of goals and objectives.
According to Mintzberg, strategy can be regarded as a pattern or a plan that carried out the integration of main goals, policies, as well as action sequences of a firm so as to create a cohesive whole. It is only by focusing on the intricacies of a well formulated strategy there can be an allocation or organizational resources (Amason, 2010). This will lead to development of a unique and viable process which is based on many domains. These are in terms of internal strengths, shortcomings, expected changes and setting up of contingent moves by opponents. On the other hand, the strategic planning of an organization is all about the set of management activities that are utilized to set priorities, focus on energy and resources so as to work towards common goals, establish agreement so as to gain an intended outcome (Brown, 2003). It can thus be regarded as a disciplined approach that produces the fundamental decisions as well as actions that are utilized in shaping as well as guiding the activities of a firm (Nuntamanop, Ilkka Kauranen, and Igel, 2013). Hence, an effective strategic planning is found to take place so as to find out where exactly the organization is going. It also helps in the deterioration of the actions that are required to make the much needed progress (Lamond, 2004).
Analysis of Mintzberg approach of Strategic Management
Mintzberg has written about the five P of strategy. These are inclusive of Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position and Perspective. Each of the five P has got a different approach to strategy. It is only be gaining a brief understanding about every P, there can be a development of a robust business strategy so as to gain a competitive advantage in terms of organization's strengths and capabilities (Alexander and Power, 2012). Mintzberg has often given a focus to the concept of strategy as a plan. During the implementation of any strategy in the organization, it is a known fact that planning is something that is usually adopted by managers (French, 2009). It is also an essential part of the strategy formulation process.
Hence, the aim of strategy as a plan is that the organizational strategies are required to be developed in advance and should have sole purpose. This is a good step to assist in future planning or organizational activities (Mintzberg's Model, 2005). But Mintzberg has not focused on the external environmental factors that can lead to non fulfillment of the strategic plans. Hence, there may be diversion from the overall planning process undertaken by managers which may not be fruitful in the long run (Alkhafaji, 2003). Moreover, the requirement with strategy as a plan is that it is required to be made in advance and developed consciously taking into consideration the pertaining issues. This thing may not be a possibility due to ever changing nature of business environment (Hill and Jones, 2012).
Mintzberg has also described strategy as a ploy where disrupting, dissuading or discouraging can be made a part of strategy. This defiantly helps in getting the better out of competitors. For example, a retail chain may threaten to expand its operations so as to restrict the activities of a competitor (Hodgkinson, 2002). As a ploy, it is clear that Mintzberg wants the organization to take steps to outsmart the competitors. Moreover, it involves for a specific maneuver from the company to outwit an opponent. Hence, this seems completely against the principles of fairness in the business activities undertaken by a firm (Nuntamanop, Ilkka Kauranen, and Igel, 2013). Moreover, on another note, it can be problematic for the same firm if some other competitor utilized the concept of ploy as a strategy. This can further led to a generation of provoking countermoves that may not be beneficial for the overall industry under consideration (Liebe, 2008). It is also a known fact that any strategy is itself a concept which is rooted in stability in comparison to change. Hence, the concept has been criticized in the grounds that whether it will be easy to reconcile he dynamic notion of ploy as a strategy with more static ones which happens to be pattern and plan (Lombardi, 2010).
Strategy as Perspective is all about the choices made by an organization due to heavy reliance on culture. This is in tune with strategy as a pattern which emerges from the past organizational behavior. Here, the patterns of thinking assist in shaping the perspective of organization (Hill and Jones, 2012). For example, a firm that focuses on a risk-taking approach and innovation on part of employees might think about bringing up innovative products to be in tune with the strategy. However, it can be critically evaluated that this approach may not be beneficial in all the situations (Alkhafaji, 2003). For instance, innovation may not be acceptable to consumers and they demand for standardized versions of a product. Hence, the requirement will be to follow a flexible approach.
It is clear that Mintzberg approach of Strategic Management it is very essential to have an in depth understanding about each and every element. This will aid in the area of developing a robust, practical as well as achievable business strategy. But it is also required that the companies must not try to use 5P as a process (Alexander and Power, 2012). Rather, the need is to consider them as a variation of viewpoints to develop a robust as well as successful strategy. It is also required to be made sure by the firms that each of the five Ps is not considered to be isolated from each other. The 5 P of strategic management are not mutually exclusive. Hence, the interpretation of the strategies may vary from one to other firm (Susanne, 2013).
It will also be essential to evaluate the contributions of Mintzberg with the other strategic management contributors like Porter and Whittington. Porter has given varied models at micro and macro level so as to combat the competition in terms of proper strategic planning models. These have been in terms of Five Forces Model, Value Chain, Diamond Model as well as generic Strategies. These have aided in changing the thought process of business men and have assisted to face competition. For example, Five Forces Model has provided a means to understand the strength as well as current competitive position. This has further aided in deciding strategies to help in overall growth and development. On the other hand, Mintzberg 5P approach has laid a basic foundation to decide over which strategy can be applicable for business. Hence, on one hand Five Forces Model assists in understanding the competitor environment and on the other side 5P approach gives an overview about strategies (Wilson, 2012).
Application of Mintzberg Theory in Honda
Mintzberg Theory is not only a theoretical concept but can be easily applied in context of any organization. The same is true for Honda as well. Honda is considered as one of the leading manufacturers of motorbikes. The company has been known for identifying as well as targeting the untapped markets for small sized bikes of 50cc in the US. This enabled the firm to expand it and get over the European competition (Hill and Jones, 2012). This ultimately led to a severe damage to indigenous bike manufacturers present in US. Till the year 1965, Honda had covered 63 percent of total US market share. The planned strategy of Honda was to compete with the larger European as well as US bikes lying in 250 cc and plus. The bikes had shown promise for a defined market that was sold through dedicated network of dealers (Nuntamanop, Ilkka Kauranen, and Igel, 2013).
All was going fine for the company, but a disaster struck when the larger machines of Honda developed faults. It was found that the machines were not designed for hard wear and tear. This led to a recall of larger machines by Honda. Many Sports goods shops, department stores as well as some ordinary bicycle manufactures expressed the interest. But the issue was that, Honda did not want to confuse the target market image of men who a preference for larger bikes had sold by Honda. This led to the presence of only one alternative for Honda (Alkhafaji, 2003). It was to sell the small 50 cc bikes just to raise bucks. On a positive note, it got popular amongst people who never bought motorbikes before. This led to an adoption of new slogan by the company. It was meet the nicest people on Honda (Alexander and Power, 2012). As per the given scenario, Honda has very carefully adopted Mintzberg Theory of Strategic Management that revolves around the five Ps.
Plan – As per the Mintzberg Theory of Strategic Management, plan can be regarded as a course of action that has been intended consciously. Hence, Honda utilized the same concept with its 50 cc bikes (Yiu, 2008). With the help of plan strategy, the company tried to identify as well as target the market which was untapped in case of small 50cc bikes present in the United States. It acted consciously and was aware of the impact that could be caused by the launch (Nuntamanop, Ilkka Kauranen, and Igel, 2013).
Ploy – As per Mintzberg Theory of Strategic Management, ploy is defined as an attempt to maneuver the competitor. The same approach has been followed by Honda. It is clear that the bikes had presence of a well defined market and these were sold via a network of dedicated motorbike dealerships (Mintzberg's Model, 2005). Hence, the firm applied ploy strategy and tried to compete with the larger European and US bikes in the category of 250 cc and over.
Pattern- This approach as per Mintzberg Theory of Strategic Management is reflective of the emergent strategies. The definition clearly suggests that the strategy emerges over a period of time which may not be expressed in the original planning stage (Pryor and Yaneja, 2013). Same happened in case of Honda. It was not intended by the company to sell the small 50 cc bikes. Still it was forced to do it just to raise some money and for very survival of business. This approach got successful with the company (Hill and Jones, 2012). The 50 cc bikes proved to be very popular among the people. The change especially happened amongst those who had never bought motorbikes before.
Hence, in context of Mintzberg Theory of Strategic Management, the example of Honda can be seen as a firm that paralyzed a particular perspective of being a low cost producer and seeked to attract new markets in aggressive ways. It turned that perspective into s plan in from an intended position which was to capture the traditional motorcycle market of US. It also wanted to create a new market for small family bikes (Nuntamanop, Ilkka Kauranen, and Igel, 2013). This dream was realized via an integrated set of patterns that lined up distributors. It also developed an effective advertising campaign by bringing change in slogan (Hill and Jones, 2012).
The given report has given a due focus on the Mintzberg take on strategic management. Special emphasis has been given on the study of Mintzberg Concepts related to 5 P of strategy. Strategy is all about the association of a firm towards a long range planning as well as a way of creating a fix between external business environment and the internal resources and capabilities. Mintzberg Concepts related to 5 P of strategy deals with Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position and Perspective (Alexander and Power, 2012). Plan is all about the integrated map so as to achieve the outcomes related to deliberate process. Ploy is all about maneuverings in order to overcome competitors. The pattern as a strategy has its emergence during a period of time even though it may not have expressed itself in the original planning stage (Moore, 2011). Position is all about the kind of image any company who like to have in a given market place. It thus tries to achieve a strategic fit in terms of organization and your environment forces. Perspective involves for developing a new way to look at the world. This is also inclusive of developing new ways and means to interpret the information from it and judge for the presence of opportunities and choices. The concept has successfully been utilized by Honda (Graetz, 2002).
Alkhafaji, F. A., 2003. Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation, and Control in a Dynamic Environment. 21st ed. Routledge.
Allio, J. R., 2011. Henry Mintzberg: still the zealous skeptic and scold. Strategy & Leadership. 39(2). pp.4 - 8
Amason, A., 2010. Strategic Management: From Theory to Practice. Taylor & Francis.
Brown, P., 2003. Seeking success through strategic management development. Journal of European Industrial Training. 27(6). pp.292 – 303.
French, S., 2009. Re-framing strategic thinking: the research – aims and outcomes. Journal of Management Development. 28(3). pp.205 – 224
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