Tenets of Schools of Thought:
This school is characterized by the formation of strategy as an open process of influence, which puts the emphasis on the use of power and politics in the negotiation. The formation of strategy depends on the power and policy, internal and external. As a result, they tend to be emerging. There are two elements of this SoT: “Micro” and “Macro”. The micro elements deal with internal political games and the macro elements relate to those who play the organization. The "micro" is power in action; it sees strategy as a game within the organization. The “macro” reflects the interdependence between the Organization and its environment. It discusses the ways in which the organization promotes their own well-being, through control or cooperation.
“Of all the descriptive schools, the learning school grew into a veritable wave and challenged the always dominant prescriptive schools” (Mintzberg et al, 1998). According to this school, strategies emerge as people come to learn about a situation as well as their organization’s capability of dealing with it. This SoT began with the publication of “The Science of Muddling Through” (Lindblom, 1959). Lindblom suggested that the design of public policies was not a neat controlled process but a messy one, whereby officials try to manage a world they know is too complex for them. However, James B. Quinn, with “Strategies for Change: Logical Incrementalism” gave the actual kick-off to this SoT. According to Lindblom only 10% of the conceived strategies are implemented. The problem is the split between formulation and implementation. For a strategy to be effective there has to be a sum of small actions and individual decisions. In other words, individuals contribute to the strategic process from all positions in the organization. In disjointed Incrementalism by Lindblom, decisions are made to solve problems rather than to exploit opportunities, without the slightest attention to the final objectives or the connection with the rest of the decisions. There is no central authority that coordinates the mutual adjustments. Whereas logical Incrementalism by Quinn suggests that organizations see the strategy as an integrated approach. “The real strategy evolves as the internal decision-making and external facts converge to create a new consensus to act, widely shared by the members of the management team" (Quinn, 1980). He defined it as a continuous and dynamic process.
There are two main strategic tools, which fall under from Power SoT. One of these is Force Field Analysis proposed by Lewin (1947). According to this tool there are two forces that drive change in a business, the Driving Forces and the Restraining Forces. The Driving Forces push and promote change e.g. executive mandate, customer demand and increased efficiency whereas the Restraining forces try to prevent change from happening which can be in the form of fear, lack of training and incentives. The main criticism of this theory is that the method does not have enough sophistication or complexity to measure the dynamic forces that affect a business (Cronshaw, 2008).
The second strategic tool is proposed by Kleiner (1996), called the Core Group Theory. The Core Group Theory looks at leader-member dynamic within a firm. In his theory, Kleiner argues that the customers along with employee’s satisfaction are considered to be secondary to the ‘core group’ (top executives) and how some core groups can be ‘parasitic’ to a firm based of the willingness of organizational members to comply. The main weakness observed is similar to that of the Force Field Analysis, that is this theory has not quite ‘developed thematically’, the theory does not base itself on measurement (Bokeno, 2003). The main criticisms observed in the tools for the Power school both fall under the inability to measure, this could be because of the Power School focuses on social...
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