Strategy – Definition

Cite this article as:"Strategy – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated April 24, 2019, last accessed October 29, 2020,


Strategy Definition

A carefully laid out plan to achieve one or more goals under uncertain conditions is called as ‘Strategy’. Strategy involves research, planning, and execution of tasks in a precise manner within a specified duration to arrive at the desired outcome. Usage of skills, tactics, resources, and domain expertise are paramount to executing a successful strategy.

A Little More on What is  Strategy

Strategy is required when the resources to achieve a goal are limited, or the circumstances unfavourable. It takes into consideration all the pain points and hurdles in achieving a goal, creates a plan that operates within the limited resources available to execute it, and puts it into action to get to the end point. In short, Strategy is the how and when of achieving goals within limited means.

Strategies can be set in stone and come into being at the inception of an organisation or idea. Or, they can be shaped and reshaped in accordance with the changing scenario of execution, easily adapted to the new requirements and resources available at a given moment.

Strategising for organisations is usually referred to as ‘Strategic Planning’ or ‘Strategic Thinking’. Various scholars over the years have described it in terms of economics, politics, and more. It is basically an amalgamation of plans that when set into motion, lead to a definitive goal in the future.

Various Components of Strategy

In the simplest terms, strategy is an approach to problem solving which entails the following stages:

  1. Diagnosis: Identifying the problem or coming up with a problem statement that elaborates on the nature of the goal.
  2. A Guiding Policy: Ideas, rules, allocation of resources to resolve the problem or inch towards the goal.
  3. Coherent Actions: Execution of the plans that have been conceived of to address the problem or achieve a particular goal.

Strategic Procedures

Strategy can be broken down into two main parts.

  1. Formulation: The ‘Diagnosis’ and ‘Guiding Policy’ stages make up the first part of strategizing for a goal.
  2. Implementation: Setting the plans into motion, executing all the steps leading up to the resolution of the problem or attaining a desired result happens at the ‘Implementation’ stage.

References for Strategy

Academic Research on  Strategy

How competitive forces shape strategy, Porter, M. E. (1989). In Readings in strategic management (pp. 133-143). Palgrave, London. This paper takes a look at the competitive factors that help shape strategy in corporate management.

Product development performance: Strategy, organization, and management in the world auto industry, Fujimoto, T., & Clark, K. B. (1991). Harvard business school press, Boston, MA. This paper examines Strategic planning and execution in the automotive industry.

Organizational strategy, structure, and process, Miles, R. E., Snow, C. C., Meyer, A. D., & Coleman Jr, H. J. (1978). Academy of management review, 3(3), 546-562. This paper focuses on Organisational Strategies, their impact on the structure and operations of the organisation.

Strategy and the Internet, Porter, M. E., & Michael; ilustraciones Gibbs. (2001). This paper takes a look at the phenomenon of ‘Strategising’ in the era of the internet.

Patterns in strategy formation, Mintzberg, H. (1978). Management science, 24(9), 934-948. This paper sheds light on the repetitive patterns that exhibit themselves in the formulation of a Strategy.

The strategy of ecosystem development, Odum, E. P. (1966). science, 164(262.270). This paper walks the reader through the Strategic phase of developing an ecosystem.

Strategic factor markets: Expectations, luck, and business strategy, Barney, J. B. (1986). Management science, 32(10), 1231-1241. This paper takes a look at external factors like market forces, luck, etc., that play an important role in business strategy formulation and execution.

Towards a dynamic theory of strategy, Porter, M. E. (1991). Strategic management journal, 12(S2), 95-117. This paper charts the progress of the study of Strategy and the move towards dynamic strategising.

The strategy concept I: Five Ps for strategy, Mintzberg, H. (1987). California management review, 30(1), 11-24. This paper explains the five Ps of strategic concepts – Plan, Pattern, Position, Perspective, and Ploy.

The strategy-focused organization, Kaplan, R. S., & Norton, D. P. (2001). Strategy and Leadership, 29(3), 41-42. This paper takes a look at an organisation with a strong focus on strategic management and leadership.

Strategy in emerging economies, Hoskisson, R. E., Eden, L., Lau, C. M., & Wright, M. (2000). Academy of management journal, 43(3), 249-267. This paper outlines the deployment of strategic planning in emerging economies.

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