The Design School (CH 2)

1. The foundation of the design school is strategy formation on the process of conception using key concepts of SWOT- assessment of strengths and weaknesses internally, and opportunities and threats externally (24).  The design school focuses on Process (42). 

2. The proponents of the school are the following: 

Two influential book writers, Philip Selznick’s Leadership in Administration and Alfred D. Chandler’s Strategy and Structure both written in the late 1950s and early 1960s 

The force behind the design school came from the General Management group at Harvard Business School who studied the textbook, Business Policy (24, 25). 

3. The model primarily emphasizes the internal and external situations that break down into opportunities and threats in the environment and strengths and weaknesses within the organization. With the Key successes and distinctive competences recognized a strategy is created. The strategy is evaluated ( according to consistency, consonance, advantage, and feasibility) with respect to managerial values and social responsibilities. When the strategy is designed, it is then implemented (25-28). 

4. Premises of the Design School

1.Strategy formation should be a deliberate process of conscious thought. – It should be a controlled process of human thinking. 

2. Responsibility for that control and consciousness must rest with the chief executive officer: that person is the strategist. – The president is the architect of the organization. 

3. The model of strategy formation must be kept simple and informal. – elaboration and formalization will zap the model of its essence. 

4. Strategies should be one of a kind: the best ones result from a process of individualized design. 

5. The design process is complete when strategies appear fully formulated as perspective. – The big picture must appear. 

6. These strategies should be explicit, so they have to be kept simple. – All in the organization must be able to understand it. 

7. After the strategies are formulated they can then be implemented. – Structure must follow strategy (29-32). 

5. Criticisms of the Design School

Assessment of strength and weaknesses bypassing learning. Strategy formation is a process of conception rather than learning  by assessing the strengths and weaknesses as they arise not pre-declared notions.

Structure follows strategy… as the left foot follows the right. The development of strategy and the design of structure both support the organization.

Making strategy explicit: Promoting inflexibility. It is important to make strategies explicit for purpose of investigation, coordination and support but when? And How?

Separation of formation from implementation: detaching thinking from acting. The idea is to formulate so that others can implement not allow them to stop thinking.

The design school focuses on Process (33-42).

 6. Contributions of the Model:

 

1. Provides a GRAND design. One brain can handle all the information relevant for strategy formation. 

2. Provides a “quick fix.” The brain can  have a full, detailed, intimate knowledge of the situation in question. 

3. The situation has to remain relatively stable or predictable. 

4. Organization is prepared to cope with a centrally articulated strategy (42-45). 

  

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