19 02 2010

The Configuration School

How strategy is transformed and arranged.

Premises of the Configuration School:

1.) Most of the time, an organization can be described in terms of some kind of stable configuration of its characteristics: for a distinguishable period of time, it adopts a particular form of structure matched to a particular type of context which causes it to engage in particular behaviors that give rise to a particular set of strategies.

2.) These periods of stability are interrupted occasionally by some process of transformation– a quantum leap to another configuration.

3.) These successive states of configuration and periods of transformation may order themselves over time into patterned sequences, for example describing life cycles of organizations.

4.) The key to strategic management, therefore, is to sustain stability or at least adaptable strategic change most of tht time, but periodically to recognize the need for transformation and be able to manage that disruptive process without destroying the organization.

5.) Accordingly, the process of strategy making can be one of conceptual designing or formal planning, systematic analyzing or leadership visioning, cooperative learning or competitive politicking, focusing on individual cognition collective socialization or simple response to the forces of the environment; but each must be found at its own time and in its own context, In other words, the schools of thought on strategy formation themselves represent particular configurations.

6.) The resulting strategies take the form of plans or patterns, positions or perspectives, or else ploys, but again each for its own time and matched to its own situation” (305-306).

A thought that is brought up in the Configuration School: “Seek simplicity and distrust it” (347). What do you think? Which is a more desirable format for strategy, simplicity or complexity? Do both possibly have their own appropriate place and time when it comes to strategy formation? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

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