The subject of strategic management is in the midst of an evolutionary process. In this regard, several strands of thinking are emerging. They can be classified under the following groups:
- The Prescriptive Schools
- The Descriptive Schools
- The Integrative Schools
- The design school:- (Selzniek and Andrews) – Strategy is seen as something unique. The process of strategy formation is based on judgment and thinking.
- The planning school:- (Ansoff) – Under this school, the strategy is seen as a plan divided into sub-strategies and programmes. The lead role in strategy formation is played by the planners.
- The positioning school:- (Schendel-Hatten & Porter) – The process of strategy formation is analytical, systematic and deliberate. Under this school, strategy is seen as a set of planned generic positions chosen by a firm on the basis of an analysis of the competition and the industry in which they operate.
- Entrepreneurial School (Schumpeter & Cole):–The process of strategy formation is intuitive, visionary and largely deliberate. Strategy is seen asthe outcome of a personal and unique perspective often aimed at thecreation of a niche.
- Cognitive School (Simon and March):– This school perceives strategy formation as a mental process. The lead role is played by the thinker philosopher.
- Learning School (Weick, Quinn, Senge and Lindblom) – This school perceives strategy formation as an emergent process. The process is informal and messy and the lead role is played by the learner.
- Power School (Allison & Astley):– Under this school, strategy is seen as political and cooperative process or pattern. The process of stategy formation is messy, emergent and deliberate. This school perceives strategy formation as a negotiation process.
- Cultural School (Rhenman and Normann):– Under this school, strategy is seen as a collective perspective. The process of strategy formation is ideological, constrained and deliberate.
- Environmental School (Hanan, Freeman and Pugh):– The lead role in strategy formation is played by the environment as an entity. This reactive process of strategy formation is passive and imposed and hence emergent.
The Integrative School:– The major contributions to the configuration school are by Chandler, Miles and Snow. Under this school, strategy is viewed in relation to a specific context and thus could be in a form that corresponds to any process visualized by above nine schools. The strategy formation process is integrative, episodic and sequential.