Strategy follows structure
The proposition that strategy follows structure was first coined by Alfred Chandler. In his classical study, Alfred (1962) argued that the managers of organizations should choose a structure that allows them to pursue the chosen strategy for the firm. Chandler substantiated this approach by the study of four successful American conglomerates; Du Pont, General Motors, Standard Oil Company in New Jersey, and Shears Roebuck, in the 1920s. Amburgy and Dacin (1994) support this view by supposing that strategy is more vital in the determination of structure than structure is in determining strategy.
The meaning of this argument is that the organization should first set its strategy and after that, a structure should be developed to implement that strategy. An organization’s structure is a tool to assist the management to attain its objectives. Since the objectives are deduced from the overall strategy of the firm, it can only be logical to argue that there is supposed to be a link between these two management issues where the strategy starts.
For instance, if an organization sets focus on employing a growth strategy to enter international markets, it will require a structure that is flexible and generally adaptive to the global environment. Accordingly, the structure that an organization employs should follow the strategy, and where the management makes significant alterations in the strategy, then there calls for adjustments in the structure to accommodate those alterations in the strategy.
The firm, to decide on the type of organization structure, should establish the special tasks and functions to be performed and the most suitable time for the strategy execution. The firm should also establish the vulnerable places where any performance error may result in strategy failure. This gives the management ample time to concentrate on important areas of organization building (Bhartia & Praklash, 2005).
Furthermore, the structure should follow the strategy because the organizational structure is just a means to an end as opposed to being an end by itself; it’s a managerial tool for implementing the organization’s goals. It is trouble-free to coordinate strategic moves across the functional areas, if functions, activities as well as responsibilities are organized efficiently to provide a link between strategy and structure (Bhartia & Prakash, 2005).
Strategy and structure are indeed symbiotic and a balance between the two is necessary.
Strategic management as a science
To begin with, strategic management is by definition a science. According to David (1995), strategic management can be defined as the science and art of developing, implementing as well as evaluating the cross-functional decisions which enable the organization to attain its goals. It’s a scientific approach that involves analysis; formulation implementation and evaluation of strategies that push the firm forward (Analuoi & Karami, 2003).
The view that strategic management is science has been substantiated by also the fields that it draws coverage. Strategic management theory happens to be a field that has drawn contributions from military, history, engineering, organizational sociology, psychology, managerial economics, political science, and behavioral science (Foster and Browne1996). The blend of these fields that are considered to be sciences, results in a hybrid field that is in its very nature, scientific.
Management involves dealing with people and their social exchanges in both the internal and external contexts which are in continuous change. The strategy has been thought of both as a science and an art. Bob and Meyer (2010) attest to the strategy being a science due to the following reasons: there in emphasis on logic as opposed to creativity, thinking follows formal fixed rules, the nature of thinking is computational, and it upholds analytical cognitive style and value is placed on consistency as well as rigor. Thus strategic management is a science in its approach.
Again, leading strategic management approaches to originate in the functionalist paradigm of social science (Burell &Morgan, 1979). This paradigm presumes that social phenomena have concrete firm veracity underlain by a methodical orderliness; the objective of research being to understand the t interactions of variables within this very reality to enable predictability and control.
In the management process, strategic managers are obliged to draw on the sciences for guidance and assistance. It can therefore be substantially concluded that strategic management is a social science.
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Bob, De Wit and Meyer, Ron. Strategy: Process, Content, Context, an International Perspective. London: Cengage Learning, 2010.
Bhartiya, Bharti &Praklash, V. Strategic Management. New Delhi: Anmol Publications PVT. LTD, 2005.
Alfred, Chandler. Strategy and structure: chapters in the history of the industrial enterprise. Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press, 1962.
Amburgey, Terry & Dacin , Tina. “As the left foot follows the right? The dynamics of strategic and structural change.” Academy of Management Journal, 37 (6), pp 1422-1452-1994.
Burrell, Green and Morgan, Gale. Socialogical paradigms of organizational analysis, London: Heinemann, 1979.
Forster, John and Browne, Michael. Principles of Strategic Management. Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia Pty ltd. 1996.
David, Fred. Concepts of Strategic Management. New York: prentice Hall, 1995.