The Positioning School CH 4

1. The Positioning School’s foundation is on analysis. The focus of the school is on the content of strategies by the perspective and substantial investigation.

2. Michael Porter in 1980 published Competitive Strategy stimulating a new way of thinking about strategy. Soon after his book was published, it became the most dominant school in the field of strategy.

3. The basic model of the positioning school came in three waves (85-112):

                1. Military Maxims: With its roots in the military war tactics, this school is by far the oldest view of strategy formation. During the first wave of popularity, the model concentrated on meaningful competitive advantage within the market place so see where to focus attention.

                2. Search for Consulting Imperatives:  Systematic framework is sought after in helping to form strategy. The growth-share matrix sought to embed choices within a framework to make the best strategy formation.

                3. Development of Empirical Propositions: This wave consisted of “the systematic empirical search for relationship between external conditions and internal strategies” (99). This propositioning is developed through Porter’s model of competitive advantage and view of generic strategies (cost leader, differentiation, and focus).

                There is also four different types of analysis and research for the positioning school: single static research, cluster static research, single dynamic research, cluster dynamic research (106-112).

4. Premises of the Positioning School:

                1. Strategies are generic.

                2. The marketplace is economic and competitive.

                3. The strategy formulation is the selection of generic positions based on analytical equations.

                4. Analysis plays a major role in the process of choosing the position.

                5. Strategies that come out from this process are full blown!

5. The critiques of this school focus on concerns about focus, context, process and strategies.

                -The focus of the school is narrow.

                -The big and mature context is explored in order to view best data.

                – The process of the school is considered more important than the hands on learning on the field

                of strategy.

                -The positioning school seems to take a generic position, rather than a unique perspective.

       With the critiques in mind, Porter defended the school claiming its dynamic and creative approach by using well researched data to formulate a plan of strategy.

6. The positioning school has contributed a great perspective of research. The school in itself may be narrowly focused, context crazed, and rigid about its processes, but when the schools mentalities are combined with that of other schools the analysis leads to great synthesis. It can create a stable formation of strategy by its well researched processes.


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